our little embryo that could- on the bottom left. 21 eggs retrieved, and we have this single embryo that fought its way.

we met with our doctor this past friday, and have a new game plan. we will be doing another egg retrieval in august in hopes of creating more embryos.

there are various reasons for this decision. one of the first is that we don’t know if this embryo that we have is genetically normal. there’s a risk of miscarriage that comes with a price tag of doing a frozen transfer that we’re just not willing to gamble on at this point. “embryo banking” is the phrase, doing egg retrievals to get enough frozen embryos to send off to genetic testing, to then hopefully have a small handful we know are genetically normal. my husband and I would love to have more than one child in the future, and since the reason why we’re unable to get pregnant on our own is still a mystery- it’s likely that we would have to go through this process again in a few years. and here’s the thing, 32 year old eggs are far better to have waiting for us rather than 36, 37, 38 year old eggs. so if we can have a few handful of us waiting for when the timing is right, that would be such an incredible blessing.

I will be on a new protocol for this cycle. what we learned was that out of the 21 eggs that were retrieved last week, 11 of them were either “overcooked” or under mature. the new plan of attack is to completely suppress my reproductive system for this next month with birth control and another drug, and then jump start it with the medications when the time is right. this strategy becomes way more controlled, creating an even playing field for the follicles (which hold the eggs) to grow at a similar rate. by doing this we hope to have a smaller amount of eggs retrieved, but have them be consistently mature. quality over quantity is the new name of the game!

the blessing and curse with IVF is that for how much incredible science there is available to us, there’s a whole lotta magic to the process too. for how much we do know, what we can learn from, how much doctor’s can intervene… there’s a maddening aspect that mother nature is still in control when it’s all said and done. my body has become a guinea pig to science, and we’re hoping to find the perfect cocktail of technology and pixie dust that will allow the stars to align and give us our baby.

thank you for being so supportive, encouraging, and following this wild ride with us. a whole new adventure is awaiting.

IVF journey 2.0!

the other 2 embryos stopped growing. they didn’t make it.

with meeting with our doctor tomorrow, we’re hoping a lot of our questions will be answered. to start with 21 eggs and only make it to 1 frozen embryo is honestly devastating. I’m crushed. I feel defeated. I feel broken.

I’m going to be taking a couple days off of social media. one of the hardest things about this infertility journey is the fact that you can’t escape it. children are everywhere. pregnant bellies are everywhere. my livelihood as a newborn and family photographer means that not even my job can give me temporary relief from something that is always on my mind. something that I want so desperately, and void of. and right now, I just need a break from it all.

this is hard. this is so, so hard. I don’t wish this on anyone.

this isn’t meant to be a pity post. this is the cycle of this process. a devastating blow, a day or two to cry it out, and then we pick up, chins up and strong, and start all over again. we’ll get through this. we always do. we have for the last 2 years.

tomorrow will bring us answers. we’ll have a path and a game plan, and as soon as I’m ready to jump back into functioning as an adult again- I promise to keep you informed. I know there are so many of you invested in our story and cheering for us, and even though it’s been said a million times- it means the world to us. truly. thank you.

we got the phone call a little past 11am this morning.

1 embryo made it to being a day 5 blastocyst. it was graded, biopsied for potential genetic testing later, and frozen.

all blastocysts are given a grade, separated by 3 quality scores. the first score, ranging from 1-6, grades its development stage. 1 being not developed at all to 6 being fully hatched. the next score is inner cell mass quality, ranging from A-C, with ‘A’ being the best. ‘A’ means many cells, tightly packed; ‘B’ means several cells, loosely grouped; and ‘C’ means very few cells. the last score is trophectoderm quality, which my understanding is the quality of the outermost layer. again, ranging from A-C, with ‘A’ being the best. ‘A’ means many cells, forming a cohesive layer; ‘B’ means few cells, forming a loose epithelium; and ‘C’ means very few large cells.

our frozen blastocyst was graded a 4AA, which is really, really good. it has not yet started to hatch, but is on it’s way.

the other 2 embryos? they’re currently compacted, which essentially means they’re still growing. embryologists will sometimes push embryos to grow until day 6, and even day 7 to give them the opportunity to get to where they need to be. basically there’s a 50/50 chance that either of those two will make it any further.

another call awaits for us tomorrow morning with their update. on friday, we meet with dr. kolb to discuss what our next steps are.

what a rollercoaster this is.

the thing I was most anxious about with the egg retrieval is what could have happened afterword- developing ohss.

ohss (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) is a condition that sometimes occurs after an egg retrieval in which the ovaries become overly enlarged and fluid builds up in the abdominal cavity.
I can’t even tell you the amount of horror stories I read online about women getting moderate to severe cases of ohss after their retrieval, and the idea of potentially ending up in the hospital for days was not something I wanted to experience.

one of the major ways from preventing ohss to escalate is by going on a very specific diet: high protein, high salt, low carb, low sugar, as well as a minimum of 3 liters of electrolyte rich liquid every day. the notion behind this diet is to help the body expel the excess liquid that is being produced in the body in response to the retrieval.

so for the last 4 days, I have been guzzling propel, coconut water, and sparkling water infused with nuun tablets. 3-5 liters a day. it’s a crazy sensation to feel the pressure leaving my abdomen every time I’d hobble to the bathroom to pee. my diet has mostly consisted of bone broth with extra salt added, pretzels, olives, smoked almonds, beef jerky, and this concoction that is pictured. evidently pickles and cheese is a thing? I had no idea. but when my husband presented me with this plate for the first time, I was in awe. it’s wrong, but for this diet- it’s so right!

truthfully, I’m not quite sure when I can go off this regimen- when I’ll officially be “in the clear”. I’ve read some stories that women developed ohss several days after the retrieval. ….I should really get off those message boards….

the last time I took any pain medication was yesterday morning, which is a huge victory. I’m truthfully feeling 95% normal again, and as always- this whole process wasn’t as bad as I pictured it in my head. the first few days were definitely rough, but it feels good to know that I am capable of handling these kinds of situations when faced with them, even though they can give me so much anxiety. that said, I wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own, or without someone who was there for me 110%. my husband was and is truly incredible, doing absolutely everything for me. for the first three days, the only time I had to move was to get up to the use the bathroom. he literally did everything else. I know, without a doubt, that I wouldn’t feel as good as I do today if it weren’t for the fact that my body was truly allowed to rest and heal. I thank the universe that he’s mine, and we’re doing this together.

tomorrow is a big day….the day we find out how our 3 embryos are doing. I’m feeling neutral honestly. a little excited to have more information…but definitely protecting myself emotionally from total disappointment. I’m hopeful…. but realistic. and realistically…we have to expect the unexpected!

my mom came to visit today, and taught my husband how to make my favorite home-cooked meal from my childhood. my belly is full, but my heart is even fuller.

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