The morning of my procedure I was extremely anxious. As with most aspects of infertility, there were still so many unknowns as to what the outcome would be. I consistently prayed that all of these injections would provide me with the result I desired.
I arrived at the office a little early. My mother accompanied me since I would not be able to drive home after sedation. There were a couple of the husbands in the waiting room and since we had become friendly during this process I asked about how their wives were doing. They were pretty eager to find out how their wives were doing.
The difference was that they were moving on to hopefully transfer healthy embryos during the week, while my journey was coming to a temporary pause after today.
They called me into the back and started to prepare me for the procedure. I put on the gown and cap and the nurse came in and went over some information with me about the procedure as well as what to expect afterwards.
I was shaking, a bit nervous. Not for the procedure itself but for the outcome. I was lucky enough to have come THIS far, was my luck going to run out? The doctor never thought I would have gotten to this point.
There were three curtained off areas and I was in the middle one. I heard a woman recovering to my left. Instantly, I recognized her voice and as the wife of one of the men in the waiting room. She seemed to be in a bit of distress, which mirrored her personality from the times we spoke in the mornings during check ups. Her blood pressure was very high and it was making her nervous, and in turn making me panic! I continued with my yoga breathing and waited.
The anesthesiologist came in shortly after and started going over what he would be doing. He informed me that since I was a redhead I required more anesthesia for sedation. Also, he stated that he had heard I gave myself the trigger myself and was quite impressed. Apparently I had made quite a name for myself in the office. I assured him that when left with no other option, you do what you have to do. It was either give it to myself or not get it at all. After he inserted the IV we walked over to the surgical room and I was instructed to lie on the table and insert my thighs in the stirrups with my behind hanging off the table.
It was quite an awkward position to be in, but I soon felt the drugs starting to do their job and began to relax.
There was a little drive-thru window to my left where the embryologist poked his head out and asked me a few questions about my procedure. I then asked him if he could give me a picture of the eggs that they retrieve and the next thing I remembered I was in the recovery room, uneasily waking up.
Was it over? Did I get any eggs? Were the mature? Were they strong? Could I talk to the doctor?
They assured me that I had already spoken to the doctor twice and that I had gotten 8 eggs, but only 7 were mature enough to freeze.
And that was that.
I got them. I had 7 and although it wasn’t as many as most women were getting who were much older than me, 7 was much better than 0.
At that particular moment I wanted to talk more about it, hear about everything that happened. But I was in fact feeling pretty tipsy. The nurse told me to go to the bathroom and although I wasn’t feeling quite ready to get up I obliged. As I swung my legs to the side of the bed I felt like I was going to topple over. She helped me up and brought me into the bathroom. I was able to go and then somehow lifted myself up to go back to my bed. As I was leaving the bathroom my mother was coming around the corner and the nurse had told me my mother would help me get dressed and I was able to leave.
Although I did not feel ready to leave I was too drunk to argue…I got dressed and began to leave.
The nurse then handed me the picture I had apparently requested numerous times throughout the morning.
And there they were. My 7 little eggies. I was so overjoyed. BURSTING with pride for my eggs. I am completely in love.
My lucky 7.
I wasn’t sure what the little spots were around them, if that signaled abnormalities or something else. But I didn’t care. I was just so happy I got them and that they were mine!
They also gave me a picture of my 8th egg that did not make it. I had assumed that this was from the little follicle on my left side. I had heard the doctor reading my numbers each time, and there always seemed to be one that was just slightly behind the others. Maybe if we had just given him a little more time, he would have made it too. I felt sad for him.
I saw the doctor at the desk as I was making my way out and asked him about my eggs. He said there were 7 good ones and that he wanted to see me in about a week and a half, which was contrary to what the nurses had told me would be happening. They had said that I should contact the office when I was ready to do something with my eggs. I was relieved with the new plan, as I was not ready to just abandon my journey.
I would be recovering at my parent’s house and stayed there over night. After reading some women’s experiences with egg retrieval I was pretty certain I’d be up and about that day, ready to go home that night, and that I would be able to start running again the following day. Not all had an easy recovery, but I was in pretty decent shape and figured my body would just bounce back easily.
That was absolutely not the case. I took the following day off of work as well and was glad I had. My head was pounding for most of the day and since I was not able to take my Excedrin, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to rid myself of it. I called the office and the nurse told me to take my Percocet, that it should help my head.
It did, and although I did not want to use the drugs after the procedure, Tylenol was not helping the pain. My stomach was very bloated and tender to the touch. I was bleeding, but it had subsided as the day progressed. I had a lot of things planned for that day, but was not able to complete any of them.
Later that evening I got ready to leave and made my way back home. I was exhausted and hurting, but I knew I had to get it together so I could go to work the next day. I looked around my house and everywhere were reminders of the process; pages of instructions hung on the fridge, my bag of syringes and alcohol swabs, my sharps container in my bathroom and box of band aids. (I have since replaced the papers on the fridge with the lucky 7)
And I lost it. I sobbed and sobbed. I was so riddled with mountains of emotions that I couldn’t control myself.
Part of it was relief that I would no longer have to revolve my evening around injections. Relief that I had gotten 7 healthy eggs. Relief that my life would be getting back to normal.
As normal as it could. I knew that the thought of those eggs sitting there would haunt me. I so badly wanted to use them, but I wasn’t sure how. I was so anxious about getting a donor. This would direct my life on a completely off-beat path. I wasn’t sure I was completely ready for it.
The other part was sadness. Sadness that my journey stopped here. I wouldn’t be progressing as the other women. I wouldn’t be potentially meeting my baby within the next year.
This was the part of me that was overcome. Everyone else was continuing their journeys, doing their progesterone shots preparing their bodies for transfer. That wasn’t my path, and I had to figure out how to accept it.
I got myself up for work the next morning, not having completed anything that I had set out to do to prepare myself. I still had this lingering feeling of defeat and sadness, but I dressed myself in my best front for the day and went to work. I had a workshop, so I was hoping that my movement would be minimal and I wouldn’t feel so bad.
As the day went on, my bleeding got heavier and heavier. I was in constant pain and discomfort in my stomach, so I took Tylenol. This did NOT help.
I also called the doctor that day to check on my eggs, just to make sure that all 7 made it to freezing. Although he had assured me they were all healthy, I just wanted to double check. The nurse told me that they had all been frozen, and asked if I wanted to do another cycle.
SURE! Let me just pop out another 8k, that I didn’t have.
I suddenly felt like my 7 were unsubstantial, because although 7 was greater than 0, the usual story had womens eggs diminishing as they progressed through each phase towards IVF.
For example, one lady had 14 retrieved, only 9 fertilized, and she was waiting to see how many lived to day 5- if she would have any that were able to be transferred.
Again, everyone is different and I just had to hope that my eggs would make it, at least one would give me the baby I wanted.
It’s hard to keep your emotions in check. There are so many uncertainties, so many worries. Most will tell you to just stay positive and do what you have to do. I found this quote that completely resonated with me, because although I wanted to be that positive, upbeat person it was not always possible. This experience was completely draining.
I also told the nurse I was interested in discussing my next steps, and although my doctor was not a fan of me using donor sperm I wanted to visit the option. I was mostly interested in what the cost would be. The financial factor was actually the only real thing holding me back from following my dream. I didn’t have the money to complete a cycle without it being covered. I didn’t have the money to live on my own and support a baby. It would all come down to what insurance would be covering. I left a message for the lady in charge of billing and hoped for the best.
By the end of the day, I was beside myself. The other women I had talked to who had their retrieval when I did were feeling they were also feeling poorly, minus the bleeding. One had returned to work that day, but left early as she was in too much pain.
But the time I returned home that evening, I had the chills, my nausea was excessive, and my bleeding was bad. I referred back to the directions the nurse had given me and although I thought it had said bleeding up to a week, it actually stated that bleeding may occur for 1-2 days.
This was day 3 so I wasn’t too concerned, but apparently my mother was. She showed up at my house with a chocolate cake and sat with me for a few hours. She told me to take some Percocet and it did in fact help. She wanted to stay but I told her that it was ok for her to leave, that I would be fine!
I think that my body’s condition was in part due to my movement throughout the day, but also the emotions I was again trying to suppress. I was so unsure as to when or how I would be using my eggs and it was effecting me.
I had to actively stop my thinking and assure myself that I had done what I needed to do and that everything would happen in due time.
I was growing more and more eager to meet with the doctor in coming weeks to discuss what to do next. My appointment was for Valentine’s Day. I was hoping cupid would point me in the right direction, for once.