I slept surprisingly well the night before egg collection. The morning was beautiful, sunny and crisp, exactly the kind of late Summer/early Autumn weather I really love. In fact, September is my favourite month of the year. I feel it is very much a ‘new beginning’ month. I chose it as the month to get married. Deep down I really hope that it brings an altogether new kind of beginning, the beginning of a new life created by my husband and I, with a little help from Science and also God! I was raised on a farm so I felt like a farmer today too, hoping for a good harvest despite inclement conditions.
Getting ready to go took little time seeing as my husband and I were both on a food and water fast and I could wear no makeup or jewellery. I chose a comfortable pair of jogpants, stripy socks, a comfortable t-shirt in a peachy/orangey colour (for fertility), cardigan and runners to wear (my usual heels had become uncomfortable).
Our arrival time to the clinic was set at 8.45am. As it turns out we were there at 8.15am. I took the opportunity to use the bathroom as an empty bladder was needed. Despite being early we were brought into the theatre waiting area and given a private cubicle where I was given a gown and advised to remove all clothing except my bra. I was allowed keep my socks on as well. I got dressed in the not very attractive looking gown and the nurse suggested I get into the cubicle bed, put a blanket over myself and rest. My husband sat on a chair beside me. A nurse came in to do some paperwork with us. Our file was also left in- I had a good read!! A doctor also came in to check our file, ascertain any allergies, explain the procedure and to get us to sign a consent form. Soon after my husband was prompted to go and provide his sample. I was still there when he returned a short time later. He took a chance and broke his fast and drank some Lucozade Sport. We passed the time chatting, tweeting and I stayed reasonably calm. A nurse gave me a dressing gown and encouraged me to use the bathroom one last time.
The doctor came to advise that they were ready for me and I walked into theatre. There were a number of people there, an anaesthetist, the doctor, a nurse and two people from the Laboratory who asked me to confirm my name and date of birth and my partner’s. The nurse took away my dressing gown and I was asked to lie on the theatre bed in my gown. The nurse fastened my hair back with a cap. The anaesthetist introduced himself and explained that he would put a cannula in my right hand and that the sedation medication would flow through it from a drip. He got me to make a fist and tapped my hand to raise a vein. I didn’t see him insert the cannula as the nurse asked me something from the opposite side of the theatre bed, possibly as distraction. I felt a pinch but it didn’t hurt and was done very quickly. I had a little mask on delivering oxygen and the nurse said that this was not for the sedation but that she would let me know when that would happen. I never knew as the next thing I remember is being back in the cubicle with my husband again. I remember absolutely nothing about the procedure at all. In recovery I had an oxygen mask on which brought me round very quickly. I was quite lucid too although my husband said I asked him the same question several times. I remember repeating myself though. I was attached to a monitor that was recording my heart rate and blood pressure. This was left on for half an hour or so and then it was switched off and I could remove the sticky pads from my chest. I felt a bit achey especially on the right side. I had a very small amount of spotting. We were offered tea and biscuits which we accepted. After being off caffeinated tea for months, this tasted like nectar especially after the long fast. A nurse also offered me Paracetamol and water and I accepted those. We were left there to rest and recover for another half hour to an hour. I was informed that 17 eggs were collected which was more than I was expecting as I had been told of 10 suitable follicles. In due course we were advised that I could get ready and go when I felt up to it but that an embryologist would see us first. I got ready and we were shown to another room to wait for the embryologist. When she arrived she explained that my 17 eggs were being examined and that my husband’s (improved) sample of 2 million was enough for the ICSI (sperm injection) procedure, much to his relief. We had indicated that we would like to try for a blastocyst transfer at 5 days but she explained that although they would culture for this, we would be advised if a 3 day transfer would be more appropriate, which we were ready to accept. She advised that they would phone us in the morning to indicate how many had fertilised.
I was given a prescription for Crinone progesterone gel which I was instructed to start once I got the go ahead the next day with the fertilisation report call. This basically is housed in a plastic container that looks a little like a tampon applicator, the gel has to be shaken down into the cylindrical end, this inserted into the vagina and the soft bubble end of the container squeezed to propel the gel out. I collected this along with a sick note (tactfully in the name of the associated hospital and not the clinic). My husband and I had a salt craving so we stopped off at McDonalds on the way home to get a naughty takeaway. Once I got home I went to bed to rest. I took Paracetamol every 6 hours or so.and tried to drink water and sports drinks as much as possible. Some salty crisps and a Magnum chocolate icecream were also consumed.
In the following days after collection I was very uncomfortable and bloated. I used a hot water bottle and heating pad to try and get relief. I found I couldn’t eat very much as it caused me more discomfort and cramping. I was also quite constipated so started taking some prune juice and Laxose (lactulose) to help with that. My stomach area was also very tender to press. 2 days after egg collection I rang the clinic to discuss. The doctor explained that 17 eggs is a relatively large number and that all the emptied follicles re-fill with fluid, which can cause the bloating. The ovaries are also swollen and can move position so that can account for tenderness. She advised me to drink plenty of water and continue Paracetamol and to contact the clinic again if I got any worse. She asked if I had headaches but I said no. She reassured me that it would go away and that I would be checked before transfer in any case. I was able to move around more the second day after transfer than I was on the first so I am hoping things will improve.
I took leave from work for transfer day and the rest of that week, and also the following week (with an option to do a day or two remotely)- leading nicely into a week of previously booked holidays after that.
If nothing else, the resting period gave me time to watch all the numerous TV programmes I had recorded but never got around to looking at and also I had full control of the remote!! Following advice from my acupuncturist to watch relaxing TV I opted for music programmes, cookery programmes and period dramas in the main, although a few other genres crept in. It was nice to relax and take time out. Some good can come from all things!