It’s over. I made it through my cycle, without a Covid-19 cancellation resulting in our losing everything. It was a real possibility, considering we signed a form stating that we knew this could happen, if certain conditions were met. These included Jake or I showing symptoms of Covid-19 or someone in the clinic staff contracting it. For the last two weeks, I’ve been taking my temperature several times a day. I’ve taken leave from work and worked from home to avoid even that exposure and have only been to the store a handful of times. Jake even spoke to his supervisor about making arrangements to ride alone in his truck until the retrieval was complete, since rural city workers aren’t big on masks.
My ultrasounds went well, from the start. I seem to have responded nicely to the medications all along. On Friday, I upped my Follistim from 150ml to 225ml and added in a unit of Ganirelix, a fun new medication with a really dull needle. Were I interested in perusing r/IVF, I’d have known this, but since all of those stories are from 42-year-olds on their seventh cycles, I’ve been avoiding the doom and gloom. I only discovered the delight of a dull needle when Jake literally couldn’t pierce the skin the first time. I started icing the area after that and dubbed my injections Stabby Time.
I went for another ultrasound on Saturday, where I learned that I looked like a creature from a sci-fi movie. I had egg sacs. It was weird and gross and uncomfortable… and apparently a really good sign. I got to repeat this process on Monday, when I was told I had 10 follicles on one side, 17 on the other, and that Jake could administer my trigger shot of Pregnyl at precisely 10:00 that night. There was no Stabby Time yesterday, a nice reprieve, because if all goes well, we’re looking at daily intramuscular injections of progesterone until 10 weeks of pregnancy. If I’m not pregnant after the transfer, then it’ll be two weeks of needless shots until I discover that fact.
I didn’t sleep well last night, my ovaries feeling as though they were the size of walnuts and my anxiety resulting in my waking up at 5:30, unable to eat or drink anything. I had to be at the clinic at 8:00, with the actual procedure scheduled for precisely 9:00. Jake waited in the car until then, when he had to give his semen sample in the masturbatorium. It would be an understatement to tell you that it was awful. At one point, as I sat in the bed talking with the anesthesiologist, Nurse Shakey Hands apologized profusely for the third try to start an IV, when I have great veins. I assured her it was fine and stared straight ahead thinking about the fact that I was waiting to have my vaginal walls pierced with a large needle twice, terrified and alone in a pre-op room, because pandemic precautions forbade my husband from being by my side. The blood that was literally spurting from the back of my hand was the least of my concerns as I prayed a silent mantra for the doctor to retrieve plenty of eggs, so I could potentially never have to do this again.
The last memory I have is putting my earbuds away and pausing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, wondering if I’d ever get to read those books to my own children, and speaking to the doctor about the procedure. Then I woke up, petrified and wanting Jake, but knowing he couldn’t be with me. My stomach hurt and I had to use my inhaler, I was in such a panic coming out of the anesthesia, but the doctor told me they’d retrieved 21 eggs and were optimistic that I’d be able to have the ideal Day 5 Transfer.
I read somewhere that IVF was a lot of hurry up and wait and I’m finding that to be very much true, likely more so in a pandemic. Although the number sounds good, I won’t know anything about the quality of my eggs, until tomorrow, when they call to tell me if they’re fertilizing normally. I won’t know whether we’ll have a Day 3 Transfer or a Day 5 Transfer until Friday. I won’t know how many blastocysts we’ll have until Monday, if we have any at all. At that time, I’ll learn whether or not we’ll be able to freeze embryos for future attempts. Until then, I can comfort myself with the knowledge that the worst, most expensive and precarious part is behind me. From here on out, I can do nothing to change the outcome of my embryos’ progression. It is out of my hands and now… we wait to find out if it was worth it.