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My IVF journey part 6: All about egg retrieval day

My IVF journey part 6: All about egg retrieval day


Melissa Willets

posted in Pregnancy

Over the next 6 weeks, we invite you to come along on an IVF journey, step by intense step. From making the decision to go forward with in-vitro fertilization, to the meds involved and what they’re really like, and to finding out whether this emotional and sometimes painful roller coaster ride yielded the results so dreamed of and prayed for. BabyCenter blogger Melissa Willets will be documenting every detail in a series of blog posts. 

I’m lucky.

Some women who undergo IVF don’t make it to egg retrieval day. Their bodies may not have responded well to the egg stimulation meds, or complications arose. And of those who get here, many won’t get good news after the physically and emotionally draining egg retrieval procedure. Their journeys are over.

Today was my retrieval day. I felt elated to be done with my injections, which left me sore, bloated, and moody. But I had no idea what today would bring. And knowing I’d be put under anesthesia for the retrieval was making me nervous for several reasons.

Firstly, I had three children waiting for their mommy to come home, safe and healthy. Secondly, the last time I’d been under anesthesia was the worst day of my life. It was the day my fourth baby became an angel.

As I changed into my standard-issue hospital gown and scratchy socks behind an all-too-familiar Brady Bunch-esque curtain, I couldn’t help but break down. Memories of my last horrible experience in this setting threatened to overtake me. Luckily, my husband was by my side, reminding me we’d come this far, and I couldn’t give up now. So I didn’t.

Egg retrieval day

The procedure itself was no big deal; short, and over before I knew it. I woke up back in my ugly cubicle, and was able to dress, and leave within the hour. Before I did, my doctor poked her head into the curtain, and held up a piece of paper with the number of eggs she’d been able to retrieve written on it. For privacy reasons in such close quarters with other hopeful moms-to-be, we couldn’t really discuss the result at that time.

I can say I was very happy with the number. My doctor previously informed me her goal was to get 10 eggs, and she achieved that.

Next, the eggs would be evaluated for maturity. Ultimately, we hoped to have enough viable eggs to fertilize them with my husband’s sperm, and produce at least two healthy embryos.

But since I’m older, 38, and my last pregnancy ended due to genetic issues with our precious daughter, I felt convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, we’d soon learn that none of my eggs were viable.

Still, I left the clinic with my fears slightly abated given the success of the procedure. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the sofa, but I didn’t feel overly groggy. Unexpectedly, my ovaries felt extremely sore, and it was easy to see why my doctor advised me not to exercise for a week post-procedure.

Now, it’s a waiting game. A week of waiting, as I let my mind swing from hopefulness to utter despair.

What was your egg retrieval procedure like?

Read more about my IVF journey:

My IVF journey part 1: Saying yes to help getting pregnant

My IVF journey part 2: 5 things you must commit to, fully

My IVF journey part 3: What the injections are really like

My IVF journey part 4: What happens to the body during egg stimulation

My IVF journey part 5: The cold reality of morning monitoring

Photos: Melissa Willets and iStock

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