So as I mentioned in my last post, my latest cycle was a completely natural cycle. The aim was to get one egg (although there was another follicle that looked almost big enough so I was hoping we might get two but the consultant told me it was just too small) — so one egg from no drugs when I got two eggs from loads of drugs, didn’t seem too bad. But then that’s a lot of pressure on that one egg…
And because I haven’t written this in real time, I’ve got distance from the calls of that week. And the emotional rollercoaster that it all was. I got the first call the day after a Christmas party with friends — two of them (who both know about what I’m up to) had stayed at mine, and so they were there when mid-bacon sandwich, tea and party post-mortem, I slipped away to take the call that told me that the egg had fertilised correctly. Yay, step one — tick. But for all that it was a reason to be cheerful, it was only step one. (I mean obviously you don’t get to step two if step one doesn’t go right, so yay for that, but…, but…, but…)
The second call I got when I was in the hairdressers. It was the day 3 call, the one where they tell you what stage the embryo has got to.
5-cells grade 2. And my heart sank.
“We’ll leave it a few days and call you on Friday and let you know what we were able to freeze,” the embryologist told me.
“Every single embryo I’ve ever had that’s been a 5-cell grade 2 embryo on day 3 has just stopped growing,” I told her despondently. “We’ll do our best,” she told me. “Please do.”
I tried, I really tried to remember my own mantra that week, that nothing means anything, that just because something happened once, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again, that…, that…, that…But let’s be honest, I spent the rest of the week in a fug of misery assuming the worst.
In the end, I missed the call from the clinic because I was on the tube. I called back and asked to be put through to embryology. The receptionist said she couldn’t get hold of anyone, could they call me back? By this point I’d worked myself up into such a state about the whole thing — I was already crying, in the middle of a street in north London — that the thought of going into my next meeting, 15 minutes later, knowing that I’d be missing another call, knowing someone else had the definitive information and I didn’t, even though I was pretty sure I knew what it was going to be, was just unbearable. I asked her to try again. I just wanted to get hearing the bad news over and done with. This time she managed to get through.
“I just emailed you the details of the grading of the blastocyst we froze,” the embryologist told me. It took a second or two for me to register what she’d said. Finally, I managed to blub out the words “It made a blastocycst?” “Yes!” “I was not expecting that,” I sobbed down the phone. “Happy Christmas!” she said. And then I phoned my sister and told her about the Christmas miracle.
OK, it’s one frozen embryo. Of a grade that is about as low as it gets before they decide that they’re not worth freezing. But not a single one of my eggs has ever made it to blastocyst stage before so it’s one step further than I’ve been before. And that’s all this is, after all. I might have thought when I started out that it was a giant leap, but really it’s just a lot of little steps…