The second devotion in the Hope Strong book I wrote about on Monday night is called, “Anxious: Just Relax.” In my devotional-reading frenzy on Sunday, I marked a quote that stood out to me: "Releasing control (aka relaxing) releases anxiousness." I'll be the first to admit that I like to exercise a significant amount of control over my life and its course.
Spoiler alert: infertility is really horrible for controlling your family planning, and it wreaks havoc on other aspects of your life with its appointments, injections, and procedures.
I wouldn't consider myself on the extreme end of tightly wound or high strung, and I often identify adaptability and flexibility as personal strengths in interview settings. Still, I like to be in control while I'm going with the flow...if that's possible. What was most notable to me about this quote was that it defined "relaxing" as "releasing control." When I think of relaxation, I frame it as binge-watching a TV show and eating ice cream on my couch or going on vacation somewhere and not focusing on work, school, or other stressors. That's different from releasing control.
“Just relax” is among the magical baby-making advice I have received from well-meaning people, and I sort of resent hearing it. In concert with the idea of reserving hope for when you've done everything else, though, relaxing by releasing control makes a lot of sense. Accordingly, I have been working on releasing control this week.
At the egg retrieval on Tuesday, we retrieved seven eggs. After the procedure, I slept and stayed in my pajamas most of the day other than when we took Scooter for a walk. Richard and I ordered dinner from Olive or Twist, and the poutine was particularly delicious. I am proud to report that I didn't fret even a little bit about what was going to happen with the eggs (though I did hope that all seven would be mature and fertilize). I slept with my phone on silent and missed the call from the embryologist giving our fertilization report, which is unlike me. Fortunately, she left a voicemail to let me know that six of our seven eggs were mature, and all six fertilized with ICSI. Yay!
Following that bit of happy news, I allowed my relaxation to extend through Wednesday. I could be worrying about how many of our fertilized eggs will make it to the blastocyst stage, but so far I have avoided that. I know what the statistics predict--30 to 50 percent, so 2 or 3 out of 6--and always hope to outperform the expectations. However, I'm at the point where I have to release control and hope for the best, so that is what I am doing.
I was back in business today, including starting the day with a run around the LSU lakes with a friend from Slow Mode Running Club. After a shower and some breakfast, I went to campus in the late morning and stayed until 4:30 doing some reading and planning for my practicum course that I'm doing this month. I'm still waiting on some data, but I'm excited about the progress I have made.
In IVF news, our next update will come on Monday when we find out how many made it through day 5 to the blastocyst stage. I have graduated from the "Every cycle is different" mantra to these cycle-specific mantras in the meantime: "Grow and divide--make it to day 5!" and "6 has some mighty tricks (mainly turning into maybe babies)." Also, calling blastocysts "maybe babies" is one part of IVF that makes me smile.
Overall, I would say I am doing well. Richard and I were pleased with the results of the retrieval and continue to hope for more good news. If we have a few (or maybe just one) euploid embryo from this cycle, I think it'll be time to talk with our RE about attempting a transfer, which is very exciting! But first, we will hope, relax, and wait.
Something that made today great: I made good progress with my practicum research!
Time I woke up: 6:45 am