Sunday, December 12, 2010

And then there were two...

The day 3 transfer went off without a hitch....sort of. I mean, the transfer went off without a hitch. Getting to the transfer was kind of crazy. However, given everything we've gone through to get to this point, I had actually mentally prepared myself for things to not go as planned today. I figured it was better to be pleasantly surprised if things went perfectly than panicked if something came up. And no, that's not pessimism you hear, but, given everything up to this point, realism!

I was driving in, ready to pick "Lisa" up at the train at 12:00, when I called her to let her know I was going to be about 5 minutes late. Well, that was going to make absolutely no difference. Because she was running about 2 hours and 30 minutes late. Yup, she was only in Kelso, WA. Apparently the train had engine problems, and they were finally in the process of hooking up a new engine, but she would get here about 2:30. My first thought (so happy to think about the well being of others first) was that if she was going to be on a form of transportation and having engine trouble, I was glad it was a train and not a plane. My next thought was....CRAP! Because we were supposed to get to YFCFT21C at 2:45. We had planned to have nice, leisurely time after she got in, hang out, and then head up there. Well that was out the window. Fortunately the clinic knew what was going on, but I HATE being pressed for time over these things.

So I headed to the hotel to check in for her. Now, I understand the need for security measures, it makes sense. And the hotel reservation was a little confusing, it was made in her name, but it was made under my address and with my credit card. So when I got there, they wouldn't let me check in. ARGH. I was able to get "Lisa" on the cell phone, and Lisa gave them permission to let me check in for her. Great. But then they wanted her to confirm a detail, like the credit card number used, or the address. OK, hello! I had given them the credit card, and my driver's license with those numbers on it when I tried to check in! And, of course, Lisa doesn't know those things off the top of her head. So, in the ultimate act of why-can't-common-sense-prevail-every-now-and-then, I asked for the phone back. I asked Lisa to grab a pen and had her write down my address. I then handed the phone back to the clerk and Lisa told the clerk that information. Sheesh. But I was able to check in.

It was a good thing too, because I had some reading to do. The thing is, all along, Aaron and I really haven't wanted twins. It's not that we're scared of having twins once they're here (although Aaron may disagree a little bit with that), but our main concern is the health of Lisa and of the babies. The chances of being born low birth weight, and premature increase about 50% with twins. And LBW and Prematurity are associated with a host of other challenges. So all along we've really been saying we wanted to implant just one embryo. And now we were on the verge of implanting 2. Being the thorough person I am (or crazy, as others may put it) I had gone to PubMed, the computer summary of all the articles published in medical journals, and searched for articles on ivf twins and possible complications. I printed two of them, and wanted to review them to make sure we weren't possibly creating a situation we couldn't handle in the future. After reviewing the articles and talking with Aaron, who had joined me by that point, we decided we were ready to go forth. If one embryo looked fantastic, we were only do one. If they only looked ok, we would do two.

We headed to the train to meet Lisa, and the train came poking into the station at about 2:50. We made it to the clinic by about 3:10. Total craziness. Then, the amazing things started to happen. They told us our embryos weren't the highest quality, but the second highest quality at this point. Ok, we'll implant 2. Then they showed us a picture of our two embryos. One is 10 cells in this picture and one is 12 cells in this picture.

I couldn't believe it. A picture of our two embryos. Now for a moment of gloating, ha ha! Take that all of you who conceive naturally! You get your first picture at the first ultrasound. We got ours at 10 and 12 cells! Totally crazy. The interesting thing is, Aaron told me later that, although he thought it was weird (I assured him I didn't think so), he immediately felt a connection to that picture of our two little embryos. I was just entranced. And because we were talking about 2, not 3, I felt the need to rename them. Thus Larry and Curly (or whichever two these were) became Holly and Ivy after the Old English Christmas Carol, The Holly and the Ivy. (I don't know if that was because it's Christmastime, or because they were on a green background ;>). And frankly I can't wait to pull that picture out in about 14 years when we have 2 strapping teenage boys and tell them, "See boys, when you were just this little we called you Holly and Ivy! Isn't that sweet?" and hear them reply, "Mom!" ;> Yes, already planning on how to torture them when they're teenagers. Now THAT's thinking positively!

From that point on, it really went like clockwork. They had to check Lisa's bladder a couple times because it had to be full to do the transfer. And Lisa, bless her, after she was undressed from the waist down, but totally covered, let Aaron come in and sit by her head with me to see the entire process. When they zoomed the microscope in before they sucked them up in a catheter I could see that they had been busily dividing, and were now even more cells than they were in our picture. So so cool. And we could see the ultrasound of her uterus as they transfered the embryos, and could see the embryos entering the uterus! The transfer went beautifully according to our fertility doctor. And after 15 minutes of lying down, Lisa was able to get up and get dressed.

We had decided that since she had come up alone, we would spend a girls' night at the hotel, order in room service, watch some movies and then I'd go home and pick her up the next morning to go back to Portland. We did have our girls' night, but there was no movie watching at all. Nope. We talked. And talked. And talked some more. For about 5 hours straight. We talked about growing up, we talked about the families we grew up in, we talked about our current families, we talked about our jobs, we talked about so many things! And the conversation was so natural, not forced or anything. I love how we're becoming friends. The thing is, that wasn't necessarily going to happen. I didn't need for that to happen for me to be happy with surrogacy and our experience. But it is SUCH a bonus. She really is an amazing woman. And her husband cracks me up. Last time she came to town the two of them, and the two of us went out for dinner and spent 3 hours at the restaurant. Again, it's just another sign that God had this woman specifically planned for us. How wonderful.

So the sad news we received this morning is that our 3rd embryo didn't survived to a point at which it could be frozen. It just stopped growing, which can happen. That was one of the reasons they wanted to do a day 3 transfer. And now I am so glad we did. And that we transferred 2 embryos instead of just one.

So this is our shot, at least in this stage of the game. No frozen embryos to fall back on. The pregnancy test is on December 22nd. And I'll let people know either way. So instead of sitting around chewing our nails down to the quick, Aaron and I have decided as soon as I finish teaching my last class, and have my last doctors appointment, we're going to head out of town on a mini-vacation so we can be completely distracted!

My friend Michael, whom I've mentioned before, always encourages embryos to "Grooooooooow!" That's with 9 "o"s, one for each month of gestation. So little Holly and little Ivy, grooooooooow!


  1. Grooooooooow!

    The mini vacation sounds perfect, by the way :)

  2. Love that you're sharing this with all of us out here in the ether-land! :) And I'll say it with ya... "GROOOOOOOOOW"!!!!

  3. GROOOOOOOOOW BABIES, GROOOOOOOOOW! Praying for Holly & Ivy, Mommy & Daddy & Lisa too!

  4. Happy thoughts and prayers for those little ones to GROOOOOOOOOW! Have a wonderful vacation, and hopefully you can hang on till the 22nd without going a bit crazy!

    Blessings to you and Aaron!