Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pics from the petri dish: Don't judge an embryo by its cover

So without further ado, here are the three embryos that are hopefully now nuzzling in and taking firm root in my endometrium. One 8-cell, one 7-cell, and one 6-cell.

The bigger circles are the cells. And all that smaller debris is fragmentation, which unfortunately is not such a good thing prognostically (the embryo on the lower right looks especially ominous).

I'm really pulling for these guys to make it. Truly, I am. But I have to say that as the staff handed me the picture and started oohing and ahhing over it in the OR right before the transfer, I was crestfallen.

When my RE had phoned earlier that morning and said, "Three look better than the rest," this was not what I was imagining.

I had pictured each embryo would look like this:

which is to say, perfect and 8-celled with minimal fragmentation.

Will and I joked in the recovery room that if one of these embryos turns out to stick and become a baby, h/she sure won't be winning any beauty contests. Which of course would be just fine. We just want a healthy baby (and we're not exactly winning any contests either, believe me).

And while I am worried and somewhat disappointed, I am also thankful that we have embryos to transfer at all. That we have our health. That we have each other.

I met a woman as I was waiting for the transfer who only had one embryo to transfer and who three months ago lost her baby at 20 wks gestation due to a fatal heart defect. Ugh. And do you know what she said to me? "My husband and I are just grateful that we got to have the pregnancy and feel the baby move inside me. Even if I never get pregnant again, we will always have that to hold on to."

I almost cried. I'm not sure I could ever find the silver lining in such a situation. But I admire her incredibly for doing so.

I am a lesser being, I think, one sometimes filled with fruitless anxiety and angst. That said, I am trying desperately to stay in the moment and remember that things could, just maybe, turn out ok. Just because they haven't before doesn't mean that they won't this time.

The beta is Monday 12/22. What will be will be.



  1. I'll still be hoping for all the best with your three little embryos...and as for that woman in the waiting room, yeah, WOW. Hang in there.

  2. They are beautiful - fragmentation and all ;)I am sorry you are feeling down. You know this already, but sometimes the ugliest cycles produce the most beautiful results.
    Snuggle in little embies, your momma and daddy are waiting for you!


  3. I think this is one of the hard parts--all of the momentum from the cycle is gone, and you are left with nothing but waiting. Personally, I think your embryos are quite attractive, and I have high hopes for them, but I know it is difficult. When we found out that NONE of our remaining embryos had made it to freeze on day five, I did not hold out much hope, but both (one a seven cell, like one of yours) implanted. You never can tell, with embryos.

  4. I don't think your embryos know they are fragmented. As the previous commenter said, you never know! Staying in the moment is about all you can do right now!

  5. Good luck to you.

    I never got pictures of my embryos pre-transfer, but my doc was so proud of the last transfer that he printed out a picture.

  6. I'm pulling for the 5 of you. Hopefully, they just need a better environment in which to thrive. :) Dec 22 seems like a long ways away, but we'll be with you for every step. For now, just relax as best you can and know that you have lots of internet friends pulling for you :)

  7. Prayers!

    My doc told me that fragmentation is not a necessary sign that the pregnancy will not occur. So do not think about it! Just take rest and be good!

  8. Lots and lots and lots of embies with fragmentation make it - they are much more common than "perfect" embies - shit, most of the human race probably came from fragmented embies!!!

  9. I totally agree with Lisa. It's hard to seperate...we don't get to look at the embryos of most of the population, we don't know what "good" embryos look like. Maybe fragmentation is good, maybe a little is necessary to influence proper development down the road. Who knows. We always think that things look "different" in the dish, but the real fact of the matter is that we really don't know what implants and what doesn't in "healthy" women who do not have issues with IF. Then you also hear the stories of the people that have embryos that implant that really shouldn't have. Before my transfer, my RE told me they had a pt that month who tested positive, and they only put two low grade four cells back at transfer time.... Ultimately, IF and IVF doesn't follow any rules. We know a lot about the science, but things that are supposed to happen sometimes don't and the things that should never occur sometimes do. It's great science, but not perfect.

    Or at least this is what I keep telling myself.

    I hate the 2ww. Now you have to find something to distract yourself. Let me know if you do....I will hopefully be doing this again in Jan/Feb and have not been successful in this realm. :)


  10. (geez! I must have gotten carried away...sorry that is so long)

  11. I know it's frustrating when things don't turn out just as you'd hoped and pollyanna messages don't usually help, but I'm sending one anyway. ;)

    I'm glad you had three to transfer. And, I firmly believe that despite everything the good doctors know there's so much unknown that it's just hard to predict. I've got my fingers crossed that you get a great news on the 22nd!

  12. I think they're cute.

    There's just no getting around the hell of the 2ww. I'm happy to provide some distraction. Maybe a hot chocolate at Jacques Torres?

  13. Your little ones are beautiful. Stick embyros!! STICK, please....

  14. I think they're cute. And, I'll repeat the weird words of my RE. I was somewhat disheartened after hearing my first fert. report. As he walked by, he took one look at my face, patted my knee and said, "the most beautiful tomato plants usually come from the ugliest seeds."

    It was such an off-the-wall comment that it stuck with me, and it still makes me smile, (if rather bemusedly - do I really want a beautiful tomato plant growing inside me?) so I offer it to you.

    Here's to beautiful tomato plants!

  15. Like you said in your post, whatever will be will be. I've been holding on to that thought as well. I don't think fragmentation and all make that much of a difference. It's hard to predict, like others said, which one will take. So, keep cheering your trio on! I try to think of regular seeds too... there's not much we can do after we put them on the ground with water.
    Let's sit back for this 2ww and let life do what it does. At least that is always on our side... the fight for survival. ;)

  16. Dora's right - they are cute!!

    And there are no absolutes, definitely not in medicine. You never know until you know.

    I'll keep my toes crossed for you!

  17. We are all here for you and are hoping for the best.

    Here's my two-cents on the fragmented emby: It looks like it has curly hair. I have curly hair, and I love it.

    So here's to your curly-haired emby!

  18. Coming from the original anxiety queen ...I think the embabies are beautiful with or without their own personal fragmentation. Sometimes I think life would be easier if we could induce a coma for the 2ww ..but we can't do everything you can to enjoy your pregnant until proven otherwise status. I'll be thinking about you and visualizing your little babies nestling in.

  19. Stopping by again to say I just tagged you! Details are over at my place.

  20. Mo & Will...
    It appears that your blog has been tagged twice today!

  21. Hoping so hard that one or more of these little embies is meant to be your baby! The 2ww is awful and right before Christmas is such an added stress, but I will pray you have a joyful thing to celebrate this year!

  22. I'm a lesser being too - she's amazingly strong. Wishing you lots of luck this round!

  23. Your embies are beautiful. Why should they look like the perfect picture. Plenty of perfect 8 cell, minimal fragmented embies don't become babies. So I'll root for your little embies to stick and grow for the long haul.

  24. Hey Mo. Just stopping-in to let you know I thinking of you. Your little embies look beautiful to me...fragmentation or not! It never ceases to amaze me what modern science has I'm praying that those little guys snuggle in for the long haul! *hugs*

  25. thanks so much for your recent comments. Re: the silver lining - I never thought I could find it either. In fact, one of the reasons we delayed TTC was my fear of getting "so far" only to miscarry or to have something happen. I didn't want to open myself up to that kind of pain. But I did. and things didn't turn out the way we had hoped, but what we did get was more than I ever had. And that really is a silver lining.

    I think your embies look beautiful. Wishing you the best in a few weeks.

  26. Hey, 3 is great! Reading the stats is strange because we had my transfer on Thursday and a lady was there who was DISTRAUGHT that they wanted to put back 3 (she said the Dr said if they'd had 5 to put back, he would have put them all back because of her age, turning 41 in Jan). We're having our beta on Christmas eve!

    Also, I tagged you if you feel like taking your mind off waiting for now...

  27. The waiting is the toughest part, don't you think? Hang in there.

  28. I too am a lesser being.


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