Welcome back to another edition of our IVF story!
I left off after I had finished all of my stimulation injections and was preparing for egg retrieval. If you missed that post, you can read it HERE. I was SO nervous going into this procedure. Our doctor does the procedure under anesthesia which I was 100% ok with. I won’t go into all of the details, but basically during an egg retrieval a needle is inserted through the vaginal wall and into each ovary where the follicles are drained of fluid and eggs. Just thinking about it sounds painful and I was happy to not be awake for the procedure.
Chris and I arrived at the doctor’s office around 7am on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018. Check in was at 7:15 and my procedure was scheduled for 8am. After we got there, they took us back to a prep room and had me change into a gown, hair net, and socks. It was beautiful.
I made sure to wear my lucky socks too!
The really nice part is that Chris got to stay with me the whole time until I went into the procedure room. He always calms me down and I was so relieved to have him there beside me and not in a waiting room somewhere. The nurse came in and explained the procedure and had us sign some forms. She also started my IV and gave me some fluids. A little while later, the anesthesiologist came in and talked to us. Then my doctor checked on me, explained everything that was going to happen, and asked if we had any questions. *Side note: If you are looking for a fertility doctor in the Dallas area, please reach out to me! I can’t recommend our doctor enough, he is the best!
After everyone had checked in with us, it was 8am and time for my egg retrieval! I was walked into the procedure room and I laid down on the table that was set up and put my legs in the stirrups. The anesthesiologist immediately put me to sleep (thank goodness because my anxiety was at an all-time high) and I woke up about 45 minutes later.
Chris stayed in the prep room during my procedure and that is where they took me afterward to recover, so when I woke up he was sitting right next to me. I have talked to a few people that have done IVF and it seems that this is standard practice for most fertility clinics. So that is really great news to anyone going through this. Your spouse will be right there waiting for you when you wake up!
I felt some pretty intense cramping when I woke up, which my doctor told me to expect. I was given 2 Tylenol right away and that was all I needed to take the pain away. They gave me some juice and crackers and monitored my vital signs for about an hour and then we got to go home. Oh, and before we left they told us how many eggs they got: 35! No wonder I was so uncomfortable leading up to the egg retrieval. Later that afternoon they would fertilize all of my mature eggs with Chris’ sperm and we would get a call the next day with the fertilization update.
Chris and I stopped for food on the way home because I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before and I was starving. Once we got home, relaxing was the order of the day. I drank a ton of Gatorade because electrolytes are super important after egg retrieval. The follicles that were emptied can fill back up with fluid and cause a lot of pain and complications. Drinking Gatorade and protein shakes and eating salty food helps prevent that. So I made sure to drink a ton of electrolytes and I sat on the couch most of the day with my heating pad.
Honestly, my recovery from my egg retrieval went much smoother than I expected. The following day was probably the worst. I had a lot of bloating and stomach pain, but it was bearable. I continued to drink Gatorade and 1 or 2 protein shakes a day as instructed. I took Tylenol when I needed it and I just took it really easy. I took the day of retrieval off from work and then I worked remotely the following 2 days. By the weekend, I was feeling about 90% back to normal.
Our clinic called us the next day to tell us how many eggs were mature and how many fertilized. We did IVF with ICSI which means that Chris’ sperm was injected directly into my mature eggs. That gives a better chance of fertilization and is what our doctor recommended for us given our history. We were relieved to hear that 28 of my eggs were mature and 25 of them fertilized. Two days later we got the “Day 3” report and found out that 18 were still growing. On Tuesday, 7/3/18, we got another update on our embryos. We were very relieved to hear that 10 embryos made it to the blastocyst stage on Day 5 and were able to be frozen.
Chris and I chose to do genetic testing (PGS) on our embryos because we did not want to risk transferring an embryo that was chromosomally abnormal and would never implant and develop into a baby. This is a very personal decision, but we knew we wanted to give ourselves the best chance of success for a pregnancy and live birth. After everything we had already gone through, I couldn’t bear the thought of a negative pregnancy test or worse. A few days after our embryos were frozen and biopsied, we got the final update and heard the news that we had 5 viable embryos. We were happy and relieved!
The next step was to start preparing my body for the embryo transfer. Our doctor only does frozen transfers because he believes it is important to give the body a little bit of a break after all of the hormones from stimulation. I was expected to get my period within 5-7 days and that would be the sign that my body was returning to normal. At that point we would get our transfer calendar and keep moving forward in our journey to start a family!
Stay tuned to hear about the process leading up to our frozen embryo transfer!
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