Posts Tagged ‘egg collection’

Egg collection part 2, the full story.

October 1, 2012

We woke up at an ungodly hour this morning, which featured TMD needing to insert her first ass pessary. That’s always a nice way to start the day.

We left before the sun had risen, and the total lack of traffic meant we whizzed across the border and into the city. It was nice to be with her. Like a date, except less sexy and more full of worry. We were in the city about an hour early, so we walked along the mostly empty streets as the sun rose. Golden light softened the castle, which was gorgeous, and we counted an unbelievable number of coffee and shoe shops. We also went into one so that I could get what I fondly call ‘ass sick’ in the bathroom.

When we got to the clinic, I found out I was the fifth and final egg collection patient, and there were only four rooms on the surgical floor. So we sat for two and a half hours in the main waiting room, which was oddly fun as uglier and uglier flowers and furniture were being delivered. I started whispering to TMD that I could shoot a documentary there, but I think on reflection no one would want to watch it.

We were finally called upstairs at 10:30, which I thought was cutting it as the collection was scheduled for 11. We went through the normal pre surgery stuff – medical checklists, warnings about surgery, triple checking the ID card that would be used to safeguard the embryos. Then shit got real. We told the nurse we had decided to not proceed with eggsharing. She didn’t bat an eye.

I did say, but we do have the caveat that if somehow more eggs were collected than expected, we will be happy to share. She was very clear there was no way that could happen. I jokingly said, ‘You don’t know. I may be a medical marvel. You do hear about medical miracles!’ She laughed again and reiterated it would not happen. No chance. We already knew that, and were honestly expecting six eggs to be the end result.

The doctor came in and it was pressure city. She told us the fee was an extra six thousand, not the four thousand we came in expecting to pay. Apparently you get the cheaper rate if you try to eggshare and it fails. But if you withdraw, you have to pay for every single thing. The doctor just kept listing fees, and TMD was getting whiter and whiter. I asked the doctor to have someone give us a total, and also leave us alone for a few minutes so we could talk privately.

Well, as TMD pointed out, this was the stuff of medical documentaries. A very tense few minutes of pressured discussion. TMD was very, very upset about the money. You all know we just about break even every month, so spending that much money in one chunk was something we could probably never recover from. I saw her upset and this intense sense of calm came over me. TMD suggested we take the gamble – go ahead with eggsharing, especially since we thought it was very unlikely they would get the minimum of eight eggs necessary. So we would save ourselves money, but take the risk of them getting eight eggs and us therefore only having four.

And you know, I was okay with it. Our priority has to be the children, and spending that much money – Jesus. That’s a lot of living. And we do have the two perfect children for us. If this didn’t work out, I could be happy. I like our family. I’d be disappointed about not having this third child I feel is still missing, but not at the expense of the two we have. And TMD. Her face was so terrible when they kept saying more and more money we would have to pay. I couldn’t do that to her. Could not.

So we took the gamble.

This time, I was conscious throughout the collection. I did have an ass pessary for painkilling, one for antibiotics, IV painkillers, and IV sedation. That shit HURT. Hurt like woah. Let me tell you, needles are not supposed to pierce your vaginal walls. Lucky for me, the anaesthetist was amazing and supportive, and it was all fine.

The doctor is all jamming needles into my ovaries, while the embryologist (named Snort!) called out the number of eggs retrieved. Then he said, ‘Eight.’ The doctor was overjoyed and said, ‘Eight! Existere, did you hear that?’

‘Yes, eight.’ It was what we were not hoping for. At that point I thought, okay, so we will have four eggs. I still felt very calm and accepting.

The it was done and the doctor said, ‘Do you want to know how many we got? THIRTEEN.’ Everyone was whooping and so excited. I was shocked. The doctor explained that all of my small follicles, the ones that had been deemed useless, somehow all had eggs in them.

Medical miracle.

So, folks, there we are. Sitting across that bridge in an incubator we have seven little eggs that were fertilised this afternoon. Tomorrow we will get a call telling us how many actually fertilised and went on to develop. We have used ICSI, which is when a single sperm is injected directly into each egg, rather than just letting the two mix in a petri dish.

The transfer is, all things going well, on Thursday or Saturday. Sedation is not available on weekends, which TMD is terrified about, but as I said right before they started the egg collection, ‘Whatever will be, will be.’ Corny but strangely calming.

This is the outcome we wanted from the start. Enough eggs for us to have a real shot, AND enough for the recipient as well. This is the outcome we were told would not happen.

And yet somehow today, a minor medical miracle has happened, and we got a lucky thirteen eggs in this month of Halloween. Let’s hope our tide of bad luck has turned, and those little babies are doing some hardcore growth and cell division tonight. I TOLD them this was a serious business, and apparently the eggs were listening.

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IVF tomfoolery.

September 29, 2012

Thank you, thank you. All the generous people who have given us money have not only helped financially, but emotionally. It has boosted me to see your names and know we have people supporting us. Now, I guess you want to know why we suddenly owe the clinic an additional four grand.

I’m still upset and not wanting to get myself more upset, so the brief version is that through a combination of my age (34), BMI (30), and the clinic’s poor monitoring that failed to catch that I needed a higher dose of drugs earlier, we have been told that eggsharing is no longer a given.

I was told I had three options.

One, abandon the cycle. Owe no more money.

Two, pay the four grand and proceed as if eggsharing. If they get enough eggs to share (we need a total of eight), then we give half to the recipient and are refunded the four grand.

Three, pay the four grand and proceed with full IVF, no eggsharing. The nurse told me this was the final price, then the doctor mentioned I’d have to pay for drugs, but she backed off when I said what the nurse said. So, yeah. Hopefully just four grand with this option, well, six in total.

Yikes.

None of these are terrific. Obviously option one is out. Options two and three are virtually the same thing, since I think it is very unlikely they will get enough eggs. I only had eight at 14mm or higher (though a further eight that were smaller, thanks to my pal the drug kerfuffle), and they like to see ten at the final scan. There is likely to be eggs in any woman’s follicles 80-90 percent of the time, so having the ten larger follicles gives them good odds with eggsharing.

I also only had one dose, today, of stimming hormones. I worry because normally there are two doses before the end of this phase….since apparently everyone fucking takes the meds at night, but we were told to take them whenever so chose morning. So I hope those eight will be large enough.

What decision have we come to? At this point, regardless of what a total shit I feel like for doing so, we are proceeding with full IVF. I will have the caveat that if a larger number of eggs than expected are harvested, we will go back to eggsharing. I can’t imagine what this poor woman is going through. She will have had a phone call yesterday explaining that things were not looking fantastic.

But even with eight eggs, knowing I am unlikely to be accepted as an egg sharer in future (unless I get back to my normal weight BMI. I am thirty pounds heavier this time than last.), and knowing we can’t afford another IVF cycle, we have to give ourselves the best chance. So more eggs equals better chance.

Because the other main deliberation has returned to the one embryo transfer versus two embryo transfer. Last time twins felt like a blessing, this time they feel like a risk. I think you all know I’d love another set of twins…would LOVE it…but TMD has very serious and sensible hesitations. She would prefer a single embryo transfer. More eggs mean a better chance to have a really good quality embryo.

Four years ago, only two of our embryos grew to what was considered ‘perfect.’. Snort and Coconut. That was four years ago when I responded well to meds. There is no way to predict the quality of my eggs this time since those hormones were not tested.

This decision is still up in the air. I would still prefer two babies to no baby, which is what we said last time. Only last time we actively hoped for twins, and that isn’t really the case this time. We have clarified that the day of the transfer (probably next Thursday if all goes well, please let it go well, let one fucking thing about this cycle go well!) we will find out beforehand about the quality of embryos. If none are fantastic we may transfer two. If one is fantastic, well, I don’t know. It’s a minor bone of contention between us, but I think ultimately TMD needs to have a large say in this. It’s her body that will doing this. Her lining is apparently ‘triple pattern.’ We are not sure what that means, but apparently it is really, really good.

So I don’t know. Any gentle or thoughtful feedback is welcomed.

Moving on, I take the trigger shot at eleven tonight. We have egg retrieval at eleven on Monday morning, despite my crazy hormonal challenging the doctor as to her decision. Overall I am nowhere as pleased with this clinic as our last. I think we would be looking at a very different outcome were we there. I don’t doubt my age and weight have impacted things, but I also am angry (bitter?) that I had no stimming scan until a week into the process. I’m also not pleased with the way the doctor spoke to me yesterday. But there is nothing to be done about any of these things except move forward.

With your help.

Thank you.

Every little 1.00 is more than part of our bus fare or blood tests. It is just a buoy in hard times. This cycle has been gruelling. I look forward to having the egg collection over and done with, even though I’m so scared we will have only a handful of eggs. I know it only takes one, but I’m a girl who likes to have good odds.

If you want a baby and are putting it off, if you are mid thirties, shit. Get your hormones checked, and think about me. My hormones still say I’m very fertile, and look how this all turned out. Consider single parenthood if you must. Because I have to say that even with the world’s two most loved children, it still hurts immeasurably to think that this is our last chance. When did we get old without earning any money? Ha.

The one good thing is that the trigger shot this time around is just a dial up pen. It’s what it sounds like. A thick pen with a needle on one end and medicine inside, sort of like an epipen. Last time we had to do science experiments with various vials, liquids, mixing meds, etc. It was hard. This one, though I admit I haven’t looked at the pen yet, promises to be yet another tiny subcutaneous injection in my bruised yet gorgeous belly. I hope it doesn’t sting, and I hope it doesn’t give me the tremendously awful stomach pains I had last time around, but either way, this is it.

All going well, my wife will have a baby or two in her body next week, and I hope that/those kid/s cling to her triple pattern. Do you hear that eggs? Cling.

Love to you all, and love to me, because right now I’m trying so hard not to beat myself up and blame myself for ruining everything.

More on egg collection. Also, I heart private health care.

December 4, 2008

I’ve got a picture of the gross vein thing in my right hand, but fear not, it’s not on the computer yet.

I’m not exactly sure where I was in the Telling of the Egg Collection Saga. Fairly certain I stopped with fearing I would slide off the table, and the nurse telling me I was going to feel totally wacked up after the second injection.

And that’s the last shred of conversation I remember. I don’t remember any talking during the egg collection – surely there must have been some? I also don’t remember my feet getting up on the stir-ups. I was told beforehand that the ‘twilight sedation’ (will avoid any obvious jokes!) would mean that I could hear the nurse and talk to her. God only knows if I did.

My real fear was farting during the procedure.

Anyway, I also have no recollection of being put into a wheelchair, talking to TMD, or falling asleep for ten minutes in recovery. I guess I kept asking the nurses and TMD over and over how many eggs had been collected. In a loud voice. Along with my declaration of, ‘I felt everything’ at the near-top of my lungs. Shortly after waking up, which happened pretty quickly, I hurt. I immediately asked Ann, my pal the nurse, for some painkillers.

Time seems wobbly at this point. I swallowed two pills. Then the nurse-with-the-serious-drugs came over and said, ‘I heard you’re in agony.’  She was going to inject something into me, before that damned Ann told her I’d taken tablets. I heard whispered conversation along the lines of, ‘Why does she hurt so bad?’ Then Ann ‘fessed up and told My Drug Dealing Nurse that they hadn’t given me the ass bullet designed to thwart pain, due to my asthma.

Then Lovely Druggie Nurse came back to sit by my and rub my leg. She suggested I shift over onto my side and lie flat, as this would take the pressure off my ovaries. She stayed and chatted for ages, and then said she would come back to see how I was doing in a bit, as if I needed more pain meds she could dose me up.

I remember saying we had to call Aussie – so I did. Also asked TMD again (!) how many eggs had been collected.

A short while after, I was up and at ’em. After being told I would feel sleepy all day, I was a bit surprised to feel completely awake. Druggie Nurse came back, I said I was much better, so she took the IV thing out of my hand. She also said that the drugs she had given me had a side effect of euphoria, so I might be experiencing the tail end of that.

(Trust me, dear readers, euphoria was NOT my frame of mind! Ha!)

Nursie also explained that if I got heavy cramps with my period, it was unavoidable that I would feel more pain after an egg collection than others. Not quite sure of the logic of that, but it sounded good.

We then got a visit from the  lady who had done the egg collection. She explained they’d got seven vials of fluid from my ‘very juicy follicles’, and that seven was a high number. Also something about the number 4? Fuck knows. After given the all clear to leave and a paper bag full of pessaries (ass bullets!) we left. Got a taxi to the train station, at which point we had a slight detour while I demanded we go across the street to buy veggie sushi.

I just felt tender, sore, full – but could already tell those eggs were outta me. Apparently the ovaries go into mini-seizures after an egg collection, so that’s why. They’re also still very swollen. I had some bleeding after the op, but it’s done today. Thankfully. That made me nervous – I suppose it was essentially spotting, but with a couple of strands of clot-like substance. (TMI? Deal.)

Despite the feast on the train and feeling wide awake, I passed out within minutes of getting home and slept for hours. Then last night we had our first at-home ass bullet insertion. This was less crazy than the first shot, though I will say I dropped it on the floor and put it in anyway. Go ahead: judge me.

Today I feel much better. Only took painkillers when I first woke up, which is a big difference to gobbling mass amounts every four hours yesterday. My ass is a bit peculiar, though. (Okay, it’s going to be TMI for a minute, so you can skip ahead if you don’t like poop talk.)

I still feel like I’ve got to poop a lot – just as I did before the egg collection. But when I sit on the toilet, even for a pee, sweet jesus. It’s like a mass amount of pressure pushing down, and it is tres painful. Particularly if actual poo is involved. You know those occasions when you are trying to push out a piece of poop that is clearly too big for the alloted space? The ripping pain? Yeah, it’s like that every time. Add that to my anxiety around pooping out my pessaries, and you’ve got a version of me that is even more shit-obsessed than I was before this whole IVF thing.

Because, incidentally, I did poop out some pessary yesterday evening.

I think I can switch to sticking them up the hole where it’s much more usual for things to be stuck once the embryos are transferred. I guess that’s messier than the poop shoot, but who cares? I want to be able to poop when I need to poop, you know?

The only other thing I haven’t written about on here is my stomach pain. This is decidedly different from my ovaries, which I can still feel with an unfortunate deadly accuracy. This feels like I haven’t eaten in a week – very sharp, severe pain.

I took my hCG trigger shot on Monday night. I woke up before dawn on Tuesday morning with ripping stomach pains, sure I was somehow starving. The same thing happened on Wednesday morning. This does NOT happen normally.

Today the pain has been there all day. My natural reaction is to feed the hunger, as though it is a rapid dog to be feared. So I shove food in, the pain goes away for a few hours, then the hunger gods need to be appeased once more. Let me reiterate: this is not normal hunger. This is PAIN.

WTF, you know? Any enlightenment welcome, particularly as my last bout of frantic eating only appears to have muted the pain.

I’m thinking – gas, stress, or the trigger shot. But I don’t get gas pains as a rule, and let me assure you that in the parping department, much air is flowing. (A side effect of the bullets is flatulence. TMD is not amused, because I already do more than my fair share.) I guess another possibility is the shitty food I’ve been eating.

But, ow.

My embryo transfer is arranged for 11 am on Saturday. Start crossing your phalanges now!!

PS – Seriously, I need to remember to tell you about de-icer and spilled cologne.

PPS – TMD is so cute. I got a text earlier saying that she can’t concentrate because she is so excited. Me? I am just sitting here stinking up the flat. Even the cat is disgusted.

Unwatched pots do boil

December 4, 2008

Morning everyone. Thanks for the lovely and supportive comments. Keep ’em coming!

The clinic hasn’t called yet, which *fingers crossed* is a good sign. If they needed us to come in today for an embryo transfer, I think they would have phoned by now. I hope all 8 of our lovely mature eggs have fertilised and are dividing away. Little miracles.

I’m much better than I was yesterday. Apparently I kept repeating myself after the op, which I was warned ahead of time I would do. I guess when I was wheeled back to the recovery room in a wheelchair (which I have no remembrance of), the first thing I said to TMD was, ‘I felt everything.’

Right afterwards it all seemed hot, fresh, and painful. I did experience the egg collection as hurting a lot, and I have recollections of them giving me more drugs while it was going on. Oddly enough, though, I don’t actually remember it. For instance, my ass was all the way at the bottom of this table, with my feet on a stool. I remember worrying I was going to slide right off the table when I was sober – let alone with the drugs. Within seconds of the first shot going in I was doped up.

I remember the nurse saying, ‘If you feel dopey now, wait till I get this one in you!’ And that’s the

 

OH MY GOD. The clinic just called! I am crying. I am so happy.

Of the 8 they did ICSI with, ALL EIGHT HAVE FERTILISED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am trying to get through to TMD, so this might be disjointed. —- Okay, just got off phone with TMD. Going to keep things disjointed, though!

Crazy Name Nurse rang with the news. She just kept saying, ‘This is fabulous news. Well done you! I am so excited for you!’

I also said, ‘I hope things have gone well for the recipient as well.’

CNN (ha – what an acronym) said, ‘She’s had fabulous news this morning as well. She is so excited!!’

I feel almost as happy for her as I do for us!! Now we have eight little babies growing in a lab. Two of them will go back into my uterus on Saturday morning.

I want to write more about the egg collection and the ass bullets, but for now I think I need a breather.

EIGHT FERTLISED out of eight mature eggs!!!!! I am overflowing with gratitude to everyone who has played any part in this journey, including those of you who are being so supportive here.

EIGHT!

They won’t let me wear deodorant.

December 2, 2008

So, what happens tomorrow?

1. I stop eating at midnight tonight. I have nothing to drink after 4/5 am tomorrow morning.

2. I arrive at the clinic by 8:45 for my egg collection, scheduled at 10:30.

3. No doubt all the risks and things will be run through with me. I’ll also get a load of information for the next stage of treatment.

4. Prior to the op, I stick some pessaries up my ‘rectal passage.’ One for pain, one to prevent infection. I’m not sure how effective these will be as I will probably literally be shitting myself with nerves.

5. I get sedated! The nurse said this is not being awake, but not being asleep. Way to be specific.

6. Under ultrasound guidance, a needle is inserted into my vagina. It pierces the vaginal wall to go through to first one ovary, then the other. I suppose it will pierce each individual follicle and suck the eggs out. This takes 15-20 minutes in total.

7. I spend 1-2 hours in recovery (until I can pee normally and eat without vomiting. Nice). I find out how many mature eggs were collected. Those eggs are whisked off somewhere to be fertilised.

8. We take two taxis and a train home. I cross my fingers that my little egglings are doing well. I probably shit myself some more.

Then Thursday we get the call saying how many eggs have fertilised. I get all antsy thinking about embryos needing to go back in on Thursday – I’ll still probably be quite sore and TMD might have already gone into work. This means that we’ll make our individual ways to the clinic, which would be a bit of a bummer. I’m going to clarify with them tomorrow what time they think they’ll call, and perhaps TMD can have some flexibility about going into work.

Apparently spotting and abdominal cramping is normal after this procedure. Tampons are verboden, but I don’t like them anyway. Nor do I wear nail varnish or make up – two no-nos for the op tomorrow. Chemical type things + eggs = bad.

I am deeply grossed out about not wearing deodorant. I will definitely be bringing along my wee Nivea bottle to spray on me once we’re cleared to leave.

Nivea and hospitals. This is so reminiscent of the past summer.

In other news, we bought a de-humidifier last night and I wasn’t even tempted by my inhalers. I don’t want to take them during pregnancy, so it bodes well that last night went so well. I should actually go check on that thing. You would NOT believe how much water it’s sucked out of the air.