Thursday, June 21, 2012

DE: Not Always the Magic Bullet

How in the world did it go from the middle of April to the 3rd week in June? I swore that I would be blogging more frequently, sharing the details of our DE journey, and tracking our progress.  Somehow, the time got away from me, and here it is, June 21, and I am 2dp5dt. 

Things did move pretty quickly once we selected a donor.  We originally thought we were going to end up waiting for more donors who were eligible for a 1:3 transfer to show up in the database before we made a decision, for some reason I wasn't falling head over heels for any of the ones that were listed.  I had this vision that I would find someone who resembled me to a tee - dark complexion, dark eyes and hair, 5'7 or taller.  R and I talked about what traits were truly important to us, and it turned out that it became less important that a donor be my long lost twin..because if we waited for her to show up in the database, we risked a very long wait. I also thought about how Smiley does not resemble me completely, she doesn't have my coloring, so why did it matter if the donor had my coloring? We ended up really liking one of the women who had some of the physical features we were looking for, but not all, and a very strong profile otherwise.  We had found our donor.

Fast forward through cycle synchronization with the donor and the 2 other recipients - that entailed a month and a half of the BCP, which turned me into a raging bitch who gained weight and began suffering from migraines...reminded me of why I never did well on the pill when I was trying to PREVENT pregnancy, all of those years ago.  Then the lupron began, another fun portion of the synchronization process, and then I began the Del Estrogen shots every 3 days, to start preparing my lining. Before I knew it, I was getting updates from my nurse about the donor's response to her ovarian stimulation, she seemed to be producing the numbers that would support 3 donors, which really was exciting.  I knew there was always a possibility that upon retrieval, there wouldn't be enough eggs for all 3 of us.  We were slotted for the 3rd position, so we had to prepare ourselves for the possibility of a cancelled cycle, but everything was always looking good for us, even upon retrieval.  On 6/13, our donor went in for her retrieval. 18 eggs were retrieved, and we received 6.  It turned out of those 6 eggs, 4 were mature, and all 4 of those fertilized.  The next day, my nurse called to share that all 4 were fertilizing properly, so we were encouraged by the news.  In the back of my mind, I still assumed we would have a day 3 transfer, because in our past IVF's with my eggs, we were lucky to even make it to day 3 before the embryos died out.  On the 2nd day, my RE called and said the embryos were really doing well, and we would schedule a day 5 transfer.  I was speechless.

I ended up having a 9:15am transfer on Tuesday.  We had one blast that was doing well, and 3 other embryos who were compacting, but hadn't yet reached the blast stage.  Our RE encouraged us to transfer the blast, and only the blast, in order to avoid having multiples.  R and I discussed this before; my heart was really leaning toward transferring 2, because, really, what were the chances that we would conceive multiples??  After really thinking it through during the cycle, we felt that our course of action would have been different if Smiley wasn't in the picture, if we weren't already blessed with one child.  We would have absolutely gone with transferring two - but with already having a very active and precocious 2 and a half year old, we didn't want to risk having multiples...a higher risk to an already high risk pregnancy.  So we transferred the beautiful blast that we had, and hoped we'd have at least one to freeze.

For the first time since my first IVF cycle, (when I was naive to how poor our embryos really were), I truly embraced my 24 hour "bed rest." I watched bad TV, read my Kindle, napped, let R wait on me, and snuggled with Smiley in bed.  I even took more rest time than needed, my transfer was at 9:15 am so technically, I could have resumed normal activity yesterday morning; I could have gone to work.  I decided to F that and stay home another day; I took a long warm shower and moved from the bed to the sofa. 

I went back to work today and tried to keep my mind busy.  I knew that today I would find out if the 3 remaining embryos were still viable and ready to freeze.  By 3:30 I was getting antsy, and even R was surprised we hadn't heard anything.  I called my nurse and got her vm immediately, not even a ring.  I called the main number and asked to speak with another nurse in the donor program, was transferred to someone and of course, got vm.  She called me back on my way home from work, she said that my nurse was out of the office today but I was on her list for calling tomorrow.  Unfortunately, this nurse didn't have good news for me....none of the 3 remaining embryos made it to freeze.  I had to have her repeat what she said, because I didn't understand what she was saying.  I thought with DE, embryos thrived, and bloomed like flowers.  Everyone I know that has done DE has had embryos left over, why the hell don't we? What is it with us and embryos? I just don't get it.  The nurse assured me that just because those embryos didn't make it, it doesn't mean the embryo we transferred isn't going to make had made it to blast and it's now where it needs to be.  But now, I feel like a dark cloud of doubt has shifted over the cycle a bit, where as this morning, I was so very positive that this was going to be our magic bullet.  R reminded me that we made it farther than we ever had, we used to dream of day 5 transfers (I think in our very last cycle we actually did a day 2, our embryos were so bad) and we just had one.  I had to keep remembering that, and also remember that we have 6 attempts at this if we need it.

Yes, I understand that by being in the Shared Risk program we have the opportunity to have 6 fresh cycles.  That means selecting a donor 6 times, synchronizing cycles 6 times - getting on the roller coaster 6 times.  I know that we'll never reach 6, I don't have it in me.  I haven't decided how far I'm willing to take it, and hopefully it will be a moot point, because this cycle will have worked and our clinic would have made money off of us, with a first time success.  I guess I have a hard time believing we are that lucky.  Then I think about all we went through in TTC the first time, and how hopeless I felt, so much so that we had given up on my eggs and were moving toward DE...and then Smiley was conceived, and despite many losses before her, I carried her to term. I guess we are that lucky after all.

Beta day is Monday July 2.  We are supposed to go to the beach with R's family the next day.  I have to say I am nervous about the trip, no matter what news we get - we get a negative I will be a mess (although I'll be able to drink my sorrows away).  We get a positive, and then I will worry about not spilling the beans, and also, somehow sneaking away to get a second beta done at a labcorp in Margate, NJ.  With R's family, it's very difficult keeping things private.  I have to keep telling myself that these are premature worries, and we need to take things as they come.  Not so easy for me but thankfully work is busy next week, and the weekends always fly by. 

I do want to talk to my RE about why he thinks we had no embryos to freeze. I am also curious to see if I can learn if the other recipients had any left to freeze. In the mean time, I can only take care of the one and only embryo that truly matters, the one who is hopefully making him/herself comfortable, and finding a nice home inside my uterus. Fingers and toes crossed.


  1. Wow - what a crazy rollercoaster! I didn't expect DE to be like that either. Thinking of you as you await the news. It was very good that you transferred a blast - fingers crossed for that little embryo!!!

  2. Oh what heart break. I know what you mean, you trade it all in for the "DE Guarantee".

    Sending you all the very best for this wait. We have every reason to believe you are on the right side of the stats. Try so hard to stay comfortable.

  3. Just came across your blog. Glad you were able to transfer a blast and wishing you good luck.

    Your post really resonates with my situation. You are right that DE is not as rosy a picture as RE's make it out to be. My first try I got 50% fert rate and C-grade slow growing embies. I was shocked. I had not even considered that I could get poor quality embryos with donor eggs. Sadly, now I am wiser. And the guarantee is good finacially, but its still an emotional rollercoaster.

    Hopefully the beautiful blast is all you need :-) All the best!

    1. Thank you so much for the good wishes and virtual hugs, Beta day is tomorrow and I've definitely had moments where I've felt great about the cycle, and then for some reason, the last 4 or 5 days I have been pretty negative. I've had various cramping that has always preceeded AF or even a miscarriage. I guess tomorow I will face the music one way or the other. Sunflower, thank you for sharing your story, I'm hoping that all is working out for you too. Would love to touch base with you privately to find out if we are at the same center. xoxo