What I’m Doing to Prevent OHSS- Day One

The last 28 hours have been less than fun, given that there are holes in my vagina and ovaries. We have been doing our best to stave off ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS), which has felt like a full-time job.

Things that we are doing to prevent OHSS:

– I have been downing coconut water, which is a good electrolyte
– I have been eating salty things like soup
– I made myself a big pot of congee (a savoury Chinese rice porridge), which is salty and very easy on the digestive system
– I am trying to maintain my protein consumption at every meal even though I don’t feel like eating it when I’m not feeling well
– I am not exercising, even though it usually makes me feel better when I’m feeling gross
– I am weighing myself and measuring my abdominal girth daily
– I am doing acupuncture on myself (I have advanced training in this) to prevent ascites
– I am trying to relax and enjoy my 2 days off at home

So far, most of my discomfort has to do with any movements that engage my pelvic floor: getting up/down from sitting/standing, rolling over or changing position on the couch/bed, coughing (still have that damn cold from my MIL!), urinating, defecating, sitting.

This morning, the acetaminophen had worn off and I had major problems trying to pee. I could not bear down, and could only “open the flood gates” and let the natural pressure differential aid in excretion. I sat there for minutes as my urine “drip drip drip drip dripped….”. It was frustrating and sad as DW stood there and stared, feeling helpless and sorry for me.

However, I’m not feeling overly bloated. Just a little maybe. I have read that the bloating gets worse with time, which scares the shit out of me because I was hoping to play hockey on Monday, and am playing in a tournament during the weekend of the 30th.

We’ll see how it goes. Will update more on this as things progress.

Egg Retrieval!

So at 5:35am, we rolled into the clinic parking lot, Black Eyed Peas blaring in the car, us bouncing to “Pump It Harder”.

We were immediately escorted downstairs to the recovery room, where I was asked to change into a gown and undress from my waist down. I was also given little disposable slippers and a hair net that didn’t fit over my dread bun.

Then the nurse asked me some questions and put an IV in my arm. The doctor was running late, so we just waited for a bit. Below is a picture of DW in her outfit for the retrieval, as well as the recovery area:

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We were then led to the treatment room, where I was asked to lie down and place my legs in a strange contraption. DW was in the room with me, as were two nurses and one of my favourite ultrasound technicians.

Three different drugs, which the nurse kept referring to as the “cocktail” were injected into my IV line, and within a few minutes my body started feeling heavy. The doctor came in just as the drugs were starting to set in. He inserted a speculum, ‘prepared’ my vagina, and then began the retrieval.

I felt the needle as it poked through each ovary, and as it was maneuvered to access each follicle. I got to watch it in the tv in the room as well. It was over just as quickly as it began, and I don’t remember about two-thirds of it presumably because if the drugs (at some point the doctor asked the nurse to give me another dose of the “cocktail”).

In no time, it was over. It took about an hour and a half for the drugs to wear off though. In that hour, I was very sleepy, we hit a grocery store, and I puked in the car (thank goodness for doggie poop bags in the glove compartment).

Once we were home, DW pampered me with unlimited fetches, and hit up three more grocery stores to get things that I wanted/needed.

The pain has been on and off since we’ve been home. Mostly a stabbing pain that comes on randomly, but it also hurts a lot when I pee and poop. Sudden movements are risky as well. So today, I’ve been a couch potato, and have run out of PVR’d shows to watch.

Here are today’s stats:

21 mature eggs were retrieved (they didn’t bother with the smaller ones).

7 will be used for old-school fertilization (put egg and sperm in a room and see if they hit it off)
12 will be used for ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection)
2 were deemed low quality

Tomorrow we find out how many fertilized!

Egg Development Thus Far

I am going to keep a running account of my egg developments as they occur. This is mostly for myself, but if others can be comforted in having an example of what my body’s journey is, that is fantastic.

CD 3 baseline (on 20 units Lupron, no Gonal-F yet): 7 follicles on the L, 6 follicles on the R

[start 200 units Gonal-F on night of CD 3, continue 20 units Lupron]

CD 6 (after 3 days of 200 units Gonal-F): 8 follicles on the L, 6 follicles on the R, all itty bitty

[CD 6 (stim day 4) doses adjusted to 250 units Gonal-F, and 10 units Lupron]

CD 8 (stim day 6): 12 follicles on the L, 6 follicles on the R, all still small (2-8 mm)- things are starting to feel really swollen in there.

CD 10 (stim day 8): 12 follicles on the L, 8 follicles on the R, all still small (4-10mm)

CD 12 (stim day 10): 25 total follicles, 6 about 12mm.

CD 14 (stim day 12): 30 total follicles, 20 of which are over 10mm. Lead follicle is 17mm

CD 15 (stim day 13): 38 total follicles, 15 follicles on the R, 23 follicles on the L. About 21 are 12mm or bigger.

[Gonal-F dosage reduced to 200 units]

CD 16 (stim day 14): same as previous day, with follicles in the middle range growing by about 1 or 2mm .

[evening at 6:45- HCG trigger]

It’s Almost Go Time!

While taking down our beautiful Christmas tree (it’s embarrassing, I know), we finally got the call we’ve been waiting for!!!

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(Picture above: the grandmother clock is lonely without the tree)

So we trigger tonight with the Ovidrel, tomorrow I begin the doxycycline, and Tuesday super early in the morning, we retrieve our eggs!!

They’ve got DW on a somewhat complex schedule of estrace/endometrium/prometrium as well, and at some point we will have to go out and buy her a Costco-sized box of panty liners. (If you’ve ever had to take a vaginal suppository, you will understand.)

They’ve booked us for a day 3 transfer, but I’m hoping that we have lots of good quality blasts and that they change their minds to a day 5 blastocyst transfer.

Will keep you all posted!

Mary

Today I lost a friend.

I was sitting in our staff meeting after school, when DW messaged me on my iPhone. She said, “Hunny I have bad news”. Thinking it had something to do with our current IVF cycle, I was anxious to find out what was going on.

I waited. I waited longer. I could see in our open conversation window that she was either typing or thinking…. “Bad/sad”, she said next.

“Mary has passed away. I’m so sorry.”

“It happened suddenly. That’s all I know.”

I sat there in disbelief. I hadn’t known anything to be going on with her recently, health-wise. I had an upcoming meeting with her on Wednesday.

For what felt like an eternity, I sat. And as the shock wore off, a hole in my heart began to hollow out. Receding like a pull in your pantyhose might.

And then it hit me. Someone whispered. “What’s wrong?” At which point, I began to sob. The flood of sadness overcame me, and the tears were uncontrollable.

But I was in a room with a hundred and twenty of my colleagues. Colleagues who hadn’t yet formed a first impression of me… Until now.

Forever I will be that girl who cried at the staff meeting.

I grabbed my phone and keys and ran out of the meeting, sleeve against my face, to hide the already puffy eyes. I retreated to the staff room, which was empty and dark, and collapsed on the leather couch and weeped. I weeped and I moaned. Deep sorrowful moans. When I finally caught my breath, I felt like a burden had been lifted.

Today I found out that my mentor had died.