Transfer day

A transfer after a donor egg retrieval process is a different ball game completely to a transfer after your own retrieval process… In my humble opinion that is! Last transfer I had been in severe pain since the days following retrieval and had a stomach bug to boot. This time, I felt strong and healthy and my mind was at peace knowing we have eggs in reserve. We had two grade 4.11 embryos, which in sa is the best grade that they give. One was hatching and the embryologist predicted that the other one would hatch within a few hours. There was one embryo that would be frozen today and 3 others that they will monitor overnight and freeze tomorrow if possible. So we may be in the ridiculously amazing position of having 4 frozen Day 6 embryos and 16 frozen eggs. For a person with DOR, this is manna straight from heaven. Now we wait!



I forgot to mention that we have decided to pay the additional costs for freezing and keep all our eggs for now. Once we have two live babies sleeping under our roof we will review and see how we feel.

The REAL egg retrieval story

Before I start, thank you to everyone who has commented on my last two blogs… Thank you for your kindness, encouragement and support. I will reply individually to each of you when my head is not so full. On top of the egg donor process my beloved 91 year old granny has taken a bad turn and we have had to move her from her home of 25 years, to a frail care unit… A story for another day but it’s been sad and exhausting but also a stark reminder of the circle of life and how important family is to me. Anyway… On with the REAL story, which we only found out this afternoon.

So it turns out that they retrieved not 20, but 40 eggs!!!! When the doctor phoned me unexpectedly this afternoon and asked if I was sitting down, I immediately assumed the worst. But no, for once in this whole long depressing journey, there was some good news. Having said that, I so convinced myself yesterday… With the help of you guys…. that quality was better than quantity, that I am not sure whether to be elated, dismayed or worried. I will decide once I have processed it a bit more.

Anyway, they didn’t tell us because the lab was very busy and our doctor instructed them to process 20 as a start and see what happened. As we know, 16 were mature, 9 fertilised and as of today we have 5 ongoing embryos. They processed the remaining 20 later yesterday afternoon and there were another 16 mature eggs which have been frozen as eggs (not fertilised). He said they don’t like to waste embryos??

The catch is that the cost of freezing so many eggs wasn’t included in the original fees, and so there is an additional R12 000 freezing fee. Apparently eggs are frozen on (Japanese) paddles, and they freeze two to a paddle as this has shown to secure the best thawing rate… Similar to fresh. So we need to pay the cost of 8 paddles. We also have the option of selling these eggs to our clinic at the cost of freezing them.

I don’t even know what to think. Obviously I would prefer as many eggs and embryos as possible to enable us to have the two children we want. If on Monday our transfer yields two babies that grow healthily for 40 weeks (maybe less with twins), then we don’t need any more eggs. If this doesn’t happen though…if we get a negative result or God forbid we miscarry again, or even if we have a singleton, then more eggs is better. I also feel a bit funny about our child having too many half brothers or sisters wondering around in our city (like we should move when they become adolescents incase they unknowingly fall in love with a sibling)…. Do you see my ability to worry coming through here? I’m a bloody superstar worrier at times. The point is, we aren’t sure what to do with all these extra, unexpected eggs. We have the weekend to decide and can decide after transfer on Monday? Thoughts or opinions my blogging friends?

9 fertilised eggs

Using ICSI (standard procedure with egg donation at our clinic).  I’m freaking out a little… With my crappy eggs we retrieved 8, all mature, 7 fertilised and only 2 made it to day 5. I was hoping for a much higher fertilisation rate given our donors youth and previous donation history. All my old fears and feelings are coming back…. So hard to ward them off. We won’t hear anything tomorrow and will hear again on Saturday. We have really been banking on having something to freeze because we don’t have the finances to do this again. Please prayer/ send positive vibes to our embryos!

Work, Holidays, Health, Eggs and other things

I  recently realised that it’s been a while since I posted about our egg donor process and I guess there are a few reasons for this. Mostly it’s because I have tried to approach the entire experience very differently from how I approached our IVF cycles last year. Specifically, I have been consciously trying to be more detached from both the process and the outcome. Whilst this may not be ideal, it is the best, and in fact the only way that I can maintain some semblance of sanity whilst trying AGAIN to have a baby – with all the many hundred’s and thousand’s of soul agonizing fears that this entails.

To this end, I have made very conscious efforts to focus on other things in my life besides trying to have a baby. Whilst last year was completely and utterly consumed by IVF and a miscarriage, this year has been very different. I have put a lot more energy into my work and have found this to be slightly exhausting but also rewarding. An upside to this has also been that I have earned a bit more money and have done some nice things such as buy myself a bicycle and book a long weekend for myself and my husband in Cape Town, which is coming up soon. I have also booked flights to go and visit my mom. She lives in Grahamstown and I will be going over the annual Grahamstown Arts Festival – so I have already booked a few shows and am much looking forward to them. My sister and niece will be visiting simultaneously, which is AWESOME!

Alongside this we have also limited the number of people we have told. Last year we were very open about our IVF cycles and whilst we so appreciated the outpouring of love and support that we received, we also became exhausted by answering the millions of questions and messages of concern – especially when things went from good to bad…to worse…and even more bad. So this time, only our immediate family know what is happening and they have been under strict instructions to keep the information to themselves. I have explained to all our other loved ones exactly how we feel and why, and they have all been very respectful of our decision to be more private this time. This has certainly helped me to maintain the level of detachment that I want and need.

I also realised with some horror the other day that I had neglected some important non-fertility health-related issues. Simple things like going to the dentist and having a pap smear and breast exam. Isn’t that ironic in so many ways? I am happy to report that I have now been to the dentist, had two fillings and have a bite guard for night time as I am grinding my teeth. I have had a pap smear and breast exam and all is good and healthy. And I have also had a whole lot of routine blood tests – sugar, glucose, liver and kidney function etc etc and I am in great health. My cholesterol is 1.5 which is awesome. So, I am ready to be a good oven.

And this is a good thing, because our donor  had her egg retrieval this morning and we are currently sitting by the phone, waiting with baited breath to hear how many mature eggs were retrieved. Transfer will be done on Day 5, which is Monday! A huge part of me knows how big this is, but another part of me is like, meh, whatev’s. Physically, the donor process has been like a walk in the park compared to my own stims and retrievals last year. It is very easy for me to forget that anything is actually happening! I went for a scan last week and my lining was 8mm and expected to grow more, so they were happy with that and I was told there was no need to go back again until transfer. So for me personally, this process has involved one injection, one scan and some daily oestrogen tablets – child’s play I tell you! I’m sure things will start feeling real once we get that call to tell us how things are going. I will let you all know!

Finding the light

Last night I posted a rather bleak comment on mothers day. The feeling of unacknowledgement was strong and I felt a sense of dread going into yet another childless mothers day. Whilst I woke up this morning still childless, I did not experience the lack of acknowledgement that I had anticipated. First thing this morning my beautiful sister sent me this:

Hello! I am sure today is a very hard day for you, but you’re already a heart mother in my eyes ❤ and a mother- to- be. And a wonderful auntie! Love u so me and R (R is my gorgeous niece).

And this:


Then our old maid who hasn’t worked for us in years as we moved cities sent this:

Happy mother day sisi have a wonderful day lots of luv L

My lovely office manager sent this:

I wanted me and my little angels to wish you happy Mother’s Day and to tell you that I love you and praying for you every day for your dream to come. I lOve u lots

My cousin this:

Happy Mothers day to the soon to be mom and mom to A (A is my beautiful furry child)x

And there were a few others. Whilst I still feel sad that I don’t have my own little ones to share this day with, I don’t feel unacknowledged in the least and I have been reminded of how blessed I am to have so many loving, sensitive people in my life.