IVF Part Two: Egg Retrieval

Hey y’all time for another IVF update! This part was exciting and miserable and nerve-wracking all at the same time! So, I went in for my egg retrieval on Thursday, November 9th with 45 lil follies growing in my ovaries. I have PCOS, so I started with more follicles than the average woman in the first place, which is why the doctor did not expect all of them to have mature eggs inside at the time of retrieval. He threw out the number 25 as a guesstimate for what I should expect, but according to Dr. Google 15 is a solid number with high success rates, so I was hoping for somewhere in between 15 and 25.

I had a cold this day which had me very worried, but the anesthesiologist told me it was no big deal. They put me under for the procedure which was a dream. I love the feeling of whatever pain meds they gave me before the anesthesia and was thankful to feel relaxed and sleepy.. While I was in the “operating room”, Ben had the lovely privilege of visiting the “Man Cave” to do his part. I was back in the waiting room to meet him in right around half an hour, so the whole thing didn’t take too long at all! I woke up feeling a little clumsy and confused, but happy and pain-free for the time being. My biggest complaint was that my dang cold was so annoying. I had a stuffy nose and felt sneezy still and worried about repairing my immune system while recovering from the procedure in the less than the five days I had before embryo transfer.

The doc let us know that they were able to retrieve 17 eggs and that I would get the fertilization update the following morning and sent me home. I was pretty happy with that number, but I’ll admit also frustrated that there were sooo many more follicles in there that had bloated me up “for nothing”. I tried not to be too greedy about it though, because I knew that 17 was wayyy more eggs than many women are able to retrieve and it was still more than my realistic goal number of 15.

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A couple of hours after the pain meds had worn off and I was home on the couch I started to feel a lot of tightness in my chest that was super uncomfortable in combination with my chest cold and trying to stay  reclined as much as I could. The pain in my chest was actually pretty scary, but I think it was just surgical gas built up from the procedure trying to find an escape and nothing to really worry about. I spent the rest of the night just trying to stay calm and drink a ton of fluids to avoid hyperstimulation.

Friday morning Dr. Fisch called with the fertilization report. Of the 17 retrieved, 12 were mature and all 12 were fertilized.

I’ve talked a lot about OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) in my posts mainly because it is such a worry for women like me with PCOS and IVF patients in general. Even though my eggs had already been retrieved, this was the time when I had to worry about it most because the follicles where the eggs were drained from were all still in my body like raisins and were filling back up with blood and water like grapes quickly, which is painful. Days two and three were the worst because of this. Day two I was still well enough to hang with the twins most of the day and even went on a little walk, but day three hit me hard! When I moved from the couch to the bathroom or anywhere else I was a bit doubled over, because it hurt to stand up all the way straight. My stomach felt like a hard balloon and it was impossible to suck in. I felt like I was already four months pregnant. I still had pressure and tension in my chest and into my shoulders, was battling a bad cold, and it was uncomfortable to urinate. I felt pretty nauseous at one point and had to lie down in the bathroom, but nothing ever came up. I had also found out by then that I could take Sudafed for my cold, but it made me feel clammy and shaky and just weird!. It was a rough time, I’m not going to lie. The problem is, I don’t know what could have made it any better either, because I felt like I was doing everything the right way like I should have.

Day 3 report was that there were now 8 embryos that looked good right where they needed to be and the other 3-4 were still “hanging in there”. They scheduled my embryo transfer for Tuesday (Day 5) at 3 pm.

I started feeling a lot better thank heaven by Sunday night/Monday morning, but still very bloated and taking it very easy. If I had to rate my pain 1-10 throughout this process… pre- egg retrieval would be around a 3 and post- egg retrieval more like a 6 ish. So yea twice as bad after, be warned! (for me at least)

On day 4 I came downstairs for breakfast and stopped in the bathroom on the way for my AM progesterone suppository. Well, turns out I wasn’t supposed to insert any suppositories this day and Ben almost had an anxiety attack because I didn’t check the calendar first, just assumed I knew what I was doing! I called the clinic manager and thankfully she said that it was no big deal and I didn’t need to worry. Whew! There are so many different pills, suppositories, and injections throughout this whole process that my advice would be to ALWAYS check your calendar and put a little check mark next to things you have already done so you don’t second guess yourself. It seems like you wouldn’t forget, but your brain is fried from everything that’s going on.

I was sooo looking forward to day 5 when I could get my little embabies out of the petri dish and back inside of me, but we were thrown for a bit of a loop when the doc called on Tuesday morning. He said that all 8 of my embryos were still around, but that none of them were of high enough quality that he could recommend transfer. He said they were slow growers and suggested that we let them all stay in the lab another night and see what’s left tomorrow. He explained that embryos are graded on a scale at this point typically 1-4 and A-C. Mine were all 1’s and 2’s and mostly B’s when they should be 3’s or 4’s and A’s or B’s… He hoped that one or two would grow overnight, but warned me that if not we might want to start all over… I was pretty dang devastated.

After the phone call of doom, I took my morning antibiotic and folic acid upstairs and came down about ten minutes later to eat a little something, but ended up throwing it all up within a half hour. I think it was a combination of not eating soon enough with my pills and the nerves I was feeling from our not so good news that morning. I called the clinic manager, Amy, again to let her know I threw up and she reassured me that it would be okay and just to proceed with my normal progesterone in oil injection in the PM. I also asked her if I should be worried about a potential day 6 transfer of my slow growers, because my medication protocol was designed for a Day 5 transfer and I was worried about my uterine lining. She did a good job at diminishing my fears about that and let me know that if the embryos did make it to Day 6 they were actually a bit better and stronger, so I tried to be positive the rest of the day about all of that even though I was totally on pins and needles!

The next morning (Day 6) I was sooooo nervous waiting for doc to call! When the phone finally rang my heart was probably beating out of my chest. He let me know that we had TWO good embryos grading a 4aa and a 4ba (a MIRACLE)  and maybe 1-2 others that we could freeze, but that he was considering letting go to Day 7. I was so incredibly relieved at the news. Part of me couldn’t believe that we went from 45 plump follicles to just 2 on transfer day, but those two looked great and that’s exactly how many I wanted to transfer anyway! I was so happy for those two little embabies I went into the embryo transfer walking on a cloud ;)

To be continued..