Has anyone seen “Office Space”? In the movie, the main set of characters have an ongoing battle with a printer. They are often heard screaming obscenities at it: “PC load letter. What the $uck does that mean?” That was my basic reaction to the embryo transfer on Friday.
I’ve really tried to keep a realistic outlook on the chances of IVF working for us. Joe and I have been waiting at each step for the bad news. Because that’s what we’re used to. We are used to the “other shoe dropping”. Surprisingly, everything had been going very smoothly. The medications did what they were supposed to do and they were able to retrieve multiple eggs. Many fertilized. We had three genetically healthy embryos. This round of medications was also going well. The uterine lining looked good. I went in on Friday actually feeling pretty positive. And then the doctor came in with a piece of paper. Photos of our embryos. The ones that had previously been described as “beautiful”. The ones that were healthy. The ones that survived the thaw. The ones that held our last chance at having another daughter. But these photos showed that the embryos had degenerated since thawing. And while I cried while sitting there in that ridiculous hospital gown, what I really wanted to scream was “Degenerated? What the $uck does that mean?” But I didn’t. My mind was reeling. Overwhelmed. Shocked. Unable to fully comprehend what the doctor was telling us. He said we should still go ahead and transfer them and see what happens. I heard that our chances of this working took a nosedive.
So we proceeded. The procedure itself is fairly quick but really uncomfortable. Anyone who has been on a road trip with me will understand why drinking a ton of water and then the appointment running late is a bad combination. We watched the ultrasound as the embryos were transferred. I have a photo of that too, but quite honestly I have no idea what I’m looking at.
Once it was over, Joe and I headed to Echo Bluff State Park. We thought it might be good to just be away, relax and to spend some time in nature. On the way there, I reached in my purse and found the photos. And I started to cry again. These grainy images are the first photos of what could potentially be our child. But all I knew about them is that they were degenerated by about 15%. My best google research didn’t even really tell me what that means. Does it mean that they wouldn’t have even bothered with them if they’d looked like this before freezing? Does it mean that they transferred them just because they didn’t want to steal our hope from us right there in that sad little hospital room? Does it mean I’ve really pissed off the universe somewhere along the line? I know that the hope I woke up with on Friday was shattered by evening. I tried to maintain a thread of it over the weekend… a little frayed thread. I told Joe that I felt like I was already moving into anticipatory grief—the same type I became all too familiar with before Zoey died. I try to be positive. I swear I do. But you can only be punched in the gut so many times before you just start to expect it.
I called my doctor’s office this morning, and while I still haven’t spoken to my usual doctor I did get to speak to another one. She was very encouraging. She said they give you that information in an effort to be fully transparent. They obviously don’t want the embryos to look like they’ve had degeneration, but they’ve had perfect looking embryos fail to implant or develop and they’ve had degenerated ones go on to produce healthy babies. If they embryos had degenerated over 50% they would not have transferred them, but since ours were only degenerated 15% , the doctor felt they were worth having a chance. Hope remains.
So two my two little embryos… I know you’re just a cluster of cells right now. I know you were created in a lab and a petri dish. But don’t for one minute ever think that love was not involved. I would argue the exact opposite. Going through all of this requires great love. And I already love the idea of you. I already love the potential of you. I already love the possibility. So just stick in there little embryos and I hope I get to meet you soon!