Sunday, August 7, 2011

So this is how babies are made...The IVF process part 1

After finding out that I had a good number of mature follicles, I prepared for the egg retrieval (ER). This meant that EXACTLY 36 hours before the ER, I had to get a trigger shot. The morning of the retrieval, my RE had kindly prescribed me a Xanax pill to help with nerves. I took the pill and we headed to the clinic. We started at the lab where Tim would be providing his...ahem...genetic contribution. I had to go with him and show my ID, sign a bunch of paperwork and verify that he was the man I wanted to father my child. It's already getting romantic right??

I left Tim at the lab and headed next door to the clinic where I got checked in and waited. Tim joined me in the waiting room and we were taken back to our room. Now, many women are heavily sedated or anesthetized for the ER, but my clinic generally doesn't do that. Instead, I was given an intramuscular injection of dilauded and some sort of atropine analog. These medications did NOTHING. The doctor told me I would be pretty loopy, but I wasn't even mildly sedated. I was scared and wide awake, but at the same time, I was very excited to be getting what I THOUGHT was the worst part of the whole process over with.'s not the worst part, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The nurses kept checking on me and eventually realized that I wasn't going to get any more sedated than I was so they told the doctor to come in and get started. The room was a pretty standard exam room. There was the bed, an ultrasound machine, a couple of chairs, a stool with wheels and a counter with a sink. In addition though, there is a little door in the wall that leads to the lab next door. This door is designed to pass the fluid retrieved over to the lab so they can go on their very own egg hunt. Oddly enough, this door is at the south end of the bed which means that there were probably a dozen or so people who had a bird's eye view of my nether region while the doctor retrieved my eggs. A few years ago, this would have really bothered me, but now, meh...

So the RE comes in and the ER commences. For those who don't want to know what the ER entails, skip ahead a paragraph. The RE placed a speculum and cleaned the inside of my vagina with a few different things. He then injected lidocaine (or something similar) into the wall of my vagina in order to make the BIG needle less painful. The speculum was removed and the RE waited a few minutes to let the lidocaine kick in. A transvaginal ultrasound was used to look at my ovaries and locate the fluid filled follicles that house the precious eggs. Unfortunately, as the RE suspected, only my right ovary could be retrieved. The left was just not in a good position. The retrieval is done by a large needle attached to the ultrasound probe. The doctor identifies a good location for retrieval, sticks the needle through the vaginal wall into my pelvic cavity and a little vacuum provides suction to aspirate the follicle contents. I'm not gonna lie, the needle didn't feel good, but it really wasn't as bad as I had built it up in my mind to be. And it was kind of neat being able to watch the follicles get poked and shrink down under the machine's suction.

After the retrieval was over, I had to lay around and rest for awhile and nurses came in and checked on me. We were waiting to hear how many eggs we had and I was very scared about what that number would be considering that we left an entire ovary full of follicles. The RE came in and gave us the news, they had retrieved 5 eggs. I was devastated. Five? FIVE!? After all of that, they only got 5?! Obviously we don't want to have 5+ kids but eggs do not equal babies. Generally not all eggs fertilize and even if they do, they don't all make it to transfer.

I tried to be positive, but the fear that we wouldn't have any embryos to transfer was overwhelming.

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