Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yesterday is History. Tommorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. THAT is why it is called the present.

Ah... what wise words of wisdom from Kung Fu Panda!


We regrouped with Dr. H, discussed our options, and agreed to move forward with another attempt, from another approach by asking Dr. H to help us narrow down the donor selection process by recommending his most fertile donors (commonly referred to as "super-doners") for us. Dr. H told us that he was relieved to hear that we were open to options, as that is exactly along the lines of what he would have recommended. Great minds think alike. Dr. H's commitment came through loud and clear - it was pretty obvious that a failed transfer makes him work that much harder to make this work! Thank you Dr. H for your support!

Tuesday we have another conference call set up with Dr. H to discuss donors. We will definitely have another update then.

Jane is officially off her meds, and doing well. Everyone feels pretty bummed out about this transfer not working, but Jane is really encouraging and helping us stay positive. Timeline-wise, Dr H suggested that it would be 10-12 weeks at the earliest (mid November to December) before we could try another transfer. We figure that means we have approx 4 weeks to dig in to the donors and figure out who the next Suzie will be.

We're trying to keep ourselves upbeat, which isn't too difficult to do when you have a cute new little puppy in the house (Addie). Daisy our 'doodle and Addie are getting along great, even though it seems like Daisy is regressing a little (as if she never knew how to "stay").

Otherwise, while I can't say that everything is great, we really are trying to stay focused on the next attempt.

I seriously doubt we could do this a third time...

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and wisdom!!

- Potato #1

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

When life serves you lemons, will you know how to make lemonade?

Well, as it turns out, life gave us a ton of lemons today, so line on up for some lemonade! Cash only, please.

Jane's bloodwork today came back negative - so, we aren't pregnant... Though your first thought might be to "break out the frozen embryos", we are sorry to report that there aren't any. Apparently none of them reached the blastula stage necessary for cryopreservation.

So, we're regrouping with Dr. H on Friday, and figuring out where to go from here. Fortunately, we have an AWESOME surrogate! Though equally bummed, she is doing well, and looking forward to the next transfer... Now if we can only find some good eggs!! :(

Yeah, life sucks sometimes, and you get stuck with lemonade (maybe even with lots of seeds) - yuck. I hate lemonade - though it is rather yummy with a splash of Chambord and Vanilla Grey Goose (remember that THAT is the secret to good lemonade when you get those lemons)!!

But don't worry, though there aren't enough words to described just how bummed we are, we haven't given up... We just need to figure out what the next steps are.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An-ti-ci-pa-a-tion... it's making me wait....

To answer everyone's questions... No, we don't have any update yet...

I guess the blood test is tomorrow morning at 7:30am, and the results should be ready by 12:30pm. Needless to say, I'm guessing this will be much more accurate than peeing on a stick!


We'll post an update as soon as we have one!

Monday, August 3, 2009

What a crazy day!

So, while we were able to stick to most of today's agenda, BOTH of the potatoes' telephones died in CT! Now, what is the chance of THAT?

We woke up at 5am, and were on the road by 7am, arriving at the Clinic at 9:30am, just as Jane pulled in. Jane got to meet the moms, and then we all went up to "the room" and hung out chatting. Jane was taken in to get prepped, and Dr. H (H for Handsome) met with us momentarily for an update and overview (and to meet the moms).

According to Dr. H, we each had good embryos growing, but as we all know, they could only select one from Potato #1 and another from Potato #2's batches. The remaining embryos will be grown out a few more days, and the best of them will be cryopreserved.

I'm sure you're asking what these little guys/gals looked like this morning, before the bright lights, makeup and stylists... queue the drum roll please... Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

Potato #1's embryo, more commonly referred to as "el cubanito", is a dashing young embryo who (like his father) enjoys being an immigrant to a foreign land:

Potato #2's embryo, more commonly referred to as "el gringo", is an equally dashing young embryo, who (like his father) enjoys camping out:

Dr. H showed us their pictures prior to transferring them to Jane (below). In the spirit of "Where's Waldo?" can YOU find the eggs? They are there.... in fact, they are in plain site!

Following the transfer, the Potatoes and their moms went out with Jane for lunch, and to get to know more about each other. We had a blast, which served to drive home just how lucky we are to have such a wonderful surrogate working with us to make this happen! :)

Wow - what an exciting day today was!! The next HUGE step is 8/12/09, which is the official pregnancy test. Lets hope that the "cubanito" and "gringo" do well in their new home, and continue to grow!

More updates as they happen - Cheers!

Potato #1

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Agenda for Monday, 8/3/09

  • 5:00am Wake up
  • 6:30am Hit the road
  • 10:15am Begin takeover of the world
  • 12:00pm Light lunch with family
  • 5:00pm Play with puppies
Don't worry, we will be benign rulers - everyone will get a teddy bear.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

NINE - make that NINE embryos to take over the world with!

Quick update from the Clinic:

The embryologist called to update us on the status of the fertilized eggs at "Day 3".

Potato #1's batch developed another fertilized egg! To their surprise, a 3rd egg was found to be cleaving!! Woo-Hoo!!! That means I now have THREE chances to procreate instead of just two!!! According to the embryologist, I have:
  • One 8 cell embryo
  • "Two nice" 6 cell embryos
Potato #2's batch is developing along nicely too! He has:
  • Three 8 cell embryos
  • One 6 cell embryo
  • Two 4 cell embryos
According to the embryologist, they are looking for 6 to 8 cell embryos at this stage, so we are looking good!! He also shed more light on the decision to go with a 5 day transfer vs a 3 day transfer. It seems that since neither of the donors are "older", and since we have some really nice 6-8 cell embryos, it makes sense to do a day 5 transfer at which point the embryologist will have a better selection of embryos from which to choose from for the transfer.

Generally speaking, the Clinic has developed grading methods to judge oocyte and embryo quality. Embryos are graded by the embryologist based on the number of cells, evenness of growth and degree of fragmentation. The number to be transferred depends on the number available, the age of the egg donor, the age of the surrogate, and various other health and diagnostic factors. Embryos that have reached the 6-8 cell stage used to always be transferred three days after retrieval; this is still true today if there are really only a couple of embryos available (or based on other extenuating factors). However, if there are many good-quality embryos still available on day 3, the embryos are placed into an extended culture system with the transfer done at the blastocyst stage at day five. Blastocyst stage transfers have been shown to result in higher pregnancy rates for a variety of reasons.

I know I'm providing lots of details here, and I hope they are accurate. In the event they aren't, please let me know so that I can update the blog post, as I don't want to be misleading anyone reading this.

Here is a "generic" picture of an 8-cell embryo for transfer 3 days after fertilization.

Note that this is NOT one of our embryos, just a "generic" one I found on the Internet!

On a separate note, I think it is also important to point out that the first transfer of an embryo from one human to another resulting in pregnancy was reported in July 1983, and subsequently led to the announcement of the first human birth resulting from IVF on February 3, 1984. It is really amazing to think that what initially caused all sorts of controversy ("the test tube baby") has evolved over the past 25 years into what is now a mainstream clinical practice.

This is simply amazing stuff, and truly an amazing application of technology at work for ME!


Eight embryos should be enough to take over the world, right?

Clinic Update:
  • We received a total of 12 eggs; they were divided into two batches of six each.
  • The embryologist decided to allow the eggs to fertilize naturally.
  • Potato #1's batch fertilized 2 embryos; Potato #2's batch fertilized 6 embryos; this leaves us with 8 embryos to grow.
  • The surrogate transfer date has bee set for Monday morning. Both moms are coming with us. We get "babies first pictures" of the embryos.
  • The remaining embryos will be cryopreserved (frozen).
Next major hurdles will be:
  • The pregnancy test on 8/12/09 (two weeks from from the egg retrieval).
  • The ultrasound on 9/2/09 (three weeks from confirmation of pregnancy). This is when they will confirm the number of embryos that have developed into fetuses and we will be able to listen to the heartbeat.
The big question in my mind that currently remains unanswered is: why day five vs day three? I was told that if the embryologists think that the embryos aren't doing too well, they tend to transfer them on day three in order to get them into the uterus ASAP. Based on some research on our end, it seems as though three days used to be considered the typical transfer period just a couple of years ago, but that by waiting until day five, the embryos have a much higher surface area in which they can connect with the uterus. Coincidentally, it appears that most clinics' statistics show higher success rates overall during the past couple of years, since it became more common to go with the five day transfer. But I really wish we could get a better explanation of just how they determine to go with the three day vs five day transfer. Are they focused on just getting two good embryos to transfer, or on getting one from each of our batches? Will my two fertilized embryos be jeopardized if we are waiting for fertilized embryos from my husbands batch to develop and vice versa? I'm hoping that they are in fact focused on the batches as individual batches to be maximized, as opposed to just getting the best of all eight...

More breaking news as soon as we have it!