Grooooooooow babies!!

How 2 men + 2 women - sex + science = 2 babies!!

This is the funny, heart-warming, tearful, inspiring, and shocking truth about my journey to have a child.

How a man, another man, a woman, another woman, a couple lawyers, a few doctors, a psychologist, a couple social workers and some agencies make a baby.

Friday, August 27, 2010

There's Good News and Bad News (This Is a Familiar Theme)

I guess getting up at the crack of dawn is something that will be normal for me in nine months. I had to be at the fertility clinic at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. Of course I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I was late. I remember seeing the clock said 3:19 a.m. Next thing I knew the alarm was buzzing at 5:00 a.m. Oy vey.

Derek (my boyfriend/partner/support system who just got major points for sending me flowers at work today and who will be played by Neil Patrick Harris in the movie and who was thoughtful enough to buy the surrogate a little thank you gift for our first meeting) and I had eggs for breakfast. We just couldn't resist.

We headed up to the fertility clinic and "Chloe" was already there with her friend who is hoping to make the documentary film about this process. I introduced Derek, she introduced her friend, and we all made our way into the clinic.

The clinic was much nicer than the last time I was there. The waiting room renovations were complete so there were flowers and bamboo walls and art deco couches now. I didn't have to walk past client files to sit in an overcrowded back hallway this time. Clearly the renovations were a success.

"Chloe" and I were called in almost immediately and that left Derek and the filmmaker to deal with awkward conversation and silence. "Chloe" went into one room to change into a gown and I was put in a separate room.

The embryologist came in to talk with me. She told me that embryos, which should be at the blastocyst stage by now, are given a number on a scale of 2-4 for the rating of the cavity and then get a grade of A, B, or C for inner and (I think) outer cell mass. I had four full blastocysts, two early blastocysts and one pre-blastocyst that is called a morula. The four full blastocysts were rated 4AB, 4AB, 4AB and 4BB. That sounded pretty good to me. The other three were not viable at that moment and could be watched for one more day. If they continued to mature I could freeze them. The attrition rate after fertilization is usually 50% so I was doing pretty well.

Then came the big decision. How many embryos to transfer? Fresh transfers have a slightly higher success rate than frozen transfers. If I decided to only transfer one and it failed, then next time I would have to do two. Then I might be left with only one, frozen 4BB for a third time and that doesn't give me very good odds. How many blastocysts I had influenced my decision. How confident I felt influenced my decision. How I felt about the possibility of twins influenced my decision. And, of course, my emotional state of how I would feel trying this two or three times influenced my decision. I literally just paused for a second and blurted out "two." It feels like the right decision.

The embryologist and I went in to talk with my surrogate about my decision to get her approval. We asked how she felt about twins. My surrogate said something to the effect of "Bring it on!" She is so willing to do anything and everything to make this pregnancy happen. It was nice to see her be so fearless in this process.

"Chloe" and I were left alone in the room. We wound up being there for, I think, about 30-40 minutes. I wondered how we would find anything to do to pass the time. We talked almost the whole time. I learned a little about her family, her education, plans for medical school, travel experiences and more. We had a really nice time. After getting to know her a little more I have a lot of respect for her and I like her. I really do. I see how when she wants something in life she goes for it with 100% commitment. Getting to know her as a person and not just as my surrogate makes me trust her more.

When the time came to do the embryo transfer "Chloe" let me go in the room with her. I got to watch the embryos on the monitor hung in the room. I saw the embryos sucked up from a dish into a tube. Then I watched the embryos injected into the uterus. The whole process took 10 minutes or less. The actual transfer was about 30 seconds. The surrogate said she barely knew they were starting before it was all over.

From a clinical perspective, it looked like two little dots moving across the screen. But from a personal, emotional level, I can't get it out of my head that I just saw my child(ren) for the first time! The idea that my child is alive now is amazing. As much as I wanted this child, I want him or her (or them!) even more after seeing them. If it is possible to love a collection of 20 cells, I do.

The surrogate goes for a pregnancy test in about two weeks. It has been about 36 hours so far and the wait is so agonizing.

Today I got a call saying that out of the three embryos that were not fully developed only one became viable. That one grew to a 4BB. So I have a 4AB, a 4BB and a second 4BB frozen now. Somehow I went from 13 eggs to 5 embryos so quickly. That's a harsh reality.

Now I wait.

And wait.

And wait.

On the ride home from the clinic Derek said that the filmmaker was sharing some stories with him. He said "Chloe" has had some people tell her that what she is doing is playing G-d and it is unnatural. It makes me sad to hear that people she knows are not supporting her in what she is doing. I feel lucky my friends have been supportive beyond belief. Is this natural? No. But nasty, hurtful comments like that make me think this film is a good idea. It is hard to hate when you put a face to an issue. I'm sure some people will always be against this. But maybe this movie will make some people will see what an amazing thing "Chloe" and my egg donor have done for me.

Meanwhile, last night I saw the episode of "Friends" where Rachel is in the hospital right after giving birth. Is this another sign? Or does this mean that I have an unhealthy faith in "Friends" paralleling my pregnancy process?

1 comment:

  1. I so appreciate your openness during this process! Good luck!!