So it's about a quarter past noon and I am at home sprawled on my couch chilling out. I don't know anything yet, so I'm going to probably save this post as a draft and update it later so it contains the entire story of the day. Although if you're reading this and I've posted it, it will contain the full story.
But while it's relatively fresh in my head, let me record how today has gone so far.
So I had dinner last night around 8pm and then only water with the last water being probably around 10:30 or so. Was feeling a bit anxious- just went to bed after setting two different alarms.
Woke up before both alarms and also at some time in the night because I had to pee. I did try to drink a bunch of water yesterday- not only because I hear it makes recovery after the collection better, but also because my veins can be fiddly so it's better if I'm more hydrated than not. So I just lay in bed in and out of sleep waiting for the alarms. Eventually got up. Straight into the shower. Just a single swipe of deodorant, no other perfumes or scented products. Took care of the suppository, put my clothes on, grabbed my sealed sharps bin and headed out.
Got to the clinic around 8:20. The receptionists weren't there yet, although I saw people moving about inside, they didn't come answer the door when I rang. Had to wait about five minutes for someone to come to work who let me in, asked if I was there for a procedure, had me sit and then it was really a minute or less before one of the nurses came to get me.
First she asked me to empty my bladder, so I did that. Then she took me into the procedure/recovery suite. She showed me to a cubicle area and said it would be my area. It had a hospital type bed covered in paper, a pillow, a blanket, a hospital gown, a blood pressure machine, a chair, and a wardrobe. She told me I could put all of my things in the wardrobe. After covering my name and birthday, taking my blood pressure, and checking when I had last eaten or drank, she asked me to change into the gown and then just wait for the anesthetist. And she closed the curtain to my cubicle.
So I did all this. It's a bit awkward to try to tie up a gown in the back on your own. Yet another moment of "Ugh, this sucks to be on your own." but it quickly passed. I got changed, on the bed, covered myself up with the blanket and tried to just stay calm and rest. After all, I hadn't slept all that great, and I was nervous.
Another couple came in to a different cubicle for another procedure.
Then the anesthetist arrived. A kindly older man who asked me again for my name and birthday and when I last ate or drank and we went through some basic medical history that would be relevant to anesthetics. He seemed to suggest all was in order, so we could get ready to go.
The nurse came back for me and we walked to what I'm going to assume was a prep room. I'm not at all sure it was the actual procedure room and if pushed I'd suggest it wasn't. Based on my only other experience with UK set-ups, when I had my ovary out, they prep you in the prep room but everything happens in the procedure room which basically you never get to see. I could see that there was a very wide door to a more clinical looking room at the other end of what I think was the prep room. But, I may never know.
Because, basically, they asked me to get on the table which had an absorption pad for under your pelvis. They brought the pillow and the blanket so once I got settled they had me covered and resting on the pillow. They attached three electrodes to me and hooked them up to a machine. In the meantime, the anesthetist needed to get the cannula in my wrist. Despite drinking lots, my veins were being fiddly so he had me do a bunch of pumping and then he got it in. Cannula's are not the most comfortable things. It's not that it really hurt, it was just uncomfortable, but he was very gentle with it and once it was in placed my hand across my chest. My doctor showed up and asked how I was. I said I'd felt more bloated since the trigger shot and more uncomfortable on that side, which he said was normal. He explained the procedure, what they were going to do and went through the possible risks. With all that done, the anesthetist said he'd give me a drug that might make me a bit woozy and then asked what my PhD was about. I was telling him, and he said something like, "Oh, so you could tell me how to improve my Victorian terrace house." and I said something like, "Yeah, I could." and the nurse was having me get my leg into a stirrup and that is the last thing I remember.
Next thing I know, I'm coming out of a very pleasant sleep feeling nice and warm and toasty. There's a blood pressure cuff on my arm I think, or maybe just the thing on your finger. At any rate, I'm completely back in the cubicle I started off in. No idea how I got from the one to the other. I don't feel particularly much of anything out of the ordinary. My abdomen is a bit crampy, but nothing worse than period pains, although I'm also on painkillers, so I should bear this in mind as at some point they are going to wear off. A nurses comes in and gives me a cup of water which I drink. Then she asks me if I'd like some tea and how I take it (with sugar, no milk).
So then she brings me a mug of tea and some hard cookies/biscuits. I drink the tea, I eat the biscuits and I feel very alert. Almost euphoric. I want to laugh. I suppose it's just the stress of everything being really over. I ask if my friend has arrived and they say yes. I look at the machine and realize that it's past 10:30. I've been out for a while! The nurse comes back after a bit to take out the cannula. Another nurse comes to remind me of the info sheet. What not to do today, what drugs not to take. And then basically I'm discharged. They say the embryologist will call me later with the details of the collection and I can get dressed.
I do, I give over my sharps bin. I realize I'm in a slight daze. I'm alert, but everything seems a bit surreal. I meet up with my friend, and we head out. It's that simple. I took public transport home although they said not to, honestly, it was completely fine. I just feel a bit crampy.
On the way home, stopped by the grocery so I could pick up a ready-meal for lunch as I don't have anything in and don't want to have to go out until later, my friend got me up to my front door, and then he went back to work, and here I am on the couch.
The embryologist just called around 12:30. I have six eggs. They collected six, and all six were mature and able to be frozen. I don't know if they were all fully mature or the various gradations of mature. As per usual, I was slightly in shock by the call and so did not have the wherewithal to ask the questions that are now going through my head.
Closer to five than to ten. But better than nothing. Not as good as I had hoped for. But six eggs in the freezer is six eggs I otherwise did not have in the freezer before. So cycle two will definitely be June. I guess before then I'll try to have an appointment with the doctor to see if he thinks we should change the protocol based on this one to see if something should change to see if I can get closer to the ten.
Because I was completely out of it for the procedure, I have no idea how many follicles there actually were in the end. On Friday there were 13. But I only have one ovary. The response is within the expected range of five to ten, so that's good, just on the lower side of the expected range, but hey, that's life.
Now I just have to be gentle with my body over the coming days until I get my period and my ovary starts to deflate back to normal size.
I'm not going to lie, I'm a little bit disappointed by six. But then this entire journey is just one crazy emotional roller coaster ride. And I need to remind myself- what is the alternative? Six eggs in the freezer, is six 38 year old eggs that would otherwise have been flushed. I will do a second cycle. If I want to preserve my fertility chances, then this is the best possible thing I can be doing at this point in time, and if this is what my body gives me, then that's what it is. I have to remember, the alternative to this, is to have absolutely nothing.
Six is basically enough for one IVF cycle. Hopefully I'll get at least as many on the next cycle. Then I'll probably need to see if I can find finances for a third cycle depending on how the second one goes. But as my doctor tells me- one step at a time! For now, it's be gentle, wait for period, enjoy the break in between, and then prepare to do it all again.