IVF Round 1: Egg Retrieval Update
Our egg retrieval was this past Saturday (9/8/18), and today I’m sharing how the trigger shot and egg retrieval went. I’ll also share our initial results. We are now entering the “hurry up and wait” phase of IVF as we wait in anticipation for the results of our embryos as they continue to develop!
I sat in the small back room of the nurse’s office at Heath Junior High School.
The nurse had returned to her desk to call my mom. I heard her pick up the phone and dial the number. We waited, and then I heard her speak softly into the phone, “Hi, Doreen. This is the nurse from Heath. Kristen isn’t feeling well. She has a stomachache, and she’ll need to go home for the rest of the afternoon.” Silence. The loud tick-tock of the clock on the white cinderblock wall filled the space. She started again, “Mhm, yes. (pause) Kristen feels very bloated and nauseous.” Silence. Tick-tock. “Yes, she thinks it’s probably that again. Yes, very good. Thank you.” The nurse returned to me. “Your mom will be here in about thirty minutes. Until then, you can just rest here.”
And rest there I did. I felt terrible. My stomach was bloated, expanded with air. I could barley take a full breath because of the limited space in my abdomen. I unbuttoned my Unionbay jeans and sat there, waiting for the air to escape me through one exit or another.
This wasn’t the first time I found myself in the nurse’s office, bloated and in pain. What was to blame, you might ask?
The damn clarinet, that’s what.
Let me explain. I must have never learned how to properly breathe while playing the clarinet because I consistently swallowed a lot of air when playing (ask my childhood best friend, Anita, about how often I complained of being bloated after playing the clarinet). By the end of band class, I usually felt mildly uncomfortable and needed a few moments to myself after the bell had rang to “release” the pressure. This day in particular, I must have been especially passionate while playing because I swallowed so much air that I ended up leaving band in the middle of a song to go throw up in the nurse’s office.
Hi. I’m Kristen. I play the clarinet (and flute, but I don’t puke when playing the flute). I get bloated and throw up. Yep. Pure sexy.
The stereotypical and always popular…
…IVF bloated picture. (I just had to.) Day 12 of stimulation.
I remembered this junior high memory this past week when I was feeling super bloated due to the IVF stimulation meds. Thankfully, I did not throw up, but I did feel really uncomfortable (which is to be expected). But all in all, the stimulation phase of IVF wasn’t that bad for me! I figured a way to cope with each challenging side effect. I felt bloated most days, so I wore dresses for a week straight. I had a dull, pounding headache by the end of every evening, so I went to bed early most nights. I didn’t feel like cooking much, so I made a giant batch of vegetable soup and ate it for way too many meals. And to be honest (I actually really hate that phrase, but alas), I actually enjoyed our morning injection sessions because they brought Cory and me together (is that crazy?). We operated as a team, in it together, and I liked that.
So after all those bloated musings, I bet you’re ready to hear the results of our egg retrieval (get to it already, Kristen)!? The egg retrieval itself (9/8/18) was surprisingly smooth and painless.
Oh wait! Let me back up to the trigger shot!
The trigger shot was talked up all across social media as being absolutely terrible. The needle is bigger because it’s an intramuscular shot…in yo butt! I was dreading this shot since the first time I had ever heard the phrase “trigger shot.” So what is this dreadful injection? It contains human chorionic gonadoptropin, or hCG, to trigger the ovaries to release eggs and stimulate ovulation. Ovulation naturally will occur exactly 38 hours after the shot. In order to avoid the little eggs escaping, the egg retrieval is scheduled exactly 36 hours after the trigger shot. #science
We initially were told that they might trigger me on Tuesday (9/4/18) because some of my follicles were growing really well. The doctor ultimately decided to postpone my trigger two days until Thursday to give the littler follicles a chance to catch up. It just so happened that Cory wasn’t going to be at home at the time of the scheduled trigger shot, so my mom came to my house to administer it (gotta love moms! Especially when moms bring chocolate!).
The most stressful part of the trigger shot for me was prepping and mixing the injection. Usually Cory did this part, so I was unfamiliar with the best techniques for getting the syringe to slurp up every last bit of medicine juice from the vial (that’s the technical term, just FYI). My mom was such a calming presence, encouraging me to be patient as I prepped the meds. And I did it! (To learn more about what mixing and administering IVF meds is all about, check out this video my brother-in-law made during our second day of stimulation!)
The actual trigger shot itself was not bad at all. I was expecting sharp pain with the longer needle and fluid being injected directly into the muscle - just like a steroid shot I had as a kid for an asthma attack. It was nothing like that. The trigger shot was just…warm. And then it was over. And then my mom and I went and ate chocolate. Not bad!
Okay, back to the egg retrieval!
Everything went so well, and I’m so grateful. The process was smooth, and the entire medical team at Conceptions was so professional and compassionate. The nurse anesthetist was just a few years shy of retirement. Like a huggable grandpa with gentle eyes. He was a gem and helped me feel really calm. He knocked me out, and I had a really lovely 30-minute “nap” before he woke me up to go to the recovery room. I only spent 15 minutes in the recovery room before I was discharged home. No groggy feeling. No nausea. No clarinet-esque bloating. Just peachy!
And to top of how great I felt, we got some really good news from the embryologist before leaving. In the recovery room, she told us that they were able to retrieve 12 eggs, and that all 12 were mature! We were elated! ELATED! Two days before the retrieval, my nurse told me that only 5 had reached full maturity (16+ mm) and that 7 were trying their best to catch up. Apparently my doctor, Dr. Bush, said that the last few small follicles were saying, “Wait for me! Wait for me!” hoping to be able to catch up in time for egg retrieval. Well it turns out that all 12 follicles grew large enough, and all 12 contained mature eggs! Hellz yeah! Some women get 25+ eggs, and that’s fantastic for them and I wish them 1,000 healthy children…but when receiving the news, I felt really happy with my organic, free-range dozen.
After receiving that news, we went home feeling warm and sunshine-y. I relaxed in bed the rest of the day, watching Sharp Objects and eating M&Ms (why? Because why not! It was time to celebrate!).
The next morning (9/9/18), we received a call from the embryologist with an update. She quickly and excitedly told us that all 12 eggs fertilized! We now had 12 zygotes! We were shocked and so grateful. I called my mom and told her the good news. She said, “I knew it! I just had a feeling that all 12 would fertilize! If you would have told me anything different, I would have been shocked.” My mom…my baby’s future grandma…a prophet. That night, Cory and I celebrated with beers and pizza.
Tomorrow (9/11/18), I’ll get a call from my nurse with “Day 3 results.” An embryo should be ideally be 8 cells by Day 3. She’ll let us know how many embryos exhibited normal cell division (mitosis? Meiosis? Man, AP Bio was a long time ago! Help a girl out and explain the creation of life to me in a comment below!). I’m cautiously optimistic. I don’t want to get too excited, but I can’t help but cheer on my embabies (not sure how I feel about that term, but it’s kind of cute, right?) from the sidelines! You can do it, little Cory-Kristen babies, you can do it!
I’ll update you all again soon when I have Day 3 updates!
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