Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Full IVF cycle part 3 - the big days

Given that I have an laparoscopic surgery in February, that involved actual incisions in my body, the idea of being knocked out while the doctor needles me a number of times to suck out my eggs seems pretty low key.

I roll in to the day theatres an hour or so before I'm due to have the egg pick up procedure. I'm given my hospital gown, slippers, hair net and undies and a plastic bag to put my normal clothes in. I get into the hospital gear and am lead into a communal lounge room, all the while carrying around my personal possessions in my plastic bag.

The anesthetist leads me to a pre op consult room and proceeds to scare the bejesus out of me about all the things that can go wrong under general and then asks me to sign a disclaimer that states I've been advised of the dangers. My fertility specialist then comes in and asks if I've got any questions. He has the complete opposite effect to the scary anesthetist. I feel calmed and excited at the same time.

I walk myself, towing my plastic bag of personal possessions, into the theatre. My personal possessions are put on a trolley in the corner and I jump up on the bed.

While I've been preparing for my procedure, Matt has been preparing his own contribution. After much consideration, he had decided he would be able to provide his specimen at the hospital, meaning it would be done close to the exact time required. When I was lead off to get changed Matt was walking down a hallway with a brown bag of hospital porn dvds and a sterile jar.

As I'm getting comfortable on the theatre bed the room is filling up. There must be 6 or so people in there, the only 2 I know are my fertility specialist and the scary anesthetist. A scientist introduces themselves and advises they have Matt's specimen and that it was excellent. She tells me in the labs Matt has been declared 'stud of the day'. I laugh and say Matt is going to love that. My doctor is laughing too. Scary anesthetist hasn't cracked a smile. My fertility specialist says I shouldn't tell him as it will go straight to his head.

Next thing the anesthetist is saying 'a little sting' and I'm off to sleep.

I wake up in the recovery ward with my plastic bag of possessions on the bed beside me. After a half hour I'm up and racing, well as racing as one can be when they have ovaries the size of oranges. I change back into my own clothes and head to the communal recovery lounge. Matt arrives pretty soon after. We learn the procedure has picked up 14 eggs and Matt learns he was 'stud of the day'.

We head home just a couple of hours after we arrive. I'm a bit steady, having many of the hyperstimulation symptoms, but I'm operational.

The next day our fertility specialist rings to tell us that of our 14 eggs an incredible 11 have fertilised and that embryo transfer will go ahead as planned the following day.

On the day of the embryo transfer the embryo lab call me and say I have 11 embryos, all either grade 3 or 4 (on a 5 point scale with 5 being the highest). Some of 4 cells, some are only 2 cells. Basically, this is awesome. I have a lot of really good quality embryos to choose from. I let them know to pick the best looking one to be transferred back in.

Throughout the IVF process you are reminded about natural attrition. My specialist has advised me that every step usually only 50 - 70% progress. Therefore, of 14 eggs, I'd hoped at least 10 would fertilise. I hoped we would have 6 viable embryos at the end of the full cycle. To have 11 embryos, and of such high quality, was exceptional.

Matt and I head back into the hospital where we both suit up into the medical gear. For the transfers the husbands/partners are invited to come into the theatre. We head in together and I jump back up on the bed. Matt takes a seat in the well placed husband's chair so he can hold my hand but not see the medical component.

Transfers are basically painless although they are a little embarrassing. No anesthetic is required and it is all over in a matter of minutes however, one does have to bare all. Modesty is not a helpful quality when it comes to embryo transfers.

Afterwards we get changed and rest for about a half an hour in the recovery lounge. The first half hour of two weeks of waiting before we will know if the physical and emotional roller coaster of the injecting, tablets, pessaries, bloating, nausea, scary anesthetists, blood tests, prodding and scanning delivers the result we are hoping for.

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