How can you miss something you’ve never actually had?
Paul and I recently completed our second round of IVF embryo freezing, and through the miracle of science, we have produced another healthy female embryo. In addition to the two we produced the first time around.
I’ll spare you the long, boring details of this round and skip to the meat of it: things moved more quickly this time, so I only stimmed for 12 days instead of 15. But I didn’t have as good an output – only 8 eggs this time, 5 of which were mature enough to fertilize. As of day five, there were only 2 blastocysts that had developed enough for the PGD (genetic) testing. And only one of the two was genetically viable.
And thank god for that one.
I can’t imagine how frustrating and painful it would have been to put my body, our family, and our bank account through all that strain… and have nothing to show for it. It was a hard enough pill to swallow, knowing that exactly half of all the embryos we made were so genetically imperfect they would not have survived. It’s a product of my type of fertility problems, having more low-quality eggs than your average bear. But it’s not something we expected.
But those three survivors are such tremendous gifts. I am so incredibly, awe-struckenly grateful for them, and the potential they represent.
And it’s ironic. Because I was so sure… deep down in my heart of hearts… that this time would be better. I did everything “right”: I ate right, I exercised, I went to acupuncture twice weekly, I took my supplements and herbs, and even added in DHEA (which is supposed to support egg production and quality). I wore bracelets given to me by a Buddhist monk. I cherished a talisman given to me by a Hindu man. I visualized white light into my ovaries every night. But, at the end of the day, my body is struggling… and nothing can reverse the damage that being on chemo for 4 years has done.
Science, man. I feel so lucky for the miracles that science has made possible. Our three miracles.
So, Paul and I talk about them, because they’re real to us.
“Oh, I bet we’ll do lots of that with the girls.”
“OMG, this would be so fun for the girls.”
“For real, when the girls are here, we’re definitely/never __________.”
“I wonder if the girls will ___________.”
And it’s weird. It’s weird having to wait for them. It’s weird feeling like I miss them… when they are (for lack of a better word), just possibilities, really. But it’s so totally surreal, knowing we made them. Knowing they’re healthy. Knowing they’re girls. Knowing they’re just waiting for a chance at coming to life.
But, still, I yearn for my future daughters. I can’t help it. Damned biological clock! Damned friends with adorable families! Damned hormones! Damned Pinterest nurseries! They all make me so impatient.
And I know, there’s no guarantee my body will accept any of the 3 embryos we have in the freezer. There’s just no way to know until we try. And even though my intuition failed me this last round, I still remain as positive as ever that we’ll have luck with pregnancy.
The time will come, soon, for them. And I can only have faith that at least one will find her way into our arms.