You can always tell when a May is excessively nervous. She does housework. Normally I regard housework with the finical loathing of a millionairess asked to pick through the recycling for food scraps on a very hot day. My first dissertation however and for example saw me scrubbing all the grouting between the bathroom tiles with bicarbonate of soda and an old toothbrush. This morning, I washed dishes (I confess, we had reached a Dish Crisis) and tried to ignore the insistent stinging focus of every neurone I possess on the phone. The embryologists weren’t due to call until midday and I was scowling at it through the back of my head by 10:45.

And H had a nap, because he had spent the entire night lying awake rigid as a board in an unholy puddle of angst, heat and cotton mouth.

And they rang! Just after midday! As promised! (I am still finding it novel to be rung by a lab when it says it’s going to ring).

‘Is that May? It’s the embryologist. I have good news!’ And I promptly went a little giddy.

The good news? The two ‘good’ embryos were just that – good, hatched, developing, and chromosomally normal. The third, the slightly lazier one, was abnormal. The Wee Fourth’s wee hiccough did not in fact yield a result, but it looked rather crummy this morning, so it has been benched.

We were told to come in for transfer as soon as possible, and to think about whether we wanted to transfer one or two while we travelled, and I tell you, it’s hard to think about these things and find your shoes wallet hat knickers (what? I was in the shower just before they called) and bus pass. And we were a tad bemused. Doctor George had made a strong case in favour of transferring one. Two embryos wouldn’t necessarily increase the chance of a pregnancy, but twins are riskier, both to the mother and themselves, and my uterus (sorry, Cute) is a stiff distorted heap of rust to start with. H is somewhat skeeved by the idea of putting me at any extra risk (remember how he freaked out about OHSS before IVF was even really on the cards?). He also, I think, likes the idea of having One In Reserve, and FETs can do better than fresh IVF, because an embryo that survives thawing is one tough cookie, and the uterine environment is nicer for not having been jack-hammered with fertility drugs. We were all ‘good reasons for one at a time!’ So we sat on a bus and boiled and Talked Cryptic. And decided that unless they had a new bit of information that Changed Everything, we’d go with one.

And then we reached Riverside (‘Good luck!’ said the Receptionist), wandered off to the waiting room (‘Hi!’ said Dr George, rushing past in scrubs and carrying a sandwich) and sat there, tweeting nervously (it’s the beans) and wishing I could go pee.

As I have already remarked on this ‘ere blog, Riverside has a seemingly unlimited supply of charming medical staff. We were called through by yet another one, in pink scrubs this time, and led to a room containing two chairs, a gynaecological couch with stirrups, an ultrasound machine, the door to an en suite toilet, and in the wall next to the couch, a serving-hatch. ‘Do you have a full bladder? Yes? Good! That *pointing at the toilet door* is for later.’ She then went off to fetch a doctor (we knew it wouldn’t be Dr George as he was clearly doing retrievals (and sandwiches)).

Transfer Doctor was a sweet, pretty lady. (I don’t know about you, but I personally feel more self conscious about a pretty lady looking up, err, me than I do about a chap, on the principle of, if you ain’t got one, you don’t get to judge). She opened the hatch and lo and behold, it led to the Lair of the Embryologists, and an absolute poppet in a pink hair net poked her head through to check I was me, and H was H, and to say good luck, and then went off to fetch our embryos. And then another embryologist appeared at the hatch – it was the one we originally had our consultation with all the way back in June – just and cheerfully to say good luck. I like Riverside.

We established that there was no more information to suggest transferring both rather than one was a better idea. So we decided to transfer the starriest, prettiest embryo, and freeze the handsome second one, graded respectively as 6AA and, I think, 6AB (or was it 6BA?).

(6AA? We produced a 6AA? How?)

(WordPress app. is not letting me do links this evening, or I’d link you to an explanation of Day 5 blastocyst grading)

And then I got to take my skirt, knickers and sandals off and put my Lucky Fluffy Socks (gift of Shannon (hi Shannon!)) and clamber onto the couch, H sitting close to my head where he could see the ultrasound screen and the tv screen on the wall above it. Pretty Doctor winched me open, using the longer speculum (Cute Ute, being ‘bulky’, no longer fits behind my pelvic bone and instead rests her weary fundus on top of it, and my bladder, so, uh, is further ‘up’ than she used to be. It’s a thing. Fucking adenomyosis). She then proceeded to scrub my cervix clean ‘of mucous’ (it’s meant to have mucous. It’s a protective coating) with what felt like mop, broom, window scraper and street-cleaner truck with whirling brushes. And then we threaded a test catheter in, which I barely felt (my cervix has always been cooperative). And then we waited. And waited. Me with a breeze where one does not normally feel one. Eventually the Nurse called through the hatch: ‘Hey! We have a lady here with a full bladder!’

‘And a speculum up her vagina!’ chimed in the Pretty Doctor.

‘No sense of priorities, these embryologists,’ added the Nurse, ‘Next week I’ll make them lie there with a speculum up them and a full bladder… Of course, I don’t know where I’d put the speculum in Fred… ‘

Giggling hysterically with your vagina full of ironmongery and a full bladder is also quite a thing, by the way.

Poppet popped her head back through apologetically to ask if we wanted to see the embryo. Yes please! Who on earth wouldn’t? And after a few moments it appeared on the TV screen. starOh my God. It’s… It’s an actual embryo. With a trophoblast, an inner cell mass, and a neat little cavity. It was textbook. I actually teared up.

Another pause while they coaxed it into a catheter, and ceremonially handed this over to the Nurse, who ceremonially handed it to the Pretty Doctor, before taking on the ultrasound machine and prodding me about to get a view of Cute Ute’s inner workings. Cute Ute not being exactly where she should be, this took a minute of determined if apologetic pressing on my bladder from all angles. And then we watched the catheter appear in my uterus, and be withdrawn, leaving a little, white, magical dot behind.

And another pause, me still full of contraptions and bonus covered in gel, while the catheter was handed back through the hatch and checked to make sure it was empty. It was! And I was finally emptied of metal and allowed, oh bliss! to go pee. (And put my clothes back on).

We were handed a photo of our 6AA embryo as a souvenir, so we took it with us to lunch at an American-style diner. Burgers and fries and milkshakes. Every fresh little embryo whose had a hard 24 hours being tested needs a milkshake.

As for the other one, we asked them to freeze it, and what then? Well. It depends on what happens next. So we all four are waiting, and H is googling special offers on peesticks.

Strange world. Normally thrusting your progeny into a chest freezer for an indefinite period of time would be considered abusive.

P.S. As I type this, H is trying to tell his father we are doing IVF this summer without letting it slip that, err, we’ve done it. Teeheehee! Secret Squirrel! I did the exact same thing with my mother on Tuesday!


44 responses to “Star

  • Korechronicles

    So glad to read this with my start the day cup of tea. For once I was glad of the time difference so I was not fretting on your behalf all night. Holding my breath right along with you and sending prayers to dieties all over the planet (eclectic and equal opportunity religionista, me) for the very, very, very, etc, best of outcomes. Strength for the journey, dear May and H. Xx

  • bionicbrooklynite

    Oh, I have such a good feeling about this! I am a little weepy. It could be argued that I am often a little weepy, but these are special little tears, I promise.

  • Chickenpig

    Yeah!!! Enjoy being PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). Grow and stick…grow and stick.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    I have never had such diggy-in thoughts as I am having now. I am practically at the point of being able to excavate motorway construction projects with the power of my mind. Come on, 6AA. Stick with us. I will buy you a baby goat!

    • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

      All right, little embryo(s)! I really, really hope you get to enjoy your own full-size helping of morning sickness, weird ligament stuff, gross postpartum everything, and newborn wailing. (Not, obviously, because these things are in any way good in and of themselves, but steps toward the glorious finish of Real Live Baby.)

  • staciet

    Yea for a great transfer! Grow embie, grow!

  • Jo

    Three cheers for May and H’s perfect offspring! You are pregnant, with a NORMAL embie, my friend! Things could not look better. Sending all the love in the world.

  • Dora

    That’s a beautiful embryo! Love that nurse. A full bladder and speculum for Fred, indeed.

  • nonsequiturchica

    Yay PUPO! Glad everything went well. Good luck with the 2WW- stay busy!

  • MFA Mama

    Yay, chromosomally-normal embryo on board! Yay, excellent quality embryo and one to freeze! Yay, sassy nurse! Look out, Fred.

  • starrhillgirl

    Oh, man. That little white dot is just the thing, isn’t it?
    Here’s to hoping, hon.

  • a

    I hope that embryo is happily rearranging the furniture and making things cozy in his/her new home. It does look like a star! Much luck. I’m sure your flat will be quite clean by next week…

  • L.

    Wow. Just wow! Sending you tons of sticky vibes. That didn’t sound right at all. But you know what I mean.

  • Amy P

    I could’ve been one of the first to read this, since we were chatting elsewhere before you blogged (and you assured me I wasn’t distracting you from blogging, so naught to fear 😉 ) but then we had people come over. People that Tom had forgotten to tell me were coming, because he’d forgotten. So it’s good I’d already gotten dressed, even if my contacts were still in their case and my rosacea was uncovered…

    Wouldn’t it’ve been easier to put the shoes on *after* the knickers?

    Yes, PUPO is great! PU4/14 would be even better! Hang in there, Star!

  • Mina

    Good looking embrio! This is someone you want to befriend, Cute Ute. Because that, right there, is the beginning of a very beautiful friendship. Best of luck to you all!
    In case you run out of space to clean, I am willing to help and provide you with some more. Keep it in mind, alright?

  • Betty M

    Brilliant. Just brilliant!

  • minichessemouse

    Sending lots of stickiness your way (courtesy of the current heatwave and my small sticky boy)

    I have absolutely everything crossed tor you. I’m sure your flat shall be sparkling by the end of the 2week wait.

    Hope and courage to you dearest.

  • twangy

    Oh my! 6AA! Beautiful!

    Now, cosy digging-in snugly thoughts!
    Diiiiiig iiinnn..

    (totally agree that housework is a great displacement activity. Not good for much else, far as I can see.)

  • Suzie

    Oh my god!!!!! I have been a reader/lurker for longer than I can remember but I am a terrible commenter but today, this gorgeous sunny day, I have to. I teared up as I read this and know that I am going to be on tender hooks for you, with everything crossed, for the next long while.

    I don’t know what else to say except please please please hold on tight littlest one.

  • Dr Spouse

    I thought I’d posted to say Yay but it got ate by the iPad I think. So Yay!

    Did the smaller ones get frozen too? Or am I not keeping up at the back?

  • QoB

    I confess I kept coming over here to check your Twitter. So if you see repeated hits from my part of the world (i.e.: south of yours, stop at the Channel) it’s not an unhinged stalker, it’s just me, your everyday, average, humdrum, run-of-the-mill stalker.

    YAY FOR ALL THIS! Dare you share when you might receive the next stage of News?

  • Melissa

    What a sweet precious little embie!!!! Oh I do hope it sticks around for the long haul! Tons of prayers and best wishes!!!!

  • Emily Erin

    Hoping, praying and crossing everything that your star sticks around and grows strong for you. Do you have any more ‘mayonaise’ treatments in the future?

  • Blanche

    Sending heaps and tons of sticky sticky sticky thoughts to little Star and a peaceful non-stressy wait to it’s mum & dad too.

  • May ProblemUterus

    6AA! Outstanding! Come on, embryo! Assemble those adhesion proteins!

  • someone who knows absolutely nothing about this but is crossing fingers for you

    Dumb question here… does the fact that one embryo was “abnormal” confirm that this was the source of your troubles? Or does that just happen sometimes?

  • Womb For Improvement

    Oh this is brilliant news. I am now firmly on the side of one rather than two embryos. Wishing you so much luck!

  • Sheila

    6AA – I don’t think it gets better on the Riverside’s scale! Did your lining look good too? What’s the plan from now to test date – back to work or stay at home? Willing you and H well and as much luck as possible from t’other side of London! So happy, excited and anxious for you!

  • Bachelor's Button

    Oh just read this. Such great news. I’ve just also had embryos transferred. Pic on my blog too. I feel so positive for you. I hope that you have a lovely sticky 6AA. One is a much better idea. I don’t really have that option at this stage despite my dreadful twin saga which I know you followed, so you really have done the right thing freezing the ?? sibling?? Hxxx

  • Anonymous

    You don’t get much – in terms of comments – from me normally, apart from ‘best of lucks’ and ‘best wishes’ but I mean them earnestly and wholeheartedly. And so once again.

    And just to distract us all from waiting, can I just say how much I envy your turn of phrase?

    “And then we waited. And waited. Me with a breeze where one does not normally feel one”.


    K x

  • KeAnne

    What a gorgeous blast! Settle in, little one! Keeping everything crossed for you.

  • chon

    That’s one fine looking emby.

  • Amy

    What a literally awesome image. I am thinking the most implant-y thoughts possible for you!

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