We are only about a week away from what I’m now calling the Big Day. Embryo transfer day!
I’m amazingly blasé about the whole process. I don’t have the slightest clue what the embryo transfer process is – I don’t even know if I’ll be conscious or not during the procedure. This is very unlike me to not have researched the whole thing to death. I guess I just trust the clinic enough that I don’t feel I have to micromanage the doctors, and it’s not like childbirth, where there are a lot of choices I have to prepare for. I’m just going to do what they tell me and take it a day at a time.
But speaking of choices, there is one decision that we’ve made. Assuming there are at least two viable embryos, we will transfer two. It turns out that all the statistics that I’ve been given on success rates are based on transferring two embryos. It’s standard operating procedure to do two. Statistically, we then have a 70% chance of getting pregnant, and a 40% of getting pregnant with twins. Of course, the numbers are lower for a successful live birth, and it’s very common to become pregnant with twins but to lose one of them early on.
But Adam and I do have to prepare ourselves for the idea of twins. It’s not what we would choose, but we’re both okay with it if it happens. Actually, I would love to have two more children. It’s only the pain of the first year or so that I would hate. And if history is any guide, I’m probably going to hate the first year anyway.
Medically, the process has been much more mundane than I had expected. I went off the birth control pills about two weeks ago and had the worst bout of PMS ever, but it passed. I’m still doing the Lupron shots every day, but at a lower dose. Now I’ve added Estrace, a form of estrogen. I’ve had an ultrasound and two blood tests in the past couple of weeks. Again, no big deal. The monitoring is to adjust my meds if necessary, but so far I’ve stayed on the standard dosages, which is reassuring.
The clinic calls me every couple of days with a report on mine or my donor’s status. She is also proceeding as expected. Today I received a call telling me that she has between 15 and 19 small follicles growing. Those are the potential eggs! She’ll have another check up on Friday and I believe that they will then schedule the retrieval for a few days later, which means getting those eggs out and into the petri dish. For her, that’s the end of the line.
I have a check up on New Year’s Day which will include another ultrasound. When they do the retrieval, I have to start progesterone (those are the nasty injections with the big needle), antibiotics, and, of course, Adam will have to make his contribution. I also have to have yet another ultrasound on retrieval day. Then, three to five days later, is the Big Day.
I’m working hard not to get too excited about this. It’s not easy, because I do think I have good reason to be optimistic. But even if we do achieve pregnancy, there’s still a long wait before I’ll feel like we’re really on the road to having a baby. Our success rate with natural pregnancies is only 17%. Getting pregnant is just a prerequisite. Getting past eight weeks is the major hurdle, since that’s where the last four have gone wrong. But then there’s the twelve-week mark, when the miscarriage rate really drops, and the twenty-week ultrasound, which is when we found out that our first pregnancy was going wrong. I really hope that a younger someone’s eggs will solve all of those problems, but I’ll probably have a hard time feeling secure until I have a healthy baby in my arms. Can you blame me?
Despite my conscious effort not to think too much about the uncertainties ahead, my subconscious is busy. Last night I dreamed that I had a son but that I couldn’t recognize his face, and I kept forgetting to pick him up from school. A separate dream last night was about having twins. But mostly, I notice that I’m highly cognizant of the awesomeness that is Samantha. Sometimes that means that I worry that a baby without my own genes won’t be as special to me, and sometimes it means that I desperately want any baby at all. But one way or another, I have Sammy, and that’s what I’m trying to focus on now.