When Dr. Hansen came in he asked, like he always does, how I was feeling. I had tears welling up in my eyes just before he was walking in the door. Just feeling a little overwhelmed. I told him I was physically feeling fine, but I was a little nervous today. He asked why...I told him it was because I was terrified that I might ovulate before the retrieval. To which he responded, "Well there's always that outside chance, Rachel, but looking at your charts and knowing you're still taking Lupron shots, I'd say that chance is pretty low for you. You shouldn't worry about that." He's so focused and reassuring. I know I'm in good hands. He did my ultrasound...my follicles are HUGE! He smiled warmly, shook our hands, and said, "We probably won't see you tomorrow...but we'll see you for the egg recovery on Wednesday. You're just about done!" And once the door shut behind him I just cried. Because I feel SO blessed to have him as my doctor. His personality and his bedside manner are exactly what I have needed through this. The right amount of reassurance without being cocky while also being completely confident about what he's doing. Jonathan told me I can't cry like that because it hurts his heart. My tears these days are part excitement, part overwhelmed, and part nerves. I'm just a big ball of emotions lately...I can't imagine why!
Today was the day we met the embryologist. Toni, the nurse we saw today, assured us she would send one of them in as soon as they were free. So after our ultrasound, we waited a few minutes and then in walks this guy:
This is John. He is one of the embryologists at OU. He knocked on our door and then strolled in with his surgical cap on and his scrubs. He warmly shook each of our hands and introduced himself. I looked down and saw red Mickey Mouse crocs on his feet and I immediately felt comfortable with him. He answered all of our questions very gracefully. My main concern was how they will decide whether my embryos are "viable" or not. In a nutshell he told me that they give each embryo more than enough time to grow before deciding they aren't viable. Sometimes they even wait until my transfer is over to decide whether some of them are freezable or not. Let me give you a bit of a rough rundown of our conversation with him:
Rachel: So how do you decide whether our embryos are viable or not?
John: Well you know once they're fertilized they really are little lives and they do their own unique thing. Sometimes on Day 3 an embryo might be labeled "low viability", but by Day 5 they are reevaluated and found to be one of the front runners so to speak. We just never really know, which is why we watch them so closely. There aren't many absolutes in our profession. I've been doing this for over 23 years and I'm still amazed at the process...
Rachel: We really just wanted to put a name and a face together and shake a hand. After all, one or all of you guys will be among the first set of eyes to see our babies!
John: It's a little unusual for a patient to ask to meet with one of us. We're just "the guys in the back"...we don't get much recognition. So it's cool to get to meet a patient and get to talk about their embryos. Just call me the babysitter and when you think of me back in the lab with your embryos remember I'm the guy with the Mickey Mouse crocs probably jamming out to 80's music (it's ALL about the 80's music) while I keep a close eye on your little ones.
Rachel: Well I just want you to know you've got a lot of people thinking of and praying for you this week. They're praying for your eyes and your hands and this process. We definitely know what a big job you have!
John: Well you know, we've been given this ability for a reason. I truly believe this. My wife and I dealt with infertility, so I know right where you're at. You're right that this part starts getting pretty heavy. But even down to the tiniest detail, we make sure this goes the way it's supposed to. Even in the ICSI process! I don't seek out a sperm to inject your eggs with. I put them in a dish and let the right one come to me. I figure if he comes right up to the needle, which inevitably one always does, there's a reason why he did. I try to let it happen as organically as it can...I just try to let what's supposed to happen happen. And this is all going to be great for you guys. I love working for this clinic because you're not just a number here. You're a patient and you get cared for as an individual. Truly cared for. This is the only clinic I have ever worked for...I've seen where we've come from, where we are, and where we're going...and I'm very proud to be a part of it. You're definitely in good hands here!
Well if that doesn't put your heart and mind at ease, I just don't know what will. I walked in that clinic scared and nervous and left fully at ease and happy. God is good...He has orchestrated this all so perfectly. He's ordained the hands and eyes that will eventually be cultivating the tiny lives of our babies. He led us to people who are the exact right personality we've needed to walk through this process. He's raised up an army of supporters from all over the country for us. He's answered prayers big and small all along the way. I can't help but picture him like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia just conducting this massive orchestra of colors and experiences. His extravagant brush strokes that leave me breathless. The booming music that sends chills over my body. What He's working out here is truly spectacular. SPECTACULAR! And how did I get so lucky to be in the middle of it all??
When you pray in the next week here are some specifics. In addition to John Graves, there are 3 other men working in the lab who will be a part of the early stages of our embabies growing lives:
This is Dr. Michael Zavy- he's the "head honcho" in the lab
This is Brad Zavy- another resident embryologist
This is Mitch Trammell- he's also a reproductive technologist
Some or all of these guys will have hand in making our dreams a reality and will be our Womack babies' first real babysitters in the coolest kind of way. There's also of course these very special people who will be taking care of Mommy and Daddy (i.e.-me and Jonathan) in the OR and have been taking care of us all along:
This is Kisha. She's one of our nurses who is so sweet she'll make your teeth hurt...
This is Amber...another nurse who's taken good care of us. As you can tell from her picture, she and I have lots in common when it comes to jewelry...
This is our sweet Connie. She's been our nurse from the start. She's answered so many questions and been there when I needed her all along. When she left on vacation for a while, I wasn't sure what I would do without her. But I'm so blessed to be working with her and even more blessed that the other nurses have been so perfectly wonderful in her absence...
And then there's this guy. Dr. Hansen. I have put so much of my trust in this man and he has delivered on all accounts so far. To say I'm blessed to have been led to him is the understatement of the century. So much respect for him and the practice he has built. We are a lucky, lucky couple to be his patients...
And there you have it. That's the behind the scenes army that's been walking with us every step of the way. Good to put a name with a face right?? So when you pray, remember these people. Remember the anesthesiologist. Remember me and Jonathan. Your prayers so far have been felt so very tangibly...I hope you all know that. So much is at stake in these next few days, but the mighty way we've seen God work so far is just simply miraculous...no matter what the outcome of this week is. Tonight I take my trigger shot...tomorrow I lay low...Wednesday is our day...
Are you getting goosebumps yet??