I was prepared for three possible outcomes: that our embryo didn't survive the thaw, that we transferred but did not get pregnant, or that (as hoped) this embryo became our third child. I could have never prepared myself for what happened this morning.
We arrived at the clinic two hours before the scheduled transfer for bloodwork and a massage (a nice perk at my clinic). We had been sitting in the waiting room for mere minutes when my phone vibrated. It was the office. Hmmmm. I answered, hoping this was just some reminder call, and heard, "This is x from the fertility center." My heart stopped. It was our embryologist. There are a few phone calls you never want to get....calls from the police, calls from hospitals...and calls from your embryologist on the morning of your frozen transfer. I explained that we were in the waiting room, so she said she would be right out. When I saw her, I whispered to her that this couldn't be good. She didn't dispute my assessment. I didn't even get through the door to the office before she embraced me as I sobbed.
Our embryo, our picture perfect better than the twins embryo, had apparently been damaged in the freezing process (which has since changed). Because of this damage, when it was thawed this morning 90% of it was arrested. Most all of it was already gone. But, of course, there was a smidge still hanging on. She didn't really know what to say. She said it was not viable, that it would almost certainly not result in a pregnancy. She explained that the little part still alive could be placental cells (which can't create a baby) or embrionic cells (which can't survive without a placenta). But she couldn't say that it was 100% dead. Nope. That little smidge meant that there was still a tiny bit of life. So it was up to us. We could transfer as planned. We could leave and allow the remainder to arrest. We could transfer and stop meds, allowing it to arrest inside its intended home. I asked what she would do, and she answered honestly--she wouldn't have it transferred. I asked what most people in this situation do, and she answered honestly--this almost never happens. It's usually all dead or much more alive.
After many tears and some quick soul searching, we asked to have labwork cancelled but have the embryo transferred as soon as possible so that we could begin what would be a very long 500+ miles home. If my child were dying, I would never leave it to die alone. And this embryo is my child. I couldn't stand the thought of it "arresting" all on its own. I wanted to bring it home the only way we could. So in the same room where I cried tears of joy as I watched my twins make their way into my uterus, I silently sobbed as I watched the child that I have loved and prayed for and dreamed of for two years make its way home, knowing that I would never meet it.
For now I am continuing my meds. I cannot yet make a decision that I know will end this more quickly. Maybe I will change my mind, but most likely I will take meds until about 8 days post transfer, confirm that there is no pregnancy with a home test, then call it a day.
My heart is so heavy. I had let myself imagine what it would be like...to get pregnant from this "secret" cycle that our friends and family didn't know about...to have kids that were two years apart like all the fertile moms...to not have to face difficult decisions about family building when we are drained of resources. But most of all, I had let myself fall in love. This embryo was created at the same time as my beloved twins, and I always considered it a little part of them. I longed to see them grow up together. I didn't just want another child....I wanted this child. This child who has held a part of my heart for two years.
The doctor and coordinator and embryologist were amazing. They could not have been more compassionate. They respected our decision and never once made us feel silly. They cried with us, mourned this loss. And they said some really nice things about me. The one I remember through my teary fog is that they called me brave. But I don't feel brave. Not at all. I feel helpless and broken.