Updated: Feb 10, 2022
My retrieval was set for 11:30am, Sunday 16th May. I had been #fasting since midnight as instructed. My mouth was as dry as the Simpson Desert and I couldn't do a damn thing about it, oh not to mention my stomach growling.
I had to be at the clinic by 10:30am to sign the release to defrost the donor sperm and just get prepared. My name was called, got my temperature checked (because we are still in the covid pandemic, urgh), and followed the nurse past all of the usual rooms I go in for blood and ultrasounds (pretty much daily for the last week!) and all of a sudden I am in a new part of the clinic I didn't know existed!
Within minutes I am sitting in a very comfy medical chair, in a row of about a dozen closed curtains. Dressed in a white robe, non slip socks and a very stylish blue hair net.
I signed my life away with all the consent forms, got a big needle in my arm for the IV, got attached to the blood pressure machine and was asked a million times if I'd eaten or drank anything. No nurse, I have not and if you ask me again my hangry personality will come out. Why am I so hungry today?! Let's blame the hormones.
I had been feeling super bloated and crampy all morning too. After all the injections I looked like a 7 month pregnant junkie because I am also covered in bruises from injections and blood tests. 28 self administered needles in my tummy, plus 8 blood tests in 10 days. I now identify as a Pin Cushion.
I was not nervous at all surprisingly, more excited to get it done. The one thing I did notice under the curtain gap, was the back and forth to the bathroom of different feet also wearing the sexy blue non slip socks. All of these women going through the exact same thing. While sitting there waiting for my turn to be harvested, I heard tears, nurse consent spiels, the same questions I'd just been asked, goofy chatter (women coming to from anesthesia - which is kind of funny to listen to what comes out of our mouths) but also a real silence during it all. It is hard to explain. I could almost feel and sense the hurt, the anxiety, the anguish and the pain, I do not mean physically, but emotionally. All of us with our own story, solo fertility, infertility issues, donor eggs and many more reasons. A struggle nonetheless.
Here we go!
About 15 minutes passed and the #anesthesiologist came in and explained his procedure, told me to go pee, even if I didn't feel the need. The nurse came back in, I got up out of the chair and we walked into the operating room. The doctor was waiting, not my doctor, but a doctor from the clinic (they do doctor of the day), Dr Eric Foreman, who explained the procedure briefly and asked me if I had any concerns (bit late for that haha). I actually know of Dr Foreman quite well from listening to support groups and he gets rave reviews so I was silently happy to get him!
Next minute I am lying down with my feet high in the air in stryps and knees pushed almost into my chest haha. Not really but it felt like it, with my bits exposed to the world. To be fair, there was a sheet over me, but you still feel very exposed. I met the Embryologist for about 2 seconds and then the anesthesiologist asked me where I like to vacation. I vaguely recall starting a sentence about going back to Australia, but then NOTHING, total blankness.
I woke up back in the comfy chair, in my curtained room again. The nurse came in to check on me and I asked her how I got back to the chair since I had walked into the operating room. She said they wheel the chair into the room and then I got up off the operating table and sat down in the chair, I was awake while doing so and we had a conversation (my guess it was all slur). Ummm I did? Really? No way, I don't remember that at all! It was at this moment I realized the funny chatter and murmurs coming from the women before I went in was from others who were just coming to as they are wheeled back to their 'room' and in anesthesia bliss, slightly high, slightly asleep but conscious all at the same time.
I was surprised how quickly I came to, I was tired for sure, but pretty much fully alert. The best part of the day.... when the nurse brought in food and drink! Apple juice, pretzels, cookies, water. I drank and ate every single morsel given to me. Once I was replenished, I realized... I have no idea how many eggs they harvested from me! I called out to the nurse to come back in and I asked her, she replied with a slight giggle 'You don't remember? We had this conversation as you were being rolled back to your room'. Seriously... I remember nothing. Anyway... she told me my numbers.....
18 eggs retrieved!!!
WOW for someone my age (40.5) that is actually a really good number! As much as I knew not to get excited as it was eggs not embryos, I was secretly jumping for joy.
Within about 30 minutes of observation, I was advised to go home and rest, they would call me in the morning once they know how many were mature and fertilized. My chaperone picked me up, dropped me home and I slept for a couple hours.
All I kept thinking was 'wow it was really that easy'. Ahhh ignorance is bliss.