Saturday, March 5, 2011

The IVF Experience: Egg Retrieval through Day 3

We last left off at the HCG "trigger" injection. I used to think the sole purpose of the HCG was to make you ovulate, so I wondered what it's use was in an IVF cycle, when they don't want you to ovulate before they retrieve the eggs. It turns out it also tells your eggs to switch from 46 to 23 chromosomes-an important step if you want room for the 23 chromosomes a sperm will add!

Thirty-five hours after triggering, I had my egg retrieval (ER). This entailed not eating or drinking anything-not even water-from 5 in the morning until my retrieval just after noon. The water was absolutely the toughest part of that! At the clinic, I filled out more forms, changed into a hospital gown, hairnet, and booties. I was allowed to keep my bra and socks on, so I wore my special silly socks to help keep my spirits up and my feet warm!  Besides, other than your hoohah, your feet and calves are what your surgery team ends up seeing most of the time, and you want them in a good mood!

Nurse "Sweet" was my prep and recovery nurse, and first she tried to put the catheter in my hand for the IV. It didn't go so well. So, the anesthesiologist, Dr. "Silent" took care of it, hooked me up, then walked me into the OR. As I'm climbing onto the table and swinging my knees up over the stirrups, I'm already feeling like I've had a couple drinks, and frankly, I don't even remember laying down, that sedation worked so fast! I do remember asking my main IVF Nurse, Nurse "Mellow" if she liked my socks! She said yes, they're great!

Next thing I knew, I was feeling awesome and back on my original gurney, and I just really wanted to keep sleeping, but Nurse Sweet insisted I had to wake up! I vaguely remember telling her and maybe someone else in the room they they all did a great job, that it was awesome, that they were awesome and I loved them all, and that I would bake them zucchini bread. I was probably quite entertaining, but hopefully welcome comic relief after the cranky patient I overheard before me.

While I was asleep, here's what my team was supposedly doing: The RE takes a long needle, and using a speculum and an ultrasound machine, inserts it into the vagina, through the vaginal wall, and into each mature follicle in each ovary. Dr. Analytical said he retrieved 19 eggs, so that would be 19 follicles. Fun, eh?

After a brief recovery period, I was sent home with painkillers and instructions to take it easy, not immerse myself in water, lift more than 10 lbs, have sex, or get my heart rate over 120 for two weeks, among other things. Pre-op was at 11:45, ER at about 12:45, and I was home at 3:30.

The next afternoon, Nurse Mellow called to give me the fertilization report. Out of 19 eggs, I only had 8 that were mature. This was a big drop to start this process with, and I was horribly disappointed, not to mention still in physical pain. Only five had fertilized, with a sixth runt that was a possibility. This made me cry. Looking forward, I knew we still had to get to Day 3, then through genetic screening, and to Day 5, for transfer or freezing. Then, of course, there's my history of pregnancy loss. All those hurdles seem awfully daunting with 5, maybe 6 embryos. (Not to mention-only 8 out of 19 were mature?! No wonder we're infertile!)

Today we got our Day 3 report, and while number 6 didn't make it, the other 5 did! We have another one falling a little behind, but still ok. Ideally, they want 6 or more cells on Day 3, and when Nurse Mellow called me this morning, she said number five only had 5 cells. However, three of my embies were already up to 7, and one of them even had 8 cells! This is blessed news!

So, we still have five embies growing like the little stubborn warriors we know they are. Please continue to send them your prayers, good vibes, and well-wishes. As their mother, I know they can feel the love, as do the Wacky Wicketeer and I.


  1. 19 eggs to start with is an awesome number but five embies at Day 3 is still fantastic! I'm praying they all make it to Day 5 and transfer goes smoothly. Will be thinking of you...x

  2. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping for you and keeping my fingers crossed! *hugs*

  3. Lots of good vibes, love, and hope to your embabies! Grow strong, little ones!

  4. I love the socks! Thinking of you and your little girly embie.

    Also wanted to let you know I gave your blog the "Good Egg Blog Award"

    Good luck this week!

  5. Good luck to you..I'm hoping that it will be successful.