Just Breathe

I am worried about my monitoring appointment tomorrow. Worried that they will find something really wrong with me, like I have no more eggs and my hopes for a baby are over.

Before we were so rudely interrupted by my broken ovaries, I was telling you about what IVF is like. We got through the monitoring appointment, and even into protocols a little but there is more that comes after that. Egg retrieval day, day 1 and 2 assuming the eggs were fertilized, possibly growing the eggs to blastocysts, and then FET.

Lets talk about egg retrieval shall we? They are kind of carnival like in that at the end you hopefully win a prize but they are totally not like winning a huge stuffed animal in the midway. My own experience is starting day 3, you begin meds, clomid, then shots of menopur on day 6 and 8, another monitoring appointment on day 10, and then 36 hours before retrieval you take a lupron shot, these shots being ones you give yourself in the stomach. Or your husband or significant other can give them to you assuming he’s not acting like a bad boyfriend.

Then retrieval day which for me has always been day 12. No powder, no deodorant, no lotion no perfumed anything the day of retrieval as they are very toxic to your eggs and the environment must be as sterile as possible.

Most retrieval are done in the morning, so you will be there with a bunch of other women who are all about to do the same thing you are doing. You arrive 30 minutes before your appointment, are told to strip from the waist down, yes take your socks off, no you can’t wear your panties. No your leggings can’t stay on, no your leg warmers can’t stay on either.  You are given a gown, some slippers, and one of those surgery hair thingies. The nurse then asks you to verify your name and birth date and they give you one of those plastic bracelet things. You are then told to lie down. Which you do with the curtains drawn between you and the other women. But you hear each of them having the same conversation you had with the nurse, “no socks, no underwear, no no no.”

At this point I should say that while everyone is very nice, someone has turned on a Norah Jones CD on a loop, which is already a downer. What you really notice is the silence between each curtain, the shallow breathing, the anxiety. Or the whispered prayers. You get called in, walk into the surgery, notice that its cold, your feet are cold, your ass *might* be hanging out in the wind, and you are helped to a table where they push your gown up to your belly, and strap your legs down. Because moving while doing the retrieval is bad. They focus a huge light on you, one of those cold war interrogation lights, and all your business is on display.

Now might be the time to mention that this procedure is done without anesthesia. Of any kind. That’s right, not even a Valium. All of a sudden your doctor comes in, everyone asks you to validate yourself again, he inserts the speculum, cleans your cervix, inserts the probe so he can see your ovaries,  and begins to insert what is seriously a 2 foot thin plastic needle into your ovaries to aspirate the eggs out.

And it hurts, it really really hurts. There are a lot of nerve endings in the vaginal area and the friction from the needle can be take your breath away painful. Then he takes it out, does it again in the other ovary, and hopefully you will have a mature egg or two, or more but I’ve never had more than 2.

After my first time of having this done, when I was finished I went out and met my husband in the waiting room who, rather than ask how I was doing starts telling me how the porn was horrible, and that he didn’t know how to make the dvd player work and how embarrassing it was. I gave him the death stare and said “shut up, do not talk to me about this. Unless your little interlude included a 2 foot needle in your junk with no anesthesia you need to just be quiet” and he just blinked and was like…”whaaaaaaaat?”

Back to the protocols and retrieval for a moment, you see 2 of the last 3 times I have had this done, I ovulated early. The first time I lost the lead 2 eggs which to me felt like a lost opportunity. The second time, was an all natural cycle because I was also going to do a transfer, I also ovulated early, this time there was only one egg, and it was big and healthy and another lost opportunity. The point of my telling you this is that even at this stage, things can go wrong, and lots of times do.

So now you know, probably more than you wanted to about the egg retrieval process. But writing this has helped me get through another hour until tomorrows appointment, where I will find out what happens next, if anything.

Just breathe.

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One comment on “Just Breathe

  1. Marlen Kennebrew says:

    I always use leg warmers whenever i am on a very long trip in cold weather. –

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