IVF: From Needles to Retrieval

If you aren’t familiar with the IVF process the basic IVF 101 overview looks something like this:

  1. Needles & Egg Monitoring Appointments,
  2. Trigger Shot,
  3. Egg Retrieval,
  4. Lab Fertilization,
  5. Egg Transfer,
  6. …and lastly, wait!

Last week my IVF rollercoaster ride continued, I got to day nine of needles and monitoring appointments where it was pronounced that my follicles were ready for retrieval. Through those nine days I had my emotional and physical ups and downs. I got shockingly tired, bloated and uncomfortable as well as overly emotional over pretty much anything…the daily IVF hurdles,  a friend’s text message, my husband’s breathing was too loud, and I almost strangled my local Starbucks barista. (In the history of complicated coffee and tea orders…it so happens that last week I ordered something on the brink of insanity…or so I felt.  I nearly clocked the unsuspecting barista when he questioned my order… peppermint tea lattes are very good! But that day, it was like I ordered a deadly concoction of poison …he had a sour face that screamed…”you’re crazy lady!” )

But I digress… aside from the barista incident the treatment process was going smoothly and I was pleasantly surprised that I got to my Trigger Shot so quickly. Many people have 14 days of injections, whereas I lucked out with only nine (likely due to my aggressive drug dosages).

Through this process…I have learned that everything is mind over matter. I had heard everyone oohing and awing and worrying about the trigger shot, so in my mind the needle was going to be a foot long and had to be injected into my neck or a large muscle.  Obviously not the case…it was the same needle I had been using for the past nine days three times a day and there was no secret injection spot.

Once I did my trigger shot at 8pm, I had 35 hours of break before having to be back at the clinic for my retrieval. It was bliss…no injections…it was Saturday and I could relax! On top of it all it was Valentines Day and for the first time…my husband bought me flowers.  The day of my trigger shot was the start of family day weekend in Canada as well as the 13th of February also coincidentally the same day I met my husband four years prior at a friend’s house. The significance of the month of February seems tenfold this year.

My retrieval was early on a Sunday morning at 7am and I was told repeatedly to not be late and be at the locked clinic door on the 4th floor at 6:30am.  I am typically prompt, but for this I was going to be even prompter! We got to the building at 6:25am and to my astonishment the door was locked.  There was no sign of a security guard and the dial pad to the clinic would just ring and ring.

In that moment all the brave face I had been carrying for the last 35 hours disintegrated into panic and tears.  What do you mean the door is locked!! I could see the lights on in the clinic, I was here, but no way to get in.  My husband suggested we try parking underground and getting in that way.  Now to anyone not on 10 days worth of hormones that suggestion would be reasonable…but I was juiced way up and was terrified of leaving the locked door.

In those moments while my husband ran to get our car, I imagined the nurse saying “I’m sorry, but you are late and we missed our window to retrieve them.”  Rational me kept saying don’t be silly, they have a buffer, they will come looking for you first! But irrational me could see the effort of the last 10 days and our $9000 blowing away with the morning wind. It was over.

Of course that is not how the story ends, my husband came and got me, we zipped underground and were able to access the building with ease.  I was pissed…our clinic is insane with details and times and schedules…parking underground was a big detail to miss.

In the end we were 10 minutes late, no one was mad at me, and as suspected there was a buffer. Instant release meant instant nerves and more tears as they instructed me to get into a gown. Within 20 minutes everything was done and I was recovering. I was awake for the procedure and watched most of it on TV with a high dosage of drugs and small talk.

The only part of the conversation that I remember was I asked what is the average number of eggs retrieved; the doctor said 12. While I recovered the embryologist came and told us they retrieved 13 ….there was new hope!!

2 thoughts on “IVF: From Needles to Retrieval

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