All of me

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The Continuing Rollercoaster

on November 16, 2011

Early in the morning on September 6th we packed up at my mom and dad’s and headed into Calgary. I was starving as I couldn’t eat anything before the procedure, and was anxiously preparing myself for what was to come. I had done some research about egg retrieval and it didn’t look fun at all. How it works, is that they insert an ultrasound wand with a huge needle attached to it. Using ultrasound technology, the doctor can see the follicles and then pierce the ovary to drain the follicle of the fluid and egg that’s inside.   The good thing? I would be drugged up with a local anesthetic and a cocktail of  ‘I don’t care’ drugs.

We arrived to the Fertility clinic at around 10:30.  Shortly after we were called to a back room in the clinic where I could get ready. Husband’s weren’t allowed in during the procedure so back into the waiting room he went.

I changed into a hospital gown and the inserted an IV. I was nervous about them finding a good vein as during this ordeal my body seems to start rebelling – and by the end it was taking four or five tries to get blood for testing. They were able to get the IV in right away though and inserted my happy drugs. Then I got on a stretcher and was wheeled into the ‘operating room’ where I proceeded to put my legs high in some stirrups so that the doctor had an ideal position to retrieve those ‘babies’.

I don’t remember much about the procedure. I met with the embryologist as well who would be separating the eggs from the follicular fluid and then give us an update on how many we got. She would also be giving a running count of the number of eggs while the other doctor was retrieving. I remember the probe going in and then the doctor and nurse telling me to take a deep breath. The intial puncture didn’t essentially bother me, but the following digging around to collect all the follicles that had grown. Nothing could have prepared me for that intense feeling.

It didn’t take long – maybe 15 minutes. and when the doctor was done collecting, our embryologist was at 18 eggs. 18!! I couldn’t believe it. I was elated at the number as I was preparing for 12 at the most. I went into recovery where my husband was waiting. I was given some juice and cookies and the embryologist came in to let us know how many eggs they had retrieved. 24!!!! We had 24 chances of having a baby at the moment.  I stayed for about an hour, went to the bathroom and then we were free to go.

We stayed overnight as I was super crampy and we waited to hear the results of fertilization. Words can’t express how happy I was, and how positive our future seemed to be. I layed down for a bit, we went for supper at Red Lobster, and then called it a night. I also stated a regimin of preparing my body for OHSS, which is when your ovaries over-produce and fluid fills up everywhere in your body. Because of the higher-than-expected results from the retrieval, I was at a much higher risk of this happening, which would also determine if we would go ahead with an embryo transfer right away. I was put on additional medication and told to drink lots of fluids to help flush it all out.

The next morning I awoke early, too excited to hear the fertilization report and decided to have a bath. My cellphone rang and as I picked up the phone, my world crashed around me. It was the embryologist – there was zero fertilization.  My world shattered. I had felt like this was it, God was telling us it was going to work and then our chances just flew away. It was still within the 24 hour fertilization window, however, and they were going to try and rescue the eggs with ICSI (when they manually insert the sperm into the egg). The embryologist was optimistic because I was young and they’ve seen success before. I held back tears as I went over the protocol and additional costs for this procedure. Lucily the ICSI procedure itself was free (usually it’s $1500) but there would be additional medical costs and they would have to do assisted hatching (where they break the egg to allow for easier multiplication of the cells).  Because of this news, we were moving to a three day embryo transfer instead of the potential five day. They would update us the next day to let us know how things were.

So the next day, the 8th, we received word that they were able to fertilize 14 eggs.  We still had a chance and things looked good. It was time to prepare for the transfer on the 9th.

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