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For the First Time in Forever

In my last post, I wrote about how different this cycle was going to be compared to all the other ones before it. I talked about having a different egg donor, the most popular donor my clinic had. In fact, I just found out that every woman who used this donor had a positive pregnancy test. Now I am not trying to get ahead of myself, but this is good odds. I talked about addressing the gene mutation I have and now I am on four new medications to hopefully combat the rejection of the embryos. I also wrote about how terrified I was that something was going to go wrong this cycle.

Allow me to tell you how this cycle actually went.

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I started out this round with borderline low estrogen levels, and was directed to increase my estrogen medication twice. Within the span of two days, my estrogen went from 195 to over 2000. This means I had a nice cushy lining for the potential embryos. Then we got a call a few days later telling us that six of the eight eggs that were thawed had fertilized. While I was relieved that most fertilized, there was worry in the back of my mind that we were starting out with fewer embryos than the last transfer in October.

The day of transfer, after my husband and I changed into surgical attire, and I swallowed my Motrin and Valium along with 64 ounces of water to fill my bladder to help the doctor pass the embryos through a catheter into my uterus, our doctor walked into the room and he had a big smile on his face.

For the first time since my initial IVF, I went into the IVF surgical suite with a smile that was genuine, and a heart feeling like it would burst from happiness.

The last time he walked in, back in October, he sat down next to me, and proceeded to explain that while there were two embryos to transfer that day, they were behind, as the donor eggs had a hard time waking up from the thaw. I remember the prick of tears behind my eyes, as I tried desperately to remain positive as he gently explained if this cycle didn't work for us, that it wasn't my fault.

This time, on March 25, I felt the same prick of tears, but for an entirely different reason. Friends, there were two embryos to transfer. But this time, they both made it to blast stage, right on time, and were beautiful. "And," the doctor added, the smile never leaving his face, "there are two more that I have every reason to believe will be able to freeze for the future."

For the first time since my initial IVF, I went into the IVF surgical suite with a smile that was genuine, and a heart feeling like it would burst from happiness. For the first time, there was actual hope.

The next afternoon, I called the clinic to find out the results of the cryopreservation report. I have never had embryos left over to freeze. The last cryo report I was informed of, for the last donor cycle, showed none of the extra embryos made it to transfer, and I was OK with it, because I wasn't expecting any.

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This time, the nurse happily told me there were three to freeze. The third blast developed to a hatching blast, the morula (a fourth embryo that was a stage behind) caught up to the blast stage and one of the last two of the fertilized eggs quickly caught up and became the fifth blast out of the six fertilized eggs.

Besides for the last transfer, where there were two embryos that were behind, I have always only ended up with one embryo, also always behind developmentally. Now, I have five embryos—five near-perfect embryos—with two of them nestling in as I write this. What has happened this cycle is nothing short of a miracle and I am holding out hope that these two little ones will both make an appearance in eight to nine months.

Image via Risa Kerslake

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