Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Transfer Update

Thanks so much for all your prayers, well wishes and encouragement as we approached and completed our transfer today. Thanks also for the calls and texts to follow up on how things went. Between getting just a few hours of sleep last night and having to be on Valium today, I was so beyond exhausted that I fell asleep on the car ride home and then went immediately to bed when we arrived here. I didn't even have the energy to send out an update or answer any of the calls or texts. Thanks for your patience :)

The first thing we learned when we got there was the results of the transfer. In one particular grading scale, embryos are graded on 3 points: a scale of 1 to 5 grades how well/much they're expanded (5 is high, 1 is low). A grading of A-C (A being best) grades the quality of the inner cell mass. A second grading of A-C grades the quality of the outer ring, called the trophectoderm. The trophectoderm is what becomes the placenta. So, the best rating an embryo can get is 5AA. After that 5AB, 5BB, 4AA, 4AB and 4BB are all considered very good. The doctor told us that we had one 5BB and one 4BB. This was the evaluation they gave them after the thawing process today. Both survived just perfectly. The embryos were rated years ago by the Genetic Parents' Embryologist who created and froze them. The best rating we had from them was right in that same range so that means the Embryos didn't deteriorate much, if at all, during the freezing/storage/thaw process! Hooray! We are grateful to God for protecting our babies through the freezing and thawing process.

The one on the left is the 4 and the other is the right. The bumpy area is the cell mass. The "shell" is the soon-to-be placenta. The excess area is just fluid. If the babies grow as they should, the cells on the left will eventually fill out the whole ring just like the one on the right, and then they'll "hatch" and then they can grab on to the uterus and implant. Isn't it amazing how complex they are at such an early age? God is truly a God of wonder and miracles and intricacies. I don't know how anyone can look at something like this and think that we were created by chance or accident.

The whole thing is guided by ultrasound. They use a catheter to insert the embryos. It's so cool to watch and then suddenly there's this "puff" of white that appears on the screen like a firework or a starburst. We didn't really get to see that last time because the doctor didn't really communicate with us and didn't make us seeing the screen a priority. I'd heard it described before but it was really cool to see.

Forgive the labeling of the bladder-I hope it's not crass. But I wanted to explain the huge black mass! The full bladder pushes the intestine back and the uterus down and then it's clear so they can see through it (think trying to look through a blown up balloon verses an uninflated one).

The white dot is not ACTUALLY the embryos but it's the puff of air they're surrounded in. Without the air, you wouldn't be able to see them at all because they're too small.

Overall this procedure was so much more peaceful than the other. I came out of it feeling so different. I felt like the doctor really communicated with me and I knew a lot more about what was going on. I was more relaxed and I felt physically better.

The doctor said that the embryos looked really good. He said that the transfer itself went "perfectly." It took less than 10 minutes-he got in easily and to the exact right spot with no trouble. This was especially impressive because normally the doctor will do a "practice round." This doctor didn't think it was necessary since I'd had a practice round before the last transfer as well as the transfer itself, in addition to all sorts of ultrasounds, so he thought he had enough data. He just went straight in and out, with no fumbling around or repositioning. He was so skilled--it really made me appreciate that God directed us out of the the care of the previous doctors and allowed such a skilled one to care for us and our babies. The doctor was even commenting to his nurse and the Embryologist about how perfectly everything went--it sounded almost like this was better than even things normally go for folks. He said that he thinks we have a "very good chance of getting pregnant."

After it was over we went to this charming 87 year old Mexican restaurant in this old farm house. It looks like a cross between a Tea Room and a Cantina. We love to go there when we can. Todd said we're teaching the kids early to love Mexican Food (DH LOVES Mexican seriously LOVES it. I like it a lot too, but he has an inordinate attachment to it, as does his dad).

This is our first family picture with all 4 of us. We forgot to get one at the doctor's office, but the fact that it's outside a Mexican restaurant amuses me so much...especially if you know our family!

My parents live in Tucson so they joined us for lunch. My brother surprised us by driving down (from Phoenix), too.

So now, I am officially PUPO--Pregnant until Proven Otherwise. I'm taking it easy today tomorrow and then I'm back to my normal routine.

Thanks so much for praying us through this! All of our requests were answered, save for knowing the actual results, which we'll have to wait some time for. We are so humbled and grateful that everything went so well, and for your friendship and love and encouragement and support!

Grace and peace dear friends,

Todd and Jen + 2 :)


  1. Yay! We're so excited for you guys and continue to pray for all 4 of you! Thanks for the update! I've been thinking about you all day. Have a nice day of rest tomorrow. Love you!

  2. i've been thinking about you about praying for you today. i'm so glad to hear everything went well. can't wait for more updates!

  3. I'm thrilled to hear it went well!! You look radiant on the photos!
    And I didn't know your parents live in Tuscon now, that's great! (Perfect grandparents distance!) Say Hi to them from me.

  4. Oh yeah! So excited for you. Tanner was transferred as a 2 Pro Nuclei embryo (he was 24 hours past conception) so he was ungraded (I think).

  5. God truly is an amazing and good God, Jen. Enjoy this time and your precious babies in the days ahead. We are praying and humbly asking God to grant you the desires of your heart.

  6. Wow Jen thanks so much for your detailed update! I lead a girls high school bible study on Wed nights and we prayed for you four tonight as a group. I appreciated so much hearing about the process as well how amazing the gift of life is!

  7. So excited! Praying for you, Todd, and the babies!

  8. Praying that those little embies find a nice, warm, cozy spot to hang out for the next 10 months!

  9. Thanks for the update, Jen! I'm praying for your little ones.

    slightly off-topic, but I enjoyed your meditation on embryos, and the amazing complexity they have, showing the glory of their Creator. It especially touches me when I think of my youngest two daughters, and how they used to be just one of those. I wonder if they looked somehow different than most embryos, destined as they were to be two people, not one. God knows, and I don't - but that's part of the glory and wonder of it: God KNOWS, and knew then too, even when they were but a few cells big.

    He knows these little ones too.

  10. Oh, I'm just thrilled for you! I'm really hoping you get an early birthday present! :)

  11. I am so happy for you both! You look just beautiful. You all will be in my continued prayers! Love and miss you bunches!

  12. Congrats! Can't wait to see your BFP! God is so good!