I was excited. No nerves. Pure excitement. This was it – the moment we had been waiting for. All those additional 3 month waits, the disappointment about having to self-fund. This was it.
Armed with my injections (£740…gulp) and my sharps bin, a couple of Youtube tutorials later, I felt ready to begin. I feel OK about needles and after the first one it all went smoothly. I had 3 hen parties to attend on 3 consecutive weekends over our IVF period so no alcohol for me – but even this didn’t deter me. I had fun regardless and only slightly uneasy about telling people the reason why I wasn’t drinking and sporting a delightful sharps bin with my luggage. It wasn’t that I hadn’t told my friends – I’ve made sure I’ve been very open about our difficulties (I’ll write a bit more about this another time) – but I was slightly more uneasy opening up to friends of friends I met at these events as I was realistic about the success rate of the procedure.
2 weeks later and the scan showed that I had 15 eggs ready to retrieve! 15!! I couldn’t believe it. After all of the disappointments so far I was half-expecting to not have produced many at all. I booked the day off work for my egg retrieval and even the pain I had heard about in my copious Google searches didn’t worry me. If I was wanting to give birth, surely this can’t be that bad?!
Now I don’t know what I was expecting from my egg retrieval. I sort of just tried not to think too much about how it would be done and just think about what it would mean would potentially be happening afterwards. But it was being wheeled into theatre with my gown on and seeing my husband not far behind in his scrubs that kick-started the nerves.
I’d been told many scans ago that I’m the proud owner of a retroverted uterus, along with apparently about 20% of other women. Nothing major other than that it ‘flops back’ so is a little more difficult to access. It made scans slightly uncomfortable due to the angle that various implements had to be maneuvered but nothing too painful. I mention this here as this was about to change…
The procedure in a nutshell – the doctor produced an arm-length needle which he inserted into each ovary, ‘sucked out’ the eggs which disappeared along a tube into the embryology department. Ouch. That retroverted uterus? The arm-length needle pushed back at an awkward angle throughout. Double ouch.
So I might have been high on gas and air but there were a couple of things about this whole thing that I found amusing…
- Remember those houses that you don’t seem to get anymore with the hatch from the kitchen into the dining room? As I was wheeled in, the embryologist popped her head through this exact little hatch between the theatre and embryology department to have a chat. All I could think about was whether she’d be popping back through with a shepherd’s pie and a jug of gravy.
- You realise throughout this process that your nether regions are no longer your nether regions – they’re open for anyone’s viewing. So as the poor male doctor was eye-level to crotch my gown slipped and he was ever so apologetic. You’re nose-distance away love and everyone in the room (2 nurses and husband) are all well acquainted with the area, I wouldn’t worry about a slipped gown.
- What are the partners supposed to do during all of this?? The nurse was next to me with the much needed gas and air, rubbing my hand and offering words of comfort. He’s sitting behind my head, watching his wife in waves of pain, gasping for said gas and air, without any way of providing support at all. His comment of “Thank goodness they’re not the size of chicken’s eggs” didn’t go down as ‘support’.
In my excitement that morning I’d packed us some sandwiches and a croissant. Thank god for that foresight.