The Next Family

By: Heather Somaini

Have you ever had to wait for an outcome that you so desperately wanted but it was totally out of your control?  That’s what the pregnancy merry-go-round feels like – a never ending circle of activity, waiting, getting your hopes up, waiting, disappointment, and then waiting some more.

But every time you do it, it feels like “this” time it’s going to be different.  And this time it was different.  This time we were going to get it right.  This time we would be even more optimistic.  This time the stars would align and the universe would give us what we so desperately wanted.  This time we had an entirely new process – IVF.

Tick tock.  Time moves slowly when you’re watching your timepiece.  Instead of waiting 2 weeks this time, we had to wait 3 days.  At 3 days, they said they would know if the embryos were dividing properly.  If they were just “ok”, they may want to transfer then.  For some reason if the embryos are marginal, they have a better chance of becoming viable pregnancies if they are allowed to do what they do where they’re supposed to do it.  But if the embryos are good quality, meaning that they’re dividing well and are symmetrical, they like to wait until day 5 or 6 before they transfer them back into the mom-to-be.

July 22nd…. 3 days in and we got the call.  The embryos were looking good.  They wanted to wait and transfer them on day 5.  Yippee!  Our embryos were doing WELL!

July 24th…. The big day.  Tere had all her instructions down pat.  We were all set.  We arrived.  There was lots of paperwork.  Then that oh-so-chic hospital gown.  To make it easy for the doctor to determine where they are actually implanting the embryos, they have the patient drink copious amounts of water which gives a much clearer visibility of the uterus and also allows for a more direct route to where they want to drop off the little buggers to implant.

Tere drank a ton of water.  They did the initial ultrasound and the technician said she had to drink more.  She looked at me with a concerned look.  She said she couldn’t drink anymore and told the technician that she drank the amount they told her to.  He said “it wasn’t enough.  We need more.”  Tere started drinking more water.  While they waited for the water to get to the “right” place, the valium and whatever else they gave her started to kick in.  She was very happy.  They did another ultrasound and agreed they could move forward.

Dr. S asked me how many embryos we wanted to implant.  I looked at Tere and realized she was not going to be helpful at all.  Dr. S and I had a chat about outcomes.  He said if we put in one embryo, there was a chance we could have a pregnancy and a chance we could have none.  If we put in two embryos, he said we had a good chance for a singleton and a smaller chance for twins.  If we put three embryos in, we had a small chance for triplets, a good chance for twins, and a great chance for a singleton.  I looked at Tere again and decided I was going to go for it – three embryos!

Dr. S handed me a card with blue and green squares with what appeared to be snapshots of our embryos.  He said “which ones?”  I looked at him incredulously.  He seriously wanted ME to pick out our future children?  I pointed out the three that looked most symmetrical and had the best appearance.

Yes, of course I had already done a ton of research online and I knew what a healthy 5-day embryo was supposed to look like.

The next thing I know, two technicians walk in with a syringe attached to a long catheter-like tube.  I told Tere we were going for the gold with three embryos and she nodded at me like I was the Wizard of Oz.  At about this time, I started to realize that there was no proof that the embryos they were transferring were actually ours.  I pointed this out to Dr. S and was told about the long chain of title they essentially had to go through and a mistake just couldn’t be made.  Strange how much faith we put in someone else’s hands at times.

After the transfer, we waited.  I started to look around at everyone sitting quietly in the procedure room.  What were they waiting for?  Time passed.  I finally broke the silence.  Dr. S held up his finger – I was clearly going to understand soon.  The speaker in the room came on and one of the technicians notified us that all three embryos had been transferred and were no longer in the syringe.  Good to know!

We went home and Tere spent the next few days in bed watching television and reading – oh and she closed three deals worth $100 million in those three days.  Not too shabby!

Our next appointment was five days after the transfer.  Here we go on the pregnancy merry-go-round…waiting again.

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