The second week of stims continued with subcutaneous injections twice a day. I started getting large, red patches and itchy welts at the injection site from the AM Cetrotide injection. Cetrotide is the medication I was prescribed to keep the body from ovulating during the stims process. From all the injections, I developed some small bruises and felt like pretty soon I was going to run out of injection sites. My abdomen became more bloated and uncomfortable from the enlarging of multiple follicles in both ovaries. My ovaries even felt “crampy” at times. My pants became too tight and my ovaries felt really heavy. Ultrasound appointments and blood draws increased. I had appointments daily from Sunday through Tuesday for monitoring. On Tuesday morning, I told the ultrasound tech that my husband was disappointed since he could not make it to the appointment. He had to stay at the house and wait for one of my medications to be delivered from the specialty pharmacy. She gave me the ultrasound photos below so he could see how large the follicles had become. At this point there were still 13 follicles on the right. There were now 6 follicles on the left. She said it looks like 11 of the 19 follicles measure between 13-24mm each. I was told the range that they need to be at the time of egg retrieval is between 15-29mm and they can grow between 1-2mm per day.
On Tuesday afternoon, I received a call from the nurse to stop my previous medications and to take my two trigger injections at exactly 7:45 PM. I was told that the Novarel and HCG injections would help the eggs to mature for the retrieval procedure. They also scheduled our pre-op appointment on Wednesday and our egg retrieval for Thursday morning at 7:45 AM. At the pre-op appointment, I spoke to the physician and confirmed that he will be performing the egg retrieval for future frozen embryo transfers. The nurse provided pre-op instructions and I was given a pain script. The nurse said to bring my pain medication with us the next day and to arrive one hour early for the procedure. I was also instructed to wear comfy clothes and no makeup.
We arrived at 6:45 AM for the egg retrieval. Both of us were really excited and nervous. We were greeted by the nurse. The nurse had me change into the hospital gown, surgical cap and matching foot ware. I was escorted to a stretcher with a heating pad and blankets. The nurse placed an IV line. Then, started my IV fluids and antibiotics. She brought my husband back and asked him for my pain medication. She gave me one tablet with a sip of water. After speaking with the doctors, I was walked to the operating room where a nurse helped me get comfortable. I met our embryologist and then the anesthesiologist put me to sleep.
The next thing I knew my husband had been escorted back into post-op and was sitting there next to me. Somehow, I knew that they were able to retrieve all 19 eggs. I proceeded to tell my husband who was very pleased. When the nurse came back into the room I also told her we had 19 eggs. She smiled and stated she was aware because I had already told her this four times. I must have been pretty loopy from the anesthesia. After the retrieval, I had quite a lot of pain and she gave me some nausea medication and some additional pain medications. Before leaving the clinic, we were told the eggs would be inseminated and we would get a call the next day about how many eggs had fertilized.
Thursday and Friday I took it pretty easy. I had some pain and still felt really bloated. I was blessed to have my husband, a sweet friend and my in-laws who all provided help and support through my recovery, especially the first few days.
On Friday, I received a call from the office stating that they were able to confirm 6 of the eggs had been fertilized. We were told they would continue monitoring the embryos and we would get a call the following Wednesday to let us know how many embryos would become blastocysts and be able to be cryopreserved. The nurse said that so far this was a good number and to keep in mind that not all the embryos may make it to the blastocyst stage. This news was very disappointing to us. This first phase of IVF had definitely not been easy on my body. We were thankful for the eggs that were fertilized but still worried. At this point, there was nothing else we could do except pray.
The following Monday, I just couldn’t wait any longer. I called the office and left a message for the nurse. I wanted to check on our embryos. She called back and I was able to find out some additional information. Out of the 19 eggs they had inseminated 10. On Friday, out of the 10, only 6 had been confirmed fertilized. However, by this point the lab was continuing to monitor all of them and eight of them were actually dividing as of the last documented report on Sunday. We felt some relief as we continued to pray.
Today, we received the final report on our embryos. We were hit with another wave of disappointment and sadness as we found out only two of our embryos have been able to survive and become blastocysts that are ready for cryopreservation. I shared my disappointment with the nurse. She asked if we would like to go through the egg retrieval process again or if we would like to continue on. I explained, at this point we would like to continue on. I asked her about the quality of our two remaining blastocysts. She said they are graded and the highest quality is a grade A. One of our Blastocysts is a grade B and the other is a grade C. For further information we will need to talk to the doctor. She scheduled an appointment for us to meet with a nurse practicioner in two weeks to discuss the next steps.
We are thankful for our family and close friends that have been praying for us and our embryos. We will continue to need prayer as this is a very difficult journey. We are discouraged but are not giving up. I was reminded earlier this week by a family member of how God has done mighty things with just a little throughout the bible. We believe He can do this for us too. We are praying he will do mighty things with our two remaining blastocysts.
Keep following along for updates. If you have more questions about embryos and this process check out the following link. http://parentsviaeggdonation.org/resources/pvedembryofaq.pdf