Well we got the call this morning.
Embryologist: Hi this is______ from Embryology, do you have a minute to talk?
* I had only been sitting there cradling the phone in my hands all morning waiting for you to call...but yeah, I think I can spare a few minutes to hear about our EMBRYOS.*
Anyway - here's the good news:
We are still on for a Sunday, 5-day transfer.
We have 7 pepper seeds (embryos) in the "perfect range" of 6-10 cells.
There are 4 others lagging behind: 1 at 5 cells, 2 at 4 cells, and 1 at 2 cells.
3 arrested and did not grow after fertilization.
So, 7 perfect little pepper seeds, great news right????
Except, I am always one to root for the underdog (seriously, if you know of any sports teams who have never won a game, let me know and I will get their name tattooed on my ass), so I find myself sad for the 3 who didn't make it and rooting for the others to catch up. It's hard for me to get into the mindset of of judging them on their performance, rooting for the winners.
Really, I stopped playing chess in my early 20s because I felt bad for the pawns. I saw them as the young troops being sent to the front lines with no regard for their safety. I hated deciding which parts of my "army" were expendable and which deserved protection. This isn't quite like that, the decision is not in our hands - but still.
A friend today helpfully reminded me that the process that is happening now is the same natural selection process that happens inside women's bodies all the time. Not every fertilization results in an embryo, not every embryo implants, etc.... And actually there are studies now that show (analyzing a chemical released during fertilization) that in cases where an egg becomes fertilized "naturally" within the body, as many as 43-80% of the times it does not result in implantation or pregnancy. So, there is a selection process that happens in nature as well. Ours is just happening out in the open where we can see it and comment on it.
And - really, when I think about it - all of these little peppers are underdogs. It took extraordinary measures just to get them here, and they are fighting against pretty big obstacles and odds to make it to the finish line: transfer, implantation, gestation, and birth. They are all survivors and I am proud of myself for my part in them, and proud of them for growing so well in such, well, unnatural conditions.
And I am also reminded that there is, as always, something much larger at work here. A mystery that brings this life, that helps it to grow, that shows up and works its magic. And I am grateful to that Mystery, to that magic, for how far we have come together.
For seven perfect little pepper seeds.
And for seven not-so perfect pepper seeds.
The magic is in them all.