A few days ago we were absolutely ecstatic that my egg collection this month was going ahead. My follicles had grown quite a bit and things were looking great!
The same day I received the good news, I began to feel rather ill, I had a severe case of diarrhoea that I honestly didn’t think much of until I woke up the next day and still felt rather shocking. I googled “diarrhoea” with “Gonal-F” and also “Orgalutran” and both searches came up the same. “If you experience diarrhoea this may be a symptom of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, call your specialist immediately”. So I did what Dr Google told me to, and called the specialist first thing that morning just to be sure. I left a message with the receptionist and the Doctor called back shortly after. He told me that the Diarrhoea was indeed a bit abnormal but to consume lots of water and try to avoid food for a while to see if it sorts itself out. He then said he was about to call me that morning anyway because he had some news about my blood test.
Apparently my progesterone levels were rising (this is the hormone that is released post ovulation). He explained that this means my body is a bit out of sync and hence the conditions are not ideal for Embryo transfer. Why body, WHY? The Embryo Transfer may need to be postponed until next month, but will be dependent on many varying factors (whether the embryos will be strong enough to freeze, whether we will have enough embryos to give it a go this month).
This was quite the letdown to Scott and I, as we were eager to have everything done this month. Still, it wasn’t the end of the world, the past weeks of injections hadn’t been completely fruitless because egg collection was still proceeding. Plus it would also mean that I would have the opportunity to further focus on looking after myself so that I could be in tip top condition for the embryo transfer next month.
I did what the doc said and I avoided food for many hours and drank plenty of water. I was relieved when the diarrhoea sorted itself out. That day I continued with injections (the final ones Yeehaaaa!) And finished the day with my Trigger Shot (Ovidrel EpiPen) at 10pm. 37 hours later I would be going into surgery, it was exciting!!!
The next day, (DAY 14 – the day before egg collection) no drugs are taken at all. I felt kind of bloated and a little crampy but not too bad overall.
DAY 15 – EGG COLLECTION DAY
This was the day we were anxiously awaiting, finally there would be some definite answers on how many mature eggs I have hiding in those follicles. We were hoping for 10!
I was very excited about the surgery and surprisingly not too nervous, mainly just anxious to find out the results.
At 4:30am I got up, and although I wasn’t hungry at all then, I had a banana and drank 1 litre of water (this was because I wouldn’t be able to consume anything for 6 hrs prior to surgery due to the anaesthetic requirements). I knew I would be super starving and thirsty if I didn’t get up before 5am to eat and drink! That morning, I was feeling fairly uncomfortable with bloating and cramping.
We were due at the hospital at 9:30am with all our paperwork ready and Scott’s jar of you-know-what!
Shortly after we paid the fees for the surgery a nurse came and interviewed Scott and I to check that she had all the information she required. Then she took me up to the forth floor where the theatres were.
I stripped off and got changed into some very attractive getup, complete with blue paper booties and a nice papery shower cap (I truly apologise for the fact that there is no photo of me in this, I left my phone with Scott unfortunately so couldn’t document it). Then armed with my white garbage bag of possessions, I proceeded to a waiting room with 4 other women just chilling together in our striped gowns and no undies.
The hour wait felt pretty long to be honest, not just because daytime telly is appalling, but because it was obvious that the other ladies were quite nervous. One poor lady was even having bad cramps, I really felt for her, she couldn’t even sit up straight.
Then finally my Specialist was there in the doorway and it was such a relief to see him – I have a lot of trust in this man! He took me through to another waiting room where the anaesthetist came to meet me. The anaesthetist was sooo lovely, I can’t speak more highly of him. He had such a lovely manner about him, he spoke very calmly and I immediately felt at ease. He told me about the risks with the procedure but assured me he would be there the entire time to look after me.
Then I was off to the theatre and the atmosphere was far different to what I anticipated. There were about 7 in the room all up, including my specialist and the anaesthetist. They were all super lovely and very jovial. They were cracking jokes with one another and once again, I felt any anxiety I had been feeling subside.
One of the nurses came and untied my smock so that my bum was on display for all to see (yep there ain’t nothing glamorous about this I’m afraid). Then I hopped onto the bed, awkwardly with my booties slipping off and my butt exposed. I lay down under the blanket and the anaesthetist came to put the drip in my arm. He had quite a bit of trouble getting the needle in and was extremely apologetic. The specialist came and held my hand and told me not to look (he mustn’t have got my memo – I am Ash conqueror of needles, HEAR ME ROAR).
Then I woke up. And a lovely nurse was right there beside me with her smiling face telling me everything went really well and my doc will be there shortly to see me. I felt really great, surprisingly alert with what felt like mild period pain.
My doctor came in and said they had gotten 17 eggs. SEVENTEEN!!! I felt like I had won the lotto. He told me that the sperm was on the low side so we would be doing ICSI for all eggs (where they take a single sperm and inject into the egg).
I stayed lying down in the bed for a good half hour or so, with the nurses checking on me frequently to offer heat packs and pain killers and to check my pad (yep that’s right). I actually didn’t feel bad pain at all so I declined the pain killers.
I felt extremely lucky as I watched the other women in the ward feeling dizzy and in pain. One patient was helped up by the nurses and then almost passed out, so was put back to bed. I felt rather guilty when I was released and walked past all the women that had gone into surgery before me, still restricted to their beds.
Scotto was there to pick me up. So I told him the good news! 17 Eggs!! WOOHOO!!!
The nurse came and gave me instructions on Ovarian Hyperstimulation which apparently I am still at risk of due to the number of eggs I produced. Told me that I may spot for a few days but if there is any heavier bleeding to seek medical help. I was advised to eat plenty of protein (I assume to assist with the healing) and keep my fluids up. All the advice seemed pretty straight forward.
Later that afternoon the pain hit me and the bloating was incredibly uncomfortable. It was a very uncomfortable evening because every little movement gave me a sharp pain in my abdomen. I took some panadol and it did nothing, the heat pack was much more effective so Scott carried out heat pack duty for the evening.
We were given instructions to phone the specialist the following morning at 10am to find out how many were mature and how many were fertilised.
This morning we made that phone call and it wasn’t a very good outcome unfortunately. Of the 17 eggs, 11 were mature (which is good) however only 2 of the 11 were fertilised. This was a complete shock and devastating news. Usually 60% of mature eggs will fertilise. Our specialist can’t give any explanation as to why this happened to us, he said that we may never know what the reason was. I knew that even fertilised eggs can drop quickly in the coming days, so I asked him what the chances were that these two would survive. He didn’t have an answer for us (which I kind of already knew) and he said that maybe these two eggs were meant to be, maybe they will stick it out.
Tomorrow night we will ring the specialist again to find out if they made it to day 3.
I had a big cry and Scott is very upset and frustrated. It’s horrible not knowing what went wrong and an incredibly emotional time as we wait anxiously to see if we have to make the same financial and emotional investment to do it all again next month. It’s human nature to want to fix things, and it is extremely hard dealing with so much of the unknown along this journey.
After I had my big cry today, we went to the markets to buy some flowers. I picked 3 beautiful bunches in muted tones and we headed home. I arranged the flowers in the nursery (the room that we have called the nursery for over 3 years now).
I made two small vases in honour of the two eggs that made it overnight. Then I made one big bunch to represent all the hope we are sending them and stuck it in the middle. I also painted a pot plant and moved it to the nursery. It was an odd little ritual that somehow made me feel better about today.
Come what may tomorrow, it’s still going to be our year. I know it.