Thanks everyone for your prayers! We had a wonderful day with a very smooth transfer.
As we've said before, each of these tiny little embryos is a tiny little life. Each one is fully human and fully alive and fully created in the image of God. For that reason, we don't believe in discarding any embryos for any reason, so we chose to thaw just two so we wouldn't run the risk of having "extras" or more than we were willing to carry in pregnancy.
Embryos are graded when they're frozen. Our clinic also grades them right before the transfer. In the most common 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 and then the 3s and Cs, and so on and so forth.
When we went in for the transfer, they said they'd graded the embryos 5AA and 4AB. We didn't even HAVE a 5AA to start with. So somehow between the early morning hours when they thawed the embryo, and the lunchtime transfer, one of the embryos actually improved! So we're praising God for already demonstrating how precious, individual, and cared for by Him these little ones are. I really wonder what was going through the heads of the doctors watching this. How miraculous that even after being frozen for 6 years, He re-energizes them and grows them in the blink of an eye. He truly is a God of life. Not only did these precious babies survive the thaw, He caused them to thrive.
The transfer was, in the doctor's words, "as perfect as you can get." The process is done via ultrasound. You can see the tube go in to the uterine cavity, and then suddenly there's this burst of white and the babies are on board. There's just nothing like seeing that little firework of white suddenly show up on the screen. As much as infertility and having children in a non-traditional route causes the loss of a lot of "precious moments," who else gets to say they got to witness the moment their babies entered their bodies? It gives me chills to just think about it.
Here's a photo of them right after the thaw. The bumpy mass is the baby. The "shell" is what will become the placenta. If the babies grow as they should, they'll expand and fill out the shell and break through it (called hatching). The baby breaking through is what grabs on to the uterus, not the shell itself. So they have to break out and grab on in order to have a successful pregnancy.
The doctor did say the babies had grown expanded and filled the shell by the time of the transfer (another miracle of growth and life!) and he also said the Embryologist did what's called assisted hatching on them, which means she made a little crack/hole in the "shell" to sort of help that process along. It's actually been demonstrated to help the babies because it's one less fight they have to fight.
So overall, we feel really good about how things went. Now, we just wait and see :)
I felt hit by a bus most of yesterday. We had lunch and bought DH a bathing suit and literally, I slept, or sat on my bum all day long. The amount of valium they give me really takes it out of me. I still feel sort of foggy today--but that's just an excuse to take it easy again another day :D
Thanks for praying for us and the babies. We're really pleased with how the day went!
I'm still not feeling anxious. The peace of Christ truly does surpass all understanding. Either way, God's plan for these little lives is unfolding before our eyes and it's our joy and privilege as their parents to sit in awe and wonder. We'll know in a few weeks whether they're bound for heaven or for earth, but regardless of their next destination, we thank God for their lives, for His work and protection, for His comfort, for His providence, for His mercy, for His love and tenderness, and for His miracles.