Egg retrieval was successful and recovery was pretty unpleasant. Per the MD, the operation went smoothly, though they were a tad surprised with the number of eggs obtained. A total of 62 eggs to be exact! (the record is 65). Well no wonder I was in a whole world of hurt afterward. My abdomen swelled to about 5 months pregnant with a fluid weight gain of 6 lbs. I thought and was told I’d be feeling better by the next day, which wasn’t exactly true. It took about 5 days to start feeling back to normal and a little over a week to lose most of the fluid.
Out of the 62 eggs retrieved, 42 of them were mature enough to fertilize through a process called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). I grabbed the following explanation of ICSI off the Northern California Fertility Medical Center’s website…”The specialists use powerful microscopes and precise equipment to select individual, healthy sperm cells and place them directly into the egg, instead of merely combining the prepared eggs and sperm in a laboratory container and waiting for fertilization to take place on its own. This maximizes the number of successfully fertilized eggs, regardless of the general quality of the sperm.” Out of the 42 fertilized embryos, 35 survived and were frozen at the two pronuclei (2PN) state. A pronucleus (plural: pronuclei) is the nucleus of a sperm or an egg cell during the process of fertilization, after the sperm enters the ovum, but before they fuse. The appearance of two pronuclei is the first sign of successful fertilization as observed during in vitro, and is usually observed 18 hours after ICSI. Ann, the embryologists with over 30 years experience, said “this is my most favorite time to freeze the embryos because once they are thawed, they act as if they’ve never been frozen before.” Here is a picture of what they look like. Although this isn’t a picture of our embryos, the embryologist did send us pictures of all 35 in the mail. Really neat and so strange at the same time 🙂
The plan for now is to wait until my next cycle. Around this time they will bring me in for an ultrasound, have me use ovulation predictor kits, and when the “light is green” they will implant around day 14-16 of that same cycle. They call this a “natural cycle”, letting my body guide the process rather than using medications to assist. This time frame will more than likely be around the beginning of March.
Now that the worst is behind us, we’re feeling pretty good 🙂 Although it was initially disappointing to not implant the embryos this cycle, it really would have complicated the process even further and been harder on my body. I’m so grateful for the “rest break” physically and emotionally during this next month, and I’m so encouraged and at peace to know that all things are in God’s control, even teeny tiny embryos and abstract things like hormone levels 🙂
Next post….Results on Todd’s bone marrow biopsy scheduled for Mon 1/28. Will keep you posted 🙂
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