The Harvest: Hurry up and wait.

I’m convinced IVF or fertility treatment in general should be renamed hurry up and wait.  Everything is in between hurry up, get to the lab RIGHT NOW or else; or wait for 4-6 weeks.  Just one end of the spectrum or the other. Wait 100 years to start shots, and then you need to TAKE THEM TONIGHT.  Like, stop yelling at me!

I took my shots for exactly two weeks.  They kept upping my dosage of follistim, and kept the menopur too.  Then I had to add a third shot, cetrotide, in the morning.  That one was to prevent early ovulation while they were still growing my follicles.  Got to be honest, adding a third shot in the morning really threw me for a loop.  For one, I had a routine going and at night there was no rush to get anywhere.  And, also, it just meant three shots in each, and not a lot of rest for the areas I was stabbing.  Here is photo evidence:

Shots

Two things to know:

  1. This is just one side of my stomach where I was stabbing.  The other side actually didn’t bruise as bad.
  2. I made Kenny zoom in on it so you couldn’t see any of the belly squish. 🙂

Last Sunday, I went in for labs again, and that day they called saying I would like trigger Monday, but had to go in again the next Morning.  The next morning was also the first day of Orientation Leader training, which I am in charge of. GREAT. I planned for the possibility of being out a day during training for retrieval, which was not ideal at all. But I was ready for that.  I wasn’t ready for bloodwork and ultrasound when I was supposed to be driving people to a ropes course.  Luckily we were able to work it out and have me meet them there.  But, still.  Also, luckily I had a fleeting thought that morning that perhaps I should throw my trigger shot and other meds in a cooler to bring with me.  Since I would be at work until after 9 that night. PHEW. Because I needed them.

They called while I was at lunch with the students to “give me my instructions”.  Every time I got that call I felt like I was in Mission Impossible. So I ended up giving my last shot of follistim in the residence hall bathroom we were doing training in, HOT. Then had to wait until midnight to take the trigger shot which happens a day in advance of the retrieval.

Tuesday that week was kind of nice with no stabbing at all!  I had a BIG dinner at 6:30 because I knew I couldn’t eat again for almost 24 hours.  Then I went in Wednesday morning for the procedure!!  EEEEEK

IVF  Kenny had to go in with me to “do his job”.  Talk about awkward, by the way. We walk in, they scoop him up out of nowhere.  Escort him to, I’m told, a sterile feeling tiny room with…some…”material” and then he’s on his own. And I’m already back in pre-op.  He met me in there soon after, which made me feel better, because I feel bad for any dudes who have to perform under pressure.  Like, this whole thing doesn’t work, if you can’t produce a…sample.  Holy pressure Batman!

We didn’t have to wait too long until I went in.  I was less scared than I thought I would be.  Maybe because I had the hysteroscopy in December and it wasn’t that bad, and I knew this would be similar.  Maybe because I was excited about future prospects, who knows, but I was pretty level headed.  Kenny just started a new job so he left once I went in, and my mom tagged in to be on duty afterwards.

Here goes nothin!

Preop

Definite the hottest pic I’ve ever taken.

They actually walked me into the operating room, which was so strange.  Then once I got into the bed, they had me put my feet in stirrups to make sure I wasn’t uncomfortable, then the next thing I know the nice anesthesiologist was holding my head and whispering, and then I woke up somewhere else.  Anesthesia is legit magic.

I was the most confused ever.  But the nurse was nice and got me some ginger ale and animal crackers.  Don’t sleep on animal crackers by the way. My mom was in the waiting room, so she came back and met me, and then once I had my bearings, they had me go to the bathroom, and then I was off.  I was told I would be woozy and lethargic, would have some spotting and some menstrual-like cramps.  They also tell you afterwards how many eggs they got.  I had 9.  Of course I immediately asked, “Is that good?” #AchievementIssues. She laughed, asked my age, and then said yeah that is good your age will usually have 70-80% fertilize.  But my doctor also told me they don’t tell you a goal number, because then (obviously) women freak out if they don’t get to that certain number. Makes sense.  I know people who had way more eggs than that, and some who had fewer.  I kept telling myself, I only need one.  Obviously more is better because options are good.  But still.

Then I got shipped home to rest.  To be honest, I felt fine.  I ate fish and chips with my mom.  My aunt and cousin put together these two adorable rocking chairs I wanted!!  And then I just relaxed a bit.  But actually didn’t have any pain.  TMI moment: But the worst part of it all was that I was constipated for a few days after.  It was legit terrible.  I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before, and I’d rather it didn’t, ever again.  Apparently, that’s a side effect of the anesthesia sometimes, guess its not as magic as I thought!

They called me the next day to tell me that all 9 eggs fertilized…my first immediate thought: I got 100%! #AchievementIssues.  My second thought, fertilization is good, but fertilization was not our issue originally either.  So, now, we wait.

If you were doing a fresh cycle, you would just wait until you get your period, and then on day 3 or 5-ish they would implant the fresh embryo(s).  But for us, we keep waiting. we are doing the PGS, Preimplantation Genetic Screening. They tell you that you will get your period anytime between 2 days and 2 weeks after the retrieval aka The Harvest. So, just a casually huge range.  The testing typically takes 2-3 weeks depending on what they are looking for, etc.  For us they are not looking for a specific genetic predisposition, based on tests neither of us were carrying anything.  But given our losses, they want to make sure any embryo we implant is healthy and without any chromosomal abnormalities.

So, we wait until I get my period this time, and then wait for the results of the testing, and then wait until I get my period the next time, thennnnnn we implant an embryo. Pending there are healthy embryos to implant. *Insert praise emoji here.*

They let the embryos grow until day 5 or 6, (that was today for us) then biopsy them, send cells to the lab for testing, but keep the embryos there frozen.  Then the lab will send back results and we will know which of the frozen embryos are viable.

Appreciate all positive and fertile vibes being sent our way.  Probably won’t have much of an update for a while, but I’ll try to keep posting random topical stuff still!

And now, we wait. 🙂

 

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