Step One: Egg Retrieval (written January 2017).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

IVF is hard. I’m not even sure if hard is the right word. When Micah and I decided that IVF was the right choice to grow our family, I immediately dove into research. Right out of the gate, I realized that the process of IVF would be hard. Physically hard. Mentally hard. Emotionally hard. Just hard.
The shots were easy. I started with two shots that pinched a bit, but otherwise were painless. The first three days were fine and I didn’t experience any side effects. On day four, I woke up a little bloated and tired. I also had my first monitoring appointment where we saw 12-15 beautiful follicles growing. By noon on day four, I felt very bloated and it was noticeable. I also added a third shot on day four to prevent my ovaries from ovulating on their own. This shot did pinch more than the others, but was still relatively pain-free. 

Day five: all hell broke loose. I stopped sleeping due to discomfort. I was hungry all the time but just the thought of certain foods made me nauseous. I couldn’t sit upright for more then 30 minutes. I was emotional about everything including not knowing what I wanted to eat for dinner.  
The doctor continually lowered my medication dosages and my follicles continued to grow. After 9 days of the stimulation medications, I finally was ready for my egg retrieval. I did not do a fresh transfer due to my estrogen levels jumping off the charts. I “triggered” on a Sunday and I went in for my egg retrieval on Tuesday. 

Egg retrieval is different for everyone. The doctor had some difficulty retrieving some eggs so they warned me that recovery would be a little longer. I slept most of the day Tuesday, tried to work for a few hours on Wednesday but ultimately ended up taking the day off. I worked from home on Thursday and felt back to myself on Friday. I still experienced soreness for about a week after the retrieval. 
Our doctor retrieved 31 eggs and 29 were mature. They performed ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) on our eggs which means they put one sperm into each egg, no room for error! Out of the 29 mature eggs, 14 were able to be fertilized. On day three, they let me know that all 14 were still growing and looking good. On day five, they were able to freeze 9 of our embryos that had reached blastocyst stage. A blastocyst is an embryo with 2 distinct cell types and a central cavity filled with fluid. On day seven, they were able to freeze 2 more embryos bringing our total to 11! The first 9 embryos were all considered good (4BB) which means they are expanded blastocyst, cavity larger than the embryo, with thinning of the shell.  Their inner mass quality is several cells loosely grouped and the trophectoderm quality is a few cells forming a loose epithelium. The other 2 embryos were graded 4CC or fair. What does all this medical jargon mean? 

We ended up with 11 beautiful embryos that gave us a great chance of finally having a family!

XO, Emily

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