“Taking our time, Ah just standing in the rain…”
It’s been a great few weeks of rest since the last post! Let’s catch up.
The end of September was filled with shots…not the fun kind. Husband became quite the pro at injecting me with “stims” which resulted in an insane amount of really big eggs. It also caused me to bloat up like a balloon and walk around clutching my abdomen because I felt that I was carrying around 36 golf balls. I wore yoga pants to work the last few days of September and the couch and I were pretty inseparable. Luckily the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, fell in the first week of October so I didn’t have to work those 2 days, but I still ended up out of work for a week and a half total.
On October 5th I went under anesthesia for the egg retrieval. My tshirt and lucky socks from my Sock Buddy, Lu, made quite the impression at the clinic. I’d never been in this part of the clinic before and it was interesting. There’s a nurses station in the middle of a large room and beds lining the walls separated by curtains. I think total there were 6-8 beds in there. Each had a chair next to them for the partner and the beds all had women with gowns and socks on. They gave us sticky socks so we wouldn’t slip and fall, but I was adamant about wearing my lucky Lu socks so I put the stick socks on over them.
The women get undressed and into hospital gowns then get comfy in bed. They pumped us full of fluids (I think?) while we waited for our turns. Peter got to hang with me the whole time, which was comforting as I got nervous at this point. Getting undressed in the bathroom was a giant pain in the ass because I was so swollen and bloated that bending down was difficult. I went to yank off my pants and hit my head on the bathroom sink – not a great way to start. But I got a hold of myself and eventually they walked me with my IV of fluids to the operating room.
That room is enough to freak anyone out. It was small but straight out of a Grey’s Anatomy episode with the overhead lights and medical equipment. I don’t remember a lot but I remember thinking it was packed in there. The nurse that led me in got me settled on the table and into the stirrups. There was a door open leading to another room and there were 2-3 nurses in that doorway. I have no idea what was in the other room. There was also an anesthesiologist behind me, a nice guy who had introduced himself earlier in the waiting area. I think I was talking a mile a minute, trying to not be a nervous weirdo. I remember saying “oh, by the way, I’m not flipping off any of you guys, these socks match my ‘Fuck Infertility’ t-shirt, but they made me take that off.” Everyone laughed and said I was pretty awesome. I heard an Aerosmith song on whatever sound system they had going in there, which made me happy for a moment, and the anesthesiologist told me to sing while he put the mask on. Then it was lights out and I don’t remember a thing, including what song it was.
Next thing I knew, I felt like I was in a car, but I’m told that’s because they rolled me out on a bed from that room back to Peter in the waiting room. I’m also told I was crying and talking about my friend Louie, who died when we were 18. I have a bad track record with anesthesia, it’s never a good time. Luckily it didn’t take long to wear off and eventually we got back in the car and headed home, where I proceeded to live on the couch for several days. I got up only to eat, pee (frequently), and go to my bed. I left the house once to go to the movies to see Deepwater Horizon and another time to walk around a local reservoir with the dog. Yoga pants, or no pants, were the theme of the week, depending on how bloated I was. Gatorade, protein bars, and soup were my main diet. It took a few days to feel like a normal person again. Porter our pup was a great nurse.
While recovering, we went on yet another roller coaster ride of emotions. I always think I’ve hit the worst of it, and I always say, “this time was the worst,” but this really took the cake. You might recall the number 36 from earlier in this post, that was the number of eggs they got from me. I admit we were feeling pretty cocky, we’d never heard of that many being retrieved. The nurses were all congratulatory, the women I connect with on an infertility Facebook group were amazed. The doctor personally called me the next day, and it is never a good sign when you hear his voice on the other end. He told me that not a single one of the eggs fertilized when placed in a dish with sperm and left overnight. This means that not only do I have PCOS, which causes me to not ovulate properly and makes it hard to get pregnant due to timing, but something is up with either my eggs or Peter’s sperm – and the doctor has no way of knowing what it is. It could be my eggs are to tough to penetrate or there are proteins on the sperm, but there aren’t any tests that can be done to determine. I lost it, ended up hugging the dog on the floor calling husband, mom, and my only best friend not working at that moment. Was only able to reach my mom before Peter called back and had 2 really good sobfests over the phone with both of them.
The doctor immediately began a procedure called a Rescue ICSI, which is when the sperm is injected directly into the eggs, rather than what was originally tired – putting them both into a dish to let them do their thing. A nurse called the following day (now October 7th), so I breathed a little easier immediately because it wasn’t the doctor on the other end. Nothing personal, doc! 25 eggs survived after the failed fertilization of the original 36. The Rescue ICSI was performed on them and 19 fertilized! Each day the number of fertilized eggs goes down because some stop progressing so they called back twice more throughout the week. Those 19 held on a bit more but eventually became 10 fertilized eggs ready for freezing. 10 is still a fantastic number, so we are very lucky.
Now it’s back to the waiting game, something we’re very accustomed to. This time I’m thankful for it because I very nearly hyperstimulated from the medications and my body needs a serious rest. Normally the doctor would transfer one or more fresh fertilized eggs (now embryos) back to me, but the hyperstimulation risk was too high. They froze all my eggs to wait until my body calms down.
I went back to work for the first time since September 30th on October 13th and life has been getting back to normal. I’m finally sleeping better, got to see some friends that were visiting from Detroit, attended my cousin’s wedding back in NY, ran off to Maine for a one night mini-vacation with hubby and the dog, and we held our annual Halloween party. It has been so nice to not take any medication, or be injected with anything, or be tied to the clinic so I can’t leave town or make any fun plans.
Finally, the moment you’ve been reading for…the timeline update:
Yesterday I went back to the clinic to go over the Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) procedure with the doctor. I signed some forms and he explained that only one egg would be transferred because he doesn’t want me to get pregnant with multiples. I was excited at the timeline he gave, which was end of November or early December. Then he realized that my uterus evaluation (whatever THAT is) expires soon, a sign of how long we’ve been trying to get pregnant. I need this done as soon as possible but, as is this entire process, it all depends on my cycle. The evaluation will happen in mid November and now my FET should happen in late December. If my cycle occurs when we think it will, it looks like I’ll be spending Christmas morning in the clinic for a blood draw and vaginal ultrasound. Then New Year’s Eve will be transfer day. I’ll be starting 2017 as PUPO – pregnant until proven otherwise! This means I’ll walk out of that clinic with an embryo in me, technically pregnant, but it will take 2 weeks to see if it grows or fails.
I feel badly about our holiday plans of family time being at risk, but the outcome will hopefully be great. Until then, I’ll be resting up and enjoying myself.
What’s up with these blog post titles?
We dig music in this household. So we figured we’d let you know the songs that are getting us through this process. Today’s is: