I didn’t write an update regarding my little chicks as I had planned to on day 5 because as Ronan Keating so nicely put it “Life is a Rollercoaster”. On day 5, the rollercoaster took me up high and then, 30 minutes later, threw me back down low.
The high: the embryologist called to let us know that we had two hatched blastocysts (grades AB and BB). These two little embryos were the best looking, highest grade embryos H and I had ever produced. In IVF round 2 and The Disaster Round (round 3), we only ever produced BC quality embryos and no hatched blastocysts on day 5. A few cells from each embryo have been sent off to a lab for PGS testing, and Elsa and Anna went off to the winter wonderland [a.k.a. the freezer] for their for their beauty sleep. Saturday’s straggler had degenerated, so it is our of the game. The three remaining embryos were still developing on day 5, so the embryologist said she’d take a look at them again that afternoon and on the following day, day 6. She hoped that at least one of the three would develop into a blastocyst. I did a little happy dance.
The Low: 30 minutes after the embryologist called, my dad called. He asked if I had any news about the embryos and I delightedly told him about our two blastocysts. Sadly, that wasn’t why he had called. He wanted to let me know he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer. My world crashed.
I am very close to my parents – and my dad is, and has always been, my rock. He guides, he supports and he gives you well-thought through and logical advice – every single time. He’s been an asset throughout this fertility process too – perhaps it helps that he’s a doctor (although he’s not a gynaecologist and at this point doesn’t know much more about reproductive medicine than I do, but he’s curious and keen to learn). For example, in The Disaster Round, H and I had to make a quick decision within an hour about our single embryo – and the one person we called to consult in that hour was my dad.
Since that day, we have had confirmation that my dad’s cancer hasn’t spread to lungs or liver (thank goodness), which dramatically increases survival rates. I’m at home with my parents at the moment following dad’s big surgery to remove the tumour and half his colon. We’re incredibly fortunate that he’s been treated so quickly – from diagnosis to op in a week! We’re now waiting to see if he needs chemotherapy, depending on what stage the cancer is at. It’s going to be a tough few months ahead.
The Second High: On day 6, the lovely embryologist called to let us know that all three stragglers were hatched blastocysts. I pinched myself. Olaf, Kristoff and Sven* had been very busy over the past 24 hours – trust boys to be late developers! 😉 5-6 cells from each of the embryos have been sent to the lab for PGS testing and the three boys (well strictly speaking a snowman, a boy and a reindeer) have joined Elsa and Anna. So far, this is our best round ever and we have our very own Enid Blyton story: Five Go On A Frozen Adventure.
While I haven’t worried about the Frozen Five – Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven – over the last couple of weeks, I’ve replaced it with a new worry: my dad’s cancer. Perhaps, as cruel as it is, it’s a blessing in disguise. Who knows.
We get the Frozen Five’s PGS results on Thursday, which is actually what prompted me to write today – c’mon Frozen Five!!
*For those of you not familiar with Disney’s “Frozen” movie, these are the good guys. Elsa and Anna are sisters and also goodies. My favourite character is Olaf, however, the snowman – he cracks me up.