It’s now three days since my egg collection procedure. I’m in that strange limbo post EC and pre-ET (embryo transfer). If I was a hen right now I’d be sitting clucking on 14 fertilized eggs. But I’m not. I’m empty. And my embies are in a machine 86 miles away….
The procedure itself went very smoothly. A large rotund jovial man introduced himself to me in the treatment room (no operating theatre so it was very laid back) as the head consultant gynaecologist/obs (and owner of the clinic) but looked more like a brickie. I don’t know why but when I heard he would be performing the EC I was expecting an uptight 40-something man, stern, serious with glasses, dark hair and slim build. Well instead we got a large chubby ruddy red-head laughing man who looked he had come in to check the sink. Marvellous.
I was totally relaxed as he gave me an injection of the ‘happy’ drugs cocktail – pethidine and valium. It made my head spin very quickly and I felt like I was pleasantly tipsy. My arms became very heavy and slow to react but apart from that, I was able to chat to him and my husband the whole way through.
A lovely nurse passed the tubes of fluid from the doctor to an embryologist hiding the other side of a window in the door. I could feel some occasional shots of pain as he moved the magic wand around but it was all very bearable. He extracted 16 follicles in total and declared himself finished. Himself was then called upon to carry out his own performance in private 😉 I could tell he had done well because he fell asleep sitting beside my bed afterward.
A little later, as I was resting on a bed in what I call their ‘fake’ hospital ward, the embryologist returned to say my husband’s sample was excellent, had great motility (good little swimmers) and they were happy to just do IVF, and not ICSI. They had told us they would do half and half seeing as I had conceived on round 2 with ICSI. But, at this clinic they have higher success rates with IVF and so prefer not to do ICSI unless we have a real slow bunch of runners on crutches etc.
We drove the two hour car journey back home and I rested for the evening, thinking, this ain’t so bad! I’m recovering far faster than if I had gone under general anaesthetic. How wrong I was.
I was woken at 3am Saturday with what I can only imagine were pains equivalent to the final throes of labour. At least I’m now hoping that labour isn’t half as bad as what I experienced. I felt like an iron fist was reaching inside of my abdomen and was twisting and crushing my insides every which way. I couldn’t get any comfort from any position in the bed.
I staggered panting downstairs bent in two to get some Panadol, which is all they allow for pain relief, that and Solpadeine. I almost cried going to the bathroom the pain was so intense. Finally, as I lay on the bed panting, Himself woke up. “I’m in agony!!” I cried, literally. Fair play to him, he got up and got me a hot water bottle which helped slightly. I spent the next few hours passing in and out of consciousness all the time in severe pain. All I could think of was I’ve got OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome). Not a happy camper. At all.
By the time the clinic rang at 10.30am I was barely able to talk. “I’m in severe pain” I managed to choke down the phone to the embyrologist. She sounded very disappointed I wasn’t able to muster up much excitement at her news – 14 eggs had fertilized. I almost said ‘whatever, now get me a nurse”. A young nurse rang back and basically told me to hang in there, dose up on the Solpadeine and keep drinking lots of water. She did speak to my ruddy consultant who advised the same. But if I continued as bad as I was overnight, she advised me to just go straight to my local hospital where I’d have to be drained. Then she warned me if my hormone levels were still high on Wednesday they’d have to freeze my embryos and wait two months for a FET (frozen embryo transfer). I don’t want that.
Apparently once your follicles are drained they immediately fill up again with fluid to heal the bruising from the needles and so this causes the abdominal pain. I had a lot of bruising and the happy drugs had worn off. I had pain similar to this for a full week on my first IVF but nothing as severe. God I thought, I can’t go through another week of this. Well, God must have been listening because after a long, painful day in the bed on Saturday, I slept through the night and woke up on Sunday morning practically pain-free. A miracle.
Ever since I’ve been a little tender but the awful searing abdominal pain, from my ribs to my pubic bone has vanished. Hurrah for small mercies.
The clinic rang yesterday to say the embies were doing OK and were in their magic machine aka The Embryoscope. I would have given the prim embryologist my house for free if it meant getting them into it. There’s no guarantee but all you can do is ask politely and then offer bribes. OK kidding on last part. When I told her on my last IVF I had 19 fertilized eggs, 8 normal with 5 ‘good’ embryos and then 3 ‘excellent’ blastocysts her response was “well I don’t know if you’ll have that many this time”. Which would hardly leave you jumping for joy.
“Is there even one normal one?” I ventured. “It’s early days yet”. So all day yesterday I’ve been praying for just one normal little embie. Out of 14 fertilized, surely to God I’ve at least one normal one?
Today, you’ll be glad to hear, the prim embryologist sounded distinctly more upbeat. “Your embryos have progressed since yesterday!” she said, sounding both pleased and surprised. “You have a few that have only made it to 5 cells, but you have five or six which have progessed to 8 cells which is good”. Five or six? I nearly burst into tears with relief.
So she’s booked me in for Embryo Transfer this Wednesday 30 Jan 2013 all going well between now and then. I’m a nervous wreck. I just want them to grow and grow and keep growing to develop into nice blastocysts by Wed morning. Grow embies, grow!