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On Waiting


a blog by murgdan

Anyone who tells you IVF isn’t a roller coaster of emotion is a dirty rotten liar. I’m here to tell you, it is a ride like no other. There are ups, downs, twists, turns, curves, dives and freefalls. At times you feel like you are moving ahead at warp speed, and at others there is the sensation you are spinning around in complete circles. The ride of my life might do me in before this is over.

After 9 days of stimulation, 21 eggs were retrieved. This is the part of the IVF cycle that passes by at light speed. I went from 0 to 60mph (ok, 0 to 29) in about 6 seconds. In a flash it was time for trigger. Suddenly, the day I had been waiting for had arrived. The egg retrieval was a piece of cake, save a few minor frustrations. There was no discomfort whatsoever.

It was sort of anticlimactic to tell you the truth. After several months of being “off the junk,” followed by more than a week of carefully timed injections, all in the effort of ensuring the development of optimum quality eggs, it was over. They were gone. After all of the careful preparation there was nothing else I could do. For the next few days the lab would take over my job as mother hen, carefully guarding my eggs.

Five days later, two of the most beautiful blastocysts I’ve ever seen (yes, I’m a bit partial) were transferred back to my uterus. This day held more magic than the egg retrieval. Seeing those little balls of cells for the first time was an amazing sight. It was the first ever meeting of my eggs and my husband’s sperm, and seeing that something was created from that union was nothing less than a miracle. It is impossible to see life forming before your eyes and not explode with hope for the future.

On the sixth day, two additional blastocysts were frozen in time. Several others were being watched and I was told I would receive a call on the seventh day for a final freeze count. A wave of relief settled in with the realization that we would be able to try again with those embryos in the future. The promise of another report the next day was enough to keep my mind occupied—it was something else to look forward to.

The following morning I received a message that no additional embryos made it to the freezing stage. We had a total count of two frozen blastocysts. There was no disappointment in this report. Only about 40% of IVF patients end up with anything to freeze, so we are very fortunate. Again, this means we have the possibility of using these embryos for a Frozen Embryo Transfer if this cycle doesn’t work.

. . . If this cycle doesn’t work?

And then, one week after the egg retrieval, it hit me like so many bricks. The adrenaline rush of hope that springs from constant good news had run dry. First there was the excellent stimulation run, followed by an abundant egg harvest. The fertilization report neared 100%. All embryos survived to day 5. Two embryos soared above the rest developmentally, and they were transferred easily to my waiting womb. Two survived to freeze for another try. And now?

The wait.

For the next week there will be no daily reports. There will be no phone calls from the IVF nurse to inform me of my next action. There is nothing else I can do to make this happen. It is done. What will be, will be. There is only waiting.

There is only fear. And hope. And waiting.

I am convinced that a huge portion of the roller coaster ride of IVF takes place while waiting until the pregnancy test. Everything leading up to this is just that huge mountain the coaster slowly climbs until letting loose into a freefall. No matter the heights reached on the uphill swing, gravity always seems to get the better of us in this journey.

I can only hope this roller coaster ends with a giant catapult that propels me into the place where dreams come true.

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