Today was egg retrieval day! And what a day it was!
We arrived at the fertility center at 8:30am, and we didn’t get home until almost 1:00pm. Obviously, I was going to miss all commitments, work and otherwise, to attend this procedure with Molly, but luckily I was able to go without even having to use a sick day at work. But unfortunately, that’s because I am furloughed due to today’s government shutdown. Of course, we don’t know how long it will last, or if we will get paid at the end of it, but considering I just got back from a 2.5-week work trip that caused me to miss most of the monitoring ultrasounds, I’m not exactly arguing with a little “time off” to spend with my family and support Molly during this time.
The whole morning was very…involved. I knew that IVF was much more invasive than injectable gonadotropins and IUI like we had used before, but this was set up like a true surgical procedure. I mean, they’re putting needles into your abdomen for goodness sakes, so I’m glad they did, but still…wow. Thankfully we remembered the DDAVP that Molly’s supposed to take before procedures due to her two bleeding disorders (von Willebrand’s and Platelet Storage Pool Deficiency). Molly recently met someone through professional contacts, and it just so happens that their partner is an anesthesiologist with the hospital associated with the fertility center. And it just so happens that he was the anesthesiologist working at the fertility center today! Weird luck. He’s a wicked nice guy (and incidentally has one of our top baby name choices that went unused from when the girls were born) so it was actually quite nice and reassuring to see him there.
All of the preparation (consent, IV placement, etc.) and waiting for Molly’s turn took almost two hours. There was another person in the pre-op area, also having a retrieval, who went first so we also had to wait until they were finished. The procedure lasted about 45 minutes, and after it was done, the doctor who did the retrieval (our reproductive endocrinologist) came to talk to me. She said they retrieved 27 eggs! That’s a lot! However, it’s likely that not all of them are mature and/or will fertilize. She also said that after actually seeing Molly”s ovaries (which are the size of peaches apparently – normal size is about 3cm), she is less worried about Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, though because of the sheer number of eggs retrieved and the fact that they saw a little bit of fluid in the abdomen, we should still be cognizant about it. She recommended measuring body weight and around Molly’s belly every morning and to call if gaining more than two pounds per day, having trouble breathing, or seeing a sudden increase in abdominal pain and belly measurement.
After they brought Molly back into the recovery area, where I was waiting, she was still pretty out of it from the sedating drugs they had given her. Even though I knew it was just the effects of the drugs, that was the first time in this whole process so far where I’ve felt scared. She’s supported me through many surgeries as part of my transition, but I haven’t really ever been on the other side of that. Just as I knew intellectually that IVF was more invasive than what we had done before, I hadn’t fully prepared myself emotionally for how much more invasive it was going to be. She mostly just wanted to keep sleeping, and she even told the nurse trying to take her blood pressure, “Leave me alone!” (though she doesn’t remember that). Sedation drugs can make folks do such humorous things.
We left the hospital about an hour later and came back home to my mom who was watching the girls. Just by chance, my mom arrived yesterday for a short visit (she’s leaving tomorrow) that has been planned for weeks. I can’t believe how the timing worked out, because I don’t know what we would have done today without her! We are so appreciative of the help she’s given us. Thanks, mom!
Tonight we’ll start the progesterone injections (1 ml intramuscular), which are done every evening until the pregnancy test, then until 12 weeks if pregnant. She’ll also start estrogen patches starting tomorrow morning (2 patches), which are changed every other day until the pregnancy test, then until 10.5 weeks if pregnant.
They’ll call us tomorrow with the fertilization results. Right now we’re planning for single embryo, Day 5 transfer, which would be on October 6th. Of course it’s possible, depending on the number that fertilize and the quality of growth, that they may end up recommending a Day 3 transfer. So we’ll see what happens!