Tuesday morning the doctors confirmed that I had at least two follicles that were ready for harvesting, which means it was time to pull the trigger. Literally. I had to give myself a shot called the "Trigger." It's meant to mimic the LH (luteinizing hormone) spike that normally occurs during the cycle to encourage the eggs to get too big for their britches. I needed to take it EXACTLY 35 hours before they would harvest my eggs. Three days later, that sucker still hurts.
Wednesday was a wonderful IVF reprieve: no appointments, no shots. Thursday morning, I went in for retrieval. They put me under mild, sleep-inducing anesthesia since, let's face it, nobody wants to be wide awake while doctors shove a giant needle up their vagina. Once I woke up again, the doctor informed me that they got four eggs. Not great, but better than I was expecting last week.
After that, the nurse showed Jake how to give me the progesterone injections...in the arse. As you can see on the above chart, progesterone is supposed to raise significantly after ovulation to support any developing pregnancy. The problem is it's made by those little yellow spongey-looking things, the same ones that will be thoroughly mangled and drained by the egg retrieval process. Though progesterone-in-oil intra-muscular injections are rumored to be quite painful and though the needle looked comically large, Jake did a great job! I didn't have to curse at or kick him even once. Before we left, Jake left the doctors with a fresh cup of baby batter.
The next morning, we got the highly anticipated fertilization report. Apparently, that fourth egg wasn't mature enough to even be fertilized, so they tossed it aside. The three remaining eggs got the ICSI treatment, and now two are actual oocytes (fertilized eggs). They look like this:
See the two little circles in the center? That would be Mama DNA and Daddy DNA. They're snuggling and thinking hard about how to begin dividing. Because we had planned on putting back two anyway, there's not much point in waiting for a Day 5 transfer, an option many couples take as they wait for the hardiest oocytes to develop into blastocysts, proving themselves worthy of transfer over all the other losers. Hence, we'll stick them back in at the earliest opportunity, day 3, Sunday. It's sad that we won't have the option of picking through a bunch for the best-developing embryos, but I'm just grateful that we even have two to work with at this point. We're remaining very guarded with our optimism, but it's far from over. We're still in this.