OK, good news first. I had 40, count them 40, follicles show up on ultrasound today. Many of them are already mature, so egg retrieval surgery is scheduled for this Sunday. Phew!! I am so miserable. I have spent the entire day dry heaving, and every time I take a step my ovaries bounce up and down like beach balls. I’m also on day 7 of the migraine from hell, which is worsening by the moment. I am in a state of discomfort I can’t even explain. I told my doctor to GET THESE OUT OF ME. He just laughed and told me he will take them out on Sunday.
Now for the bad news. Based on the fact that I now have 40 eggs, the doctor diagnosed me with PCOS this morning. In case you are keeping track, I now have Stage IV Endometriosis, a history of OHSS, escalated hormone levels, a hostile environment and PCOS. Based on the combination of all of these elements, my doctor firmly believes the quality of many of my eggs will be very poor.
Things are starting to make a little more sense now. Poor egg quality may be the reason I didn’t get pregnant with my last IUI when I had 9 eggs. That being said, he thinks my odds of success are now slim to none if I limit fertilization.
If you’ve been reading since the beginning, you know that my husband and I are not comfortable having any embryos left over because we believe life begins at conception. For this reason, we were only going to allow him to fertilize 3 eggs. Originally, he said we were looking at a 2 out of 3 fertilization rate, which would leave us with 2 fertilized eggs. Of those 2 eggs, he said statistically 50% would grow into usable embryos. Worst case scenario, this would leave us with 1 embryo to implant. Best case scenario, we would be thrilled with triplets.
That has been our plan all along. But once again, when we make a plan God laughs. Armed with the knowledge of this new diagnosis, my doctor is convinced that if we limit fertilization we will end up with NOTHING. We simply can’t bear the thought of going through all of this and wiping out our savings and not even ending up with 1 embryo to attempt pregnancy with.
He feels that if we allow him to fertilize all 24 mature eggs, we will be lucky to end up with 3 to 4 embryos at most. This would be perfect. It will probably take 3 to 4 embryos to eventually end up with our ideal family, as not all embryos turn into successful pregnancies.
On the flip side, there’s always the possibility that things will go better than expected and we will still have embryos left over after our family is complete. We were originally uncomfortable with donation but have changed our minds. After going through this process, we truly feel that any couple who wants a baby as much as we do deserves a chance to have one. If God blesses us with more embryos than we need, He must have plans for those embryos.
So we have decided to go big or go home. I know some of you might have mixed feelings about our decision. It might seem like we are abandoning the beliefs I pledged to stay so true to at the beginning of all of this. I have struggled with it myself. I honestly feel, though, that we aren’t abandoning our beliefs. No embryos will be destroyed or left frozen indefinitely. The only thing that changes is that if we are lucky enough, we will be able to bless a childless couple with a chance to fulfill their dream.
We do have one stipulation. We would send leftover embryos to another state across the country to be donated. For those of you who aren’t from New Orleans, let me start out by saying it is the smallest big city in the world. No one ever leaves, everyone is interconnected and there are MAX 2 degrees of separation from any stranger you meet on the street. If we donate the embryos at our local clinic, we worry that our kids could end up in the same high school class as their biological brothers or sisters, or even worse, date them! I also don’t want to run the risk of going to Target and seeing a baby that looks just like mine and constantly wondering. So it’s best if we send them out of state. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a crazy person who over thinks every situation and plays out all the scenarios in my head. Pray for Matt 🙂
All kidding aside, please pray for us in the home stretch of this journey. My estrogen level continues to rise and the doctor is still concerned about the possibility of OHSS. He said he will not decide until 4 days after retrieval if we will be able to transfer the embryos back into me on the 5th day or freeze them until my body gets back to normal. There are so many balls up in the air and I’m just hoping we can keep them all up long enough and make the right decisions. Luckily, I know God is guiding us every step of the way, and I couldn’t be more thankful.