Sometimes life is a pretty straight shot, you know, you make plans, things go according to your plans, and then we all live happily ever after right? Hahah, I can’t even get through that without smirking. As we all know, life pretty much is never a straight shot, and when it is, I am 100% sure something major is about to go wrong… Don’t forget I am the jackpot winner of the Murphy’s Law Lottery! My egg retrieval was no different.
As I mentioned before, I was originally scheduled for my egg retrieval bright and early on Sunday morning. I went in for routine bloodwork the morning prior and got the shock of my life when they called back a few hours later to tell me something was wrong and my entire procedure would likely be canceled. I was told to come in the next morning at 6:30 a.m. for an ultrasound to see if we could move forward with the retrieval or not. Talk about ruining the whole ‘positive thinking’, ‘this is exciting’ piece and cue straight anxiety and emotional stress over what this all means.
I arrived at my clinic bright and early with my lovely husband at my side. I had planned on wearing our special ‘lucky’ socks I had made and my comfiest attire with of course zero perfume, deodorant, make up etc as the IVF binder says. I found myself unsure of what to do when I woke up as I had been pretty much told the day prior that any egg retrieval procedure at this point would be a long shot at best. I decide to wear our lucky socks anyways!
When we arrived at the clinic it was all black and the door was locked. Knowing how time sensitive everything was my anxiety jumped up. I started thinking “what if everything is ok and we miss it because they take too long to let us in?” (I know, I know, just call me chicken little.. the sky is always falling in my anxious little world). Finally, a nurse came out and greeted us at the door with a heavy sigh saying, “I know this is tough”… I wasn’t sure what to think. Did she know something I didn’t? Was my procedure fully canceled? Was she just being supportive?
She brought us back to the ultrasound room and had me undress to wait for the doctor on call. This was the first time Jason would be accompanying me for an ultrasound and I was glad to have him by my side as my head was spinning with all the ‘what ifs’. After a few minutes went past the nurse returned accompanied by a second nurse and asked me to get re-dressed and to go over the the surgery side. Apparently due to how time sensitive everything was, the doctor needed me to be ‘admitted’ for surgery first just in case so they could rush me to surgery if I actually had eggs left. Talk about a mind f*ck..
Hi Joy, we don’t think you will be having surgery today, but just in case, by some miracle of god you are able to, we are going to get you changed and prepped for the procedure. If not you will just go home.
I didn’t know if I should be happy, mad, or excited at this point. What side is up again? Finally, the doctor came and they walked me back over to the clinic side for my ultrasound. I don’t know if I have ever been so happy to be probed in my who-ha! I was sweating at this point.. prepped for the major let down with my fingers crossed just in case!
By the grace of god there were still follicles!! Lots of them, and some free fluid which he assured me was not a big deal. All systems were a go!! Now the rush was on!
They literally ran me back to the surgical side of the clinic. Prepped my IV and prepared the anesthesiologist and embryologist that I was a ‘go’. Next thing I know I am be whisked over to the operating room. Everything happened so fast they forgot to put a surgical hair net on me and the doctor had to run and grab one. They had me climb up on the operating table, strapped my arms into the ‘t’ bar shape while they hooked in these ginormous leg mount stirrups. Like these things were the Mack daddy of all stirrups. All I could think of was ‘Am I the next goalie for the bruins?’. I mean if I wasn’t already about to shit my pants those certainly didn’t help.
Then the embryologist came in and they did what they call a ‘stop check’ where I had to confirm who I was, the procedure, etc. I mean I guess someone might want to send a friend to do this for them? I’m pretty sure that after my 800 visits over these past few weeks it was a little silly to re-ask my name etc. But the clinic gets an ‘A’ for effort in ensuring my identity. The last few things I recall is the anesthesiologist putting the oxygen on my face and asking me to breath deeply. For some reason, I felt like I was suffocating and it immediately triggered a panic response (cue chicken little yet again!). My heart started pounding and I knew I was about to have a full blown panic attack. Just as I was about to ask for help, I heard him say, this will burn a bit but then you will go to sleep. In the most German accent imaginable.
When I awoke, I was totally confused with what had happened. Apparently, I spent the entire procedure dreaming about texting.. totally lame, and I didn’t even realize it was over. That was until I felt the immediate searing pain radiating from my ovaries. I mean I have read 100’s of blogs regarding this procedure, and I don’t recall anyone mentioning how damn painful it is. I was sobbing and had to ask for more pain meds (Apparently I was already on quite the combination). While the meds helped quite a bit at the time, I paid for them dearly a mere few hours later. You see, my body and narcotics.. while we just don’t mix. I guess I never have to worry about becoming an addict, pain meds make me feel awful! After letting the pain meds kick in, and having me rest for an hour they finally let my husband in to review how I did, next steps and what the results were.
Whoa chicken little hold your horses! 22 eggs… they collected 22 eggs from my supposedly barren ovaries. Take that blood tests! I guess you aren’t always right. After having a few crackers and some water they had Jason help me get dressed and the nurse accompanied me to our car. I was told to keep taking the pain meds as is needed, drink lots of salty drinks and eat plenty of protein to help with OHSS. Lastly, I was told to take my Cabergoline (a medication that helps reduce/prevent OHSS) and wait for the embryologist to call the next day with the fertilization report.
Everything seemed great until about half way home when the side effects of the pain meds hit me. I was painfully nauseous, dizzy and in a fog. When we finally got home I had to sit on the couch with a trash barrel next to me (you cant bend over, so if I had to throw up it was going to be in a sitting position) and a heating pad on my lap in some sort of drug induced zombie apocolipse state. My dogs desperately tried to snuggle me, but being that golden retrievers have zero sense of their size, it was all I could do to keep them from flopping their 75+ pounds on my very tender stomach.
A few hours after being home I finally started to feel somewhat human again, and that’s when the new round of symptoms kicked in. These ones have yet to leave me and I am here to warn you, it is not pretty. My stomach began to bloat significantly, in fact it became rock solid making me look somewhere in the 4 to 5 months pregnant range. Then there was the extreme feeling of fullness, like I could barely walk, move, twist, you name it. And lastly, there was the atrocious constipation. There, I said it. I don’t know if it was from the anesthesia, the pain meds, the anxiety or what, but my very regular bowels have gone on strike and don’t appear to be returning to work anytime in the near future. I have tried everything under the sun to fix this problem. I’ve taken multiple does of stool softeners, at my low point I even tried a suppository, I’ve added in chugging miralax while at work. Let me tell you something, hell knows no furry like a woman whose lady bits have been played like a game of darts and is she backed up to the high heavens.
I took an extra day off from work to ‘recover’ ha! I thought I would be good-to-go come Tuesday. But here it is Wednesday and I am dying to see my doctor tomorrow. Heck, I’m chugging miralax as we speak. Its been so brutal and uncomfortable it now hurts to stand up straight, to laugh, cough, I don’t know… to move. Its awful. Maybe my bowels are just on some sort of weird protest, but I tell you what, this shit (no pun intended) is no joke. I am currently waddling around like a late term preggo lady trying desperately to feel better.
While my egg retrieval certainly did not go as planned, the good news from all this debauchery is that out of the original 22 eggs, 14 were mature and 11 were able to be fertilized with ICSI. Although this has no bearing on how many, if any, will survive to blastocyst/freeze day. At least they were able to get some, and at least now I know that sometimes the worst part of surgery has nothing to do with the surgey itself, and everything to do with how you prepare! Drink that miralax ladies! You’ve just got yourself a glimpse into nana’s everyday struggles! Prunes anyone?
Until next time, as always, best of luck, hope and baby dust!