The calendar begins….
April 15 brought the first of many dates I had to follow with strict instructions. I was at the office first thing to have my first baseline ultra sound and a blood draw for my estradiol level. With this visit I also stopped birth control telling my body to prepare for egg release which is what Dr. S was trying to control. These visits would happen almost every Tuesday and Thursday for the next three weeks in the same fashion. The visits weren’t but 30 minutes tops and the doctor would check to see how many follicles could be seen and the blood would determine my body’s estrogen level to be able to support the egg production and fertilization.
April 19 was a Saturday. I know what you are thinking you went to the doctor on Saturday? Yes, I even had a visit on a Sunday because everything with this process is so timed, your body doesn’t care that it is the weekend. This was the beginning of the shots that Jim and I had learned previously how to administer. Let me tell you, when you receive that box in the mail it is so overwhelming. I am so glad that during the appointment with nurse KB she had exact products for demonstration. There was so much and with the information we received I was able to sort everything out and prepare for our first shots that would happen that night. It is very important that the shots are completed the same time every day. For us we decided that 10pm was the best because we would both always be home. And ladies please have your husband help you do these shots. It not only brings him into the process for involvement and support, but it is also so much easier to do with two people. One of these medications has to be drawn up in a separate syringe and then other has a two part mix. Both of these I received in the belly, inserting to the left and right of the belly button. I received an email that afternoon with my levels and what dose of medication was recommend to take until my next appointment. This is the point where Jim also started taking an antibiotic to rid his swimmers of any bacteria in preparation for the transfer day.
I continued visiting the office for my ultrasound and blood draw before work for the next two weeks. All these visits again following up with the dosage for the days until the next appointment. The dosage was steadily increasing as my body was receptive to the medication and slowly pushing the ultrasounds to show the increasing number of eggs that were developing due to the shots. When the time was right they would have me do a final shot of HCG to stimulate the eggs for retrieval. I was lucky enough to share this experience not only with my husband but with my mom too. She lives in VA. She called after every appointment to check in and was also visiting during one of my required ultrasound visits. I feel like the process became very real for her when she was able to see and hear from the doctor what was actually happening at that moment. It was such a special and real moment to share with her. I felt like the doctor could not only explain but reassure her of the process.
Shot, Shot, Shot….
Ok not those shots but it was time to do the final shot. My estrogen level was right where they wanted it! My husband, my shot rockstar, administered this one with the hope that it was the last one for about a week. Between the soreness of my ovaries and injection sites I too was happy to have it be the last one, if only for a short time. We scheduled my retrieval for that Saturday. No shots the day before, no food or drink after midnight. My retrieval was scheduled for 9am. I had to bring both a snack and the pain medication for after. Jim was with me to give some fresh swimmers as well as be my designated responsible adult to drive me home. I had fun joking that he was the most responsible one I could find! Jim got to stay with me through pre op and until they took me back to the OR. My nerves, yes I know how could I have any left over the past few years right? So my nerves on edge and since this is an operation it made me even more nervous. In the pre op room I got into one of those fashionable gowns and super cute booties. The nurse started my IV and checked my vitals. Then I met with the anesthesiologist to check for any last minute concerns. After that it was go time. I gave Jim a kiss, told him I loved him and walked to the OR and got on the table on my own. The crew of doctors and nurses came in and started hooking me up to different monitors and off to sleep I went. It all took about 30 minutes and then I was back in the recovery room, groggy and starving! I had to stay about an hour after for monitoring. During that time I had a chance to get some juice and snack and had my pain medication administer. I had to change clothes and empty my bladder before I was allowed to leave. I don’t do well with pain meds and even with the snack that I had I was already feeling nauseous. I felt so bad for Jim because we weren’t even 5 minutes down the highway before he had to pull over for me to throw up. We finally made it home with my instructions to do nothing be sit or lie down for the next 24 hours. Of course I took advantage of this and hung out on the couch and caught up on sleep and the DVR! The embryologist will now work with my egg and the sperm through a process called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). Basically he will inject the sperm directly into the egg versus the traditional IVF procedure of essentially dumping the sperm on top of the egg within the dish and hope they find each other. With the ICSI process it is full proof that they will connect. Now we wait for the call to let us know the results.
This post was written by Krystle Walton a Faithfully Free contributor