This morning Casey and I arrived at the surgery center bright and early for my oocyte retrieval procedure at 6:30AM. Most people call it egg collection or retrieval, but all of the signed release forms and paperwork referred to oocyte retrieval and I'm digging the phrase.
Our end result is amazing!! God is truly listening to our prayers! Right now, about a mile from our house, an embryologist is looking through his microscope at a small zygote that will grow into an embryo that is part Casey and part me. No matter the outcome of this procedure, I will always know that for at least a little while, a perfect mixture of he and I existed in the world. It is truly a mind-blowing thought. Every time I think about it, the happy tears start flowing. I love that man with all of my being and thinking of a child of our own hearts and formed of our love is the most amazing dream.
The surgery is relatively simple (although certainly not painless!) and only took about 30 minutes (plus about an hour in the recovery room). For the procedure, a transvaginal ultrasound allows the doctor (our RE, Dr. Pinto) to see the locations of each ovary and each follicle inside each ovary. Once he has a clear view, he uses a needle to go through the vaginal wall and into the ovarian follicle. When the needle is inserted properly, the follicle is aspirated. This means that the follicular fluid is sucked up using a suction device attached to the needle. Inside that follicular fluid is the oocyte, which has been loosened by the "trigger" shot of HcG I took Tuesday night. This process is repeated for each follicle and then repeated on the other ovary. There is typically one oocyte, or egg, per follicle, and typically about two-thirds of the eggs are viable. While I was in the operating room, Casey performed his part of the procedure (why is my part painful surgery and his part just himself alone in a room?).
All of the follicular fluid and the sperm sample then go to the embryologist who separates out the eggs and gets ready to start fertilization. In total, we collected 11/12 eggs!! I'm ready to throw a little oocyte party because that number is incredible! Before starting IVF, we were so worried we wouldn't even get the six follicles needed for the procedure - and we doubled it!!! God is so good! If walking wasn't so painful I would be doing a happy dance! Of the 11/12, they think 8 or 9 are viable, mature eggs!
Right now as I speak, the embryologist is potentially fertilizing 9 eggs and creating 9 little zygotes that will become our embryos. We will get a call tomorrow to let us know how many of them fertilized! For now, we are waiting and praying.
We are praying these eggs mingle with the sperm and create perfect little zygote mixes of he and I. We are praying the little embryos are strong fighters and survive in the petri dish long enough to grow and divide. Ideally, on Sunday we will have eight-cell embryos that the doctor will transfer back into me! Grow embies grow!
As a side note: Would it be weird to ask the embryologist to take a picture of our embryo? My baby would have the worlds coolest baby book if it started from zygote and went all the way through!