At long last—after 16 days of stimming 450 IU of Bravelle, 300 IU of Menopur and 250mcg of Ganirelex—retrieval went down yesterday.
Because I now think of time in terms of stimming days (SD—I heart acronyms) and not cycle days (CD), I’m all kinds of messed up on how to refer to where I am in this process. Originally I’d been looking at retrieval on SD13. Then it was SD15. Then SD16. Then the day after that. And, finally, the day after that. Follow me? I was totally crushed on SD15 when Dr. C told me to add one more days’ worth of meds until retrieval. I was ready to get these follies out. I’d suddenly begun gaining weight (I’d lost 4 pounds in this cycle up until this point) and my ovary had that heavy, full, uncomfortable feeling to it. Plus, at this point I was up to 10k in meds and my purse was feeling the strain.
The good news to this delay was supposed to be that Dr. C performs all Thursday retrievals. The bad news ended up being that at the last minute he suddenly, inexplicably wouldn’t be doing any Thursday retrievals just for this week, and I’d get some other doc whom I’d never met before instead. That was a real bummer.
I’ve had many surgeries in the past and I have a sort of pre-surgery system down after all this time. So before retrieval I cooked a bunch of (veg) food just in case I felt crappy longer than expected. I made Crock Pot split pea soup. Slow-cooked lentil soup. Two loaves of banana bread. A banana cream pie. Homemade granola bars. I bought prune juice and apple juice to mix together because anesthesia always stops ya up. I made sure to shower the night before instead of the morning of, both to save time and to make sure any scents in the shampoo/soap/conditioner I use had time to dissipate. I bought a ton of Gatorade. I cleaned up my house, threw fresh sheets on the bed, and stuck a pillow and blanket in the car for the car ride back. I saved some goodies to my Netflix list to watch while in bed, and put some Zofran in the car in case I felt queasy. These are all things I’ve learned over the years to prepare for, whether for a major or minor surgery. Every little bit helps.
The day of retrieval I threw on sweats, a sports bra, tee shirt, and begrudgingly wore my glasses instead of my daily contact lenses. After a harrowing drive through throngs of rush hour that almost caused us to be late, we arrived only five minutes late.
I was taken back to the surgical center right away, so much so that I had time only to merely wave at DH before being escorted into the bowels of the clinic. I changed into the obligatory gown, hairnet, and socks, then proceeded to meet a plethora of people whose names I forgot almost instantly.
The absolute worst part of surgery for me is getting the IV: apparently IVF has not cured me of my loathing for and sheer dread of needles. (I remember one surgery I had where the nurse—after several tries—couldn’t get the IV into my hand and eventually had to insert it into the crook of my arm instead. I was bruised up for weeks afterward). The nurse yesterday got the IV in successfully on the first try, but it still totally hurt (and still hurts today, the morning after). Incidentally, this particular nurse reminded me so much of Nurse Pam from Wayward Pines that I secretly wondered if I should be paying more attention to her every move so she didn’t try anything funny. She sat next to me, massaging my hand and smiling a big lip-sticked smile while telling me that she and I would be “best friends for the next hour.” It was more frightening than comforting.
I met the doctor for a quick second, then was escorted into the spaceship-like surgical room where a set of surgical stirrups await in an impossibly high position. The gown they give is too short to provide any iota of modesty once your legs get into these stirrups, so I simply resigned myself to being in a room of 6 or 7 people with my junk hanging out. At this point, who really cares anymore? I’ve done enough procedures in my life that I simply at some point gave up altogether on any modicum of modesty. I’d be getting the “Michael Jackson drug” (Propofol). Nurse Pam stood over my bedside and told me to think happy thoughts. Everyone began to sound tinny and far away. I felt heavy and thoughts came slowly and vividly. Then I was out.
I woke up about 45 minutes later to a very sweet nurse who told me they retrieved thirteen eggs. Thirteen. Thirteen! Hear that?! The number thirteen has never sounded so good to me. As for the details beyond that, I know nothing yet. I never did see the doctor again. I don’t know how many follicles were retrieved vs. number of eggs. I don’t know the sizes/maturation either. What I do know is that GOD CAME THROUGH for me. I started with 8 follices. Then moved to 7. Then Dr. C thought he might get 4. Then he might get 3. The counts just kept going down. All of a sudden, my slow-responding-self began to finally respond. Prayer absolutely works! I couldn’t have been more happy with the number.
After leaving the clinic, I spent the day in bed with my heating pad. I had cramps and some nausea, but really I was just super tired. The worst part, physically, is how badly the veins on my hand hurt from the IV. I’ve been icing it intermittently to keep the swelling down and massaging it to keep bruising at bay. And, even though I really didn’t haaaaaave to, I arranged to use a personal day from work today. It’s Friday. It’s gorgeous outside. And I’m way too distracted to concentrate on work. My phone is by my side 24/7 to hear from the embryologist.
Updates to follow.