IVF: the egg retrieval

Look how dedicated I am: a mere 6 hours after the procedure, here I am, blogging all the deets for you! It’s not at all related to the fact that I’m bed bound and bored. At ALL. 

The egg retrieval was today. That’s the one where they knock me out and attack me with needles. I wish I was kidding. The actual procedure? Not memorable. Mainly due to my being unconscious the entire time. I had a drip put in my arm, a drug injected, I started feeling woozy, then I was being woken up. Too easy!

The nurses also told me how many eggs they retrieved. When I had my scan on Wednesday, there were 13 developed follicles. Usually, around 70-75% of the follicles contain eggs. For me, it was a little lower. They retrieved 7 eggs – still a good haul, but a little less than I’d hoped. The plus side is, as I’m doing ICSI, the fertilisation rates should technically be higher, as there’s no risk of the sperm not being able to break through. 

seven eggs, count em!

So tomorrow morning I find out how many of these little dots have fertilised, and then it’s another update on Monday to see how they’re progressing. I’m really, really hoping we get 5 or 6 fertilised eggs: I would so love to be able to transfer one embryo, and then freeze another 3 or 4. Staying as optimistic as possible, and looking forward to tomorrow’s update!

The only other thing to mention is me being all laid up in bed. The post-retrieval effects. Ohhhh how it hurts. I feel like someone has bull-dog clipped the inside of my uterus: every time I stand up and try to straighten, it pulls at me like crazy. I also had the joyous opportunity to throw up into my hands on the way home. Oh yeah. Didn’t quite get the plastic bag opened fast enough, so instead it created a lovely barrier between spew and hands, that only hugely spilled all over me. I’m putting it down to coming out of the anaesthetic and then very quickly jumping in the back seat of the car for quite a long drive home. Thankfully I feel much better now, and after a nap I’m feeling much more myself, even if it’s only when I’m lying down. 

So that’s today’s wrap up, apologies if it’s a bit wonky, as at this moment so am I. Next time we talk, I’ll know how many little balls of cells we have!

Can’t wait,

Jane xx

IVF: Second Scan & Trigger Shot!

Amazing how much can happen in a week, isn’t it? On Sunday, I’d only been having injections for a week, no other contact from the clinic, and I’d just added a second shot of Orgalutran to stop myself ovulating. Now, it’s only four days later and I’m preparing to go into hospital tomorrow to have my eggs collected!

I had the second scan yesterday morning, and my little eggs had blown up in size. From the ultrasound, I now have 15 developed follicles with an average size of 17mm. By today, that could have increased even more! My fertility specialist has said that anything over 17mm is considered ready, so I’m well and truly there. That meant, thankfully, that last night was my last Orgalutran shot (nasty, nasty needles!), and I was to stop taking Puregon. It also meant that we’re now entering the “all systems go” phase!

I was entrusted with the trigger shot yesterday morning, with strict instructions on its usage. The trigger is an hCG shot, designed to tell your ovaries to “Let it go, let it go! Don’t hold them in anymore…”. This shot has to be given at a very precise time, as exactly 36 hours after it’s taken, the eggs are released. Pretty amazing stuff. This meant that as I was booked in for egg retrieval at 11:30am on Friday, I had to take the shot at exactly 11:30pm last night. As these drugs have been kicking in, I’ve been completely knackered. The prospect of staying up until 11:30 on a school night was an impossible one. So, sensibly, I set myself an alarm to get up to take the shot, at which point I jolted awake and had no idea what was happening. Mr Nester had to basically drag me out of bed and down the hall to get the shot, and it wasn’t until it was stabbed into my stomach that I really twigged on what was happening. Crazy! Good thing Mr Nester was far more lucid than I, or we might have missed the window of opportunity. 

So all of this means that firstly, I don’t have to stab myself with any more needles for a while! (Hurray!) Secondly, I’m off to hospital tomorrow where my fertility specialist inserts a rather long needle into all 15 follicles (plus any more that might have developed), and sucks out the eggs. They’ll bring me out of the general anaesthetic (and hopefully sweet peaceful dreams), and let me know then and there how many eggs they’ve retrieved. From there, it’s a waiting game to see how many fertilise, how many continue developing, and then if we have a good one to transfer back to me, and hopefully some to freeze. 

Like I said, it’s all happening! I’m hoping to post tomorrow after the procedure, but groggy old Jane might just take herself straight to bed until Saturday. Either way, we’ll speak soon. 

Until then,

Jane xx

IVF: the first scan


50 Shades of Grey has NOTHING on this baby…

How is the whole world still ticking along at a normal speed when I seem to have slipped into hyperdrive? What a week so far! I feel like I’m still coming to terms with the fact that we’re going to be doing IVF, and I’ve realised today I’m half way through the process already! I was in for my first scan this morning, using everybody’s favourite: the vaginal ultrasound. This is just as lovely as it sounds – a great big rod, straight up the clacker, to get a good view at my bits. The purpose of this scan is to have a look at the thickness of the endometrial lining (the bit that will feed the egg when it implants) and to see how many follicles I’ve been growing. The follicles are basically the housing for the eggs – most should successfully develop an egg and therefore be able to be fertilised.

So far, my results are looking good! Good endo lining of 12mm (although now I’m worrying it’s too thick), and a total of 13 developed follicles, with an average size of 14mm. They need to reach 18mm by the trigger day to be likely to fertilise. Thankfully, some are already there! Fingers crossed when I go in for the second scan on Wednesday, they’re looking nice and big. There are also quite a few little follicles that may well be the underdogs of my fertility (what an odd sentence!) and make it over the line on trigger day. Having the scan today has renewed my obsession with all things fertility based – I had been starting to think that my lack of crazy symptoms had meant things weren’t happening for me, which makes for a rather large waste of $6,000.

We’ve reached the point of no return cost wise now, although we could pull out if we wanted to (pun intended), we’d still be forking out the big bucks. I snapped at poor Mr Nester today who pointed out a screaming baby and said, “you’ve got that to look forward to!”. See? Horribly insulting. I was completely justified in flying off the handle at him, right? Maybe those hormone shots are doing something…

So today’s Monday, on Wednesday I’ve got the second scan, and the doc thinks that Friday could well be the day for sucking these little potential humans out of my ovaries. Which means Wednesday night will be the big one: the trigger shot. We’re on the road now, no bumps so far (again, pun intended!), let’s hope we get to the end of the week smoothly, and with some fertilised eggs!

Till Wednesday,

Jane xx

IVF #1: Cycle Day 5

Day 5 of my cycle today, day 3 of injections. I’m still on Puregon, still the same dose, and tonight will be the third jab. I was a bit all over the place today – my mind spontaneously fell into pits of nothingness, and actually, I just did it again then trying to finish that sentence.

The sinus style headache is still here, building slightly, but still nothing to complain too loudly about. If these are the side effects, I’m pretty happy so far!

The emotions are building today, still no tears but I’ve been very snappy and then instantly teary. Also quite tired. What a delight for my colleagues and poor suffering husband.

The enormity of what’s going on inside my body is not really hitting home yet, but I’m guessing as the side effects ramp up it’ll start to sink in.

That’s it from me tonight – just a quick update to try to capture this experience day by day!

Jane xx

IVF: here we GO!


Time for some self-stabbing!

And we’re off! After what has seemed like an age since Mr Nester and I decided to give IVF a go, suddenly we’re here, and we’re racing.

December consisted of meetings, decisions, planning and budgeting. January was forms, forms, and more forms. Tests, appointments, and…oh yeah. Forms. February has – as a lovely departure from the previous months – just been gung-ho all go. To start IVF you need to wait until the start of a new cycle (hello Aunt Flow/crimson wave/other terrible clichés). So of course mine was late, only by a day, but enough to get my frustration building.

Once you officially hit Day 1 of a new cycle (technical definition: full flow before midday), the first step is to call the fertility centre. This is basically to get the ball rolling – you call, bark “Day 1: the eagle has landed!” and they throw 20 syringes at you. Apart from my very minor embellishments, this is the general gist of the process. With a standard IVF cycle, you start injections on Day 3 (called “stims” in the IVF community). That means of course you need to collect the medication, in order to start taking the medication. Medication must be collected between 9am and 4:30pm. On a weekday. On the other side of the city. You also need to get home sharpish (hah! A needle pun!) as the medication needs to be refrigerated to stay useful. That was a fun afternoon. Race off from work as soon as possible, battle peak hour traffic to get into and around the city, sit panting for 15 minutes at reception while life carries on as usual, then receive a barrage of info on what’s in the bag (insert “Se7en” scream here), how to inject yourself, when to inject yourself, and when you’ll need to come back to have what is essentially a high tech dildo prod around in your lady bits (that’s actually a scan to check the development of your eggs, not an odd sex act to spice up the process…more’s the pity!). Then, you must drive home manically while trying to keep the cool bag directly in front of the air conditioner and in a shaded section of the car. Note to self: become a better driver. And WATCH THE ROAD! Oh and of course you have a prior commitment in the city later that night, so head back out AGAIN and home AGAIN before having the first shot. Phew! I should note here, that the nurses and support staff at my fertility clinic have been nothing but absolutely lovely, and it is really just the enormity of what we’re delving into that makes it seem so frantic. That, and my driving. Sorry other people on the road. Really. Sorry about that.

So, fast forward to later last night, when the first dose was administered. I’m not particularly phobic of needles, but they’re also not my favourite pastime either. So willingly relinquishing myself to Mr Nester’s needle holding hands (and rather evil gleam in his eyes…) was an interesting prospect. You receive a nice little pen that becomes the nasty needle, with a few twists here and clicks there. We’ve been started on Puregon, which is a follicle stimulant.

The Puregon pen

The Puregon pen

This little jab happens every night for about a week, and tells your body to make as many eggs as it bloody well can. A hot tip I learnt from reading the fertility forums is to ice the injection site prior to the jab, and it certainly worked for me. Although a little uncomfortable (the needle needs to stay in you for 10 seconds to make sure all the drug has gone in), it was relatively painless. A little red straight afterwards, but otherwise fine. The side effects are quite impressive, as mentioned in a previous post, but thankfully I’m yet to experience most of them (although I’m only on the second night of injections, so stay tuned!). The only reaction I’ve had was a bit of pain on my right side this morning (the side I injected), and what feels like a tension headache, but very mild. That sort of feeling you get if your sinuses are getting blocked and it reaches your temples. Very manageable so far.

In terms of mental state, I think my emotions are heightened slightly – I nearly cried about 3 times today for quite minor reasons, but managed to hold it together. The end of this week should be interesting! In general, the whole experience is pretty overwhelming. It’s something we’ve waited for for quite a while, but once it starts, the speed at which everything happens is pretty mind-blowing. We’ve gone from “in a month”, “later on”, “when it all starts”, to now, tomorrow, as soon as you can. It’s very exciting, but also completely terrifying. From starting on Saturday, I’ve begun injections 2 days later, I’ll be going in for my first scan in a week, and I’m likely to be having the egg collection procedure next Friday. So, in a week and a half. 3-5 days later, I’ll have an embryo transferred back into me (if all goes well), and I could well be pregnant from then on. Holy crap.

So. We’re off and running. I’ve already apologised to Mr Nester in advance for anything I say that I may later regret, and I’m trying very hard not to manufacture the symptoms I’ve read on the information booklet (mission: impossible). I’ll keep you updated as much as I can on this process, but it feels like as fast as I’m typing (13 words per minute, thank you very much!), I already can’t keep up.

Speak to you soon,

(the soon to be hormone-ravaged) Jane xx