Today didn't go quite as expected.
We showed up at the clinic at the requested 30 minutes before retrieval time. After a few minutes in the waiting room, they took me back to the prep room. Aaron was not allowed to come along. Once I had changed into the hospital gown, the IVF coordinator and the embryologist came in to confirm how many eggs we wanted to fertilize. I told them five and asked if the doctor had decided to go ahead with a transfer this cycle. The IVF coordinator had no idea what I was talking about.
While I've liked this clinic overall, my one concern is a sense that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing; the personnel in different departments don't seem to communicate with each other very well. I've had to keep track of many of the details and advocate for my own care. Thankfully, I have enough experience under my belt to do so. But on egg retrieval day, it would have been nice if everyone was sharing information.
So the IVF coordinator scurried off the ask the doctor. Then she came back and brought me into the operating room. "What did the doctor say?" I asked. She replied, "Oh, he was interrupted by a phone call and couldn't talk." Um, this is kind of important stuff, determining whether we'd be fertilizing any embryos or freezing all the eggs. By now, I was on the operating table, getting an IV inserted and a blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitor put on, and having my legs tied into the stirrups. I desperately wanted my husband with me, but I comforted myself with the truth that God was with me.
Then the doctor came in. There I am, bound to a table by various tubes and tethers, feeling rather vulnerable. And Dr. Werthers starts questioning everything - saying we shouldn't fertilize more than 3 eggs, that maybe we shouldn't fertilize any, saying if we fertilized 5 eggs we might end up with 5 embryos which he absolutely could not transfer, and so on. I challenged him, asking what the odds were that we really would have all 5 eggs develop into viable embryos, bringing up our history. I asked him point blank for his recommendation, which he didn't want to give. I said, "We've been up front with you about our preferences from the start; why is this all coming up now?"
Finally, the doctor asked if I would like Aaron to come to the operating room so that we could make the final decision. When I said yes, he went off to the waiting room. In the meantime, the IVF coordinator started releasing me from the table so that I could sit up. As she did so, she kept rolling her eyes. "Are you rolling your eyes at me or at him?" I asked. "Don't let him pressure you," she said. "You go with your gut. You stick to your plan." Then the anaesthesiologist added a relaxer to my IV drip. "Your heart rate has gone up," he said. No kidding.
Dr. Werthers came back and said Aaron wasn't in the waiting room. (I had encouraged him to go get some lunch.) It was about 1:20 at this point, so time was becoming an issue. We needed to retrieve those eggs before the trigger shot induced ovulation. After a little back and forth and a couple phone calls to Aaron, we decided to go ahead and retrieve the eggs. When I woke up from the anaesthesia, Aaron and I would make the decision about fertilizing eggs.
The egg retrieval went smoothly. Remember how I said my follicles were immeasurable on the ultrasound? Well, they aspirated 40. From those 40 follicles, they got 28 eggs. No wonder I've felt so much more uncomfortable during this IVF!
Shortly after I woke up, Dr. Werthers came back and so did Aaron. Dr. Werthers seemed much calmer, and he said that fertilizing 5 eggs would probably result in 1-3 embryos, which he would feel comfortable transferring. We will go ahead with a transfer this cycle, Lord willing. My progesterone levels are borderline but not so elevated as to cause problems. With so many follicles, I am at some risk for hyperstimulation, but my estrogen levels are low enough that hyperstimulation is not too likely. At the IVF coordinator's urging, I'm drinking lots and lots of fluids to minimize the risk of hyperstimulation even further, trying to ensure that we will be able to transfer the embryos. I'm very achy and swollen, but glad to be through with the hardest part. I should get the first fertilization report tomorrow.
So all's well that ends well, I guess. I'm grateful for the presence and care of my good Shepherd today.