Thursday, January 30, 2014

Genetic testing is back!

Wow. Overwhelmed with emotion as I write this post (in a good way)! The doctor called this morning with the results of our genetic testing.

The hard news is that only one embryo is genetically sound enough to be ok for implantation. We not only paid to have them look for MCADD in our embryos, but paid for additional testing to look for other chromosomal issues as well. We would hate to be so focused on the one thing that we miss something else that is vitally important. Well, holy cow, did that additional chromosomal testing pay for itself in spades! It unveiled a ton of problems in 5 of our 6 embryos, indicating that I am really getting to the age that my eggs are not so viable any more.

One embryo must have already been on its way out because they couldn’t get a complete signal on it. It for sure had Chris’s copy of the MCADD gene, and it was unclear if it got my copy as well. They also couldn’t get a read on its chromosomes either. It is not viable and has to be discarded.

Four of the embryos all came out genetically abnormal at a chromosomal level. One was missing chromosome 16 (which I think means it has trisomy-16, a TERRIBLE illness that is fatal), another was missing chromosome 10 (just as bad), and the remainder had multiple chromosomal issues between them.

Our one good one is chromosomally normal and is fine to use. It is a carrier of MCADD, which is ok. Chris and I are both carriers, and it doesn’t really impact us at all. It has the MCADD gene from Chris, but got a clean copy from me. Coolest news of all? It is a girl!!! I am so excited and over the moon about that! I have been hoping and praying that after my two awesome boys that I would get the chance to have my girl. Wow. Tears at that.

The next step is to work towards implantation. Everything is timed with my cycles, and they think that we are looking at late February for that step (which means a November birthday for our baby girl). Then, I will have to wait two weeks to take a pregnancy test to see if she took. That will mean six weeks from now we will know. Talk about an exercise in patience!

I will admit, it is a pretty nervous, anxious thing having all our eggs in one basket so to speak, but I am also hopeful for the opportunity to not have to stress and worry about a bunch of embryos hanging out in a freezer that we then have to figure out what to do with when we are done. We just need to think sticky thoughts that she hangs on when she is implanted. We need her! Hang in there baby girl!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Final Count

The IVF clinic called this morning and told us that the three remaining embryos they were watching didn't make it. They are not viable and will be discarded.

That leaves 6 that are still hanging around. 4 are pretty good, and 2 are kind of weak. All are frozen, waiting until we hear back from the DNA testing, and if we can get some free of MCADD, we can think about implantation.

No more updates until the testing comes back, hopefully late this week.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Day 5 Counts - Biopsy

They called us first thing this morning.
  • 4 were ready for the biopsy for DNA testing.
  • 5 were too early for it, but they thought 2 would mature enough if they gave them until the end of the day to grow a bit more.
  • 1 had not grown any in the last couple of days and really should be discarded, but they thought they would give it a little more time too just in case.

They decided to revisit the situation at about 4-4:30 to give the stragglers one last shot.

At this point the biopsy is now complete, and they are beginning the work of freezing our embryos. Here's how it shook out.
  • 6 were biopsied - 4 of those were the good ones from this morning, and 2 were from the batch of "late bloomers" that needed more time. The 2 are poor quality, but worth putting them forward for testing just in case.
  • 3 are being left to grow overnight to see if they can possibly be worth doing a biopsy tomorrow. There is no courier service on Sundays, so no way to ship the samples to the Detroit lab where they will do the genetic testing anyways, so I think that helped prove the case to give these guys one last shot.
  • 1 that had stopped growing is now out for the count. They have given up on it, and it has been discarded.

As I mentioned, the 6 embryos that are done are currently being labeled, and frozen in their own individual dishes. They will call me tomorrow after they evaluate the remaining 3 embryos.

The cells will be shipped off on Monday, and then we should hear by the end of the week (I think) how they are, and if any of them have MCADD.

Fingers crossed everybody, and as always, prayers welcome!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 3 Counts

All ten embryos are still hanging in there. They hope to see them between 6-10 cells big at this stage as a frame of reference. All of them fit that size requirement, which is great.

1 embryo is 10 cells big.
1 embryo is 9 cells big.
2 embryos are 8 cells big.
4 embryos are 7 cells big.

The 5-cell one from yesterday that had a lot of fragmentation (cell parts - this is a bad thing) has continued to divide and is now 7 cells they think. It is hard to tell how many cells are in there because of all of the fragmentation muddying it up.

One of the 7-cell ones has stopped dividing, and they think that one will peter out, but it is too early to give up on it yet.

Tomorrow is day 4, and because of developmentally where they will be tomorrow, they won't call with updates. We won't hear any more about them until Saturday. Saturday is the day they will do the biopsy for the DNA testing, and we will get a phone call to learn how that went.

After that they will be frozen and we will wait to see what the DNA looks like for these guys.

Fingers crossed for us. We just plan to KEEP BUSY and try not to think about it, because the stress and anticipation can eat us up. I need to be focused on healing so that we can implant when the time comes. That is really all we can do.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Eating My Feelings

Last time, the week between retrieval and implantation was the hardest. The sad fact was that our embryos were not so strong, and every day more and more of them died off. In the end, Aaron was the lone survivor. Really, one is all it takes, but it still was scary and hard to sit helplessly by and wonder if this was going to even work at all.

The doctor called me this morning, and she thinks we are headed down that path again. Our embryos are just not as strong as they would like to see. We still have ten as it stands right now, but the way it is looking, she is telling us she won’t be surprised if the same thing happens again.


You know what? I really don’t want to end up in a situation where we get pregnant, and have nine embryos in the freezer that we then have to figure out what to do with. But wow, what a nail biter way of watching this all happen. And, I really don’t want to have to do this again. This is so hard on your body. I want to cry at that thought. And who is to say that it would work in another round? When is enough, enough?

God. Well, we aren’t there yet. All we can do is focus on this round that we have before us right now. There is quite simply nothing I can do to impact this situation any further. I have given it my best shot. I have and will continue to pray, pray, pray that we get our one out of this, and beg Noah to pull some strings on his end too if he possibly can. Other than that, we just have to fall back into the beauty of living a really busy life with work and a three year old, and try hard not to think about it. Those phone calls from the embryologist will come every morning, and we have to be strong and accept the news, whatever it will be. I believe that this is the next step for our lives and we are willing to fight for it. We will get there. Patience is hard, and we’ve certainly been through worse.

After getting that news, I called Chris and told him. Now that I am no longer on huge doses of hormones, my stomach is feeling so much better and I am finding myself hungry for the first time in a long time. We decided to go out and eat our feelings, and just have the opportunity to talk through it all with each other. We ended up at Bird Dog BBQ, and we almost had to roll each other out of there we were so stuffed. It helped. I think I need a nap now.

Day 2 Counts

The lab just called, and I have updated counts.

Yesterday, we had 10 eggs that fertilized, and 7 more that were unknown.

The 7 unknowns did not develop further over the last 24 hours. They are not going to work out, and will be discarded today.

The 10 are dividing nicely and are progressing along:

2 embryos are 2 cells big.
2 embryos are 3 cells big.
3 embryos are 4 cells big, and they are our nicest looking ones so far.
1 embryo is 5 cells big - this one is not looking so hot. It has lots of fragmentation (cell parts) floating around in it. Slim chance it could turn around, but they anticipate this one not making it.
2 embryos are 7 cells big.

Bigger isn't always better, come to find out. For this stage at day 2, being 4 cells big is considered normal, and the less fragmentation the better. That is how they determine which are better versus worse. They grade them too, and they are rating ours at B- to B+ range.

We are so far on target to do the biopsy on day 5, but they are taking it as it comes, and will do it when they look ready.