My trigger shot went well and at 615a the following Monday, I was at the hospital getting ready for the egg retrieval. Because eggs and embryos are so sensitive to outside factors I couldn’t use sanitizer, soap, chapstick or anything else alcohol, petroleum based or scented that morning. 2 RNs, my RE, an anesthesiologist and our embryologist all had us sign forms and waivers and so forth. I put on only the hospital gown, a hair cover, feet covers and got ready to be knocked out for the retrieval. They let me know they’d write the number of eggs on my hand so when I woke up to look there first. I got up on the table and that’s the last I remember.
Thank heavens because egg retrieval is done by using a long needle guided by vaginal ultrasound where the needle pierces the vaginal walls to aspirate the follicles removing eggs from the ovaries. Yeah, definitely not trying to be lucid for that. I groggily woke up about 40 minutes later and looked at my hand. According to Kaptain, my response was, “10 fucking eggs. That’s fucking amazing! I’m fucking old as shit. Wow. Dr – is fucking awesome.” Then passed back out before waking up with a better filter in place. 🤦🏻♀️ Anyway, 10 eggs was what my doctor had predicted but I never expected to get double digits. Over the next hour I woke up completely, peed, had my IV taken out and got to go home and eat biscuits and gravy from McDonalds. Yummm.
Starting the next day every night I’d have an intramuscular shot of progesterone and every morning my embryologist would call around 9a and give me the daily update on my embryos. It’s a nerve wracking process because the general rule of attrition is 30-50% at each stage. The first call was that out of 10 eggs, 8 were mature. Out of those 8, 7 fertilized. So far so good. We were at exactly 30% attrition for the first update. If we stayed at 30% we may actually have something to transfer on day 5. The next update still had 7 embryos exactly on track for day 2. All 4 cells and going strong. Amazing and unexpected. Day 3 had all 7 moving up to 8 cells perfectly on schedule. Wow. Day 4 and time to make the leap to 10-30 celled morulas. This is the stage where often times embryos get hung up and stop developing. 3 of our embryos developed into full-fledged morulas and the other 4 were beginning to become morulas when the embryologist called. I couldn’t believe it. He confirmed I’d be having a transfer the next day and that we’d get another report on the embryos while at the hospital.
To get ready for the transfer it’s very similar to the IUI but with more rules. Once again the whole restriction on soap, sanitizer, etc like for egg retrieval. My bladder had to be full again just like for my IUIs. Kaptain and I got to the clinic at 9:45a to meet my nurse and doctor. Unfortunately my usual doctor had a death in the family so my transfer was with his partner. Since she and I kicked this cycle off together I thought it was fitting that she should be helping wrap it up, too. From the clinic we walked to the egg retrieval suite where we suited up with hats, feet covers, gowns, etc to protect the embryo from outside factors. Our embryologist came in and showed us a picture of our embryos. 6. 6 had became blastocysts!!! That means 2 would be transferred fresh and 4 would be frozen. The remaining embryo was still developing so they wanted to observe one more day to see if it could become a blastocyst. This is so unthinkable. Basically after fertilization we had 0% attrition. Now that is worthy of dropping f-bombs. Wow.
Anyhoo, so once that amazing information was shared I got in the ski boot-like stirrups, the doctor inserted the speculum, catheter, showed me on the ultrasound screen where to watch and called for our 2 embryos to be brought in. We watched on the screen to see them be released in my uterus. Then I had to stay perfectly still so they could verify there wasn’t an embryo left in the little pipet they were brought in. My doctor asked how I found the experience and I shared it was much more comfortable than the IUI. She said that was because we were using a $100 catheter. That makes sense. The embryologist let us know there weren’t any embryos in the pipet and so the speculum was removed and my bed was adjusted for the next 15 minutes to use a little gravity in our favor. After that we just got back into our normal attire and headed home. The whole process was maybe 30 minutes from arrival to departure.
Okay, within the fertility message boards there’s this whole subset of firm believers in PUPO. I’ve kinda always secretly giggled at them in my own head because it just seemed so silly. See, PUPO stands for Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. The idea is that once you’ve had a fertility treatment like IUI or IVF, you adopt the mindset and lifestyle choices of the newly pregnant until you take a beta and receive negative results. Seems odd, right? But the thing is now that I watched the ultrasound screen and saw our little embryos released in my uterus? Yeah, I don’t want to take any chances. I want to do light exercise like walking 30 minutes daily and I want to eat nourishing food because those things are really important for the development of an infant. I also want to enjoy thinking about and talking to the little guests for however long they stay. So, no more being snarky and giggling; I’m too busy living my best PUPO life. 🤰🏻