Tuesday morning, I went to the RE’s office for an ultrasound. I’d noticed for the past couple of days that my ovaries were very tender and achy, quite different from my first cycle. The first IVF cycle, I’d had a small amount of tenderness, but it was isolated, small twinges of discomfort. Monday, I’d instead felt a steadily increasing pressure and burning in my lower abdomen. I was definitely ready to get checked, because I knew something had to be going on. I just hoped it was good.
As the ultrasound tech read off the follicle sizes and count, I felt myself getting excited. There were a lot more follicles. They were also closer in size than during the first IVF cycle. Just to be certain, I asked for a printout of the final follicle sizes and count from my first cycle, and sat, comparing the two. During the first IVF cycle, I’d had seven follicles that were 18mm or larger and five that were 14 mm-18mm. This time, I counted eleven follicles 18mm or larger, and an additional seven that were 16mm-18mm. There were also several 14 and 15mm follicles.
I crossed my fingers and waited nervously for the call with my blood work results. I knew internally I’d be triggering that evening, but it was hard to wait for the confirmation. Finally, the nurse called to give me my numbers, the time for my trigger shot, and my retrieval time.
Thursday morning, we headed out for the clinic at 4:45 in the morning, Arthur drinking his coffee, me grumbling about the lack of coffee since I couldn’t have anything to eat or drink after midnight. For me, it’s actually not the caffeine that’s the draw – I can go decaf in a heartbeat without it bothering me – it’s the whole ritual preparing and drinking of the coffee. It’s also far easier to grumble about a lack of coffee also than face the major nerves I was feeling about the upcoming procedure.
When we arrived at the clinic, I calmly pointed out the good vein in my arm to the nurse, who managed to get my IV in on the first stick. I changed into my hospital gown and sat down on the gurney. First, the anesthesiologist came in to speak with me, confirm the plan, and make sure he had all the information he needed. Then the embryologist came in to make sure we didn’t have any questions about the lab process. After the embryologist, Dr. E and a resident came in to go over the final details of the egg retrieval and escort me to the OR.
Everyone liked my socks for the retrieval:
I woke up just as I was being transferred from the OR table back onto the gurney and wheeled back to my room. Arthur, Dr. E and the resident were there, and I vaguely remember slurring out “How many?” and Dr. E answering that he had retrieved 32 eggs.
32! I just sat there in shock. I had figured based on my final ultrasound that there would be around 18 or 20, but I hadn’t expected this at all. The first IVF cycle, 15 eggs had been retrieved, 11 had been mature, and 5 had fertilized. This was a much better response so far. I reminded myself about the crappy fertilization rate from the first IVF cycle and not to get overly excited.
I felt pretty good all the way home, but early in the evening, started feeling nauseous off and on. I wound up reclining with my eyes closed on the couch, listening to episodes of TV shows I’d already seen because I wanted something to take my mind off the discomfort, but unable to read or tolerate watching the flickering images. Finally, Arthur suggested going to bed.
In the morning, I was extremely glad that I’d proactively decided to take the day after the retrieval off to recuperate, because I felt wretched. What started out as mere lightheadedness and some achiness for a couple of hours turned into full on nausea and had me laying in the dark on the couch again interspersed with quick sprints to the bathroom and carefully sipping some fluids to rehydrate between rounds.
The lab called in the midst of all this. 22 eggs were mature, and 18 had fertilized normally. Even feeling icky couldn’t quell my enthusiasm. When the nurse called from the RE’s office just to check in on me and confirm that the plan was for a day 5 transfer, I was pretty chipper for feeling as rough as I did. She told me to call Dr. E if I kept getting sick throughout the afternoon or started to get dehydrated and said she’d alert him about my nausea in case it got worse.
Arthur brought me more fluids and saltines on his lunch break. Finally by about mid-afternoon, I could actually move off the couch without feeling like I was going to fall over or throw up again. Arthur got home, made us a light dinner and I spent the rest of the evening resting, exhausted but finally less nauseated.
There’s still a long way to go. I’m still pretty nervous about tomorrow, which is when the lab could call if something went terribly wrong and they suddenly needed us for a day 3 transfer. I know everything looks good, but I’ve had so many times things looked good in the past and didn’t work out. All I can do is wait and hope.