I had survived the hardest part of IVF – all of the injections and scans and tests leading up to my egg retrieval. Here is how it went…
As you can imagine, I was bloody nervous. Not so much about being put under general anaesthetic (I figured I’d survived my first experience with that the year before) but about how many good eggs they’d be able to retrieve. I was also a bit worried about something going wrong and I had to really really try to put the actual mechanics of the procedure out of my mind. Nobody wants to think about a big needle going up your vagina, pushing through your cervix and sucking out the eggs. A NEEDLE IN YOUR VAGINA.
I found it really comforting that the anaesthetist and the person doing the procedure were women for some reason (also – girl power!) and under I went! The doctor (oh gosh I’ve forgotten her actual title) told me she’d write the number of eggs on my hand so I’d know as soon as I woke up.
I woke up to the number 20 scrawled on my right hand. TWENTY. They took out 20 eggs. I was gobsmacked and so relieved. What the hell, body? Body that couldn’t even get one good one on the drugs I’d already tried (although I now suspect the drugs were what was stopping my ovulation from being as good as normal)!
Mr Unprepared came to see me as soon as he heard I was back in recovery. He looked at my hand and his reaction was priceless. He thought it was the best thing he’d ever seen.
He’d been to the clinic while I was under to provide a sample (a very embarrassing process but as I constantly reminded him not as bad as what I’ve been through)! Our eggs and sperm would be put together to fertilise over the coming days before hopefully being frozen as 5 day old embryos. I would not be able to have one implanted this cycle, due to my risk of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) which can make a person very very ill. I would have to wait until my body returned to normal.
Fast forward a few days of me on the couch recovering and it was time to travel east for a wedding. Each day for a week afterwards, I would receive a phone call checking in on my health. They had to make sure I wasn’t gaining fluid weight really fast or showing scary signs of ovarian hyper stimulation. I had to ensure to them that my circulation was good (from flying) and that everything else in my body was doing the right thing. I also had to sleep upright for the longest time, which gets old quick!
I was bloated and tired and hormonal but I think the best thing we ever did was go away. It was a positive distraction. Quality time with my family and being able to show the Little Mister a place he’s never been was really special.
During that time we were also receiving almost daily phone calls to update us on our (hopefully) embryos. Day 1 I was told that 14 eggs had been initially fertilised (this is actually a fantastic number). Then day 3 we were told that 11 had survived. Day 5 still 11! We had 11 potential babies waiting for us in a lab. Holy shit! ELEVEN. We felt very fortunate. I had honestly been hoping for maybe 3 and had never dreamed that 11 embryos could get through this process.
I sighed with relief as it sunk in that I would potentially never have to go through the full IVF process (with all the injections etc) again. Egg retrieval was full on and got a bit scary with my discovered susceptibility to ovarian hyper stimulation. Knowing I would not have to risk my health again was an amazing blessing. After 11 tries or so I knew I would probably be absolutely be done. Maybe even before then, truth be told. We were all not getting any younger (Little Mister included) and I figured that if it didn’t work in 11 goes then it would never work). We are so fortunate to have a great health care system where you can get a lot of your money back after a treatment but you do have to pony up the money up front to start each time too. FULL ON.
As much as it was a setback having to wait before my transfer (when they put the embryo in you), a part of me was secretly relieved. Those little embryos weren’t going anywhere. I could rest a bit. It had been an intense month.