My Busted Stork

The travails of an infertile…and no, I won’t just relax!

My first IVF cycle Part 2: Egg retrieval and OHSS hell!

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First, a disclaimer: I am not a professional on any part of this procedure and although I have tried to understand the science behind everything all I have to arm me is my experience and what I have read or been told. I hope none of what I write is misleading!

So there I was, happily jabbing away. On CD8 I had my first scan with Doc and he counted 12 eggs growing nicely in my ovaries. On CD9 I also introduced Cetrotide to the the morning jab routine. This drug prohibits the egg from being released from the follicle before it is ready.

I scanned on day 10 and 12 with Doc again. I could feel my ovaries like 2 big bunches of ripe grapes and that is exactly what they looked like on the ultrasound. It felt good to think that one of those grapes could hatch a little baby at some point.

I was scheduled for Egg Retrieval on Day 15, a Monday and so 36 hours before my appointment I took another jab, this time a “Trigger” shot called Ovidrel. This shot triggers ovulation so that the timing is perfect for when the eggs are released so that the doc can suck them all up.

The Egg Retrieval procedure was a little more “big deal” than I had anticipated. W drove me to the clinic along with his sperm sample tucked between my boobs – one happy family…sort of. (W can produce a sperm sample in under 5 min. It’s handy, if not a little perturbing. A party trick we best keen under wraps…) He handed his sample into the lab and I got deposited into a nice comfy chair to wait for the arrival of the anaesthetist and my nice Doc all decked out in their surgical scrubs. At this point I had nice Greys Anatomy day dreams. Then I had to get into my really unattractive backless hospital gown which puts an abrupt end to all sexy Greys Anatomy day dreaming as my fat ass is exposed to the world. I then shuffled into the sterile surgery trying not to offend anyone along the way with the view of said fat ass. Someone tried to get me to sign some documents which was virtually impossible while still trying to hold my stupid gown closed at the back – so embarrassing! Eventually I climbed onto the surgical bed thing and then everyone got all busy attaching all sorts of monitors and drips and gels to me. I made sure to tell Doc he had to get all 12 eggs out and that I wanted a good result. He agreed! Lovely Mr anaesthetist said good night and I said hello dream world.

I woke up back in a cubicle feeling a little drowsy but otherwise fine. Doc was very chuffed with himself as he had got not 12 but 13 lovely eggs and we were ready to rock and roll.

That afternoon I started to cramp. I thought it was all part and parcel of that morning’s activity. It just started as a dull ache which carried on to the next morning. I went in to work but by mid day they had become full on cramps and I went home, took some ibuprofen and cuddled a hot water bottle. But I kept feeling quite positive, especially since I got the call that 8 out of the 13 eggs had fertilised. Apparently this is an average to good result which was good enough for us!

The next morning I went in to see Doc because I knew the cramping wasn’t good and that it might be OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome). It is a risk after ER. Basically your ovaries are large and disstended from producing so many eggs. The Ovidrel trigger (which is actually pregnancy hormone) can have a negative reaction and cause the ovaries to fill with fluid. Sometimes this fluid seeps into the abdominal cavity causing cramping and bloatedness in mild cases and sometimes more serious repercussions if the fluid gets into upper abdominal cavities where it can affect your diaphragm, lungs and other organs. Doc scanned me both internally and externally and saw I did have some fluid but that it was only in some areas surrounding my ovaries and nothing higher up. There is no cure or medicine but Doc said I could carry on taking ibuprofen. He mentioned that he was a little worried that if it didn’t clear up then embryo transfer could make things worse but that he was sure it would clear by then.

That afternoon things got worse and I was not a happy camper. I am pretty sure that if you suffer from IBS then it is likely that this will flare up and double the pain. It’s almost as if the pressure is exerted onto your bowels and your bladder. When you try go to the loo there is a sharp pain shooting either up your rectum or your vag (sorry for the TMI!) which is agony! I couldn’t straighten or stretch out my body and basically I just lay there curled up feeling sorry for myself. My stomach was so bloated that I looked like I was 4 months pregnant. Oh the cruel irony!

After 2 days at home I eventually started feeling better. And at the end of the second day I got the news that all 8 fertilised eggs had grown into 8 cell embryos and were looking good. We were A for away! Our Embryo Transfer was scheduled for the Saturday morning. It was all becoming very real and very exciting.


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