Last we left our IVF story my tummy was becoming more and more bloated thanks to my enlarged ovaries. They had been successfully tricked into creating more eggs than normal (thanks to all the drugs I was injecting) and they were bursting at the seams. As we got closer to egg retrieval day I had to make a trip to the doctor’s office about every other day to check my hormone levels. These blood tests would tell the doctors exactly the day and time that they needed to go in and get the eggs.
After one such visit the doctor announced that the stars were aligned and the eggs were ready. I had a vision of the hens in my papa’s hen house sitting on their nests and making their skwaking announcement that they had just popped out an egg. Egg retrieval is an invasive process involving a long needle and I would be put under anesthesia. Fine with me. That might be the last nap I have for a long time. The day of the procedure we arrived early, eager to see just how many eggs my body could produce. The nurse prepped me and, oh, by the way, today is your doctor’s day off (it was a Saturday and the docs in the practice switch off every other Saturday). She isn’t here but Dr. Whats-his-name will perform the retrieval. Wait, what? A dude? Not that I’m a prude or anything but I’ve been going to a female doctor when it came to female stuff since I was 18 and now you want me to reveal it all to a dude? Take a deep breath, just a little bump in the road. He’s a doctor and it’s not like he hasn’t seen it all before. Fine.
I don’t remember anything about the actual egg retrieval as I was taking a drug induced nap but I woke to Dear Husband’s smiling face (way too soon) and was told that everything was very successful. As far as I know the doctor uses a long needle to reach the ovaries and suck out the eggs. It must have been a brutal process because the next say my bellybutton was bruised. Don’t ask why because I don’t know.
Bruised bellybutton aside it turns out I was a very good little hen. Dr. Dude retrieved 37 eggs. Baakaaak!
Each egg was immediately injected with a single sperm. From those 37 eggs, 15 survived their first date with a swimmer and were left alone for 3 to 5 days. Cells start splitting and embryos start taking shape. In 4 to 5 days the embryos are given ratings and the most viable embryos are crowned Miss America and first and second runner up. Their grand prize is that they get to be implanted in my uterus. During those 5 short days a lot happened to my body. The day after the egg retrieval I began to feel pressure in my stomach and chest. Dear Husband made me call the office (if it were left up to me I would have taken about 5 rolls of Gas-x and hoped for the best). Good thing I called because my body was over stimulated from the drugs and retrieval. Fluid was building up around my ovaries and blood vessels. The cure: a high salt diet for two days. Yipee! Bring on the potato chips, Chinese food and Gatorade.
While I was trying to fight off fluid retention with french fries and fried rice I had to start a new injection…progesterone. The days of the sweet, tiny needles in the stomach were over. It was time to bring out the big guns. If needles make you squeamish now is the time to start squirming. The needle is about 3 inches long and pretty thick (as far as needles go). Progesterone must be injected into the muscle so guess where this one goes? That’s right, gluteus maximus. I couldn’t reach around far enough and get the right angle so Dear Husband had the pleasure of jamming this huge needle into my hiney every night. On top of the huge needle the hormone comes in an oily liquid that must be slowly injected and then the injection site needs to be massaged so it doesn’t form a hard ball of oily progesterone in the muscle. Sexy, huh?
4 days after the egg retrieval it was time for an embryo transfer!