Here I am getting ready to go back to the operating room:
Today was the first of two big days (the other big day is the transfer). After a month of injections, and tons of doctor’s appointments to monitor my progress, my eggs are big and healthy and ready to be retrieved.
Last night I went and did one last treatment with my acupuncturist, and she began work to get my hormone levels back down again now that my body has released enough eggs and that they are the right size. My doctors gave me medication that helps with this, but acupuncture is great for this sort of thing too, and just walking out the door last night after her treatment I was already feeling more like my old self.
It was a bit of a scramble getting organized, making sure we grabbed everything that needed to go to Denver with us, hitting the grocery store for some last minute things, taking a shower since I won’t be able to tomorrow, and those sorts of things. Mom showed up to spend the night so we could all just roll out of bed and go since we had to get up really early to be in Denver at 6am (she had volunteered to drive us up there, since that drive can be stressful and Chris and I need to be as relaxed as possible through this).
I woke up this morning at 4am. I immediately panicked at what I had to do today. They were going to poke me with a needle a bunch of different times in a very delicate area of my body. Can I do this? Do we really want this? Why did I sign up for this? I was just so scared. I reached over and grabbed Chris’s hand for support. As I felt his hand, it reminded me of Noah. Noah had Chris’s hands. Suddenly I wasn’t scared anymore and reminded of why I am doing this. Yes this is worth it. Yes we absolutely want this. I knew I could do it.
We threw on clothes and were out the door by 4:45. I couldn’t have anything to eat or drink which was tough, but because it was so early, the roads were pretty clear and we made great time getting to Denver. We arrived at 6am on the nose. They have a pretty big outpatient surgery center at this hospital, and there were lots of folks there this morning checking in. At 6:30 they took me back, and had me change into the hospital gown, and started to work on getting my IV put in and doing the paperwork to get things started. Everyone was very nice, and the whole thing was a pleasant experience.
They took me back to the operating room, and helped me get situated on the bed. They administered the anesthesia, and I was out. Soon enough, they woke me back up in the operating room and were eager to tell me that they collected 22 eggs that they are sending straight to the lab. They were so excited because they had hoped to get 15-20 from me, and 22 gives them plenty to work with!
They moved me back to recovery, which was basically big lazy boy chairs, and wrapped me up in warm blankets. I was really sore. It felt like stabbing pain in my stomach. On their pain scale of 1-10, I rated it a 6, so it was bearable. Just uncomfortable mostly. They gave me some great pain medications through my IV that kicked in very quickly. Once we had that under control, they gave me some tea and crackers, which on my empty stomach tasted fabulous. All of the pressure that was on my lower belly from carrying around all those eggs was gone. Some of the swelling was gone too. I was thrilled about that. They found Chris and brought him back to me, and then the head embryologist for the practice came over to talk about next steps.
Two of the eggs were just a bit small, and so they were going to put them in their incubator for a couple of hours to see if they could get them to grow just a tad bit more. The remaining 20 were going straight on to the lab to be fertilized. They were going to do forced insemination, where they inject a sperm directly into the egg. We originally thought they were going to throw everything into petri dishes and see what happens. But, for the genetic testing we are doing, it has to be done the injection way. We were fine with this. It means we will likely have more embryos to work with. The head embryologist will be calling us daily from here on out to give us progress reports. And because of the nature of what needs to be done, he will personally be handling most of our case. We will continually lose embryos along the way. Some of my 22 eggs won’t fertilize. Some will, but will not mature and start dividing. Some will not survive the testing procedures, and then finally, some will be sick with MCADD. Each day when he calls us, he will give us a new count.
The implantation will take place on Monday. It will likely be in the afternoon, because the test results from the genetics lab in Detroit will come in sometime that morning. In the meantime, I am recuperating from the retrieval. I am sore and nauseous. I expected to bounce right back, but I definitely feel like I have been poked with a needle repeatedly today. I have been sleeping a lot which helps. Most moms who go through this have the implantation just a couple or three days after the retrieval. I am glad that I get 5 days because I think I need them to recover (patients doing genetic testing have to wait longer because of the extra procedures are thrown into their usual process). I am just so excited though. We are almost through this, and I am really looking forward to being pregnant again.
I had Chris dig out one of our baby books from when I was pregnant with Noah. It is a book with photography by Lennart Nilsson. He has done some incredible photos of all stages of development during conception and pregnancy. It is amazing to look at his pictures of eggs, sperm and newly created embryos and to think about our babies being created as I write this. What a miracle this whole process is!
I’ll keep you posted as I can on our counts as we go. Thanks for reading!