Sharing my journey.
The IVF journey is a common one for many couples around the world. Some having gone through it once, some over and over again. After going through the process several times, one time when I did it last year I decided to make some notes each day. This has been saved as a draft for 7 months and finally I decided to publish it. Please continue reading only should you like to know what my experience was like.
Day 1: It was weird to get somewhat excited about my period arriving. It was a Sunday and the clinic was closed so I sent a text and waited.
Day 2: I went and had a blood test to check my levels. I didn’t get a phone call with any results or instructions so just had to keep going on with my day at work.
Day 3: I called the clinic and left a message for the nurses to contact me due to not having heard from anyone. It was 3pm when they called me back and told me I needed to start injecting that night. I was at work (without a car) and was needing to get to Preston to pick up a script and the meds before they closed. And then there was the thought of the surprise birthday dinner for a friend that I was needing to head to straight from work. That is when the anxiety started to set in. The moment I remembered what it had been like the previous times. When you lose control of your life for a few weeks. Where things need to be done at certain times and you cant just say “no, i’ll do that a little later or tomorrow”. The timing of everything was so important. Fortunately hubby was able to drive out and collect everything. He then stopped in at my work on the way back and I sat in the car and started to cry. It was all happening again. It was scary. The process. The needles. The waiting. The lying. I went straight to the dinner from work and then home early for the first of many injections.
Day 4, 5 & 6: It was just the standard injections. Same time each night and trying to grab a different part of my stomach each time to inject. That all too familiar look of my stomach being turned into a pin cushion.
Day 7: I was at work on this night so it made it a little more difficult. Had to hide the needle in a cool bag in the fridge. Then when it was time I headed to my car and tried to slide down as low as I could and gave myself the jab. The footy game had just ended and people were walking back to their cars. That wasn’t fun.
Day 8: The second needle was then added. This was the not nice needle as it was a syringe. I tried to do them both myself but I couldn’t. Had to wake up hubby this time. My skin felt like rubber and I tried so hard to press the needle in but it just wouldn’t pierce my skin.
Day 9: I needed to go for a scan and blood test today. Felt terrible about needing to lie to work about coming in late. Then got told I needed to do it all again in two days time. Was able to give myself the second needle tonight. Wasn’t as bad this time.
Day 10: Tonight the syringe was tough. Two attempts and it wouldn’t go in. The third time it went in and I screamed. It was so painful. There were tears. There was a lot of pain and my stomach was covered in small bruises and pricks everywhere.
Day 11: It was another scan and another blood test. This ultra sound lady was talking a lot. The day 9 scan was done in 20 minutes of silence. On this day, she told me Monday’s scan had shown 12 and 13 follicles (on right and left side). Today I could see the screen and there was now 15 and 16. This was a good number to see. Later that day I got the text saying 8 pm trigger injection and egg retrieval was to be on day 13.
Day 12: There was no needles today but a late night fasting after a big dinner.
Day 13: It was a early start and at the hospital at 730am. The same questions from each the nurse, anesthesiologist, doctor “no allergies, name, DOB…. etc”. It was then time for theatre. The line went in for the IV in that really awkward part of your wrist (couldn’t it go anywhere else?!) It really started hurting. Felt like it wasn’t in right. They stuck the gas on me. I started telling them it was hurting and they popped the mask back on to shut me up i think. I felt the cold IV go up my arm and I was out so quickly.
Woke up in recovery. The pain was so bad in my stomach and I asked for drugs. The doctor came and saw me. He said they got 23 eggs. What the hell? Last time was 6 and the time before 11. He said there were some good ones. His eyes lit up as he said that. There was a lot of hope. After fully waking up and moving to the next recovery room I tried to eat crackers. Oh it was like clag. I couldn’t digest anything. It was good to see hubby walk in. Two other ladies were in nearby beds and were joined by their partners. I heard them talk about their collections. 6 eggs and 1 egg. I whispered my 23 to my hubby and felt guilty for getting so many. But that excitement was short lived. Once home and I struggled with pain in my stomach. I didn’t recall it being that bad the previous times.
Day 14- It was a good thing I didn’t have to work as I was waddling around with a pain in stomach and it was bloated like crazy. The boobs were sore, the gas was building up and I am not good with doing nothing so found it hard to relax. I got the first call with the overnight progress on my eggs. There was only 16 that were suitable to try and create a embryo from so they had started that process. I was also told I had Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which is where I was over stimulated and my ovaries where enlarged. It meant the embryo transfer the following week was off the plans and wouldn’t happen for a few months. Heartbreak and another delay in the process.
Day 15- This was a hard day as I needed to work and I struggled to do up my uniform pants as I was so bloated. I was on my feet for so many hours I was absolutely buggered.
Day 16- My stomach was still really filled with gas. A day at work in the office was painful and I just couldn’t concentrate all day. I felt like going to explode. Like no more food could possibly fit in there and yet for some reason I still kept eating??!!
Day 17– So I called the clinic and spoke to nurses. With the OHSS the nurse told me I shouldn’t be
eating fatty, spicy or acidic foods (I straight away thought of the McDonald’s breakfast I ate when leaving the hospital and the fish and chips for dinner later that day or now that I think of it, the pork belly from last nights dinner…. Oops. No wonder I was feeling so terrible)
As things started to improve over the days ahead, the phone call from the clinic came in with the final amount of embryos that had made it through to the stage ready to be frozen. It was 2. So from 23 eggs collected, 16 suitable for insertion, only 7 took the sperm and then only 2 made it to the final stages. These two were my hope for my future. I tried to stay positive and just focus on getting better. I completely understood now the reason they couldn’t do the transfer due to having the OHSS as it would have put me at risk of hospitalisation and most likely losing the embryo. So it then became a waiting game once again. Touch back in with them in a few months time. It seemed to be all too familiar. Waiting, waiting, waiting…..