Saturday, September 17, 2011


Retrieval is DONE! The hardest part (for me) of an IVF cycle...well, except for waiting for those first beta results.

We arrived at the Rockville center at 11:00 on Friday. Actually around 11:10 since the GPS took us on an unexpected detour and I was so nervous I wasn't paying attention to where Eric was going. I was really glad I had been to the center before because it could have been much worse! Also the place is really intimidating, it's a huge office complex and the whole thing belongs to our practice. The whole 4th floor is the surgery center. When we arrived they checked me in and sent us to a waiting room where 3 other couples were already waiting. After a few minutes they called us back, only to find out that the bed they thought was open was not ready yet, so we waited in another waiting room for a few more minutes. Finally they took me to my bed, which was in a large open-plan hospital-like room divided by curtains. Which I know is very practical, but unfortunately does not provide very much privacy and the patient next to me was just coming out of the anesthesia and not having a very good time. She was moaning, crying, and threw up a couple of times. I felt so bad for her, and also on a self-centered note it was not the most fun thing to listen to as I was waiting for my surgery to start. I did see her as she left a while later and she seemed better at that point.

I changed into the hospital gown, booties and hat, and the nurse who would be taking care of me came in and asked me all the pre-op questions: Are you on any medications? (It would be quicker to ask me what medications I'm NOT on) Did you remember not to eat or drink? Any allergies? Did you take your antibiotic last night? And then someone came in to take Eric to another room for collection. I didn't see him again, which was kind of distressing to me since I thought I'd get another chance to kiss him goodbye before surgery, but it all worked out OK. Soon the anesthesiologist came in and asked me all the same questions the nurse had asked, and started my IV line. That can be kind of a stressful process with my tiny veins, but he did a great job and gave me some numbing medicine first so I barely even felt it.

I waited for what felt like forever on my own, getting progressively colder and colder from the saline drip they were giving me with only a thin blanket. I didn't know what time it was because unfortunately Eric had taken my purse with him and I didn't have my phone or the book I had brought to pass the time. I tried to do some deep breathing and meditate but it didn't work so well.

Finally Dr. Wolff, the doctor who would be performing my procedure came in and introduced herself and told me it wouldn't be too much longer. They had me get up and walk my IV pole to the bathroom to empty my bladder, and then the anesthesiologist came to walk me into the OR. They had me get up onto the table and put my legs into the stirrup thingies and the anesthesiologist gave me something in my IV that immediately made me feel drowsy and warm. I remember seeing the wall of medical supplies and one container in particular that was labeled "Hysteroscopy: Big Boy" and thinking I'm glad they didn't use the Big Boy on me during my hysteroscopy! (Bad fertility treatment humor, always helps in stressful times.) I don't remember lying down, although I must have at some point because the next thing I knew I was waking up back in the curtained room where I had started.

The retrieval itself is a quick process that takes about 20 minutes. The doctor uses a transvaginal ultrasound transducer just like the ones I get at all my monitoring appointments, but this one has a long needle attached to the top. They visualize the ovary on ultrasound and guide the needle through the vaginal wall, through the abdominal cavity, and into the follicles on each ovary. The fluid from the follicles is aspirated into a test tube, and that's where all the eggs are. After aspiration they look under a microscope to see how many eggs they got. For the non-squeamish, here's a drawing to help you visualize: For obvious reasons, I was very very happy to be asleep through the whole procedure.

They called Eric back as I was waking up and asked me how I was feeling and the answer was - ouch. Very much ouch. The nurse gave me some fentanyl through my IV and a heating pad for my belly and almost immediately I felt better, although I still had some pain. A few minutes later she came back and said that I looked much better already. Soon our egg report was ready and they told us how many they got. I'm glad I was already sitting (lying) down, because the answer was....68 eggs. 68!!!! The nurse said she thinks it's a record. We were totally shocked, because at last count I thought I had around 40 follicles, and not every follicle has an egg, so we were hoping for somewhere around 30. Plus, with our first IVF I felt much worse physically than I did this time, and only had 20 eggs. I never in a million years expected to get this many!

After the shock had worn off a bit, about 20 minutes later they had me get up and see if I could walk with support, and I could, so it was time to change and go home. Eric took me out to the car while he picked up my prescriptions in the pharmacy (in the same building, the place is a fertility mecca) for Vicodin (hallelujah) and my progesterone in oil shots (not nearly as fun.) At this point it was 2:45 and I hadn't eaten all day, and Eric hadn't had lunch, so we made a quick stop to pick up some food and then went home. My amazing friend Ti had gotten Sawyer off the bus and was watching him, and then another friend came by to bring us dinner for that evening and a bouquet of roses. There was some drama with one of the neighbors when Sawyer got off the bus (long story) but I was pretty out of it so I couldn't care that much. I crashed on the couch for the rest of the evening watching season 7 of The Office on Blu-ray and trying not to laugh too hard because it hurt way too much.

Retrieval=DONE and a huge success! Better than we ever imagined. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and well wishes. Next step: recovery, fertilization report, and transfer!

1 comment:

  1. New follower vis Tonya!

    68 eggs... Holy Sh*t Batman! Congrats!

    I have PCOS and am a POOR responder to eggs... therefore, I am scared to try IVF!


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