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Embryos and Blastocysts

Posted Jan 05 2011 12:00am

Right now, maybe at this very moment, about 5 miles away, some technician is combining my husband’s genes with some stranger’s.

I just left a message with my coordinator because I can’t remember what and when the next status update will be.  Will they call me this morning to tell me how many eggs were retrieved?  Will they be able to tell how many were fertilized at some point today?  I was so focused on the little steps we had to take over the past two days to focus on what we’d find out today.

I had my ultrasound yesterday and my body is ready to go.  I had a little scare the day before because I thought I saw a tiny spot of blood, which could have meant I was shedding my uterine lining.  I also felt a little tic – something that I associate with the miscarriages.  It turned out to be nothing, so I’d bet it was psychological.

Yesterday I also received my final instructions.  My last shot of Lupron was this morning, and tonight I start antibiotics and the dreaded progesterone shots, as well as continuing the estrogen pills.  I was surprised to find out that if I do get pregnant, I’ll have to continue the progesterone shots (and the estrogen) for up to six weeks to support the pregnancy.  And it turns out that the difficulty with these shots is not really the needle, but the soreness afterwards.  The oil that holds the medication knots up in the muscle and can be very uncomfortable – something like a flu shot.  The injection is given in the upper buttock, so Adam will probably have to do it for me, or else I can do it in my thigh, but it’s supposed to hurt more there.  If I get pregnant and just can’t stand the shots, there is a vaginal suppository that can be substituted, but it is not as effective.  We’ll cross that bridge when, and hopefully if, we come to it.  My pregnancy test is scheduled for January 19.

Last night I didn’t sleep very well.  Today is not the Big Day, but it is a big day.  I’ve started reading up on the embryo development process.  My clinic prefers to transfer on Day 5, at the blastocyst stage, but certain factors can call for a decision to transfer on Day 3, when they are still considered embryos with about 8 cells.  It is better to get those embryos into a “natural environment” as soon as possible, but at Day 3, there is less information to assess which ones are the good ones.  Therefore, if we have to transfer on Day 3, we would transfer three instead of two.

There is a whole rating system for embryos which I’ve been aware of for some time, but which I’ve not studied.  Now it is time for me to go check it out, because this is what we’ll probably be immersed in for the next few days.

And that’s all for now.

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