|Rudy - The Embryo|
The transfer day was yesterday, and I must apologize for not blogging about it sooner. It’s hard to type when you’ve spent most of the day with your legs up in the air. This is probably why there aren’t a lot of blogs written by working prostitutes. That’s just my theory though.
As you know, we had just the one embryo to transfer. This has been difficult for me to accept. In general, I’ve taken a Queen of Hearts from ALICE IN WONDERLAND response to this disappointment and have very much wanted off with someone’s head. This is not like me. I’m pretty resilient and can put a positive spin on most things. I am also a firm believer that if you make something funny, you can immediately make it better. The trouble has been though that either due to hormones or exhaustion, I’ve had a harder time being all zip-a-dee-doo-dah over recent developments.
While throwing one long fabulous tantrum (I even had my own soundtrack for it featuring such hits as the Rolling Stones, “You Can't Always Get What You Want” and “Please, Please, Please - Let Me Get What I Want” by Morrissey), my husband started referring to the one embryo we produced as “Rudy”.
For those of you who don’t know, he was referencing Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger who is famous for wanting to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, despite being merely 5'5" and 165 pounds. Somehow, despite all odds, he ended up playing for the team and in a final play of one game in particular, he sacked the opposing quarterback, and was carried off on the shoulders of his teammates. Rudy was the first of only two players in Notre Dame history ever to be carried off the field by his teammates. This was all depicted in a movie called RUDY starring Sean Astin. Leave it to my husband to take a problem stemming from eggs, sperm and embryos and somehow turn it into a sport reference.
Thanks to my husband’s new nickname for our embryo, despite our fears and concerns over having only one, we began rooting for it like he was an underdog who desperately wanted to play football… or implant in my uterus… or both. We deemed ourselves Team Rudy.
It's a small team but we've got great t-shirts.
Before the transfer, I went to acupuncture and that was a help. I know different things have been said about the connection between acupuncture and IVF success rates but for me, whether it has conclusive medical benefits or not, it’s just damn relaxing. I mentioned to my acupuncturist that we were now calling the embryo ‘Rudy’ and without missing a beat, she said, “After the football player? I love it!”
Clearly, we recruited another member for Team Rudy.
As I lay there looking like the lead character in the movie HELLRAISER, I didn’t visualize anything or even fantasize about making out with Jon Hamm (as I sometimes do). I just stopped thinking about everything altogether and listened to the wind flute CD my acupuncturist had playing in the background. Mind you – I won’t be downloading this CD on my mp3 player anytime soon but it was still lovely at that moment.
I headed to the clinic feeling calmer and ready to meet with the embryologist. He came in with a nurse, sat us down and explained that eleven eggs were retrieved, ten were mature, all received ICSY (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) but for reasons they don’t understand, only one embryo multiplied. He also added that they were shocked by this as they expected at least six embryos.
On one hand, it was nice to feel validated. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but wonder where the hell these six expected embryos went! I haven’t even had kids and already, they were abandoning me.
In an effort to focus on the positive, the conversation quickly turned to Rudy. The doctor told us that the embryo was a clean 7-Cell embryo as of Wednesday and they used assisted hatching to give it a better chance of implanting. Sam told the doctor that we were calling the embryo as Rudy and before we could even explain why, he said, “Ohhhh! I love that movie!” Rudy wasn’t even transferred yet and he was making friends all over the place!
As I lay down and they put my legs up in the stirrups, the doctor came over to me and said, “Just so you know, we just checked Rudy and he’s now an 8-cell embryo so he’s still multiplying! He’s a real fighter!” I took a deep breath and hoped the doctor was right. Everything feels like it’s riding on this one embryo. I tried to think positively and relax despite the fact that I had a full bladder and a catheter up my ying yang. “C’mon Rudy… implant. Please just implant…” I whispered.
After the transfer, they had me lay flat on my back for a half hour. One of the nurses came in and handed me two pieces of paper. One was a report card of sorts. It listed IVF 2 onto one little index card:
EGGS RETRIEVED – 11
MATURE EGGS – 10
ICSY – 10
EMBRYOS – 1
ASSISTED HATCHING - 1
The other piece of paper was a black and white picture of Rudy. Since I couldn’t get up and there was nowhere to put them, I lay there holding them both and reflecting on all that had happened.
After a few minutes, my husband came in and sat down next to me. We sat there quietly for a bit before Sam smiled and said, “You know… I have a good feeling. Maybe Rudy said to the other embryos, ‘Back off! I got this!’”
I tried to smile back. “It really depends on how this story ends. If we get pregnant, then this whole thing will make sense. If it doesn’t, then we’re back to square one."
I held up the report card with my right hand and said, “I just can’t understand what went wrong.”
Sam took the report card out of my hand and said, “I think we should pay less attention to this piece of paper, and more attention to the other one.” And he motioned to the picture in my left hand of Rudy, the lone embryo.
And he’s right. I still can’t help but be disappointed and confused but at the very least, we have one strong embryo that has a whole lot of people rooting for him. It’s going to be a tough two week wait but I’m going to do my best to remain optimistic, continue writing, taking it easy and maybe... just maybe I should consider actually seeing the movie RUDY.