The Retrieval

So, I had the egg retrieval done yesterday. Finally, after all the injections and bloodwork and ultrasounds (oh my!), I went into the REACH center Sunday morning (between 7-8:30am, mind you) where they measured the follicles and did bloodwork. They called me later to tell me I’d been cleared to take the trigger shots that night at EXACTLY 10pm. And despite 10pm being way past this old lady’s bedtime, I did it. There were four injections total, and let me just tell you: I WAS NOT PREPARED.

No one warned me how terribly sore I’d be the next day. I don’t know if it was normal or not, but I had a rash at the injection site all day Monday and my entire lower belly felt like someone had hit me with a bus. Or at least a couple of softballs. There was no bruising that I could see but it felt exactly like a bruise, which was weird. It even hurt to wear underwear, but I went to work anyway thinking it would wear off. It didn’t, and that mixed with the fact that my ovaries felt like grapefruits shifting around every time I sat down meant that I was miserable pretty much all day.

When Tuesday morning came around, my mom and I had to be at the center by 9am for my 10am procedure. When we got checked in they called us back to get set up in the holding room. Here I met with the anesthesiologist who might have the fastest hands in the East. She got that IV in before I had a chance to really understand what was happening. And as I watched bubbles from the saline tube go straight into my arm, I found it very hard to listen to whatever she was telling me. But she finally stopped long enough to tell me those bubbles were fine and that you’d have to inject a whole syringe of air into someone before it would cause any damage. Which makes sense, because that was how it worked on whatever horror movie I saw it happen on as well. Didn’t really help with that pit I got in my stomach, though.

After I met with her, my doctor I’ve been seeing at REACH, Lauren Johnson, came down to say hello. Then I met with the doctor who’d be doing the retrieval. He might be the largest (very round) doctor I’ve ever seen, which surprisingly made me a little nervous. I’m not really sure why, but I think it had something to do with if he can’t take care of himself, how can I trust him with my [half] babies?! (Guess who’s already a #HelicopterMom.) Which was a very unfair judgement because, you know, glass houses, but I think a part of me expects more from health care professionals. (I know. I’m a judgmental asshole, and I feel like shit for even thinking it. You don’t have to tell me how horrible a person you think I am when you finish reading this. I get it. I already know.)

Anyway, when I stood up to go back to the operating room, a very large and very dark amount of blood backed up into my IV, which I don’t remember ever happening in any of the surgeries I’ve previously had, but the anesthesiologist said it was normal. Mmkay, that’s two strikes, lady, but I’m kinda stuck with you now, aren’t I?! (I’m sure this was probably just karma for my thoughts about the egg retrieval doctor.)

But I came out of it just fine and they told me I’d given them 22 eggs, and that they’d let me know how many were mature by the next day. (I feel like a fish… anyone else getting fish vibes from all this egg talk?! This is some expensive caviar, my friends!)

I went home feeling okay. I ate something, took a pain pill and went upstairs to nap. But when I woke up, my insides did not feel okay at all. The doctor who did my retrieval told me I MIGHT have some soreness or cramping down there but that most people didn’t even need to take pain meds afterwards.


I. Am. Miserable.

Every time I pee, I feel like my uterus is going to fall out. I accidentally took in some water down the wrong pipe earlier and had to cough. I thought I was going to die. I had to find a way to make a sneeze go away out of fear of what it would do to my insides if I let it out. Do you know how hard it is to keep a sneeze in?! Even now, hours later, the feeling pops back up every now and then as if to check and see if I’ll let it out. I won’t. I can hardly move without pain. And don’t even get me started on hiccups!!

(Of course a man would tell me I won’t have much soreness down there. If it doesn’t affect you, it must not be a thing, right?! I’d love to vacuum out his scrotum and tell him he won’t need any pain meds afterwards. Sorry, needed to get that out. I promise that’s my only feminist gripe for this post.)

But this is all apparently “normal” because I’m not nauseous or bleeding, so I just have to figure out how to stay on top of the pain until it heals.

Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later because I’ve got shit to do.

But the good news is, we’ve sent 13 “mature” 30-year-old eggs off to their frigid boarding school. And while I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed about this number since they pulled 22, it’s okay because they said a good number to get is between 10-15 per round. So that’s enough for a few rounds of IVF later on if it is needed. And now I can stop worrying about any fertility issues I may face down the road because of this cancer diagnosis and get on with my life.

At least until my appointment at Duke Cancer Center next week. Fingers crossed for no chemo!

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