Post Egg Retrieval Thoughts

So it all happened on Friday!  I really wanted to do a video but that was too hard so let me apologize for not being able to do that.  Anyway I arrived at 8:30 am and got changed into a gown, put my booties and head cap on, emptied my bladder and waited in my “area”.  The nurses then came to me and asked me a number of questions making sure that I am who I say I am and that I was born on the date written on the form.  I then got instructions and was told what the procedure was all about and all the possible things I could experience after.

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The nurses at the Barbados Fertility Centre are LOVELY!  You see, I was terribly anxious when I walked in because I have never had a form of surgery nor had I ever experienced general anesthesia in my adult life.  Actually they call it sedation which slightly different to general anesthesia.  Anyway, the nurses were very comforting along with the soothing Italian music playing in the OR.  I finally got situated in the bed, bum down to the edge, feet up (just like at your gyno) and then they gave me a shot in my arm…annnnnd…I don’t remember anything else.

The procedure took all of 15 – 20 minutes and I was knocked out for about an hour and a half.  When I woke up I felt no pain.  I got up, drank some water and chatted with the nurses who mentioned that they got 16 matured eggs!  Yay!  That’s a good sign.  Honestly I can’t remember how many in all that I had (I will report on that in another post) but they can only freeze the matured ones and that’s what matters most.  It’s all over!  No more shots.  Frankly the last shot gave me the best sleep of my life.

I’m home now and I felt great on Saturday but the cramps really hit me in the wee hours of Sunday morning (today).  The cramps feel like an air lock.  Apparently this is normal and will only last a couple of days.  What happened was that my ovaries got really big to hold all of the follicles.  If you saw my last video of the ultrasound  you would’ve noticed that my right ovary had more follicles than the left and it’s on that side that I feel the cramping more.  My ovaries are contracting back down from the size of an apple to the size of a grape, so this is normal.  If I was doubled over in pain, which isn’t good sometimes that may mean that you’re affected by OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome) and in that case the doctors would see and take care of you right away.  Thankfully that’s not the case here and the BFC hardly has any cases where this occurs.  It seems like the question to ask post retrieval is – “So what are you going to do with your eggs now?”  No lie, I’ve been asked this question at least 10 times and my answer is – “I’ll keep them frozen until I need them, if I need them.”  I’m not having the baby conversation nor am I interested in having it at the moment or anytime soon.  But let me tell you…I feel a lot less worried or concerned about my biological clock.  It feels like a weight has been lifted.  Right now I just want to continue living and enjoying my life.

This whole process taught me something bigger than just freezing my eggs, bigger than the baby conversation, bigger than if you choose to walk this path or not.  This process taught me that as women we need to really be honest with ourselves about what we want. You do not have to always indirectly seek direction or permission from your friends and family.  Don’t get me wrong, advice is fine, but the answers are inside of you.  Practice stillness and listening more with less voices on your choices.  You are not boxed in to being one person or brand (as we say today) because of what people around you grew accustomed to.  No matter your age or stage in life you can pause, ask questions, soul search and make small decisions that cater to who you are evolving into.  Everything isn’t a crazy EAT. PRAY. LOVE decision.  You can remain in your environment and make small choices towards your happiness.  When you continually love and honour yourself it will change how others respond to you.  Comments like:

“That’s not who you are…”

“That’s not like you…”

“You would never…”

…can be very limiting especially when you know within your heart of hearts that it’s just you with dreams and ideas never expressed out loud.  Do you, please. It’s beneficial for us all to experience your strength, boldness, awkwardness, beauty, weirdness, etc.  Don’t allow yourself to be limited as a single woman, as a wife, as a mother or as a mature woman.  It’s never too late to take control of your life.  Remember taking control doesn’t have to look like a huge deal, it’s just small choices towards a bigger plan.  And one more thing…don’t always look for people to understand, agree or come on board.  Strengthen your spirit and seek solace in something far bigger than all of us. I say God!

Thanks for joining me on this journey, thanks for your comments, questions and sharing your stories. This blog doesn’t end today, but we will continue with stories of Egg Freezing and Endometriosis, PCOS and more.  There will also be an episode on this topic on the new season of “Hey Vajayjay”.  We’ll also soon be hosting some Egg Freezing Cocktail parties so you can come out and meet some other people who’ve walked this road and ask questions, share stories, etc.  I know some of you want to know the cost of all of this and that’s coming soon as well.  Thank you and stay tuned for more on options regarding your fertility.

By the way check out Just a Dash blog for stories on IVF and fertility, baby and just real mom life – https://symonefowler.com/

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Phase 2: Stimulation

This is not a bag filled with freshly baked croissants from The Cliff Bakery after a visit to Holder’s Market…no no no!

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My friend, this brown paper bag is filled with more Buserelin syringes plus new syringes for the new meds, mixing needles and other needles slightly bigger than the Buserelin needles (those used for insulin shots), as well as the new hormone…drum roll…curtain call…welcome – MERIONAL!  This new hormone is another daily injection used to stimulate my ovaries to produce multiple follicles during one cycle.  Basically this gets me ready to produce many eggs in one go!

On Friday I paid a visit to the Barbados Fertility Centre to meet with the lovely Nurse Anna for my ultrasound scan.  This scan would let them know how my ovaries are looking.  They were big and round and wide like…

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It’s as if they were saying – “We’re so ready to carry all 20 of your eggs!!!!” *bounce*  

Hopefully I produce up to 20.  If my only chance at having babies were through the eggs that I freeze, if I make up to 20 eggs it increases my chance of having up to two children in the future.  Unfortunately this is not always the case for some women and they have to take another round but the Barbados Fertility Centre has a very high success rate with lovely stories of new mothers winning at this process!  Anyway, I digress, and we will go into that more in another post.

So, I have the Merional and I literally had a mini session like Merional 101 followed by a practical exam to make sure I carry out this process the correct way when I’m at home.  Remember in an earlier post I felt “Like ah boss!” almost as if I was a nurse in a past life?

“Lies!!!”

So here’s how my life is set up for the next 10-12 days:

I have to draw the fluid up this massive needle which is the mixing needle.  THEN, i flip off the covers of the 3 vials carrying the hormone.  When the fluid hits the hormone it dissolves instantly and it’s mixed.  I then draw that mix and push into the second vial, mix that and keep going to the third one.  When I draw the final mix I then switch needles to the little orange one.  The orange needle is what I’m using to give myself the shot.  This one stings a lot more…

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So now my dosage of Buserelin has decreased to 30 units in the morning and I’m on the Merional at night.  Apparently the side effects are more “enjoyable” and are meant to kick in within 3 days.  My libido will be boosted…through the roof apparently.

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I can’t work out super hard, but I CAN indeed work out and I should take it easy all the while carrying on with my day as I would usually do.  There will be some tiredness and I will get bloated at some point, but this is all part of this experience.  During week 2 of the Buserelin I had some great days and also some really low depressing days, I felt very heavy with a hot flash or two but Merional will bring some balance back.

Next week I’m back at the BFC for blood tests and to assess my ovarian response.  This is when I’ll know if they need to increase or decrease the fertility medication.  A few things to note:

“At birth, a woman is born with all of the eggs she will make in her lifetime.”

“The success of egg freezing depends on the quality of the eggs.  Generally, younger women have higher quality eggs than women who are older, and the egg quality declines as a woman ages.  For this reason, egg freezing tends to be more successful in women who have their eggs frozen at a younger age.”

“More than half of women younger than 38 years who freeze between 15-20 eggs are predicted to have a resulting live birth, and freezing more eggs at your younger ages improves chances further.”

A big thank you to Marsha Layne of Barbados Today for showing her support of the blog and “Hey Vajayjay” in her article – Today’s Woman, check it out!