Category Archives: FETs (Frozen Popsicles Without The Pop)

POKEY

Recently I have found myself thinking a lot about Pokey.

Pokey was embryo number four out of four that we got through our donor egg cycle which ended up on ice, all by his lonesome. He was also a little late dividing and I suspect he is not of Best of Show quality and more than likely a bit of a mouth-breather.

When it comes to left-over frozen embryos, there are three options that families face (I say “families” since it would be only logical to assume that only patients who have already had a successful transfer would have the three options):

  • Destroy
  • Transfer
  • Donate

Now for my conundrum.

At one time, back when I was an IVF newbie, I referred to my embryos as “embies” and I experienced quite a mental fuck when my first and only FET attempt was cancelled when all three of said “embies” arrested the morning of my transfer. To help myself get over that, and because I grew up just a bit, they simply are now called Embryos.

Even though I have tried to keep myself emotionally distant from any embryos we had created since then, Pokey is something special because he has a sister who I cannot, not even for a second, imagine my life without. Even Mr. DD walked a minefield by stating, “If we hadn’t gone through all the shit, we wouldn’t have ZGirl.” Refer to this post on how I feel about that kind of talk.

It’s with knowing the potential that I find myself very opposed to destroying Pokey.

Why not transfer then, you ask?

Such a simple solution except with one minor problem: Mr. DD does NOT want to go through any more treatment, even a rather uncomplicated FET. Not only that, but he does NOT want another baby; even though the likelihood we were to get pregnant with Pokey would be a one in a million shot. However, see THIS post about what happens when you put one egg in your basket and run though a forest on five-inch heels. In other words, stranger things have happened, even though they can (and did) end badly. Very badly.

As a couple who seriously considered donor embryos, I am more than willing to donate Pokey. But would any agency want to bother with a lonely embryo, and of suspect quality? I don’t have proof that Pokey is pokey. I only remember when they called with the fertilization report on Day 2 that Pokey had fertilized late and was slower in dividing, hence “Pokey”. I should have transferred all four since even with the three good-quality embryos transferred, my pregnancy never was more than a strong singleton (thank god).

I guess that’s why if I was a betting woman, I would say that Pokey doesn’t stand a chance, even in the best of wombs. Yet, knowing this, I still am not able to consider just destroying the little slacker.

I ask you, what would YOU do if you had a sub-par, single embryo on ice that no one other than you would want and your Significant Other doesn’t want to do another cycle, much less have another baby? If you say destroy it, how do you get over the sentiments attached to it when you know how beautiful and funny and endearing that baby would be because you are raising its sibling?

(Pardon the links down memory lane. That was a whole lot more painful then I expected it to be.)

A QUESTION THAT DOESN’T NEED ANSWERING

Last night, ZGirl and I were taking a bath. We both have been struck by colds and a vapor bath provided some relief. I called for Mr. DD who held up ZGirl’s fluffy, warm towel for me as I lifted her slippery body out of the water into his arms. As he coo’ed and talked to her in the quiet of the master bath, I told him that I noticed I had started spotting today. The first sign of a cycle trying to return since I got pregnant a year ago.

Mr. DD mulled over the information for a brief second or two and then asked, “We’re not having any more kids, right? What do you want to do about birth control?”

We’re not having any more kids, right?

The words hung in the humid air while a lump built in my throat. I’m 41. My eggs are shit. His sperm is shit. I tried to blow off the words with the snarky response, “Like we  have to worry about birth control – Ha!” to which he replied, “That’s not an answer,” and walked out of the bathroom door with ZGirl curled up in his arms.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I stretched out in the tub, the water quickly cooling, the bubbles surrounding me quietly clicking as they popped. I thought I was well-prepared for this moment, accepting that after years of ART and miscarriages, having another baby would never be an option to put on the family table to discuss. But still…

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I opened the drain to the tub and heard the water gurgle away. I watched my knees form islands of skin and bone as the water level dropped. I felt my skin cool and tighten with goosebumps as air hit the newly exposed areas of my shoulders and back. All too soon, the tub was empty and I stood up to reach for my robe hanging on the wall. In that moment I caught the reflection of my body in the mirror, and I saw the ravages of pregnancies and time staring back at me.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I thought again of the one remaining embryo on ice, Pokey. It would probably never survive a thaw and I had no idea why they even froze it, except maybe out of pity. Four eggs retrieved, four eggs fertilized, three transfered…may as well freeze the fourth. The clinic’s symbolic attempt at hope in case none of the first three took.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

No, it’s not “right”. It just is.

Earworm: Ten Little Indians

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WARNING: The following may be contagious and should be read only under the condition that you can obtain immediate access to a radio to eliminate the chance this Earworm may infect your head for the next 24 hours as it did in the host.


“One little, two little, three little embryos.
Four little, five little, six little embryos.
Seven little, eight little, nine little embryos.
Ten little embies fertilized.

Ten little, nine little, eight little embryos.
Seven little, six little, five little embryos.
Four little, three little, two little embryos.
One little embie planted.”

I’m Sorry…

~ Three microscopic souls became someone else’s twinkles overnight.

Three more potential babies that were not meant to be mine.

I’m sorry everyone got their Hopes up in order to buoy my sagging heart.

I will be going to the funeral today, and only Mr. DD will know that my tears were for the lives that were cut too short, not for the one who lived out long and richly.

Heavy Heart

~ Because I don’t think my nerves are raw enough, I am sipping a nice, hot cup of cappuccino in an attempt to warm the nerves long exposed to both anticipation and dread.

This morning, Mr. DD and I woke up to the little click of the TV, which is automatically set to come on at a quarter ‘till. The morning’s potential for a transfer was obviously on both our minds, but neither of us said anything. We just lay in bed holding hands and watching a few minutes of news.

I’m now at work and have been for almost 2 hours and still no word about Uni, Buck and BQ. I called the clinic about 30 minutes ago and their lab hasn’t called them with the results, but Nurse Dufus said the transfer probably won’t be today. I’m now worried that the little embies will have to endure another 24 hours in a hostile Petri-dish instead of a nice, cushy uterus.

I feel sick.

So, if the ‘trips make it that long, the transfer will be tomorrow. A sad day for me on an unrelated note. My aunt (my dad’s sister) died this weekend from complications to a fall and subsequent broken hip. I will not be able to attend the funeral which will be tomorrow, and I feel guilty for putting myself and the less than 20% chance that this will all pan out ahead of my family’s loss.

I try to brace myself up by saying there’s nothing that can be done for my aunt at this time, and my father and the last sister will be surrounded by other family and probably won’t even notice our absence. I also try to justify it by adding that I’m only trying to carry on with the family tree…but it just isn’t doing it for me.

I’m sad. I’m crying because I don’t know if the embies made it through the night. I’m sad that I’m crying for me and not for my aunt.

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Edited: The clinic called and Uni, Buck and QB are still plugging away at "Code 2". Transfer is still tentative for tomorrow as Day 6 embryos. They rarely wait until Day 7 to do a transfer and Nurse Wonderful has only seen that once or twice in all the years she has been there. It’s still a distinct possibility that all three could disentegrate into Code 3, which makes them no longer viable.

C’mon babes. Hang in there!

I’m With Stupid…No, Wait, I AM Stupid

~ I commonly ask people who have expertise outside of my googlebility to explain things to me as if I was a three year old. I love the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). However, when I ask for simplicity and get talked-down to, I get a little peevish. I don’t mean that degradation should now become the tone of our conversation.

That’s what happened this morning when the clinic called to tell me how Unibrow, Bucktooth and Beauty Queen were doing. No one coded overnight, so all three have made it to their Day 4 development in a Code 2.

OK, this is where I ask for a K.I.S.S.

Day 4 (16-32 cell/compaction) is the development the thawed embryos are now in relation to an embryo that has never been thawed. It’s usually around Day 5 (32-64 cells) that they start to go into the blastocyst stage and as such Day 5-6 FETs have a higher chance of pregnancy then Day 2-3 FETs. This I knew.

But “Code 2”? I can find nothing about Codes when it comes to embryos, just Grades. I am guessing Nurse Dufus used the wrong terminology when she told me that Unibrow, Bucktooth and Pageant Queen were all Code 2. Methinks she meant Grade 2, which is average. Grade 1 is “perfect”. And that’s exactly how she explained the codes: “It’s very rare to get Code 1 embryos as that means they are perfect. Yours are at Code 2, which is average.”

Fine. Whatever.

She then tells me they will call me tomorrow morning again to let me know what I need to do. The transfer may be then or it may be Thursday, they still don’t know. I took the opportunity to ask her about the valium for the transfer as they had not given me a script like they had before with the fresh transfer.

“Oh, you’ll get that at the hospital the day of the transfer.”

They must be on to me and my love of the valium and decided not to give me a script to fill in case I decide to fill it early and on the off-chance, to only have one left by transfer day. “Ooops, I was supposed to save them for AFTER the transfer? Oh, golly, I’m sorry I’m soooo stupid! I bet I can’t even count to 1 on my fingers. Hey, how ‘bout that, I can! What? You don’t appreciate me starting the count with *that* finger?”

Hurumph!

So even though Nurse Dufus described my little Unibrow, Bucktooth and Beauty Queen as “average”, they are perfect to me. I’m hoping my luck will change just a little bit for the better. And if last night’s win with the lottery was any indication…Oh, yes, my dear sisters, we are holding onto one of the winning tickets! The powerball was 41, Mr. DD’s age, and that tipped us into a total winning of $4.00 since we matched one of the other five numbers. Yeah, Baby!

Bartender, another round of H$rsh$y’s Kisses, I’m buying!

Warming Up The Second String

Since I found out that the "IVF That Worked" didn’t, I have resigned myself to just sitting back, trying to stay calm and seeing what will happen with the FET. But this afternoon, it has hit home, and hit hard, and my nerves have suddenly unraveled.

I just got back from lunch to see I had some voicemail. It was Nurse W. from the clinic and I was to call her back. I really thought I wouldn’t hear anything today as the thaw was just supposed to start. I figured I would be getting the updates every 24 hours starting tomorrow and a call so soon could not be good.

Instead I found that when I called them back that one of the four embryos has been cut from the second string and shriveled up and died, thereby getting cut from the team. So already I am down to three. Is it really possible that all three could possibly make it until Wednesday or even Thursday?

Several months ago, before I realized how difficult this was going to be for me emotionally, I came across an internet article about a doctor who was working with IF patients and their struggle for not just good physical well-being, but mental health as well. He would keep the patients on the minimum dosage of, let’s say, we11butr,n during the 2WW post IUI/IVF. He figured that keeping the patient mentally sound during that time considerably outweighed the very minimum risk the patient/fetus would be exposed to during such early conception. His patients had a much better implantation success than those who did not take mental-health drugs.

Right now, I would really like to be part of that study…actually, I would settle for a comotose state of approximately 48 hours if that was at all possible.