The Waiting Week of In Vitro Fertilization
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?
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.
I prayed and listened to my blessing music and did my best to stay calm. A lot of this is about energy and peace. Being calm and slowing down isn't my normal state. I had to do a lot to get myself there. I knew that this is and was our time and wanted to make sure that I surrendered and looked fabulous.
I wore my new orange scarf with h's on it—a Hanukkah present from my fabulous best friend/soul mate husband—and an animal print shirt. I wanted to be my best for transfer. I even wore lipstick. I don't usually wear makeup, but wanted to connect closer to my feminine, mommy energy. Besides, we were recording on Flip video to share the procedure with those that have never seen it and are waiting and wondering what it's like. I had to look and be my best. The real hope and dream is to show this to our baby someday so that he can see how he was conceived.
Dr. Poon, our trusted acupuncturist and new friend in Vegas, was on hand and missed her flight to L.A. to be there for us. She was eager to support me. She went through this herself, understood what it takes to work and wanted to pay it forward to her newfound friend for life. Women who have gone through IVF have a code of connection that lasts a lifetime. I am so grateful for the support you've given me in comments on my previous stories on Oprah.com.
Darren, Dr. Sher and Linda, his most fabulous nurse and my grounding force, were all there. Darren held my hand as we inserted the embryos. Tears were flowing down my cheeks. I was in awe that this is even an option. There were two embryos that were viable. Dr. Sher and his embryologist thought the best place for them to continue to grow would be inside me. I thanked the embryologist for being a fabulous babysitter for the past five days and gave him a huge hug. I was so filled with gratitude, hope and possibility.
It was a beautiful moment. In the next 10 days or so, we would all be celebrating the beginning of a journey—or closing a chapter.
Check back soon to read the next chapter in Heidi's journey.
Have you had experience with fertility issues in your life? Share your comments below.