Egg Retrieval Day

Monday, after my blood work and ultrasound, they told me it was getting ready to be time for my egg retrieval. They originally told me it would be Thursday, but I had been in a lot of pain from how big my ovaries had gotten. They estimated about 30 follicles between both ovaries. I was waiting to hear from my doctor to advise me what to do next.

That afternoon, I got the phone call from the nurse, she said my retrieval was going to be Wednesday and I needed to swing by the office to pick up this other drug they didn’t order for me. She asked me to bring my HCG and she would mix it for me in the office. I stopped by my house on the way there, and got the meds. When I got there I expressed how nervous I was to get the HCG injection, because this was the first intramuscular shot I’ve had to take so far. She drew a little circle on my backside so my husband would know where to stick it, told me the exact time I needed to take it, 12:30 am. I had to do two other subcutaneous shots in my tummy at that same time. My husband went to bed and set his alarm, I stayed up, because I was anxious and couldn’t sleep anyways. We did the two tummy ones, and then I prepared and laid face down on the bed for him to give the HCG shot. We used an ice pack and I told him to do it, I felt a little poke and I seriously thought he poked and then pulled back because he got nervous. I kept shouting for him to just do it, do it, get it over with, and he said he did it already, it’s over. So I was relieved I didn’t really feel it, but I was overcome with emotion because it’s been a long ride and I was so scared. So, that’s it for shots for now.

The next day and this morning I was still sore and the feeling of being full is an understatement. I was doubled over in pain as I walked into the IVF facility for my retrieval. I got there and was super nervous and excited. They called me back and started asking me lots of questions, a little overwhelming to say the least. Then they started to get the IV ready, they noticed right away that I have horrible veins and asked where I normally get an IV. I told them, and they tried there, in the top of my left hand, and it didn’t work. Big surprise, I didn’t expect it to, sadly. They called another nurse in and she found a vein on my right wrist, and put it there, that sucks. But once it was in, it was alright.

They asked my husband to go so he could give his ‘offerings’ and that was it. I thought I’d get to kiss him bye or something, nothing. Then they asked me to use the bathroom, so I walked over there with assistance, since I had the IV hooked up at that point. I thought we were going to go back to the area I was in, but they had me just walk right back to the operating room. I got on the table and laid back, they had these cushy leg-stirups that hold your entire leg so it’s relaxed, quite comfy, but I felt a bit uncomfortable because people were in and out and my hoo hoo was just hanging out for all to see, and I kept feeling breezes, lol. I had told the nurse that I get nauseous with anesthesia, and she made sure zofran was given to me in my IV. I told them I was nervous and they said they’d give me something for that. I remember telling them the stirrup things are comfy and that I was dreaming I was on a beach, and that’s it, then I woke up in the recovery area. It really was so weird, to just not remember anything.

I woke up in a lot of pain, pain like I’d been hit by a truck, that kind of pain. They told me my ovaries were so gigantic they had gone up under my rib cage and they literally had to manually get them out via the outside of my body, by manipulating and pressing on the outside of my body, it got them to move so the doctor could get the eggs. They said I will have lots of external bruising and lots of internal bruising, since I had 30 follicles. I did not expect the amount of pain I’m experiencing currently.

The bright side is that I got 22 eggs, so those are good odds to get at least one girl egg. I am currently laying in bed, it hurts to breath and I just took an Oxycodone, so hopefully that kicks in soon.

I will get a call from the office next week with the number of eggs that fertilized. I’m both nervous and so excited. This process feels extremely surreal, like we’ve been waiting for so long for it and now it’s here, I can’t believe it.

The Time is Now

Well, here we are, the night before I start my injections. The eve of the moment I’ve been waiting for for over a year. All this time preparing and researching and getting ready, and the time is now.

Man am I scared. I gotta tell you, I tell myself I’m a badass to get me thru the fear, but really I feel like curling up into a shell and hiding. I actually asked my PCP to prescribe me an anti-anxiety medication to get me through the next two weeks, because I’m afraid the fear will keep me awake at night and limit my ability to concentrate at work. I took my first Xanax last night, and I have to say, it definitely helped. I fell asleep smooth as butter, just off to dreamland, like you’re supposed to.

Let’s back up this train a little bit to give you guys some prospective. Last week, my husband and I went to the lecture the nurse at the IVF doctors office coordinates. It was my husband and I, another couple (who wasn’t 100% sold IVF was for them), and another couple (who seemed to be donating the eggs, but not undergoing the transfer themselves). I was nervous to learn more about the procedures ahead of me and as she began talking about how they go in and retrieve the egg, my heart is racing out of my chest. I seriously felt like screaming, right there in the office. Actually it was a perfect mixture of wanting to scream and cry all at the same time.

The nurse explained that at the time of the retrieval, you will be sedated, you count backwards from 10, by the time you get to 9 you’re out. Then the doctor goes into the vagina and uses a long needle to puncture the wall of the vagina and extract the eggs from the follicles. It takes 15 minutes and after you groggily wake up, you’re on your way. Oh and did I mention the part about my husband leaving a ‘sample’ in a cup while I am having that done? Yeah, hoping he can perform under pressure. Yikes. She said to expect cramping, and to take it easy the rest of the day…no problemo. After the lecture (as she addressed each couple and their needs during that time) I asked her if we could talk privately because I have a lot more questions. The other two couples didn’t have that many questions, so she finished up with them first. After that, she sat and talked to us at length for about 30-40 minutes. She listened to me cry, and heard all my fears, and talked me through all of them. She showed me all the needles and all the medicine and told me how to do it. She sat with my husband and taught him how to inject me and had him practice on a little foam block. He feels confidant he will be able to do it, and I am hoping to God he can, because lord knows I probably won’t be able to inject myself.

I came back to the office a few days after the lecture for my second ultrasound and some more blood work. We’re on 2 needles to date if we’re keeping track. The ultrasound seemed to take forever and I seriously feel like my ovaries are sore from it. Not to mention, my birth control pill ended Saturday, so Aunt Flow is due to arrive any day now. The nurse walked me through the injections again so I was clear. And after she took my blood she said the needles I will be using for the injections are three times smaller than the little needle she just took my blood with, and I gotta say, it hurt more coming out than going in. She told me tricks to help with pain and told me I would get used to it. And sent me on my way.

Now I lay here in bed, the night before this major life altering event and I am ready. I’m ready to take the bull by the horns and do this! I got this!

Anxiety is a Bitch

Well, I’ve started taking birth control pills, folic acid and pre-natal vitamins, it’s been a week and a half and currently I’ve been home with Hand Foot and Mouth disease (since one of my children brought it home to me, blech). I’ve had some time to stir in my own thoughts and get caught up in the vast caverns deep in the darkest parts of my brain.

It all started a couple weeks ago, when I noticed one of those gofundme links in my Facebook scroll. A casual scroll, turned me into a raging anxiety and fear nugget. Me, being a glutton for tragedy, I clicked on it and was saddened to read of someone in the community who had just died due to complications from childbirth. Scary, especially when your planning to have another baby, and it is always a risk. I internalized it and felt sadness and pain for both the victim and her widow and their new baby without a mother. I rationalized it, and moved on, only to see another friend post about her later that same night, at this point, I put together that people I know, know her. It makes me more sad, and fearful that it hit so close to home, so to speak. Then, I see a post on the social media site, Nextdoor, about her and I realize she lived in my city, which isn’t that big of a community. Then, the next day, I saw a news article about another woman in another city who died the day after giving birth. Might this be one of those situations like when you decide you are going to buy a car, and you pick the make, model and color and then you end up seeing a million of the exact same thing on your commute to work, leaving you thinking wow! I swear there have never been that many white Chrysler Town and Countries before ever! What gives? It could be…just one of those situations where you are hyper alert for that subject and you are seeing it everywhere because of your acute alertness to it? Maybe…or is it a sign? Hard to tell right? Both of those tragic stories are so sad, and I became engulfed in overwhelming anxiety and fear on my end about having another baby. Will that be me? Will my labor be okay? I began researching how the woman in my community died, which of course made things worse, thinking about if she was in pain, thinking of her husband feeling helpless, all of the what ifs and whys, and I personally don’t even know this woman, or her family…just a few friends (really more acquaintances, as we know the Facebook world really is). After reading all that, my anxiety is now through the roof. I find ways to talk myself through it, thinking about how there is likely more chance of being killed in a car accident on my way to work than that happening to me and how I can’t stop living life in the fear that I may die. Then I think about finding peace knowing that when my time is here, it’s here, but hoping that it’s not my time and knowing I will fight for it if I have the chance. I am a fierce warrior woman and I will not be leaving this lifetime any time soon. Easier said than done though…because fear and anxiety are real. And debilitating.

A few days into my stewing and after I had read all that stuff…I went to my massage therapist for a massage. This is a woman who is a dear friend of mine and has been a dear friend of the family for almost twenty years, and she knows what I am about to embark on, the journey of the injections and all of the IVF process. I asked if she could do some reiki on me to calm me down a bit. I told her of my mounting fears surrounding the injections and the pain that it will be. I told her about those women who died and how I’m afraid of dying during childbirth. I asked if she could help me find calm and squash my fear and anxiety, and of course she said sure!

Now, let me preface this story with the fact that I want to believe in this type of holistic healing, but I’m resting somewhere on the fence between believing and not believing.  I can’t say I have proof that anything works, but I’ve had too many experiences where things have happened to prove to me that something is not going on. It’s not something I can explain.

So I take my clothes off and lay down on her comfy plush table, she begins massaging my back. We typically talk and catch up, but this time I remained quiet, following her lead because I figured she was doing something in regards to the reiki. I really didn’t know what to expect or if I would feel something, or anything really. Thinking back, she’s probably done reiki on me before, but it was years ago and I couldn’t remember what it was like exactly.

I’m laying there on my stomach, quietly, thinking about my fears and out of no where I get this vision in my head. I’m talking, a crystal clear, vivid, amazing vision pop into my head and I cannot shake it. With details down to color and texture, bright and in focus. I try to tell myself it’s a coincidence and I conjured it up out of somewhere, even though I was fully awake and alert. I asked my friend what she did exactly and told her of my vision, I asked if she did that and she said that I did it, it was my imprint, but that she gave me the energy to create it. That reiki was her transferring energy into me to create a vision to help me. She said she focused on the word ‘movement’ to help create a constant ‘movement’ of these fears to come and go. This is how I know it works, because with that being said, if I would have ‘created’ anything involving movement, I am sure I would have conjured up something with water, being that it is where I feel the most comfortable, and at peace.

She explained how I conjured up this vision as my imprint to go to instead of letting the fear and anxiety take me away. It totally makes sense.

My vision was beautiful, it was a beautiful grassy meadow, one that had rolling hills and was surrounded by dense forests. The stalks of grass were tall, about 24″ and had the fuzzy wheat-like ends. Mixed into the grass were light purple wildflowers and the wind was blowing ever so slightly to create this movement (there’s that word). The wind was blowing the grass into a wave-like pattern, similar to going to a Michigan football game and being in the stands. It was fluid and gentle. I was in the grass, kneeling, in a white hippie-like flowing dress and my hair was down, long and wavy, with a thin white headband wrapped around my forehead matting my hair down. I had a small brown leather pouch, it was tiny, very similar to the one in Jack and the Beanstalk, the one Jack had put his coins in, it had a leather drawstring. Just then, a bald eagle came soaring through the air and landed right in front of me. I put the pouch, which felt weighted, in the eagles beak and it nodded at me and flew away with it.

From this vision, I see the bag as obviously holding my fears and the eagle is literally taking them away. But why an eagle? I googled it a bit and found this: Eagle(s) teaches us to courageously face our fear of the unknown, so we are then able to fly as high as our heart’s joy can take us. Your strengths need to be utilised wisely and remember, to soar like Eagle you must view things with caution, being confident and trusting your abilities. The bag felt weighted, which means I had a lot to stuff in there.

Interesting to think I conjured up this vision and even more interesting to realize the peace it brings me to think about it. It was far too vivid to have been some sort of daydream. This is why I can neither prove nor disprove the effects of reiki.

Now, it’s been a week and a half since I had this vision and now I’m home alone, in my own thoughts and I decided to watch a couple videos on the pharmacy’s website, to show how the injections go. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched them, because I’ve been a ball of mess thinking about the pain of the needles. I’ve googled other peoples blogs and read questions about how much it hurts, and while reassuring the pain isn’t that bad, it’s still pain. It leads me to ask, how much pain can I tolerate? I’ve had three children, ranging from vaginal birth, to labor and emergency c-section to planned c-section, I underwent a breast reduction which left me in terrible pain for weeks, I’ve suffered from chronic back pain most of my adult life and I suffer from IBS, which is related to stress and anxiety, so, I am no stranger to pain, and discomfort. Can I handle the weeks of needles? Will it break me? Will I be brave and strong and pull through for this?

Should I cave in and scrap the whole idea? Is this the right thing to do? I think about all the women who have undergone IVF to have a baby and I think about how they wanted a baby so desperately, they were willing to undergo this for that, but I’m different, I don’t need it, per say, I can do it on my own. But the reality is, I’m not different, we are the same. We desperately want something we don’t have and we will go to any length possible to get it. I am strong, and I will get it. Suffering through the anxiety and fear, one day at a time.