I love coming out of a general. I feel groggy, chatty and well rested. Then I remember what I was in for. SHIT! Sheer panic sets in as you try and rip your hands out from under the covers to see what number is written on them. They write the number of eggs collected on your hand so you know as soon as you wake up. Last time around I woke up and had nothing written. I completely freaked out until the nurse said “Whoops sorry, we forgot to tell you you got 13” (thanks douche). This time around I managed to free my right hand first and there was the number 8. Felt a little disheartened as this was less than last time but I quickly reminded myself that it only takes one! We only ended up with 1 embryo last time and it worked (very lucky I know) so you just have to think positively and hope for the best.
Hubby was let in (to recovery) and after scoffing down four packets of cheese and crackers (No sandwiches sadly, probably had something to do with the fact I was one of the last of the day. All those morning chicks must have devoured them!) I get dressed. Only had slight bleeding (which is normal) and light cramping which they give you Panadol for. As if the four packets of cheese and crackers weren’t enough we did a drive by KFC run on the way home too. Bad idea…I’ll explain later! Ooh Hot Tip #5 DO NOT under any circumstances do a KFC run after IVF retrieval surgery!
Lucky Number 8!
Once I got home I was feeling quite sore and crampy, particularly in my lower back. I took Panadine and thought that would fix it. Meanwhile, I got a call from the scientists who gave me an update on how my eggs were doing. All 8 eggs were mature (YAY). They also performed the Digital High Magnification of sperm. This is their most advanced method of selection where they magnify the sperm to select the most appropriate (yes this costs more). This was extremely important for us too as the reason we are doing IVF is because of hubbys low sperm mobility. They would now do ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) where they inject a single sperm into each egg, also super important for us (and yes this is an added cost again). I would continue to get updates from the scientists over the next five days with the development of the embryos.
All this good news quickly got side lined as my pain got so much worse (paired with the worst heartburn of my life thanks to over eating after surgery, bloody KFC!!! They tell you to eat light small meals that night, trust them!!!!!).
So what was the pain like? I basically couldn’t move any part of my body without stabbing pains running through my stomach….. not very pleasant! Aside from labour this was the worst pain I have ever been in. I didn’t think it was normal but after a call to the nurse they said to try and rest up and see how I am in the morning. They didn’t seem too alarmed which I think calmed me down ever so slightly. I seriously thought I would have to be rushed to hospital.
Fast rack to morning (although let me tell you that night went anything but fast!) and I’m still in the same amount of pain. My doctor calls and says that he may have ‘nipped’ my ovary which can cause severe pain due to some internal bleeding…..SHIT! It should heal itself over the next week. Todays mantra – pop the Panadine!
Luckily I received another call from the scientists to say that 4 embryos had fertilized and they would continue to monitor the other 4, so fingers crossed. This does not mean that I have 4 embryos ready to use when I like. They still have to continue to develop accordingly and reach the blastocyst stage which isn’t normally until Day 5.
My pain slowly faded over the next couple of days…phew. However, it did prove very hard to parent a toddler whilst unable to move, thank goodness for a wonderful hubby! Will need to repay him when not in total agony.
The four days following retrieval are the most stressful and nerve wracking yet. You wait for the calls each day from the scientist and hope that not too many embryos have dropped off. We went from 13 eggs collected to 1 embryo in my first round so I am all too familiar with that nervous feeling. On Day 5 (5 days after retrieval) you get the call to tell you how many have reached the blastocyst stage (when the embryo would normally move out of the fallopian tube and into the uterus) and can be transferred or frozen. My call went a little something like this…. “Now Lauren, none of them have reached the stage they should be at. 1 didn’t survive, 2 are not there yet but still growing nicely and the other 1 not grown much.” Yes at this point I thought we had a failed round.
She went on to say “We will monitor all 4 for another day and see where they are at tomorrow.” Phew! My first thought, ‘I thought they had to be frozen at Day 5?.’ I quickly went to one of my best friends, ‘Google’ and started doing research to find out if this is normal. Turns out they can reach Day 6 too and still be ok. Another thing I didn’t realise is apparently only half of your Day 3 embryos actually make it to Day 5. Makes sense for me, I went from 8 to 4 this time and 3 to 1 last time.
One thing I wished IVF Australia would do is send you the information they have told you over the phone each time they call you. I’m normally still trying to remember the name of who is calling me before they’ve already finished saying their piece and I’m left dumb founded. Plus once you get off the phone you think of a million questions you wished you’d asked too. So Hot Tip #6 Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or for them to repeat themselves, I wish I had!
This takes us to Day 6! Feeling sick to the stomach right up until you get the call is completely normal. I found going to work is actually the best distraction. Hot Tip #7 Don’t put work on hold during an IVF cycle (with exception that you don’t like your job or the people you work with). I really enjoyed going to work, it kept my mind off what was going on in my personal life and not many people knew what was going on so I could have regular chats about anything! It does help to tell your boss and some colleagues though, mine were so wonderful and understanding.
Anyway back to what you’re all waiting to hear…… The scientist called and said we have 3 beautiful little embryos to freeze…yippee!!!! I was just happy with 1 like last time so 3 was an absolute treat!
What happens now? I have elected for PGD (pre-implantation genetic testing of the embryos) which involves taking a biopsy of each embryo and testing them for genetic or chromosomal abnormalities. This takes a few weeks to get the results back, hence why my embryos are frozen until we get the results and can transfer. So in the meantime I get back to the gym and back on the vinos! I put the gym on hold during the cycle as it’s important not to overstimulate your ovaries which can be done from raising your body temperature (mixed with all the added hormones you’re taking of course). I normally just do light walks and wrestle a toddler. In regards to the wine, some people choose not to have any and some people choose to not change their lifestyle at all. I opt for an in between method, 2 a day brings the eggs out to play, after all I’m (hopefully) about to go a while without any!
Time to relax for a few weeks…..