Once I gave myself my HCG/Lupron trigger, I ventured into uncharted IVF territory. From that point on, everything I was about to experience was brand new to me and unlike anything I'd gone through with my three IUI cycles. I have to admit I was a little nervous about those next three steps: retrieval, progesterone in oil shots, and transfer.
Retrieval is the process of removing the follicles which (hopefully) contain eggs. My biggest fear regarding retrieval was that it requires general anesthesia so I was going to be out cold.
Luckily I've been under general anesthesia before. When I was 11, I had oral surgery and the doctor only used a topical anesthesia. I talked through the entire surgery, "What's that?" "What are you doing now?" So when I returned 8 years later to get my wisdom teeth out, the doctor basically said that he wouldn't do the surgery unless I was completely unconscious.
I remember feeling a cold tingly feeling in my arm, then the next thing I knew, the nurse was trying to get me to stand up to walk to another room. My first thought was, "Why the heck didn't they put me under in the room where they were going to do the surgery?" Just as I was about to vocalize this very complaint, I realized I had a mouth full of gauze and that the surgery was apparently over. Oh.
Another concern is that I my veins are very thin and tend to float around. The medical term for this is, and I'm seriously not kidding, princess veins. This causes quite a bit of anxiety while the anesthesiologist is poking around trying to find a usable vein and I'm already panicked about the surgery in the first place.
My doctor had given me a full page of instructions for the day of my surgery. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight (Husband joked that I was like a Gremlin.) and I couldn't wear jewelry or anything scented. Even contacts were prohibited so I had to bust out my brand new glasses. We were told to arrive 45 minutes early so they could prep me for my 8:30 am appointment. I said goodbye to Husband, who wasn't allowed into the surgical suite, and hoped that I would wake up at some point later that morning!
This particular anesthesiologist was great. She introduced herself and told me that she had Pandora radio on her iPhone and said I could choose whatever band or type of music I wanted to listen to while she administered the anesthetic.
Any guesses as to what band I picked?
It sounds so stupid, but seriously sitting there, listening to Somebody to Love while the anesthesiologist tried three different spots to inject the IV calmed me so much! Unfortunately with Pandora, the play list tends to deviate a bit so by the time we were in the procedure room, Hotel California was playing. My anesthesiologist asked if there was a second band I liked and I requested Neil Diamond so I got to drift off to sleep to the sounds of a live version of Sweet Caroline. Very nice!
The next thing I remember was lying in the recovery room with a nurse standing over me. I asked for Husband and they brought him in right away. Later we heard a woman next to me waking up. Several minutes went by and finally the nurse asked, "Do you want me to get your husband?" I told Husband that I had specifically asked for him and he felt very special!
Because I still had the IV port in my arm, they were able to administer pain medication directly into my system. I was experiencing a significant amount of pain so they increased the medication and ultimately gave me a narcotic-based pain medication, which helped. The pain was similar to really bad premenstrual cramps and lasted for about a day.
As I rested, the nurse came out to tell us that they had managed to retrieve 33 eggs! The norm is 8-10 so I'm definitely an overachiever!
I went home and was on bed rest for the rest of the day. Husband stayed home from work because I wasn't allowed to be alone after being under anesthesia. Most of the day I spent sleeping, but I did watch some television and play on our netbook computer.
The next day I was back at work though still feeling a bit of pain. I was allowed to take Extra Strength Tylenol which helped tremendously. Ultimately I ended up having a complication from my retrieval that landed me in bed rest for nearly a week, but since that happened six days after the retrieval, I'll write about that then.
Overall the retrieval was not as scary as I imagined it would be. About a week before I went in, I saw another couple in for their retrieval and just seeing them made me so nervous and panicky. The whole procedure went very smoothly (once they got the IV in) and I didn't feel or remember a thing about the actual procedure itself. Anyone who has a retrieval in their future should definitely relax: the unknown of it is a thousand times worse than the actual experience!