One thing I KNOW for sure - our embryos not our infertility problem. In the first two cycles we didn't have many, but we had good ones. This time eight of the nine which fertilised were looking good today. We're very impressed with ourselves. Some might say smug. We even had a five cell, but it wasn't symmetrical - one of the cells was much smaller than the others - so it wasn't top choice for replacement. Instead we put back two four cells. Both were rated 1.5 - i.e., between good and excellent, which is better than the two four cells we put back on day 2 last time. One was even an 'early cleaver' which I, with my haute knowledge of American culture, refrained from asking "Walt or the Beaver?" about. An 'early cleaver' I'll have you know is one which goes to two cells before its compatriots in the petri dish, and is forever after apparently an annointed one. So we put that one back, along with its best friend, the other 1.5 grade four cell. Which as far as I can see is just an ordinary four cell, with a little bit of fragmentation. But you know, I'm not an embryologist so who I am to express an opinion. And they've frozen everything else, five four cells, the five cell and even our little underperforming two cell (which was graded higher than one of the four cells), so we know have SEVEN embicicles to add to the six we already had (although two of those (one from each of the two previous cycles) are totally crap and not worth counting).
Turns out everyone in the clinic now knows who we are, since even the embryologist, who we've never met before, asked how we were doing post Tuesday's drama. I've got a little scar on my forehead, but nothing too impressive, so I feel a bit of a fraud. I do still feel pretty uncomfortable in my abdomen, but its definitely improving day by day so I'm hoping that by the time it starts cramping in a positive way this time next week, I'll be able to detect the difference.
Part of me feels that the clinic has just become our reality. That we go there once a month or so, or more often at 'peak times', and see people, and have stuff done to us, and that that will somehow just go on and on forever. The idea that anyone could get pregnant the 'normal' way seems to exist in some parallel universe that I can't ever remember inhabiting. Yesterday leaving the hospital was like "attack of the pregnant women." Not really surprising since my ward was in the middle of one of the UK's most important maternity hospitals, and we left during the mid-morning scan rush. By the time we got to the car park we'd passed 45 women, 39 of whom were noticeably pregnant. Being the skiving blog reader that I am I know that most of those pregnant women have their own fears and worries, but somehow I doubt they've ever been in a world where going to the clinic is more normal than having sex. Or not most of them anyway. Who knows, perhaps one or two of them were looking at us coming out of the IVF clinic, thinking: "I've been there, I know how you're feeling." I don't know and I can't know.
H asked me today as we walked back to the car today, embryos on board, if I'd give up America's Next Top Model and The X Factor if it would help us have a baby. "In a heartbeat," I replied. In fact, if you could prove to me that anything would improve our chances, I'd do it. Give up chocolate for ever? No problem. Give up reading? If I really have to. Lose 20 pounds? I'd do it. The reason I'm no longer wheat-free is that it doesn't have any effect. The reason I'm not doing acupuncture, similarly. (These might be important things for you, and I'm delighted for you to do them as I don't think they can do any harm. For me, they are not the point). But show me that something, anything, could definitively increase our chances of a full-term pregnancy and I'd be on it like a shot. Rather like us all chugging the folic acid, no? So what do you reckon, what is it that science will eventually discover is THE key to a full-term healthy pregnancy? Or will there never be a magic bullet, we will be forever destined to struggle with reproduction?