Filed Under (Infertility) by catharine on Jun-16-08

A lot has been happening this past week, and I haven’t had a chance to post about any of it, although I’ve sent and received so many e-mail this may all be old news to you already.  So, as the title of the post implies, I am relieved to report that I am not in fact an old hag as I had feared.  My ovaries heard the battle cry and rallied rather triumphantly, and last week they drugged me silly and retrieved 33 eggs!  I was a little surprised to say the least.  I’m not an expert and am sure there are others who’ve produced many more eggs than this, but that’s a lot of eggs!  But, let me back up and fill you in since our last IVF lesson.

The original plan for us, since we were “unexplained” (yes “were”–stay tuned for the exciting conclusion), was to give me twice the normal dose of drugs to start with and then do ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection).  In normal IVF, they just put the eggs and sperm in the same room, let them spend the night together and sort it out for themselves–this is like normal dating.  You go to the bar, meet someone, have a conversation, decide if he’s worth a second date, and nature takes its course.  With ICSI, the whole process is more like using match.com.  The embryologist looks through the super-powered microscope and picks out a likely candidate, wacks it over the head to stop it from swimming, and injects the poor sap unawares into the egg, where, against his will he becomes a father.  I don’t think match.com works exactly like this, but stay with me here as I expand the analogy.  You see, if they didn’t wack the little dude over his head to stun him before they injected him into the egg, apparently he’d still be swimming around in circles inside the egg the next day just happy to be where he was but not having actually done what he was there to do because he wouldn’t have had to work his way through the shell on his own–you see where this is going, don’t you ladies?  All that stuff about free milk and a cow that our grandmothers told us is actually reflected at a basic cellular level!

So, as I said, they drugged me up to retrieve all those eggs, and I’m proud to report that it takes quite a bit of anesthesia to stop me from talking.  I know you’re not surprised to read this.  As I came to, I discovered I’d been having a very interesting conversation with nurse Lisa about how she could have been my mom had she been a ‘ho’ in high school because she was just 16 years old than me–I recall that this was her observation, but Cliff recalls it differently.  However, he’s had surgery before and we know he’s a light weight, whereas I was told I should join a drinking contest, so I’m sticking with my version of the story for now. 

 In the process of retrieving these eggs, they also discovered that I have “chocolatey cysts” on my ovaries, or endometriomas, which is endometriosis. I don’t know much more about this other than the fact that this is now our diagnosis.  Apparently my ovaries have been “corrupting” my follicles all along.  Have you read Plato’s Apology? This is a looooong stretch, but in my drug-induced state receiving this news in recovery, I could only think about Socrates being put on trial for corrupting the youth, but that’s really where the similarities end with that train of thought.

Anyway, of those 33 eggs, 24 were mature, and after submitting their bios to the ICSI version of match.com, 14 fertilized.  This is also a lot.  I don’t know how much in a technical sense, but it’s more than we were prepared to deal with.  Over the next several days Todd the embryologist called to report on their progress, how they were behaving, getting along with each other, that sort of thing, and of course, as everyone believes of their own offspring, our embryos are all above average, ready to negotiate peace in the middle east and all that.  So on Sunday, they put back two embryos, and ultimately we froze 11 of the 12 others.  One petered out and didn’t make it to blastocyst stage, so ultimately, we’ve ended up with a bakers dozen!  Did I mention that was a lot?!

My family is talking about a football team, my husband is shaking his head and muttering things about me being the one who wanted a big family, and our embryologist, Todd, (Todd who apparently came of age in the 80’s and embraced this decade fearcely) continues to speak to me in his monotone with AC/DC blasting in the background telling me that our results are impressive, although his voice communicates anything but that he’s impressed.  But then I’m fairly certain I mooned Todd just as they were injecting me yet again with valium at our embryo transfer, and he’s probably just concerned for the future welfare of our potential children because I inisted on continuing to talk with him while they were doing the transfer–just let them try to put me out with injectible meds.

Todd: “Of your 12 remaining eggs, we froze 11.”

Me (fighting valium): “What happened to the other two?”

Todd: “11 of 12 made it to blastocyst stage; and we froze 11 of 12.”

Me: “Oh, what about the other two?”

Todd: “What do you mean?  We froze 11 of 12.”

Me: “There were 14 eggs, what happened to the other two?”

Todd: “They’re putting them in you.” (this, delivered dead-pan)

Me: “Oh, right–yeah, that’s right.”

Cliff: “Shhhh, babe, just be quiet.”  Like I was impaired or something by the valium–phhft! 

4 Comments posted on "A baker’s dozen"
Barb on June 17th, 2008 at 9:54 am #

Holy crap! A lot happened while I was gone!! I’m so very happy for you for all these new developments!

julie on June 17th, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

Sounds like the vacation in Houston was an eventful one!!!! :) You better start interviewing nannies to help you out with the septuplets!!!! 😉

catharine on June 18th, 2008 at 9:01 am #

No, no–no John and Kate plus 8 craziness–but there is a 20% chance we could have twins.

Freyja on June 21st, 2008 at 1:26 am #


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