After it is deemed that your follicles are ready to be fertilized, the woman is given conscious sedation, the man gives his sample, and they are fertilized (hopefully) by an embryologist in a lab. They are observed daily. Ours made it to a 5 day transfer, meaning they were let to grow in a petri-dish (for lack of better terms) and hopefully turn into a blastocyst, or even better an expanding blastocyst. At 5 days of dividing, this is where they should be, and gives them the best chance for survival inside of the uterus. (Mind you, I am just a nurse, but not an infertility professional).... But, Todd and I have been thru 2 fresh cycles. That is the short version, not containing all of the emotions, anxiety, medical procedures, and waiting etc. After that 5 days, they are put into a syringe like device, and injected into the woman's uterus. Then... the wait begins. You may start your menstrual cycle (worse case scenario), or you go in for a lab draw usually 9 days after that transfer to see if you are pregnant.
And so, when it works, you have a picture of your kids 5 days after they were fertilized. Before they were implanted into your uterus to grow. Before they have developed all of their organs, before they have gender, their personality, their name, their everything.
Now, when Todd and I went through this December 2009, we had in our mind that this was likely our last fresh cycle. Emotionally, we were spent. We would have discussed it further had it not worked, but that was the plan going into the cycle. After talking to our doctor (Dr. Kenneth Moghadam) who was then at Jarrett Fertility in Indianapolis, and has now started his own practice in Austin, Texas... We decided together that after having an early miscarriage with our first fresh cycle, nothing with our second frozen cycle, the third cycle, which was our second fresh cycle... I wanted to transfer 3 back in if we could. When we arrived that morning, the embryologist gave us a picture of our embryos and it had 2. I said, Moghadam and I (and Todd) had discussed transferring 3. By the way, I cannot, (CANNOT) say enough good things about Moghadam. He is honest, fair, empathetic, compassionate, and reasonable. The best thing, he is good at what he does, and he loves what he does. The embryologist said, ok, I will go pick the next best one. Out came the next picture with the "next best" one. lol. That may bother some of you to talk about your children this way... but.. it doesn't bother me a bit. I laugh at it. I have 3 beautiful children. And, I have a very early Maurer triplet family picture. I have no idea who is who. One can only speculate who is who in this picture because, Owen (baby A) was always about a day ahead of Lilly, and therefore I conclude was the expanding blastocyst. Lilly was (baby B) and she was again, about a day behind Owen, and was a blastocyst I conclude, and Grey (baby C) I think was the early blastocyst. He was the smallest. He was the last developing, his yolk sac was biggest the longest, and it just makes me conclude that. And... I just have that feeling. So, that is what I think.
Then, following is the picture of them being injected into my uterus with a little saline flush. I remember laying on that table... (bladder full)... just laying in there, and said a prayer, and quickly ran to the bathroom! :)
Introducing their first, second, and third picture together!
They were much quieter back then.....