IVF Cycle #1: “Eggs in Time for Easter!”

In anticipation of my egg retrieval the next morning, we packed up a suitcase Thursday night, dropped an anxious Orion off with my mom and grandma, and drove two hours through the snow to stay closer to our fertility clinic. After two full weeks of IVF injections along with several daily blood draws and ultrasounds, I was in pain and uncomfortable, my ovaries were swollen to several times their normal size, and I was ready to get those eggs out.

I had heard a lot of different stories regarding recovery from the egg retrieval, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Soon after arriving, I changed into a hospital gown and waited for my IV. To pass the time I was supplied with a few magazines in which, of course, every single celebrity seemed to be pregnant or holding a small child. All the glossy photos of smiling pregnant women felt bizarre and out of place in contrast with my stark reality. Our clinic is usually pretty good about stuff like this– for example, there is a separate waiting room for those with children so that the rest of us without don’t have to be confronted by babies while we’re waiting to go through invasive treatments or receive bad news about failed attempts from the doctor. It is a strange experience when the thing you want most in life becomes something you can’t even bear to see.

Once inside the OR, I got to meet the embryologist before the anesthesia knocked me out in a few seconds flat (the anesthesiologist called me a “lightweight”). The next thing I remember was waking up in recovery with horrible pain while someone held an alcohol swab under my nose (apparently I had told them I was feeling dizzy). I usually come out of anesthesia pretty quickly, so as soon as I got my bearings, I asked first for Kyle and second for the egg count. It could have been an hour later or maybe just a minute before Kyle was there, pulling back the curtain and saying, “You did great! Did you hear they got 27 eggs?!”

Egg Retrievals: Reason #458 that it's harder to be a woman than a man.
Egg Retrievals: Reason #458 why it’s harder to be a woman than a man.

Unfortunately, I continued to struggle for a while in recovery as they worked to get my pain level under control. Waking up from surgery is one of the feelings I hate most, and even though this was minor compared to the other surgeries I’ve had, the pain was no joke. (If you’re reading this and freaking out because you’re headed toward a retrieval in the near future, don’t let this worry you! I have lots of problems with scar tissue in my abdomen and nerves that experience pain 3x more than the average person; this was not unexpected for me.) Thankfully, the morphine finally kicked in and after resting a bit and being able to eat and drink a little something, I was given the okay to go home.

The drive back was tough: two hours and every single bump was incredibly painful. We stopped several times along the way to try to make it a little easier on me. Finally knowing the final number was a huge relief– it was not only above the number we’d hoped for (around 15), it was also above average in general. Elle* joked that we had plenty of eggs in time for Easter and called me an over-achiever, which Kyle amended to “ovary-achiever.”

Early the next morning we received a call from the doctor saying that 24 of the eggs were mature and out of those, 17 were fertilized and became embryos via ICSI. If you’ve been watching this season of The Bachelor, you actually got to see this procedure done during Whitney’s hometown date the other week. But, just in case you are missing out on this great season and still wanted to see an ICSI, here is a video from youtube for you:

Since getting home I am recovering– albeit a little more slowly than what I think is normal. I have still been in a good bit of pain both yesterday and today, but I live for the daily updates we get from the clinic. Every time I answer the phone I wait with baited breath through the small talk, hoping that the nurse isn’t just delaying the information that none of them made it through the night, that we have to start all over again. We are expecting to lose more in the days to come, but we are lucky to have started with a high number.

A few days from now Elle and her husband will travel here for the fresh embryo transfer, which is what we’ve spent all this time and energy working toward. It’s hard to think back to when we first started this process and how different our lives were then, how different we were. It changes you, not just gradually overtime, but rapidly and with each new step. I am a different person than I was before we started this cycle, and I can feel myself pulling further and further away from the life I used to live.

Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes for the egg retrieval. I am very glad to have it behind me. ❤

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons

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5 thoughts on “IVF Cycle #1: “Eggs in Time for Easter!”

  1. You have done remarkably well through this whole journey. Hope you can now rest and heal. Prayers continue for the days ahead. God bless! Love you! Gram

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