Settle in friends. Maybe go make a bucket of popcorn or stop and get a coffee refill first. I have a feeling this will be a long one. (When I realized I hadn’t blogged since before the egg retrieval surgery, I felt mad at tired, I-‘can’t-blog-right-now-Chelsea. I have my work cut out for me now.)
I will try to be prompt and efficient.
ZzzhzzZhhZHHHzhhzzhhhhhhh (the sound effects of going backwards in time)
C – (in head) I am so glad I am remembering to shave my legs.(Author’s note: See, only the important stuff is making it today)
10:15 am – 11:30 am
We leave for the Center! The roads were bad and we knew we had to be there by 11:30, not a minute later. So we left early, and am glad that we did! We got there a little early but were able to prep ourselves for the day ahead. Waiting in the waiting room, I realized that Josh is totally not cut out to be in serious situations. I was trying to be mature and composed and he kept making jokes and making me laugh. (Ok, at one point I did wrap my scarf around my face and he reminded me I wasn’t at home, alone.) Either way, we were getting kind of goofy. I was so thirsty (no food or liquids since the day before) and I am blaming that on our silliness. (He has no excuse, for the record).
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
We go in for pre-op! We met our nurse who seemed so nice. She explained what would happen, asked a lot of questions and was so excited for us, it made the experience seem even more exciting. The doctor on call that day came in and visited with us, not the same doctor we have had through the whole thing, but we knew that it could be any of them. Dr. C was very nice and thorough as well. Then the anesthesiologist came in, talked a little about the medication portion and split us up. Josh and I said goodbye and I went back to the surgery room with her. Getting up on the table and swinging my legs over the stir-ups was nearly impossible. At this point, I felt so incredible swollen and sore (yes people, the 4 months pregnancy piece is true. I was HUGE. And uncomfortable.) so they needed to assist me.
The IV thing is always tricky with me. I have teeny tiny veins and both of my arms were already very bruised from all the blood work I had been giving over the weeks. I explained my teeny tiny vein situation (TTVS for short) to the anesthesiologist and she said she excels at TTVS’s. At first we got one in my left arm, or so we thought, until my arm started burning and we realized it wasn’t going to work. (The saline went into my blood and it burned up my arm a bit. She felt really bad.) Finally after some digging we found one in the other arm and she administered me something to make me relax (which was nice). The team finished setting up and I was making small talk with the nurses. They started talking to each other and I decided to pray. I prayed for Josh and then I prayed that all the prayers of everyone who was praying for us that day would be released on me …. And then I woke up. Seriously, she didn’t even tell me she was giving me the sleeping stuff! (Now as I type, I wonder if she thought I was already sleeping because my eyes were closed from praying. That makes more sense.) The doctor popped up from the other side of the table and said “Good job! We got 11 eggs. Nice work.” I remember being excited and then confused as they begin to tug me from the table and had me move into a hospital recovery bed.“No, scoot over more. No, more. No, more. I can’t put the rail up.”
A quick zip down the hall to a quiet little room. The nurse gave me some Tylenol with my first sip of water of the day (YEAH!) and I waited a few seconds for Josh to join me. We were both really excited about the 11 eggs, being right around average. Everything went fast from there. I was waking up fine, making jokes and finished my water and my bag of fluids. I was popped in a wheelchair, wheeled to the car and to home we headed! At this point I was just very swollen and tender still in my abdomen but that’s really it.
The rest of the day was relaxed. Josh made me some soup, we watched a TV show. I was really sore but Tylenol helped.
I woke up in the middle of the night, around 4:00 am and was so disappointed to realize I was still in pain. The swelling in my stomach was not going down and I was feeling a lot of pressure in my lower abdomen. It was painful to walk, but bearable. I called my nurse at 8:00 am and she told me that swelling was to be expected. Sometimes, after the procedure, the follicle cavities will fill back up with fluid. It should go down naturally but would cause that pressure I was feeling. She ordered me to drink a lot of Gatorade and increase my protein and that the doctor would call to check on me around lunchtime. (Thankfully my parents brought me over Gatorade and a rotisserie chicken.) I tried to drink, but my insides were feeling so full and bloated, it was hard. I was continuing to get more uncomfortable.
My uncomfortable-ness was moving to pain. My abdomen pain was not staying in the lower portion of my body, it kept moving up my chest, making it feel nearly impossible to eat or drink, yet I had to keep trying to push Gatorade. The pressure on my abdomen had me getting up to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so (so this is what pregnant women feel like!) and I was having a hard time getting fluids in.
We got a call from our embryo lab that 7 out of the 11 eggs were mature and usable and that they all fertilized! At this point, it had been about 40 hours and 6 of them had already split into a 4-cell embryo (the best at this point) and we have one little 2-cell split straggler. The embryologist seemed excited for us and said we would be able to do a 5 day transfer vs the 3 day transferred based on the strength of the embryos. YEAH! Josh and I officially had 7 little embryo babies. We would get another call on Friday with another update. More waiting.
My friend Becky brought over dinner, which was wonderful. I ate a little bit, since it looked and smelled so good! It took up the last little cavity of space between my ribs and now I officially looked and felt like a whale. I had been weighing myself since the day of the surgery and had gone up, up, and up in water weight. I thought I was going to be getting better when I went down a bit, but it shot back up. At this point, I had gained nearly 12 pounds in 2 days. I was so uncomfortable. Josh got home, we rested and relaxed and I continued to get more miserable. About 10:30, we headed up to our bedroom. The climb up the stairs seemed horrifically painful and I remember thinking, “it shouldn’t be this bad. Something isn’t right.” When we got to our room, I ask for the garbage can. I was so hot and felt nauseous. I told Josh, “I don’t know, I feel like if this doesn’t get better, we might have to go in somewhere.” I then started praying for discernment. I truly needed God to intervene and make it clear if I needed to get additional help or if this was normal. I kept praying “Give me discernment.” The word vomit popped up in my head and I said “Ok, if I throw up, then that’s a sign I need to go in.” Within minutes, I was on the bathroom floor vomiting. But I thought perhaps that would make me feel better, so I thought “Ok, if I just go lay on the bed and think I can fall asleep, then I won’t go in.” And then when incredible abdomen spasms hit, causing me so much pain that I literally could not uncurl myself from the ball on the floor. I cried out to Josh that we needed to get to the hospital. He dressed quickly and I realized, I could not physically get myself to stand up. I was certain an ambulance would have to pick me up in my t-shirt and underwear off the bathroom floor. Luckily, I just kept praying for strength to get up and was able to a few minutes later. I quickly threw on pants (you’re welcome ER) and off we went.
The drive seemed so long. I was in so much pain I knew that this was absolutely the right thing to be doing. I could tell Josh was scared for me. He did an awesome job driving to the hospital quickly and smoothly and I just kept asking God for mercy.
The ER wait seemed forever (Clearly there was no such thing as “emergency”, as the check-in lady calmly helped a man that cut in front of me figure out how he could charge his phone battery while I riled in pain in line). But soon, we were in a room (22), with our nurse (Ann) going over triage information. We met our doctor, Dr. Elijah E., who was truly so kind. Of course they don’t see a lot of IVF egg retrieval post-op complications but he listened to my concerns and talked through a game plan. I was so dehydrated at this point since the follicle cavities were pulling all of my fluid into them and both Josh and I were so grateful when they started me on fluids, and then pain medication. (Ah, yes, the blood work and IV starting process was even more fun this time around … not.) But I kept having horrible attacks of pain. They called in for an ultrasound and the women came in from home, since they don’t staff someone 24-7 (which makes sense. I was just glad she lived close!).
The ultrasound was truly the most painful experience of my life. The morphine didn’t touch my pain and the internal pressure and spasms made me feel like there was no chance of ever feeling better. I was heaving from the pain, just wailing to God to help. The ultrasound technician was incredible kind and explained that she would do the external ultrasound, then the internal one. She let me writhe but let me tell you, having a swollen, painful-to-the-touch stomach go through a pressure filled, 5 minute+ ultrasound was the worst thing in my life. I was in too much pain to cry, I kept getting so hot. I begged for my gown to be taken off (thank God looking back, that no one listened to me as that would NOT have been pretty). Josh fanned me with a checkbook, which is all we could find in the room. She let me get up to go the bathroom after the external ultrasound and I just sat in the bathroom bench and felt like I was going to die. I couldn’t get my gown completely off because the IV ran through the arm but just tried to breath and pray and calm down.
Finally, I was able to get my gown back on and get back on the table for the internal ultrasound, which, was painful in an entirely different way. I just remember looking at Josh while I moaned and saw how helpless he felt. I had to twist my body in weird angles to feel somewhat comfortable. Finally, I had a few moments of relief. Our Ultrasound tech shared that she too had some difficulties conceiving and had a Clomid baby. She was excited for us and our IVF journey and even did a sneak peak at my uterine lining to let me know it was still nice and thick for the implantation.
She shared with us that there didn’t appear that the fluid from the follicles were leaking, which was a huge relief and a big concern of mine going in. But she did say that the follicles were very big, some over 3 cm and that my ovaries, which normally are around 2.5 cm themselves, were over 9 cm. What was happening is that the pressure from the swollen, gigantically enlarged ovaries were pushing on my intestines which are wrapped around and throughout them and causing these awful pressure spasms. We still had to wait for other results to come in, but it was nice having an explanation, and also a relief that there wasn’t sign of fluid leaking.
The pain started coming back awful again. They paged for a tech to bring me back to my room. I had to go sit in the bathroom again on the little bench hunched over in pain just praying the pain passed. Finally, I was able to get back on the gurney and brought down to my room.
Now the funny part …
We were in our room, in a brief moment of relief, when our doctor came in. His mannerism looked like he had something to tell us.
DR – Well, you guys. I have some news. I wanted to wait for the blood work and the urine sample to confirm, but its confirmed … you’re pregnant.
I wish I could have paused the room at that moment. I wasn’t looking at Josh, but at the doctor. For a quarter of a second I thought “What kind of joke is this? Is this for real?” and then instantly I realized that the hCg trigger shot we took on Saturday night causes false positive pregnancy tests for about 6-9 days after administrated.
C – Oh, no I am not. It’s the hGc shot I took on Saturday.
DR – Oh, you didn’t tell me about that.
C – Yea, I forgot. It will give you a false positive. I am not pregnant. I don’t think that’s even possible.
DR – Well, we have to operate under the assumptions that you are because of the lab numbers.
C – Yea, I am not pregnant.
He asked for my doctors number and went out to page her to confirm the truth in my statement (which indeed was true, I am NOT pregnant). Josh and I could not stop laughing. The doctor clearly felt bad and poor Josh was very confused during the conversation as well, trying to figure out if this had a truth possibility. We kept announcing to each other that “you’re pregnant” and trying to reenact our faces and reactions. I felt terrible for this poor doctor who thought he was giving us the best surprise ever, when in fact, it was just that I couldn’t remember the names of all the medications I took over the last few weeks. Awww. Well, I just never ever imagined the moment I was told I was pregnant being like that.
Finally, after talking to our doctor, getting my pain under control and my body re-hydrated it was a lovely 4 am and we were released. The fluids began to help my body flush out the fluids in my ovaries and the pain medicine helped my body begin to relax, which let go of so much of the tension in my abdomen. I could stand when I left and the spasms, while still there, were so quiet that I wanted to leap for joy.
Honestly, if we had not gone to the ER, I would have continued to have the pressure and fluid build, likely rupturing, causing an infection and absolutely making it impossible for us to have an implantation done. I went in at exactly the right time and as of today, am still cleared for a embryo transfer tomorrow!!! Praise God. He heard our prayers and answered them, not in a way I expected, but clearly in a way that’s praiseworthy. (A great example of Isaiah 55:9 which I shared on Monday! “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”)
Josh is a serious rock star. The man got barely 2.5 hours of sleep and went back to work the next day. I woke up feeling like a million dollars, weighing 10 pounds less than I did 12 hours ago. I felt SO much relief from the pressure in my abdomen. Granted it’s still very tender, but more of what is to be expected. I need to continue to rest and they have me on some nausea medication and pain medicine still to keep the muscles loosen and me feeling comfortable This is helping my body naturally return to its normal state. I slept most of the day, had a few visitors, had an amazing lasagna brought over by a friend and was able to go to bed extra early with my very sleepy husband.
Whoa, right? (I told you this would be long). Today we are waiting to get our final embryo report. We are praying that the babies have split into 7-10 cells at this point and will be entering the blastocyst stage. We will get some exact percentages for us to conceive based on the quality of these embryos and will then have the decision to make on how many to implant (choices are only 1 or 2). We most likely will do 2, but will not finalize that decisions before more information and thoughtful prayer. Keep praying for this report today, we are so excited! We know that the continued life and development of all of these embryos is unlikely, so we pray that we have some strong ones that make it so Mommy can take care of them in her tummy soon. :)
Thank you for ALL of your texts and prayers! The cards have made me smile, the meals, flowers, mailed packages – they all make me so happy and I truly feel so loved. What a blessing it has been to open up this journey to all of you! Can’t wait to celebrate soon. : )