Yesterday proved harder than I had imagined.
We arrived a little more than a half-hour early as traffic was better than we anticipated. Around 8 AM we meet with the anesthesiologist and went over the risks of being put under. Fifteen minutes later we were escorted into a recovery room. I was given the orders to change into the standard hospital dressing gown and was walked into the retrieval room. The anesthesiologist had a hard time getting the IV into my hand. OUCH!!! A few minutes later the RE came in, they strapped my legs into place, my head became heavy, and the next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room with Joe, crying. It is amazing the wave of emotions that come with this journey. Nobody will ever be able to comprehend all that I feel. And it is difficult to explain. In that moment in the recovery room I felt blessed to be with somebody willing to undergo such a challenge.
A few minutes later the embryologist came in and shared that retrieved 24 eggs and 20 were mature. She said they looked like “A” grade eggs but would know more once they fertilized via ICSI (this is when they actually inject one sperm into the egg). Everything looked good but they shared concerns of OHSS and sent me home with a care sheet on when I should call. They also explained that we may not be able to transfer this cycle if we do end up with mod/severe OHSS, and if we do transfer we may only be able to transfer one embryo if I have mild OHSS.
We were on our way home by 10.
Throughout the day I experienced lots of pressure and cramping in my lower back and belly and nausea. I was in and out of sleep all day and struggled to get comfortable. The pain brought with it fear that I was moving in the direction of OHSS. I’m afraid of postponing, afraid of the health risks, afraid of not transferring the right embryos. Just afraid.
I woke up this morning to more cramping. Notably better than yesterday, but cramping all the same. I hear from others this is normal and I shouldn’t count myself out of this cycle just yet. But this journey has been tedious, speed-bump after speed-bump. I pray for a positive outcome and think positively as often as I find myself thinking in the negative. So when I got the call from the embryologist this morning that 17 of my eggs had fertilized I was thrilled. Maybe things have finally turned in my direction. As the day has progressed I am feeling better, have more energy, and less cramping. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I believe I’m on my way!
Each morning finds me waking to injections, follicular ultrasounds, blood work, and then a drawn out wait to hear the prognosis on where we are in regards to this cycle. My belly is swollen and spotted with tiny bruises but I am hopeful that it will all lead to a baby.
Today’s follicle count reached 27. Several in the 10 mm range…most 15-17 mm with a few larger. Leaving the office there was speculation that tonight might be the night to trigger. So when I got the call this afternoon I was relieved that we are pushing forward with one more day of stims to help more of the follicles time to mature. As excited as I am to be on the other side of my first beta, I’m nervous that I will end up with Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. I know there is concern with the RE as well, possible medications to help stave off OHSS were mentioned. I’ll find out tomorrow what the game plan is after trigger (which will likely be tomorrow).
So tonight I relax and try not to think of all the what-ifs.
Today is a new day and offers up it’s own agenda. As my parents and husband painted siding, I made the 40 minute drive to the RE clinic for my now daily follicular check and blood work. Today the ultrasound tech measured 26 follicles ranging from 10-16 mm (the rouge is nearly 22 mm). Another day or two of stims (at a continued lower dose of stims) and then we trigger and move to egg retrieval. The sticky part now is a possibility of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS) due to number of follicles and my estradoil levels (which has exceeded 2000). If I get OHSS this will mean a delayed transfer. Which inevitably means more money for a frozen embryo transfer, BUT would ensure I am healthy and the pregnancy less complicated.
Unfortunately, this post will be short as it is uncomfortable to sit with the laptop on my lap for too long…I think it’s time to recline. I promise to update tomorrow.
In this game, nothing is guaranteed. There is no wand to magic a perfect IVF cycle, nor a baby in the end. Today I was hit with the realization that just because I’m in the game doesn’t mean I won’t be sidelined.
I went in for my follicle count today. A very impressive count – 21 measurable follicles, most ranging in the 9-12 mm range. But the clincher here is that one of those bad boys is already 16 mm in size. Typically, the RE wants follicles to grow 18-22 mm before trigger in hopes of ensuring a good, mature egg. Any smaller and it could lead to an immature egg. Larger and it could lead to an egg that is, for lack of better description, over-ripe. My ovaries are large, already touching, and my estradiol has gone from an 18 to 1077 in just three days. This leads to swollen, bloated tummy and lower back pain. Oh, and a million trips to the bathroom.
A little research on the internet (why do I do this?) and I discovered that often women who develop “lead” follicles have to have their cycles cancelled. UGGG!
I went to acupuncture sick with worry. This journey bites.
My acupuncturist reassured me that I’m not out of the game just yet. She changed the acupuncture game plan to fit this new play and after 30 minutes of silence I felt a little better.
At approximately 3 PM I received the call from my nurse saying that my estradiol was really high, and that they were going to adjust my medications (read lower dose) in order to allow the follicles more time to mature and catch up to the biggest one. I will have to be monitored every day through at least Monday.
So for now I am still in the game. But nothing is guaranteed.