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At age 43, Heidi is trying in vitro fertilization for the eighth time and documenting all the highs and lows of the experience. In her first column, she wrote about her past experiences in trying to get pregnant.
She later chronicled the earliest stage of this attempt—creating embryos. Heidi and her husband left New York to meet with fertility specialist Dr. Geoffrey Sher in Las Vegas.
Now Heidi waits…will any of those embryos become her baby?
The week leading up to an in vitro fertilization transfer is "the waiting week." But this time—our eighth attempt—we had a better chance than ever before of it working. On a typical third day, I would have had at most five embryos—with two not being as great as the others. However, this time we had seven embryos, and all seven were moving right along nicely.
My doctor—fertility specialist Dr. Geoffrey Sher—gives me his refrain: We can't focus on numbers, no matter how good they seem. Instead, we need to hope for a healthy egg and, more importantly, chromosomally normal embryos. We are all full of guarded optimism—which is a very new feeling for me. I tend to either fully believe, or I don't believe at all. "Guarded" isn't a word one would use to describe me. I typically let it out—all out—one way or the other.
Having this boundary in place to allow the process to be what it is, is something that Darren, my husband, kept reminding me was most important. He assured me that no matter what, we have each other. And he reminded me over and over again how having a baby would be a bonus for us—but for him it's not the most important thing. He told me that if we had just each other, that would be enough for him.
It's not that Darren isn't enough for me—if you met him, ladies, you would totally get it. He is the entire package—handsome, smart, kind, supportive, take-charge and also, believe it or not, he does laundry. He can and does all things for us, our lives and our future. And he loves doing it. He is my warrior. The one thing that Darren cannot make happen for us is controlling the outcome of our situation. He doesn't admit it, but I know that he would love nothing more than for this to work.
The husband isn't the star of this show, but the truth is he needs to be. You never want your partner to think that having a baby is more important than they are to you. Men don't relate emotionally to the charge that women have to have a baby, to be a mother. They cannot share in the same feelings we do in this journey.
During all our previous IVF cycles, as we collected eggs and embryos to freeze and test, Darren wasn't really ready to have a baby. The timing wasn't right. He was transitioning his business, our lives were in the city, and we were newlyweds. He wanted to make certain that he could be the best father, husband and partner.
During those times and cycles, there was only one embryo that was given a comparative genomic hybridization, or CGH—a test used to detect genetic defects in embryos before implantation—and found to be viable. So it wasn't as though he was holding us up, but I couldn't help but think that maybe if we did a fresh cycle with no freezing or testing, maybe we would be pregnant by now. It's easy to "woulda, coulda, shoulda" when you are looking back and anxiously waiting. It is what it is. As Dr. Sher always states, 'This isn't something we can do—it's something we can hope for the best and put in God's hands.'
We can only focus on today. And today is the day.