I woke up this morning before my alarm, anxious about the retrieval. I had to be at the clinic at 7:30 for an 8:30 retrieval. C had to work today–I was hoping he would offer to take the day off, but it’s tough for him to be out on short notice–so my dad came up to drive me. If that wasn’t awkward enough, I also had to bring C’s “specimen” along with me since he wouldn’t be there in person. According to the clinic’s instructions, I had the vial wrapped in a towel inside a paper bag. Since we arrived a little before 7:30 (and the andrology lab doesn’t open until 7:30 on the dot), I wasn’t able to drop off the sample for about 10 minutes. I hope to never sit next to my dad holding my husband’s semen again!
I was eventually able to drop it off (accompanied by a notarized consent form from C allowing me to do so–their procedures are strict, although understandably so!), and I was called back shortly thereafter. The nurse took me to a recovery room, where I signed more consent forms and changed into a gown, robe, booties and cap. Everyone who came into the room said “A and C?” and then expressed surprise that C wasn’t with me. I did feel somewhat sad and lonely without him, especially as I waited alone. But things moved quickly, and after short conversations with the doctor (not my usual doctor–at our clinic, each doctor is on procedures for one week a month–and the anesthetist, we got started. The anesthetist took me to the procedure room, where I lay on a stretcher. She placed an IV and told me that she’d give me a cocktail of versed and propofol, and that I’d be out within 20 seconds. I remember feeling like I was floating towards the ceiling, and the next thing I knew I was waking up in a recovery room and the nurse was telling me we got 16 eggs.
Embarrassingly, I immediately burst into tears. (And I am NOT a public crier.) I absolutely know that 16 is a good number and that many women would be thrilled with that number. But since I’d had over 38 measurable follicles on Sunday, I was, apparently, expecting a lot more. The nurse told me that 16 is better than average, and that they prefer that we don’t get too many more than that, since quality suffers. The doctor came in and said the same thing–she said 16 is excellent. (In my propofol high, I said “I bet you say that to everyone.” She said only if they get a similar number.) She also said that there were many many follicles, but most did not contain mature eggs. If I’d stimmed another day or two, I would have had more mature ones, but they had to cut me off after only 7.5 days because of risk of OHSS. I know that the doctors made the right call for my health. (I also know that if my estradiol had risen higher, I wouldn’t have been allowed to do a fresh transfer, and I am thankful that it is looking likely that we will be able to do so–unless I have severe symptoms in the meantime, we should be in good shape for a fresh transfer.) I am a little embarrassed now by my reaction–16 is a great number and I am grateful. I should not have allowed myself to get greedy.
After a few more minutes of resting, some crackers, water and Tylenol, I got dressed and ready to go. They made me ride in a wheelchair out to meet my dad in the lobby and go down to the car. (I insisted I could walk, but they wouldn’t let me–I know it’s for liability reasons.) Dad took me home and stayed with me at the house for an hour or two to make sure I was feeling okay. I was amazed by how quickly I recovered from the anesthesia–I felt essentially normal by the time we got back to the house (and we live only about a 10 minute drive from the clinic). I am feeling sore and crampy, but nothing unbearable. C came home over his lunch break and brought salty Chinese food, which was a nice treat. I spent the rest of the day watching tv and napping, and it’s been a good excuse for a lazy couch day!
We won’t get an update on our embryos (not even a fertilization report) for two days. That seems so long–I know from reading others’ accounts that many get a fertilization report the day after retrieval. I will be very anxious until I hear. We’ll get a second update after 4 days, at which point they’ll also set the time for our 5-day transfer, which will be Easter Sunday. As one of the nurses told me, that is a good day for eggs! I really hope so.