Thursday, September 26, 2013

IVF #5: Retrieval and Recovery

I wrote all of these posts on the dates listed before each entry, but we weren't ready to post them until now.  If you know the outcome of our IVF, please don't give it away in the comments until after the "IVF #7: Results are In!" post has been posted.

In case you missed them, here are links to the previous posts: "IVF #1: The Beginning", "IVF #2: Starting Meds", "IVF #3: Baseline Ultrasound and Stims", "IVF #4: Follicle Monitoring".

Tuesday, July 23
This morning we woke EARLY around 4:30 to take a quick shower and drive to our doctor's office.  I wasn't allowed to wear any makeup, which I laughed about with Tonya and assured her that even without that rule I would not be doing my makeup at 4 am. :)  I also couldn't wear my contacts.  I was excited, but nervous.  They had counted a lot of follicles, but one of the nurse practitioners said she guessed they would get 20 eggs...I'm still not really sure why she said so few when I had more than double that in follicles--maybe she just didn't want to get my hopes up.  Anyway, I was worried about how many eggs we would get. I had also heard that when you have that many follicles, many of them won't contain a mature egg.  As we were heading out the door we found this cute sign that Matt's family had made on the door for us.  It was nice to have a little encouragement at 5 am!

When we arrived at the Utah Fertility Center at 5:30 am it was still pitch black outside. It felt weird to be going to the doctor's office when we should be sleeping.  They took me to our room and I changed into this lovely hospital gown. :)

Then the anesthesiologist came in to give me an IV.  That was the hardest part.  I told him that needles make me nervous and made Matt come on the other side of the bed to distract me.  As the anesthesiologist was giving the IV he said, "Wow, you weren't joking.  Don't forget to breathe."  :)  He told me that first he would just give me something to help me relax.  I think it was at this moment that I suggested we get a picture of Matt and I together because I seriously don't remember having oxygen on for this picture and I look pretty loopy.

We're ready to make some babies!

Soon I was talking about how the room was spinning and I felt super relaxed.  That was the last thing I remember.  Matt left once I was pretty much out.  When I woke up the first thing I asked was, "How many eggs did we get?"  The anesthesiologist said, "I'm not sure, but a lot!"  Then he took me into the next room to recover and get dressed.  Matt met me in there and soon Dr. Foulk came in to see us.  He told us that they were able to retrieve 47 EGGS!!!!  Are you kidding me?  I'm like a fish!  :)  Then they told me again that there is a high risk for OHSS after retrieval and that I should continue drinking only Gatorade from now on, no water.  They told me I could take extra strength Tylenol, but no Ibuprophen, for the pain and to call if I needed something stronger.  Matt went to work and I slept for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, July 24
I didn't sleep well at all last night because I was in so much pain.  This morning I called the doctor's office to see if there was something stronger I could take to relieve the pain.  I think this was a big red flag for them because they asked if I could come into the office right away.  Thankfully Matt had the day off  for Pioneer Day so he drove me down to the doctor's office.  When we got to the office I was really worried.  Then, as I was checking in I received a call from one of the embryologists giving us AWESOME news about the number of eggs that fertilized normally.  It was definitely a tender mercy from the Lord that I received that news when I did.  It was a good reminder that we have an all merciful creator who has a plan for us and wants to bless us with every good thing.

We met with one of the nurse practitioners.  She did an ultrasound and said there was definitely some fluid building up in my abdomen (from OHSS).  I asked the nurse if this was going to prevent us from doing the transfer and she said we will just have to wait and see if it gets worse.  Then the nurse gave me what they call a "top hat" and a chart so I can measure all of my fluid output, keep track of all my fluid intake, and calculate the difference.  I also have to keep track of my weight gain.  So far I've gained 8 pounds in the last few days.  She also gave me a prescription for some strong pain medications which aren't actually doing ANYTHING for the pain.  This will be a fun night.

Earlier tonight Matt took me to the store to get some things I needed and I was in so much pain that he wheeled me around in this wheelchair.  I think he secretly liked it.  I know I sure did. :)

Thursday, July 25
Today we had to go to our doctor's office again for more monitoring.  This time we saw Dr. Foulk.  We love that guy and he always makes me smile, so the first thing he says is, "Well it can't be too bad if you're still smiling!"  :)  I told him it takes a lot to make me stop smiling, but that I feel horrible!

They did another ultrasound and he gave me a prescription for some stronger pain meds and some Zo.fran for the nausea.  Then they had us schedule another appointment for tomorrow.  The pain meds are working now and I've basically been sleeping around the clock.  We also received a call from the embryologist today to let us know how many of our embryos are on track for day-3 embryos.  We have some incredible numbers!  They said most of them are of the highest quality as well!  I'm so proud of our little embryos already.  We are feeling overwhelmed and so, so blessed.

It's hard to describe how OHSS feels.  It's really painful to breathe deeply because of all the fluid building up and putting pressure on my organs.  I can avoid some of the sharp pain by taking shallow breaths.  The main issue is that every time I cross that threshold into sleep, my body takes control of my breathing and automatically inhales deeply.  This causes a sharp pain and jolts me awake again making it difficult to sleep.  I'm also nauseated almost constantly, but the Zo.fran seems to help with that.  I have a slight allergy to all pain medication and it makes me itchy all over--still I'd take that over the pain.

I couldn't find really good before picture, but here is a little before and after picture showing my belly growth--I wasn't sticking my belly out at all and it got worse than this!

Friday, July 26
Man, it feels like we've been at our doctor's office everyday for as long as I can remember!  Today we had another ultrasound, Dr. Gurtcheff gave me some IV fluids, and said that we would probably drain the fluid today.  I asked her about their success rates with frozen cycles.  She said that 95% of the embryos survive the thaw and that sometimes in cases like these, the pregnancy success rate is actually higher for frozen cycles because of all the stress that is being put on your body.  I'd hate to do that, but it made me at least feel a little better about that prospect.  Dr. Foulk came in and said he didn't want to drain the fluid too soon because it would probably just build up again and draining the fluid more than once would increase my chances of getting an infection.  He told me to rest up and come back the next day for another ultrasound and that we would probably drain the fluid then.

Here I am resting with my IV

Saturday, July 27
Today when Dr. Foulk came in the room I told him I'd been working on my sad face. :)  We did another ultrasound and Dr. Foulk thought it would be a good idea to drain some of the fluid from my abdomen.  I believe he and Tonya made some joke about me being like Violet on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and blowing up like a balloonWhen we got settled in the exam room Dr. Foulk pulled out some massive spotlight, shined it on me, and said, "Where were you on the night of the 15th?!"  I was so glad everyone could joke while I was in pain. ;)

Then they pulled out a MASSIVE needle--thick and like a foot long.  That wasn't funny because it wasn't a joke.  Oh how I hate needles.  And this one was going to be all up in my business, if you know what I mean.  They drained 2 liters of fluid from my abdomen.  They asked if I wanted to see the fluid, but I told them I'd pass.  Matt said it looked like cranberry juice.  (There's a good visual for you. :)) I started feeling quite a bit better immediately!  We talked about whether or not we will do the transfer tomorrow or not.  Dr. Foulk said we should come in tomorrow for the transfer and we'll do an ultrasound to see if the fluid has built up again.  We are really feeling like we won't be able to do the transfer because of the risk of the OHSS coming back in full force from the HCG my body will produce when pregnant.  We'll see what happens tomorrow I guess.


Bryan and Sarah said...

This is so amazing to read. You and Matt are such good examples. You are really bringing awareness to infertility. I hope these posts have a happy ending. You deserve it.

laura d said...

Really loving these updates! I'm sure your story will help a ton of other people looking for help and support!