For anyone who isn't channeling their inner science geek or isn't a regular reader of Dr. Liccardi's blog or doesn't spend hours a week scanning pictures of embryos on countless IVF clinic websites, these are nearly perfect blastocysts, our nearly perfect blastocysts. They are 5 day-old babies-to-be that have been carefully cultivated and grown in a lab to 100 beautiful cells each. The embryologist graded the one on the lower left an "A" and quickly added that they almost never give out A's. She said the one on the right is almost as perfect, but they gave it a B+. Pierce thinks he sees a penis in the one on the right. I told him that he was probably right since that one wasn't as good as the other!
Just a few fun facts about blasts:
Day 5 is the preferred day for embryo transfer because at this stage it is clear which embryos are the best. 10-20% of normal fertilized embryos from day 1 will make good quality blastocysts. We had 7 fertilize normally and 3 blasts on day 5, so our % is 43. Pretty darn good!
On day 5 it is easy to distinguish between the inner cell mass, which becomes the baby and the trophoblast, the other cells that become the placenta.
I have spent many hours looking at them already. I cried when the embryologist handed the picture to me. All that fear of having rotten eggs was gone in an instant with her comment, "Lots of 30 year-old women would kill to make embryos as good as these," a la Meryl Streep in The Devils Wears Prada. She then went on to explain that about 30% of every woman's eggs are bad, and sometimes it's really hard to find good ones, regardless of age. She also confessed that she too had been through IVF, and she was at least 5 years younger than me. All of this made me feel a little less like a freak and a little more humbled by the three little miracles that had been living in lab dishes labeled with my social.
Emotional stuff aside, the procedure was very "wham bam". I put on my fancy hospital gown and was given Valium by All Business Nurse. I began chugging water about 45 minutes before the scheduled procedure as I needed to have a full bladder. Anyone who knows me knows that I drink water all of the time and, consequently, pee just as often. The catch here was that I had to hold it for a least 45 minutes until procedure time, throughout the quick procedure that involved a speculum, a catheter and some definite pressure down there, and then for another hour in recovery. Torture, I say! Pierce got to help wheel me in to the OR and hold my hand throughout. He also got a fancy outfit, and I took this pic shortly before they wheeled me in, 40 minutes late (remember, bladder still full!)
We left the hospital about 3 hours after we arrived, and again I was wheeled out to the curb since I had had Valium. I laugh because I am not sure that it really did anything for me. We drove home with strict orders for 48 hours of bed rest and a release stating that it was not possible for me to laugh, cry, sneeze, pee or poop my embryos out. I guess they knew what laying around for 48 hours would do to me.
But I made it through. I received a phone call from the embryologist on Thursday to let me know that our 3rd early blast had done well over night and made it to freeze. For those of you who were keeping track, I said we had 3 blasts on day 5, but only 2 came home with us. The other is frozen for our future use or possibly to be donated if the Lord blesses us with twins. I returned to work yesterday, and I feel fine other than the soreness from my PIO shots. My beta is Friday, and I am still trying to decide if and when I will POAS. I am sure I will because I will need the forewarning. I had sort of thought about doing it today, but I think it's really too soon. There would definitely be some kind of magic to finding out on Mother's Day, but I wouldn't be able to handle the opposite. Today is a tough day for those of us who haven't been able to cross over to the other side. I'd rather find out on a day that means nothing and turn it into our own special day. Hmmmm...well this coming Wednesday is the one year anniversary of our first consultation with the RE. Hopefully, he has knocked this one up just under the wire.
Thank you for all of the comments and well wishes. They truly mean the world to me.
I will close with a pic of the candle we lit in church for our embryos.