I feel like the theme of this journey has been “we just made it by the skin of our teeth.” I don’t know if it’s actually that way, or if it just feels that way because everything is so unpredictable and so important. We aren’t in the clear just yet, but after today it definitely feels like the scariest parts are over.
The egg retrieval was Sunday at 9:20 a.m., precisely 36 hours after my giant needle “trigger shot” to the ass on Friday night (administered by my mother-in-law, thank you very much, since Eric could not stomach it). Eric and I took the train into the city and thanks to my inability to comprehend very obvious schedule change signs on the subway, arrived 15 minutes late for the appointment. I was immediately whisked off to get blood drawn, where the tech had trouble finding a vein because I’m so black and blue and yellow. Great times were had by all. It was especially fun hearing that they accidentally took blood when they didn’t need to and had to just throw it away. Thanks for that!
I went in for an ultrasound, my very first interaction with the doctor whose name is on all my prescriptions. He reprimanded me for being late and quickly confirmed that I had not ovulated yet, saying “Good, good. Eggs still there. You go now.” Only after this all transpired did I realize how badly that could have gone if the eggs were NOT still there – that would basically mean this entire month of needles, stress, hormones and excessive drainage to my bank account would be worthless. Had I known it was that easy to fail, I would have been a lot more anxious going in for that part. I’m so glad that I didn’t know.
While still trying to process the gravity of what had happened, I was sent in to the on-site OR and instructed to put on my cap and gown. There was a small waiting area where 2 other women were already waiting. I sat there, mentally freaking out as usual, convinced that in the 30 minutes I had to wait I would somehow lose all the eggs and suffer the same tragedy that I had just narrowly avoided. Seriously, my capacity for worst case scenario planning knows no bounds. Of course, that did not happen. They called me in and the wonderfully over-the-top flamboyant anesthesiologist quickly got to work making me laugh and feel totally comfortable, saying things like “Ohh girrrrrl, we gonna get you a Dora band aid for that arm. You deserve it!” That’s probably the only reason I didn’t punch him in the face when he put the IV in the same freaking vein they had just drawn from accidently. Yeah, that kind of HURT LIKE HELL.
This was also the moment that the doctor chose to tell me that my estrogen levels were too high and I was at risk for Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), a complication that can affect up to 33% of women undergoing IVF. For that reason the embryo transfer had to be delayed 1 month. I started panicking (what else is new?) and said, “No wait, it has to be this month!” She asked why and I stupidly stuttered, “Well… because..I’m impatient.” The doctor was not amused, reminding me that my health was the #1 concern and also saying that the transfer was more likely to work if my levels went down. She also acted like I was being a big baby, which was absolutely true. The anesthesiologist had found my vein by this point, and one second I was looking at blue stars projected on the ceiling, the next I was being helped into a wheelchair. Easy, peasy lemon squeezy.
The anesthesia, or as Eric would say, “Amanda’s $500 nap,” was optional. If you ever find yourself in this situation and have the option – DO IT. I was stressed enough, and the thought of being awake and “kind of” feeling this procedure still makes me want to cry. I know that I 100% made the right decision when I chose to be put under.
Recovery was fine, but took forever. On a scale of 1 – 10 my pain was a 2, just like mild cramps but higher up. Today it’s a little worse, but still just maybe a 4 on the pain scale. I would have expected much worse.
So that’s where we are. I’m pissed off that I have to wait, but then I remind myself I’m lucky to be doing this at all. Matt the study coordinator had tentatively proposed doing a pregnancy test by Valentine’s Day, so that date was stuck in my head and that would have been so cute. But no, that won’t be happening now.
It is nice to be giving my body a rest from all the shots, I think I obviously need that. Sorry folks, we have to just march on to March. Side note: I’m making an egg casserole for dinner tonight. Creepy, weird or funny? Maybe all of the above.