During my second IVF cycle, eight eggs were retrieved, and
only four were mature—meaning, mature enough to even be fertilized. We were
told that at day three, two of the embryos were growing and thriving and the
others were prodded by the embryologist to catch up. I remember being so
hopeful because, unlike our first transfer, we were looking at possibly two
embryos to transfer. I also remember the shock when the doctor came into the
room the morning of the transfer, sitting down with his clipboard, a picture of
a single embryo on top, telling us, we only had one, and one only, which was
not growing how they wanted. All the others seemingly had ceased growing
altogether. “I don’t understand,” I told him, clutching at my hospital gown, “I
thought they were growing well.” My head was spinning and was fighting tears. I said, “I don’t understand.”
The nurse came in after the doctor left, and upon seeing my
red eyes, soothed, “Don’t cry now—you don’t want all those stress hormones
right before transfer.” And so I struggled to compose myself and put a smile on
my face that I was wasn’t feeling in my heart. I remember the next morning on
bed rest, sobbing uncontrollably, knowing I was flooding my body with negative
energy and not being able to stop.
One year later, almost to the date, we had our fourth embryo
transfer. Things have been drastically different since that second cycle.
We arrived in Texas on October 22, staying at
various hotels the first few days, as we made trips to the clinic here for
testing. The eggs were thawed that Friday and we got a phone call while staying
with my sister that all eight of the eggs were successfully fertilized and
growing. It was the most we have ever had. I spent the next several days with
my sister and brother-in-law, eating at different restaurants, visiting the Air
Force base, walking through an art museum and tried to take my mind off what
was going on with my embryos.
This may really happen this time. There may be a baby.
On Monday, October 27, we got a call from the
clinic, saying that we had two embryos growing perfectly for day three, and two
that were a bit behind, with the other four only at one to two cells. We
wouldn’t hear another report until the morning of our transfer, the 29.
This wait was always the worst, always the most stressful.
It’s when the inner voice would intrude in my thoughts. Things like, “You’re
going to get to the clinic and they’ll tell you that none of them made it. They all stopped growing.”
But this time, I didn’t have to feel alone. After saying
goodbye to my sister, we drove a few hours to the home of someone I have known
for several years, who had invited my husband and me to come stay with her and
her husband and their baby, who was created from nothing short of a miracle,
who happened to plant the idea of coming to Texas for a cycle in the first
place, because her clinic had done many successful cycles when all hope seemed
to be lost.
Since my transfer was scheduled for 6:45 in the morning, we
were up at 3:00 a.m., on the road soon after, and arrived at the clinic when the
sun was just slowly starting to come up. We were led to a room, changed into
surgical attire, and finally the doctor came in. The first thing I did when he
sat down with my chart was frantically search for the picture of the embryos.
And I saw two. There was a picture of two embryos. Were they clinically perfect
embryos? No. But they were looking good, and he seemed optimistic.
“I know you have been though a lot,” he told me. He had kind
eyes. “I want you to know that if this doesn’t work, it’s not you. It’s not
your body. I want to transfer both of these, and I want to transfer them with
gusto and I feel good about transferring them.”
And so, with gusto, we put these two embryos in me.
It’s unreal. I have two embryos in me, and this is the most
confident I have felt with any cycle. They used a technique called assisted
hatching, which basically helps the embryos get out of the outer shell, making
This may really happen this time. There may be a baby. There
may be two babies. I had some doubts about the possibility of twins, but now
that they are in me, I want them both. I love them both.