January 17th, 2019
January 17th, 2019 was Betty White’s 97th birthday! It was also the day I got drugged and Kim K’s fertility doctor extracted FIVE eggs from my lower abdomen! A bonus 5th egg! Thank you for being a friend, Betty!!!
January 17th is Michelle Obama’s birthday too and she also went through IVF, but I have her audiobook on hold and haven’t read (err…listened) to her IVF experience yet. (Also, download the “Libby” app…library audiobooks for FREE! I’ve “read” so many books in the last few months!)
Let’s back up for a bit though…
In my last post, I talked about the estrogen, Gonal-f, and Clomid I had to take to prep my eggs/follicles for retrieval. Overall, my experience with these drugs wasn’t horrible. In fact, my overall IVF experience hasn’t been completely horrible…at least physically. I’ll write about this more in an upcoming post but I am starting to see a lot of cracks forming in my emotions and how I’m dealing with all the uncertainty of IVF. It’s super heavy, y’all. I feel like I can tell in my blog writing too…I don’t think I have the same pizzazz right now. There may be some therapy in my future…or an extended vacation to Greece and Italy (Scott can come too)!
I had an ultrasound on January 15th where Dr. TT found a bonus 5th egg floating behind my Pelvic Death Star (my endometrioma), but he wasn’t sure it was retrievable. However, my other four eggs were ripe for the pickin’ and Dr. TT said everything looked good for egg retrieval on January 17th! The days leading up to an egg retrieval get a bit intense drug-wise! I was given a shot at Dr. TT’s office that morning after my ultrasound (I am a bad IVF participant because I didn’t keep track of what this shot was or what it did, but it happened!) Along with still giving myself the nightly Gonal-f shot, a second shot of Cetrotide in the morning had been added to my schedule a few days before. Google: In IVF, Cetrotide is used after follicle (egg) stimulation and whenever there is substantial evidence that follicle (egg) maturation is coming. It is basically given to prevent untimely ovulation before hCG is administered by the physician. I had to mix the Cetrotide shot myself and you know in movies/TV where a nurse taps the syringe a few times to get rid of air bubbles and then squirts a little bit of the liquid from the needle…well, I squirted half the shot away the first time I mixed it together. I cried in our bathroom out of frustration and then had to redo my mascara before work. Plus, I was also convinced I had just shot air bubbles into my body and was scared that was going to cause me to have a stroke or something. I’m still here so I guess all is well!
The Cetrotide shot causes a brief, but super nasty-looking and itchy, rash at the injection site. I also administered my first Cetrotide shot way too close to going into the office and had to hide in a bathroom stall so I could claw at my lower stomach without worrying my coworkers that I had bed bugs or something.
You also have to take a hCG trigger shot exactly 35 hours before your egg retrieval. I woke up at 1:15 AM PT the morning of January 16th and gave myself a shot to be prepared for my 12:15 PM PT egg retrieval on January 17th. IVF is weird. Google: The hCG trigger injection is a medication known as a human chorionic gonadotropin and is used after other fertility hormones, such as clomiphene citrate or menotropins, to induce ovulation (release of the egg from the ovary) or in women undergoing an assisted reproductive technology (ART), to induce final maturation of the eggs. The dose used for the trigger is dependent on the body mass index of the female. There was also an antibiotic to take ahead of my egg retrieval surgery and I couldn’t eat or drink for 12 hours before surgery. Here’s the handy instruction sheet…
Wanna know something crazy? I didn’t even take the day off from work for my egg retrieval. Because I am no longer a TV producer, I can work from home some days which is a complete and total blessing. So, my egg retrieval was basically an extended 2-hour lunch break where I was unconscious. I answered emails and made some calls in the morning, had some eggs retrieved in the early afternoon, and then answered emails and reviewed resumes into the evening at home with a heating pad on my lower abdomen. Just a friendly reminder to be nice to people because you *never* know what’s going on in their day! Scott, still a TV producer, was able to take part of the day off to be my driver (and, like, overall caring husband support system plus his sperm is important in this and all) to and from the egg retrieval. Dr. TT has two offices – one in Beverly Hills and one in Redondo Beach. All surgical procedures are done in the Redondo Beach office so Scott and I headed to the South Bay to extract both halves of our potential future child. Yep, Scott was going to have another date with a plastic cup while I was laying some eggs.
Both of Dr. TT’s offices are big on music playing in the waiting rooms. When we first walked in, we were greeted with Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s (yea, THAT was Googled!) “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” which seemed like a good omen. But then, things took a dramatic turn and Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” came on and all I could think about was super sad dogs in shelter cages. Not the egg retrieval hype music I was looking for…
A nurse takes us both into the prep/recovery area and I slip into a FULL, CLOTH hospital gown plus a sweet hair net. RELATIONSHIP GOAL UNLOCKED: I’ve never been in a hair net around a significant other. I’ve included the pic below even though it’s an awful angle and definitely not my fave pic of myself at all, but keeping it real, folks! (NOSTRIL!!! HUGE SIDE NECK! DROOPY EYE! I look drugged, but there were no drugs in my veins yet!)
The nurse tries to start an IV on the top of my hand but cannot find any of my veins because I haven’t had anything to eat or drink in 12 hours (dehydration). She pokes me a few times and then says the anesthesiologist will do it because she’s a pro. Honestly, her poking me for that IV has been the most painful thing so far during this whole IVF thing. I’d rather give myself shots in the stomach than have her poke around on the top of my hand again.
There are three doctors at my fertility clinic, including Kim Kardashian’s doctor, and I’ve now seen them all. I nicknamed all three, “Dr. TT,” for our “Treatment Trio” but I have one main Dr. TT who I see regularly. However, my normal Dr. TT was not available to do my egg retrieval so Kim Kardashian’s Dr. TT performed my egg retrieval. He’s definitely the Han Solo/Maverick of the fertility clinic…very charming and, I swear, I could see him doing either pose below at any moment while he was telling us he was determined to get that 5th egg hiding behind my endometrioma…no egg left behind!
My anesthesiologist was a trip! She found out where I worked and started talking about The Good Place and This Is Us very excitedly. I’m way behind on This Is Us because of the IVF storyline happening on the show…just haven’t been in the mood to watch it. My anesthesiologist also LOVES Willie Geist so I felt like I was in really good hands. While we chatted about TV shows and Willie, she successfully started the IV in my hand without much pain. As she was putting in my Sleeping Beauty meds (as she called them), she asked me what I wanted to eat after my surgery since I hadn’t eaten in 12+ hours. I said I really wanted a hamburger and a Frostie so I was probably Wendy’s bound. She then said it was funny because a lot of women say they want a hamburger after their egg retrieval. She whispered that she wasn’t sure she should tell me this, but she didn’t think she was breaking any rules since it was on TV and all…Kim Kardashian’s entourage had In-N-Out waiting for her as soon as she was done with her egg retrieval. (Shhh…don’t tell anyone, but I don’t like In-N-Out at all. You have to get well-done fries or they just taste like raw potatoes. Shake Shack and Umami 4 Eva!) Kim K’s post-egg retrieval food of choice is the last thing I remember talking about before I drifted off to sleep. We will not name our potential baby anything related to the Kardashian family, I promise!
I woke up in the recovery room and, as I drifted back into consciousness, I heard the nurses whispering about a new fertility clinic record that had been set that day. While I tried to piece together what they meant by this new fertility clinic record, a nurse checked on me and said she didn’t know how many eggs were retrieved from me yet but she would soon. The whispering continued and then a nurse checked in with the woman in the recovery area beside me. Here I am hoping Dr. TT got all five of my eggs and the woman next to me is setting fertility clinic records with THIRTY-THREE EGGS retrieved from her body. Thirty. Three. At least three nurses stopped in to tell her she had broken the clinic’s record. I felt extremely bloated with five medically-stimulated eggs floating around in me that week. It seriously felt like they were all going to fall out of me any time I coughed or sneezed. I felt like a pregnant spider. I can’t even imagine how that woman felt with 33 of those chemically pumped-up suckers hanging out in her abdomen. Betty White was *really* that woman’s friend!
As I was still processing this woman and her 33 eggs, a male nurse brought Scott into my recovery area. I asked him how his date with the plastic cup went and he said he hadn’t had it yet.
My thoughts and words to Scott: Wait, what? They haven’t taken you back there yet? Do they know that? Did they forget about you? (I’m so chill in these situations, y’all.)
Scott’s thoughts and what he told me (very nicely…but with a slight hint of concern…still not at all like my freaked out self): I don’t know what’s happening. I’ve been sitting in the waiting room for 45-minutes. When the nurse came to get me, I thought he was bringing me to the Masturbatorium, but he brought me back here to you. Did they forget about me? Maybe they wait so I can see that you’re ok and then take me back? I dunno.
For our sanity until we could ask, we decided that was the case…they let the husband see the wife is ok and then hand him the plastic cup. While we waited to confirm they hadn’t forgotten about Scott’s part in the scientific baby-making, I quickly whispered to him that the woman next to me had achieved a fertility clinic record. The nurse finally confirmed that Dr. TT had retrieved all five eggs from me and that they would take Scott back soon for his side of the process. Scott and I high-fived for our five eggs…I don’t think I heard a high-five in the 33 egg lady’s area! Haha. Jk. She was having a rough time coming off the anesthesia and threw up so I don’t think she was ready to accept her 33 egg trophy just yet. The nurse also said Dr. TT was going to stop in to check on me, but we waited…and waited…and waited… Finally, the nurse said he had been pulled in a million directions and that, if it was ok with us, Dr. TT would call us later in the evening to see how I was doing. Once we were in the car on the way home, Scott joked that Dr. TT couldn’t come check on us because he was too busy poppin’ bottles in the lab to celebrate the 33 egg retrieval record. (Dr. TT did call later that evening to make sure all was well…but, I can also picture him Great Gatsby’in too.)
My experience with an egg retrieval was pretty easy. Scott had read that some women think it’s super painful and take a few weeks to recover completely, but this was not my experience. I came out of the anethesthia really quickly. I think Scott and I were both hoping I’d have a David After Dentist – “Is this real life?” – kinda moment on the drive home, but I didn’t. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, no need to Google! I’ve included the video for your enjoyment! Also, David After Dentist is going to UF next year! Go Gators!
I had some cramping the night and day after the retrieval but it honestly wasn’t even as bad as my normal, monthly period cramping. Kidney stones still win in the pain department, so far! I only bled a very tiny amount and I didn’t run a fever. I will say that my insides down there didn’t feel the same until after I had a normal menstrual cycle. It’s also been nice to have a month’ish break from IVF medications. I feel pretty back to normal this week…I’ve even been COLD and haven’t slept on the couch with all the windows open and an ice pack on my neck for a few weeks now! That’s coming to an end soon though because more estrogen is headed my way next week…that’s a post for another time.
Crazy scientific baby-making stuff! The evening of my egg retrieval day, my eggs were going to be paired with Scott’s best sperm in a procedure called “ICSI”. Google: Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI /ˈɪksi/ IK-see) is an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure in which a single sperm cell is injected directly into the cytoplasm of an egg. We would receive a call the next day letting us know how many of the eggs were successfully fertilized with Scott’s swimmers. We left the clinic thinking how weird it was that we would be going about our day and going to work the next day all while potential future Baby Martin was growing in a lab across town in Redondo Beach. It’s funny to think we could tell potential future Baby Martin that we weren’t even there when he/she was conceived!
And then, we got Wendy’s…(this is just what I got! I was starving.) We’re counting embryos in my next post…see you in a week or two…or three! I’ve been blog slacking.