life, love, and maybe babies

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My IFV Retrieval, Part II: Taking it with lots of grains of salt

This is Part II of this previous blog entry...

When last I left you, I had learned that my 33 little follicles were growing like weeds and in turn, jacking my estrogen levels through the roof. So it was good news/bad news. Good in that I was making enough follicles to create a football team, but bad in that the spiked estrogen levels would have to result in a frozen cycle rather than fresh.


Before I could focus on the fact that my IVF cycle would now be a frozen cycle, I still had to get through the retrieval. I was done with all injections except one: the two-part trigger shot. I had experience with trigger shots with both of my (failed) IUI's. Their basic purpose is to make sure you ovulate at just the right time so they retrieve the follicles correctly. Or something like that. They weren't a big deal back then when I did IUI, and they shouldn't have been a big deal now. But for some reason, I struggled with them. The two injections were taken about 12 hours apart from each other. The first was at 11 PM on Monday night.

Let me teach you a valuable lesson. If you're like me and often pass out fall to sleep somewhere in the 8:00-10:00 vicinity, SET AN ALARM. Hubs and I settled on the bed and began watching episodes of "Parks and Recreation" (because I'm a massive Amy Poehler fan), and thought we'd be fine until 11:00.

Uh, not so much. 

I woke up at 11:00 to a blaring A-WOOOGA! A-WOOOOOGA! sound from my Hubs' iPhone alarm. It's a good thing I have a smart partner that thinks ahead, because otherwise, we would have slept straight through. I was half asleep, so the injection went quickly and without drama. I rubbed the pain away at the injection site, crawled under the covers and sawed logs.

The next morning we ventured out for Christmas shopping and knew we'd be at the stores when it came time for my 11:00 AM injection. We ended up at a sporting goods store when the time came, so I went in search of a bathroom. Let me tell you, a department store bathroom built in 1998 is not an ideal spot for shooting yourself up. How, and I ask this in all sincerity, do diabetics EVER get used to this process? Balancing the needle in one hand while fiddling with the vial of medication and wiping your injection site with an alcohol's like a three ring circus inside that stall.

Long story short, the last trigger shot hurt. In fact, it took me four tries to even get the needle in. My guess is that I was just worked up knowing that I was less than 24 hours from retrieval and my nerves were kaput. Regardless, it didn't feel great. 

And the lady pooping in the stall next to me didn't romanticize things much.

Anyways. Injections finished and now it was time to wait until 8 AM the next day when I'd go in for the retrieval.

The next morning arrived without incident and I felt ready. Traffic was light, parking was easy. We arrived at CCRM at promptly at 8:00 and checked in. But I knew what was coming.

The IV shot.

The god. damn. IV shot.

I hate IV's. I hate IV's the way Kim Kardashian hates poor people. (Okay, I'm speculating.) Every time I have ever had an IV in my life, it's been dramatic. Once the nurse put an IV through my vein and said, "Oopsies! Sorry about that!" Another time they poked me in 4 different places until they found a "good vein." I just knew this time wouldn't be any different than all the times before.

To my surprise, the IV went swimmingly. My nurse was quite possibly an angel. She put a numbing medication in first (which yes, stung, but not like a straight IV would) and it really helped calm the whole process down. She had a fantastic bedside manner and set my mind at ease. Next thing I knew, the doc came in, gave me a short shpeel about what they were going to do and started wheeling me out. I remember waving at Hubs and heading into the operating room and...blackness.

The nurse woke me up gently. She reminded me where I was (which didn't matter because I forgot 20 seconds later) and told me I had done beautifully. She said she was off to get Hubs for me and would be back in a sec.

Obviously when you come out of anesthesia, you're a little loopy. Hubs said I was quite entertaining. I cried because they didn't ask me to count down from 100 when I went under and it pissed me off. Then I asked where my mom was. Then I asked if we were at our hospital at home. Then I asked for crackers and fell asleep. It went on like that for awhile.

Here's the basics of what you need to know about retrieval. The soreness is legit. You will feel it. I'm not really sure how to describe it, other than imagine you ate an entire salt lick. You're just crazy bloated. This is not a great time to have yourself photographed because the ability to "suck it in" is just gone. 

The nurses will likely tell you to eat as much salt as possible, in conjunction with lots and lots of water. Basically, you'll have quite a bit of fluid in your tum tum and the salt helps to absorb it so you can pee it out. (For a salt addict like myself, this eating salty stuff diet was not difficult to adhere to).

For me, what sucked most was all that fluid. It's almost impossible to lay on your side and you certainly can't lay on your tummy. But if you try and lay flat on your back, all that fluid travels up into your chest and then you can't breathe. It's way fun.


As in my last blog entry, I will not be showing you photographs of my swollen gut. It's just not a pretty picture. Use your imagination.

That afternoon I was ordered to go home and lay flat as much as possible, yet pee as much as possible. These are two conflicting instructions. Ultimately, you have to pee or the fluid just stays in there, which is no bueno.

I am so grateful to my husband for taking such excellent care of me. He got me heating pads, chips, Gatorade, crackers, name it. He's going to be amazing whenever I do get knocked up.

My best advice for recovery from retrieval is to sleep, drink, pee. It won't be fun, but the faster that fluid gets out, the better off you are. For me, it only took 24 hours and I was back to feeling pretty normal. Still bloated, but the worst was over.

Hubs and I headed back home the next morning. He drove and I laid down for much of the journey. The best news was when CCRM called to tell us they retrieved 26 of the 33 follicles. DAMN! I was quite impressed with myself (even though I really had nothing to do with it).

As it turned out, of those 26, we were able to inseminate and grow out 14 embryos total. And they are amazing quality. It makes me happy to know that after all the injections and tears and hormones and ginormous boobs that what was supposed to happen actually happened. It all went textbook, and that's good enough for me.

Next step is transfer and that will occur at CCRM next Tuesday. Stay tuned to hear how it goes! :)

XOXO, friends.

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