Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Egg Retrieval Day!!!

Getting right down to it, this is THE BIG news of the day- 25 eggs retrieved on egg retrieval day!!! We are SO beyond happy to have gotten 25 eggs out of this process so far! It doesn't mean all are mature or will fertilize, we are expecting a drop off of that number, but it's a great number to start with! The thought that our child(ren) could be in that batch and conceived today is a super exciting & emotional thought! :)

Another crazy thing is that we've collectively posted 3 blog posts in the last 24 hours! New record! My initial plan was to update each step separately with drugs/injections last week, but we all know how that goes. So today gets its own special post for a special day! :) 

So some pre-op instructions I had to follow for egg retrieval today:
- No food or drink after midnight
- No scented lotions, perfumes, etc (they can interfere with the quality of the eggs as they are taken out)
- No makeup
- No contacts
- No dark nail polish
- Your hair can't be tied back
- Wear a pair of warm socks
- Arrive 30-45 mins prior to appt 

I woke up around 7:15 and slowly rolled out of bed. I was getting super uncomfortable by the minute as my ovaries felt like they were about to explode! I showered the night before so I didn't have any traces of scented shampoo, deodorant, lotion, etc on me. I didn't want to take any chances. I changed into super comfy PJ pants and a fun t-shirt for a special day. 

My appointment was at 10am, so we knew to arrive 9:15/9:30. In reality, we left at 8:05 and arrived at 9:05. The waiting room was PACKED- the most I've seen. All chairs were taken and some people were in the hallway. I noticed a lot of couples today. Ironically, I was the only egg retrieval today, so everyone else was there for either monitorings, IUI, etc. Go figure. I arrived in lots of discomfort and standing wasn't a fun thought. I secretly wanted everyone to give up their seat for me and now understand even more why pregnant women should have seats offered to them all the time, lol. I could have squeezed between strangers in one random chair but I didn't want to leave Scott's side. I was also in PJ pants and I think I was getting looks from people. They were prob like "who is the 12-year old rolling in here in pajamas" haha. Finally seats opened up and I lounged being super uncomfortable. 

Around 9:30 I got an ID bracelet and I got psyched thinking we were going soon. I knew I had priority over the people in monitoring bc my procedure was time sensitive, so I knew they'd pull some staff to do my stuff. But as the clock kept ticking and approaching 10, I got nervous. I was already a little scared my eggs would ovulate sooner than they wanted, and I wanted them out asap, or as close to 10 as possible. As it kept getting later and later I was super anxious thinking they forgot about us, but then finally it was time. (*Side note: your eggs will not release immediately, like silly me feared. They have like a 2 hour window to play with. I just assumed if they wanted 10 am, it had to happen at 10am. It doesn't. All was fine.) The lab & procedure room are in a diff suite down the hall from where everything else happens, so they called us and out we go. 

First I had to empty my bladder one last time and change into a super fashionable hospital gown, ya know, those ones with ties in the back that don't really actually hide much! Also, best part, a super flattering hair net, and a pair of thick ugly hospital socks. Luckily they let me keep my cute socks on, which happened to kinda match the colors of the gowns and sheets and stuff. :) 

Onto a bed I go and the nurse checks out my vitals. I meet the anesthesiologist and INSTANTLY start getting nervous. This is all now SOOOO real and official. I start shaking my feet and forgetting how to breathe, all while fighting back tears. I'm not ready for this, I think. Then I look at Scott and he starts cueing me to take deep breaths, so I do and suddenly all is ok and I start to calm down momentarily. I also met the Dr and embryologist at this point, too. Everyone was so welcoming, nice, and CALM. It helped me calm down and get a little comfortable. 

Me rocking the super cute hot mess egg retrieval look... bleh. 

Eventually they had me get up and walk into the next room for the procedure. I remember feeling instantly overwhelmed because it was somewhat of a small room and the bed looked super intimidating. Instead of the usual stirrups, the leg rests looked like boots with the top half cut off. Plus there are all types of machinery and tools all around. There was also a door on one side and a curtain right in front of the bed. I remember asking if the lab was through one of them, I think the curtain, because they pass the eggs right to the embryologists so nothing is contaminated. I remember laying down and putting my legs up into the scary contraptions and then instantly going "Woa, this is actually way more comfortable than I thought!" Not gonna lie, I kinda wish all female Dr offices had these for all procedures. It's bad enough laying like you need to for the world to see everything, but it's worse when it's mostly super uncomfortable. I suddenly wasn't caring what was about to happen. 

The anesthesiologist did his thing and placed an IV in my inner arm, where they typically do blood draws. I was the most worried about this part because I knew the rest I wouldn't remember, but he did a good job (of course) and it hurt for a few seconds but wasn't so bad. I remember him telling me that he gave me something initially to calm me and I thanked him and said it must be working because I was becoming a chatterbox and not worried a bit. I tend to talk wayyyyyy extra if I'm nervous and I remember telling them this, and telling them to feel free to tell me to shut up at any time. They put some oxygen thing in my nose and all of a sudden I was feeling the anesthesia because my eyes were fighting to stay open. I remember asking if I needed to keep them open and they said whatever I want. I bet I closed them instantly because the next thing I know, I hear voices and wake up in recovery. I hear a nurse almost immediately at my side and I started to move my legs, realizing I'm back on the bed I started on before the procedure. How the hell I got there I haven't a clue but let me say anesthesia is a wonderful thing! It made me chatty and silly (I had some of the staff laughing at how talkative I was) and then I don't remember a damn thing. 

I remember asking how many eggs I had and if Scott was able to come in yet. She sent for him and told me I had 24. I remember commenting "24 is my brother's fav number, so that's cool!" (#dork) and I asked her to write the number on my hand. I know some clinics do this because I've seen countless pics online of the magic egg retrieval number and I kind of couldn't wait for mine. I told her my best friend & I talked about this and I wanted to send her the pic, so she gladly wrote 24 on my right hand. Scott came in a few mins later and I remember being amazed that it was over. 

Suddenly a different embryologist pops her head in and tells us that our number is actually 25; one popped up at the last second that they missed. Fine by me!! So I had Scott change it on my hand to 25. :)

**So what happens now??**
So even though 25 eggs were retrieved, it doesn't mean all 25 were mature or that they will all fertilize. Typically the numbers drop off by a certain percentage and that can occur due to many various factors. Sometimes they put the eggs and sperm in a dish and let the sperm fertilize the egg naturally on their own. We are doing this with half our eggs, or 13 in this case being an odd number. The other 12 are being fertilized via ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), where the embryologists select a single sperm to be injected into an egg, so fertilized by hand in a sense. ICSI ("Ick-see") can be helpful in certain cases where sperm might have some issues, or if it's frozen. Using a donor, that's the case for us. Even though donor sperm "should" be super sperm, it doesn't mean it is perfect. In case there is some issue with it that we don't yet know, ICSI is kind of a way to give them a boost and help fertilization along. So again, not all will fertilize and we expect the 25 number to drop off a bit. We will hear tomorrow and that magic number will determine a day 3 or a day 5 embryo transfer. If you have less than 3 or 4, they do a day 3. If you have 4+ they do a day 5. Day 5 is optimal but it depends on the count. Day 5 allows them to grow and develop more before putting them back in. What happens either way is whenever they decide, we will go back for an embryo transfer. I'll be in the same room right next to the lab and they'll insert an embryo into my uterus, via a small catheter. In a way it's exactly like the IUI procedures I had done, but the embryo is going in rather than a vial of sperm. All the embryo has to do is snuggle into my uterus and stay put! Then you wait and hope for the best! The remaining embryos will be frozen and if it doesn't work this time, we can do a frozen embryo transfer (FET) in another month or so and it's the same thing but no need for another egg retrieval unless we run out. If this cycle works, we save any frozen embryos for future siblings and repeat the FET with them down the road. Praying and hoping we are done with the initial IVF steps and that this batch of eggs will get us the family we've been dreaming of!

So 25 eggs on the 25th!! We are numbers people (well, Scott by default of my craziness!) and I think that's a fun fact. Also 7 and/or 27 are our jam and 25 (2+5) is 7. Probably sounds like a stretch to others but it's not to me. I dig it. I kind of wanted 27 or 25 because of that. Also, today is our close friend's birthday- Happy Birthday, Manny!!! We didn't meet Manny until after we were married and he always jokes with us that he's bitter he wasn't invited to the wedding. Today I texted him and said "Your future niece/nephew(s) were hopefully conceived today, on your birthday... still wanna complain about not being at the wedding?". I won that battle. :) haha 

Of course you feel a little groggy in recovery but I guess I wasn't out that long so it probably helped my wakeup. They said the procedure was only about 25 mins and I had been asleep maybe 15. I laid there for a good 30-40 mins before getting up. Scott was looking forward to me being super loopy and silly for some good bribery pics/video, but he didn't get it because I did so well. The staff all kept saying how great I did through every step, so that made me happy. 

My abdomen/uterus/ovary area was definitely quite sore and crampy/uncomfortable, so they gave me some Tylenol and a heating pad, along with some apple juice (I hadn't had a thing in over 12 hours at this point, so I was happy for that!). When I got to the office in the morn I said my discomfort was maybe a 3 out of 10, and after the procedure I upped it to a 5ish, mayyyybe a 6 tops. But given all that had happened, I knew this was normal. I knew how they got the eggs out, but looking it up and giving a visual is a whole different story... No wonder why it still hurts now! Check out that needle! Ouch!

The nurse gave me my post-retrieval instructions and I was pretty much free to go. I felt awake enough, not nauseous, not dizzy, etc, so I was free to slowly get up and change. Taking the bandages off the IV was maybe the same amount of pinching as it was to get it in- not that bad. Around 12:15, we were headed out and on our way home! 

The car ride home was bumpy and uncomfortable but I had brought my pillow with me so I had that on my lap to help. I also requested McDonald's as my junk food for the day and it was delicious!! I normally avoid fast food when I can because it's so terrible for you on a regular basis, but in special occasions it was literally so perfect today. I knew today was a wash so I let myself have it and when I feel better, I vow to get back in shape. Being out of it this week made my discomfort level go up, so being more energetic or flexible would have helped my comfort level. Also, last night I saw a pic of me from 4 years ago when I did Zumba 3-4x a week and was super active. It's not a huge difference but with a small frame, a few pounds here and there makes a big difference for ME. I want to get back to that (unless pregnant soon, of course, but even then I want to continue being active and healthy). 

Once home, I scarfed down my McD's and laid comfortably on the couch with some pillows, a heating pad (my new BFF), and some Gatorade. I haven't moved all day except to get up to pee (not so fun or comfortable but at least I'm going and not retaining fluids yet) or to move to the recliner. Scott has been amazing all day and I'll miss him when he goes to work tomorrow. 

I'm only allowed to take Tylenol, and I've definitely been doing so. It's been steadily uncomfortable throughout the day but I should start feeling better tomorrow. They also gave me 2 prescription pills to take over the next 4 days (including today), one is an antibiotic and the other Scott thinks is a steroid. Not sure. It tasted NASTY, though. It started to dissolve in my mouth instantly before I could get it down and BLAH- EWWW- GROSS. lol!! 

I thankfully had another night off from injections today (I've been through enough, thank you!) and our PIO shots start tomorrow. PIO is progesterone in oil. Progesterone is a key hormone to sustaining a pregnancy, and since my eggs were just taken out, my body will be confused over the next few days and prob assume I released them, triggering a period in 2 weeks. But since we hope to have an embryo transfer in a few days and hold a pregnancy, we need to introduce progesterone and keep it going. The method I've been prescribed is nightly injections into the butt muscle. This is a similar shot to what Scott did Sun night, but it doesn't have to be at an exact minute. I had a nurse draw circles on me of where to inject (Scott did well guessing from Google pics, but we were off by a bit and it was too close to possibly hitting my sciatic nerve- hah whoops! Obv he didn't but now we have targets from the nurse). We ordered numbing cream to help me, even if just mentally, for the injections. It arrived tonight so we are ready to go. We'll do these injections for the next 2 weeks until the pregnancy test. If pregnant, we'll need to continue for another 1-2 months and if not, we stop. So nowhere in the clear from injections for now. I could have taken the alternative of vaginal suppository cream but that's like 2-3x a day, and to be honest, the thought of that would make me crazy all day long. Plus, now I know Scott is kinda looking forward to the shots because it involves him in a very big way. So I will be brave and just not look at the needles. :) Also, I'll keep my eye on the prize of a baby and hold onto hope that all of this will work soon! 

So here we go- an end to a very long but exciting and eventful day!!! :) I did it!! The super hard part is behind us!! Now we just wait patiently and see what happens. Prayers for good numbers moving forward, please!! 

Stace & Scott


  1. 25 eggs!! That's fantastic! Fingers crossed for great things to come. If you though it was freaky to think one of those eggs could be your future child, wait until transfer day when you see the embryo they are about to implant. It's so amazing to see this small cluster of cells and think "this could be the first time I see my child". Keep smiling, sounds like you're doing great so far :)

  2. So awesome! Great number - please keep us updated!

    Why no nail polish?

    1. I think it helps the anesthesiologist know if all is ok during the procedure. I've heard that your nail color can change if something isn't going well, so it's a neat indicator for them. Not sure if all offices do that but if was on my list.