On Thursday, the sperm and eggs finally got to meet each other! This was the day I had my egg retrieval, and the eggs are fertilized about four hours after the procedure. We got there early (7:15) and the retrieval was at 8:30. I was nervous! I was afraid of ovulating early, though Dr. Hickman seemed pretty sure I will not ovulate until 36 hours after that trigger shot was given. I was awake throughout, but did not feel anything. I don't remember much of what was said, but I do remember seeing Dr. Hickman as I was rolled into the OR with a huge smile on his face. I think he enjoys aspirating eggs way too much! I also remember sweet CJ holding my hand the entire time. I reacted fine to the anesthesia, but was very tired and very crampy for the rest of the day.
Here I am, pre-op:
The nurse called yesterday with our fertility report. The results were: 17 eggs extracted (which is really good since I had 17 follicles), of those eggs 12 were mature, and of those 11 fertilized. Marc and I are very happy with these results, and it is a little surreal that we have little embryos that are a combination of mine and Marc's DNA.
The day of extraction is considered Day 0, so yesterday was Day 1 and today is Day 2. The eggs were fertilized via ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), or the injection of a single sperm into each egg. By Day 1, fertilized oocytes (or eggs) now become embryos, and they contain two cells. Disclaimer: These are not my embryos, I wish I had pictures this early on! We will receive pictures of our embryos before they are transferred.
Day 0, ICSI
Day 1: Here you can see two pronuclei (the nuclei from the egg and sperm) coming together to create a full set of chromosomes (sperm and egg cells are haploids, and each contain half of the number of chromosomes when compared to a regular cell).
As I am writing this it is Day 2, so this is what our embryos should look like now. Wow, what a big difference! They should hopefully have four cells at this point. The nurse told me that on Day 2, the embryologists do not look at the embryos, they just let them incubate until Day 3, when they make the decision for a Day 3 or Day 5 transfer. We're all betting money that, because we had 11 embryos as of yesterday, that we will have a Day 5 transfer. We all still need to be up at the clinic bright and early tomorrow, just in case!
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you..." (Jeremiah 1:4) Although this verse is being told to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, and refers him, why wouldn't it apply to every one of us? God did know us before we were born, even before we were conceived. God knew our baby (babies), and what would come to be, even before the day they were fertilized (two days ago!) and came into being.