PGD Part 3
So the first injection I talked about in my last blog post was on a Wednesday night. I had to continue these until the following Wednesday which was when I was booked in for my first internal scan and blood test. From the Sunday I was also injecting in the mornings as well. The night injections were to grow little follicles on my ovaries (which then produce the egg) and the morning injections were to stop the follicles releasing the egg. Talk about a confusing period for my body! One minute I’m telling it to grow a follicle to produce an egg, and the next I’m telling it no, don’t release it! Not what it would normally do!
I only had one injection cause a bruise and that was the second one. I think this is because Brendan pulled the needle out at an angle instead of directly the way he put it in. I felt it hurt a bit and it bled so I wasn’t surprised to see it come out in a bruise!
The first week of injections was a breeze, and to be honest I felt the best I had in about 5 weeks! Being on the pill was pretty yuck, and my body didn’t like it at all. Cramps and bleeding on and off for 4 weeks is not fun at all. So for this to stop and be replaced by injections that were easy was a good feeling! But, I said the first week was a breeze – the morning I was up for my first scan and blood test was no fun. We had just moved into our new house the day before and that was FULL ON. I’m unsure if it’s a combination of the drugs and moving, but I didn’t feel good at all. I woke up feeling great so thought I’d go blow out some cobwebs and check out our new area with a run down the road. I was fine for the first 10-15 minutes but then I hit a wall. I walked about ¾ home but then called my husband to pick me up as I felt weak and sick and like I was going to shit my pants! It was horrible. I called him and he was like where are you and I said in the grass on the side of the road. Yeah, #winning . I went home and had breakfast before heading in to my scan in Hamilton.
I was pretty nervous going to this, as I had felt so good all week with the injections. I said to my husband at one point, I kind of feel like this might not be working as I feel so good! But as it turns out they counted 15 follicles! 5 on my right ovary and 10 on my left. Some were a good size and some smaller ones that had a bit of growing to do. The doctor said they have to get the all clear from Auckland as it is a PGD cycle, but there were pretty certain I would be back for another scan and blood test on Friday, and potentially the trigger injection that night with egg collection on Sunday.
WOW! It was happening super fast now!
Sure enough I got a phone call that afternoon to say yes come back on Friday for another scan. It was another busy couple of days unpacking and sorting out the farm so I didn’t have much time to think about the upcoming scan. In hindsight I’m not sure if this was a good thing or not as it meant I wasn’t quite as relaxed as I perhaps should have been. I did my best to stay calm, but I was still busy. Very little sitting down and I wasn’t sleeping that well at night. The drugs were making me feel like my period was just about to start – like there was a brick in my lower abdomen, I couldn’t sleep on my tummy and bending/sitting was quite uncomfortable.
Friday’s scan was more great news for the follicles – they counted 15-16 that were a size they would expect eggs to be released from! That’s heaps! Considering in a natural menstrual cycle women generally only produce one follicle and one egg! You can see why my body was going in to over drive – it was like 15 times the usual ovulation.
Every time my bladder started to get a bit full, my whole lower abdomen would start to ache. I couldn’t hold on at all because it would hurt too much, and walking would hurt as well. I could feel my uterus and swollen ovaries just putting a bit of pressure on other organs down there, and doing a number 2 would be hard because when I tried to push it would all hurt! This all happened from that first scan onwards, so you can imagine my relief when they said the trigger injection would be that Friday night!
Friday night 10 years ago was very different to this particular Friday night. There was no $10 passion pop, nodoze or short skirts this night. No 4 pack of cruisers, sticky floors in the Outback or high heels I couldn’t walk in. Definitely no alcohol on this Friday night!
This Friday night involved drawing out half a ml of hormones into a syringe and doing my best to stay up until 10pm. It was having my husband inject this into my lower tummy fat and then lying in bed uncomfortably, feeling so tired but trying really hard not to roll on to my back or tummy as my swollen ovaries and uterus would start to ache.
This Friday night was trigger injection night.
This was to trigger all the follicles my little ovaries had grown to release an egg. The injection had to be timed exactly 36 hours before egg collection – hence the need to wait up until 10pm that night.
The next day I kept a pretty low profile, just doing things in our new house to get settled. Every movement like walking, sitting and bending would make my lower tummy ache so I had to move slowly. I didn’t feel sick or lose my appetite; it was more just like how you feel when you’re on the tail end of a cold. Your mind feels ok but your body is still a little achy and slow. And it also felt like I was about to get my period – every time I went to the bathroom I was expecting to see blood as that was the usual process, but of course it never came!
These are basically the reasons I couldn’t wait for egg collection! I was pretty over feeling like this, and knowing that the collection would put a stop to it was so appealing!
Saturday night we went up to Auckland to stay at my sister-in-laws place. Having to be at the clinic at 9:30am would have meant leaving home pretty early and the risk of getting caught in traffic. We went out to dinner to Miss Clawdy in Wynyard Quarter. It’s the second time I had been there and it was amazing. Their fried chicken is to die for!
I slept pretty well that night considering how nervous I was. I had been visualizing the collection for quite a while, usually when I was at an acupuncture session. I imagined eggs from my left ovary being collected – any funnily enough this ovary had a lot more follicles on it than the right! The morning of collection I was wide awake and feeling pretty wired. I wouldn’t eat for 6 hours beforehand and no drinking after 8am apart from having to take 3 panadol at 9am. So much to remember! It didn’t bother me being able to smell Brendan’s poached eggs for breakfast as I felt sick from nerves.
On arrival I had a nurse go through the procedure with me. I was still pretty nervous so I don’t really remember that much. She tried to put the IV into my arm and stuffed it up which actually, in hindsight, was the most painful thing of the morning! I also had an embryologist come and have a chat to us, and then the doctor also stopped in. She was lovely and very friendly which made me feel a lot more comfortable. I was told to empty my bladder and also put a gown on with my knickers and a pad in the pocket.
Once I was on the table in the theatre the doctor put the IV in my arm and gave me the first lot of sedatives. She said it will start to feel like I’ve had a bottle of champagne for breakfast and she was exactly right! I felt a little panicky before this and I was so grateful to have Brendan right next to me as he held my hand the whole time. All I really remember from this point on was when the doctor said she will try the other ovary now and I said it hurt and could I please have more pain relief. That was administered and the next thing I know they’re getting me to sit up.
The doctor said they had collected 5 eggs, which was not as many has they had hoped based on all my scans and all the follicles they had taken out. I was in shock hearing this and felt quite numb. I think it was a combination of the drugs and the news, because I suddenly felt very vulnerable. As soon as I sat back down in the room I started crying, and feeling so frustrated.
This whole process I tried to keep a positive mindframe and think of the best outcome. Everyone had said everything was on our side – we were young, healthy, good swimmers, good egg supply – so of course I had fairly high expectations. Combine this with the nurses at the scans telling me how many follicles I had, and I was told there were about 15 that were a size you would expect an egg from. And then to find out only 5 eggs were collected was a bit disheartening. Very disheartening, to be honest.
That said, I know the 5 that were collected the high quality ones. And at the end of the day we need quality not quantity. The more I thought about it and talked to Brendan about it, the better I felt. We are incredibly lucky to get 5, and I know they’re in safe hands with some quality swimmers that want to fertilize them!
The car ride home was one I won’t forget in a while. We’ve all had those hungover car rides where you think that the next corner you go around all your late night Maccas will be coming back up. I’ve had some horrific car rides like this, all self inflicted of course, and this was no exception.
I’ve joked that the egg collection was like being drunk, then the car ride home and that afternoon was the hangover! The whole hour and a half we were in the car I had to close my eyes as it felt like everything was rushing past so fast. At one point about half an hour into the trip home I started to feel hot and I was salivating something ridiculous. Suddenly I thought shit where’s that Tupperware container we had? I’m going to be sick. I said to Brendan where’s that container, as I was taking off my shoes and turning on the air con. He reached back and grabbed it while pulling over, and I said we need to stop. I stripped off my jersey and even had to wipe my brow I was sweating that much! We sat there for about 10 minutes where I kept thinking just spew and you will feel better. Turns out not eating for 18 hours before this, apart from the dry toast they gave me in recovery, means you have nothing to throw up! We were about 15 minutes away from a little café I had suggested we stop at, so Brendan went in and got lunch for himself and brought me a ginger beer and some chicken potato chips. Usually salt and vinegar chips and sprite are my go to hangover cure, but we had to compromise here!
Once we made it home I pretty much stayed on the couch all day. My parents had stayed in our house the night before and looked after our puppy, cat and even moved the cows that morning! I wasn’t allowed to be left alone for the 24 hours after collection so they stayed that night as well, because my hubby had to go out on the farm the next morning.
I pretty much felt like I had a three day hangover after the egg collection. I felt a bit groggy, tired and bled for a good 48 hours. By Wednesday I was feeling pretty good and I even got up to do a workout in our garage! The warm up I did was 10 burpees every minute on the minute for 5 minutes. I finished this and felt like I was about to get my period. Trust me – any one like me who has been getting their period for the last 16 years knows this feeling! I decided to listen to my body and do a really low intensity workout. I then left a message with the nurse at FA and she said it was most likely the start of my period due to the particular trigger injection they had prescribed me.
That’s all good – I would rather the symptoms of having my period than warning bells of OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) which can be really serious for some women. However it did mean that I had pretty much had bleeding from the start of our IVF cycle, which was about 8 weeks! My poor body was so ready for a break.
Next up is the waiting game – to hear how many little eggs had fertilized.