The Phantom Of The Opera Is There Inside Your Womb

The embryology lab called me this morning and told me that they were able to freeze 9 embryos! This incredibly fertile woman just keeps impressing me more and more! Really hope this is a good sign that the two embryos I’m chilling out with at the moment will stick around. I’m in the midst of drinking some sort of disgusting green juice so I can be all healthy for them or whatever, so they’d better appreciate this sacrifice. Also went for acupuncture this morning, but that’s no sacrifice. Frankly, works better for me than Valium!

About embryos! Did you know that up until the third day of development, embryo growth is governed almost exclusively by the mother’s genes, and after that, the father’s genes kick in and make their contribution (Niaken et al, 2012; Simon et al., 2014)? This means GREAT JOB, HUSBAND! I was a little bit worried because I went and scared myself with all sorts of studies about how men have biological clocks, too, and after 40 their sperm gets all crappy. Also, he’s had a vasectomy, so it’s not exactly like there’s a whole lot of turnover. The lab tech who analyzed his sperm after the MESA told me that, after a long enough time period, a vasectomy can certainly take a toll on the sperm (hey, at least he was honest; Yanagimachi, 2005). Especially since he got the vasectomy ten years before the MESA.

I am very impressed with everyone involved. 9 embryos frozen means 1) of the 8 blastocysts, all of them kept growing and were “very pretty” after another day of development, and they had predicted three or four, 2) we all predicted that the development of the 8 morulas would arrest (which were a little lagging, developmentally), and one of them caught up and was good quality, and 3) eggs and sperm were both good quality! I really feel a lot more chill about this whole thing right now. I just feel like there’s a better chance this time, since everything went so much better than anyone expected.

….so, regarding “Phantom of the Opera,” I forgot to mention a funny thing about the transfer. I seriously almost started laughing during the transfer, which is kinda hard to have the urge to do when you have to pee really badly, you’ve got people putting things in your uterus, and someone hovering over your with an ultrasound. See, the embryologist’s lab is right across the hall from the transfer room. This is because, once the doctor places the first catheter in the uterus, the embryologist has to load the embryo(s) into another, thinner catheter that is slid through the first one. So he has to be able to run in really quickly – can’t be galloping down the hallway with gazillion-dollar embryos in hand.

The embryologist at my clinic constantly plays music in the lab, since studies have suggested that playing music in the lab promotes embryo growth (I am absolutely not kidding. There are multiple studies. A recent example: López-Teijón et al., 2015). Usually it’s some sort of nondescript soothing classical music that I would never recognize. But this time, during the transfer, when I was trying to concentrate on counting the holes in the ceiling panels, I suddenly realized that the music had gotten a little dark, and it struck me that the song playing was “Phantom of the Opera.”

So I may have just gotten pregnant to some instrumental Andrew Lloyd Weber. I gotta tell you, that is not how I would have ever, in a million years, imagined such a magical moment in my life to play out.

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