Embryo Development Day 1 & 2

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Good news! We got a call yesterday that all 12 of our eggs had fertilized using ICSI! Today (Saturday) will be an observation day and we will get another call tomorrow to see how many are still growing. W thinks it’s slightly comical that there were a dozen collected and fertilized. He’s been calling me his hen! Here’s some information on what’s been taking place..

Day 1: The eggs are assessed for evidence of fertilization. Normal fertilization is evidenced by the presence of two pronuclei, one from the egg and one from the sperm. If there are too few or too many pronuclei, the embryo is considered abnormally fertilized. All normally fertilized embryos are put into a culture media that mimics the tubal fluid found in fallopian tubes and placed in an incubator.”

Day 2: The embryos are assessed for cell division. Most embryos develop 2-4 cells by day 2. Embryos are graded based on an embryologic grading system that incorporates number of cells, cell regularity and degree of fragmentation.”

Speaking of growing.. That’s what my poor belly has been doing since the retrieval. I showed a picture to a fellow NICU nurse friend of mine and she agreed that I could easily pass for 23 weeks pregnant. I spoke with the nurse at the clinic and she said mild OHSS was common with girls like me who have PCOS and produced a lot of follicles. She said as long as it doesn’t get markedly worse and as long as I’m not in significant pain that the best thing to do is drink fluids with electrolytes and hope for it to resolve soon. I can’t believe I’m posting this awful belly but I know that I appreciate being able to google other’s blogs and see real pictures of what to possibly expect!

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Here’s a brief description of OHSS. “During IVF, the stimulation medications cause the body to create and grow many follicles (versus the one a month a woman’s body produces without medical intervention). As these ovarian follicles grow, they release a number of different substances, the most important of which is estrogen. This estrogen allows the lining of the uterus to thicken so that the embryo can implant and snuggle in. Once the follicles have reached maturity, an IVF patient takes a “trigger” shot of HCG to cause ovulation. Harvesting of the follicles for eggs is now done and the follicles are aspirated with a needle, releasing all of the fluid. After this, huge amounts of estrogen-rich fluid pour out of the swollen and enlarged ovaries and into the abdominal cavity. Many women will then experience some mild OHSS symptoms (bloating, some abdominal discomfort, etc.) after retrieval. After retrieval, the follicles refill with fluid and are called corpus luteum, because they contain large stores of cholesterol that are used to produce the steroid hormones estrogen and progesterone. In addition, the follicles start to produce a number of other growth factors and chemicals like vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and kallikrein-kinin, which then coat the lining of the abdominal cavity and cause it to become leaky. This is called ascitis. Fluid literally pours out of bloodstream into the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity because of the leakiness of the lining. The ovaries balloon in size and the abdomen swells.”

BINGO! Apparently I win. Hoping this will all be worth it in the end! (We were able to sneak out for a bit with some friends to do some shopping, have lunch and watch the fountains at the Bellagio. Put $5 in a slot machine and won $40. Might have to go back tonight and see if we can find some more IVF reimbursement! -ha)

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*On a side note: I keep reading these posts about fellow women who are struggling with infertility resenting their friends and family who get pregnant or have kids. They say that these pregnant women are insensitive to our struggles and that they should somehow put a cap on their excitement or filter everything they say. While I understand how hard it is to feel as if life is passing you by and to watch these women take for granted something that doesn’t come easily to us, I can’t help but think that sometimes WE are the insensitive ones. Who says that we should get to celebrate our BFPs (pregnancy) and they should keep quiet as not to upset us? It’s not their fault that they didn’t go through the same struggles as we did. Every woman deserves to celebrate such a precious time in their lives any way they see fit. We should be supporting each other as women, fertile or infertile instead of debating who gets to celebrate and who is insensitive. Yes, they may not know all of the pain, hormonal rages, stress and heartache that we go through but that’s a badge that I will wear proudly. You don’t have to know about my struggles or tiptoe around them because I know that everything that I’ve gone through has only made me stronger and has shaped me into the woman that I am today. You can’t control other people’s actions, only how you respond!

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11 thoughts on “Embryo Development Day 1 & 2

  1. Congrats on your perfect dozen! So funny that you posted your side note, tackling the topic of “womb envy” (not my term…) is on my to do list and will be a post subject in the very near term. When I was pregnant I couldn’t help but post pics, talk about it incessantly, and constantly rub my belly. It took a long time to get there and I soaked it up. While I might have that momentary pang when I see another pregnant lady, I always remind myself that I don’t know what it took to get there…or what obstacles may be in the future. I say carpe diem pregnant ladies!

  2. That is awesome! And congrats on the win… $40 Score! Hope you are able to get lots of rest, give yourself time to recover!

  3. It’s crazy how this process makes someone struggling with fertility look pregnant..ugh. It looks like you can rock it though:) Hope things continue to go in the right direction and good news comes soon 🙂

  4. Congrats on your dozen, hope they all continue to grow!! And cute belly 🙂 I don’t quite look pregnant, just really bloated – definitely not cute, haha. I love your side note and I completely agree. Do I always follow that guidance? No, it can be really hard to get pregnancy news. But I like to think I’m getting better and part of that is my mantra ‘keep your eyes on your mat’ – in other words stop comparing myself to others. It’s exactly like you said, you never know what people went through and our journeys are all so different it’s not fair to anyone to be making those comparisons. Anyway, congrats again and can’t wait for your next update!

    • Thank you! I was dreading going out and having someone ask “When are you due?” and having to explain that I’m not actually pregnant! ha I’ve been looking at other pictures of OHSS. It’s crazy how you look bigger before/at the beginning of pregnancy than you do at 12 weeks! I love your mantra, and I totally agree that sometimes it’s easier said than done 🙂

  5. Thank you for your side note, it was a good reminder. While I may sometimes suffer from “Womb envy” internally- just as you say I always try to remind myself that everyone has a right to their big life moments – and one day it will be MY big life moment and then I can glow and boast and plan just like all my pregnant friends have in the past. It’s very true that you never know what someone else’s journey has been- it always surprises me how many people in my life have gone through IF, and some of those women that I’ve envied their “easy conception” I’ve later learned went through IVF. In truth I don’t want my friends/family to dim their joy around me because they are worried about how it will impact me, which is why we waited years to tell anyone about our struggles. It’s our journey, and for better or worse it’s made us the strong couple we are today.

    • I think we’d all be lying to say we didn’t experience it from time to time. I work as a Neonatal ICU nurse. Cruel joke for someone dealing with infertility, right? As many times as it breaks my heart to see a baby going home with someone I may not deem as fit to be a parent, I am blessed to see the great outcomes and there really is nothing more special than getting to be a part of watching a parent interact with their child. I just hope we are all able to get past our own feelings to see the joy and wonder in those moments, even if they aren’t out own. We are the ones missing out if we can’t!

  6. Congratulations!! So worthy of celebrating. I’ve found a few blogs to follow along this journey, and I love following yours. Really appreciate and feel refreshed by your thoughts on all the preggers out there. My thoughts exactly.

    • Thank you! I started this as a silly way to keep friends and family updated but I’ve been so comforted by reading everyone’s blogs (yours included) who are going through the exact same things. It’s like a little support net of people we always know will have our backs and answer our TMI questions! ha

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