IVF Journey: Egg retrieval
This is my IVF diary. My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for three and a half years now, and have a diagnosis of 'unexplained infertility'. We have finally reached the top of the waiting list for IVF - a form of assisted conception. I'm blogging about what happens as it happens, as a kind of therapy for me and as an awareness raising exercise of what IVF is all about.
Today was the day of our egg retrieval procedure.
My husband drove me up to the hospital this morning and we got there just before 8am. We were taken through to a day surgery ward and settled into a curtained off bed in a ward with maybe four others.
First, a nurse explained how the morning would go, and provided a variety of forms for us to sign, and a form to select my lunch from, and I was given two medical wristbands with my details on. Next the doctor came along, and he explained what he was going to do. We were then visited by the anaesthetist and he explained what his role would be. This all took us through to perhaps 9am, and I was due for my egg retrieval to be at about 10am so I had some time to kill. I got into my PJs and dressing gown and then basically lounged about on the bed for a while. I was a bit anxious at this time, as the room and the set up and everything was like my previous operation-gone-wrong. I did let the medical team know about this, and they were very understanding.
The last thing I had to do before the procedure was empty my bladder - they told me when to do this!
Perhaps fifteen minutes before my procedure, my husband was collected and taken away to provide a semen sample. This was then tested and pronounced fine (or he'd have had to have another go!)
While he was away I was wheeled on my bed into the room where they do the procedure - essentially an operating theatre. First, two people checked and double checked my details and that I understood what I was having done. Next another person prepped my hand and then the anaesthetist put a canula in, through which I would be medicated with a sedative and painkillers, and he also stuck various other monitoring devices about my person. The anaesthetist then hooked my drugs up to my canula, and in they went. I could feel the drugs go in, but not in the same way that you feel a general anaesthetic go in. It wasn't a cold blocky river running up my arm, it was more just that I could tell something had been added to my system. Seconds later I was no longer conscious. I am told I was in there around 20 minutes having the procedure - where they inserted a large needle through my ladies area, and sucked the fluid out of my ovaries.
I had been nervous of what the sedative would be like, and I would say it was like an enforced sleep. I remember nothing of the procedure, the next thing I remember was that I woke up back in the ward. I was very sleepy and kept drifting in and out of wakefulness for perhaps 45 minutes or so, during which time I saw a few nurses come in and check my vital signs and I was sufficiently alert to say hello. Apparently my husband was there and I spoke to him and told him to go and get a coffee and come back in two hours, but I don't remember that. Luckily that is what I wanted him to do though! I felt very calm, it was a pleasant feeling and I was entirely relaxed. Too relaxed perhaps - my breathing slowed down to 8 breaths per minute which kept setting a beeper off as that is on the low side. I think it may be something to do with my swimming that means I breathe slowly. I was fine anyway, the nurses were confident of that. I was offered painkillers but didn't feel any pain so declined.
Over the course of an hour or so I became less sleepy, and more alert. The nurse asked if I would like my lunch, and I said yes, so she brought it in. She took off all of my monitoring equipment and removed my cannula. The cannula removal was the only thing that hurt today - a sharp sting much worse than when it went in! It was covered in blood when I woke up, so I think they'd jiggered it about a bit.
My lunch was a sandwich, banana, yoghurt and some juice and I wolfed it straight down.
A couple of hours after the procedure I was close to normal, reading my book, and having successfully walked to the ladies room and back. My husband turned up back to see me around this time. I thought he might be worried about me, but he'd already seen I was OK and got an update on the status of our eggs hours back - as I said he'd been there when I returned from the procedure unbeknownst to me!
The doctor then came in and confirmed that he had collected 13 eggs. I was absolutely delighted - that is really good as the average is 6-8. These will now be mixed with the semen provided by the husband, and we have to phone in tomorrow to see how many have started to fertilise. It won't be all of them, but as we have so many we have a good chance of getting some. The doctors will then pick the best one to implant in a few days.
Two and a half hours after the procedure I was given some drugs that I will need to take over the next couple of weeks (thankfully not by injection this time) and I was then allowed to go home. I was fine to walk to the car and glad of the fresh air.
So, all in all I really couldn't have hoped for today to have gone any better. What a relief. I must also say that all of the staff were very kind and extremely pleasant.
I've spent the afternoon on the sofa watching TV. Because I can.
So far no pain, no painkillers. It feels a little bit weird - I guess consistent with a little bit of bruising inside. Gentlemen avert your eyes here - it feels a bit like I have a very full tampon in. Lets say I'm aware of the area. It's entirely bearable.
I have looked at my work emails though. Shh... Don't tell my husband...