Well, folks, it seems I have been quite successful in my bid to recruit and ripen several follicles. So, successful, in fact that we are moving on to step 3 sooner than expected. But, before I get ahead of myself here’s a run down on what’s happened over the last few days.
On day five of my stimulation injections I went in for a quick blood test. The nurse told me to continue on as normal unless I got a phone call…of course, I got a phone call. Apparently, my hormone levels were higher than they should be and I was given special instructions regarding the injections that I was to give myself on the morning of my next scan (day nine). The nurse I spoke with on the phone said it was not a big deal, but my mind jumped to the worse case scenario. I figured I was in danger of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and they were going to cancel my treatment. BIG Bummer. OHSS is caused by a swelling of the ovaries because of all the follicles being developed and can be dangerous in severe cases.
Jump to day nine and Charles and I arrived for my second scan. I was nervous and a bit negative about the whole IVF process now that I had got it in my head that my treatment was going to be canceled. All those weeks of sticking myself with needles for nothing! Anyhow, the doctor called us in and I got settled and she started the scan. As I watched the doctor measure the many follicles in my ovaries I started to relax. It was a really cool thing to watch and I’m really glad that Charles got to see it too. We took a picture of the scan, but it didn’t turn out very good. I grabbed the one below to use as an example, but it’s almost exactly what my scan looked like. Each of the little black blobs is a follicle in one ovary. Kind of cool, huh!
When the doctor finished with the scan she told us that I was ready for egg collection, 3 days early! As I mentioned above, my recruiting and ripening skills were quite good. So good that I had produced, at the time of the scan, about 20 follicles. It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling “full”. In a normal stimulated cycle the ideal is to recruit between 8-15 follicles. Apparently, my ovaries are over-achievers. Because I have produced so many follicles and because they will continue to ripen I will be at risk for OHSS if the doctors don’t perform the egg collection sooner than normal.
After getting the news that we were moving forward my nervousness and negativity turned to excitement. I think all the hormones that I have been injecting are seriously messing with my emotions. I walked into the clinic hating the idea of IVF, but walked out super stoked about the whole thing.
The doctor gave us a prescription for more drugs and sent us over to the hospital pharmacy to collect them. I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but the only thing that we have had to pay for during our IVF cycle are the drugs. I realize that may seem like a big deal considering the drugs are the most expensive part of this whole process. Luckily, since we have the NHS we only have to pay £7.20 ($11.25) per drug, no matter how much it actually cost. One pre-loaded pen of Gonal-F cost roughly £400 (625), but I only had to pay £7.20, for three pens! So far our out-of-pocket costs have been about £44 ($69). Not bad, huh.
After collecting my prescription I got a call from a nurse explaining what I was to do with all the new drugs I had picked up. Along with some unpleasant things like not eating or drinking after midnight the night before, the use of a suppository (ugh) and arriving at the clinic at 7:10am on the morning of egg collection, I had to give myself one final injection exactly 36 hours before the procedure could happen. This last injection is called an hCG trigger. It’s the last step in helping the eggs to ripen and be ready for collection.
So… last night, after a nice dinner of sushi and a couple beers I gave myself the trigger shot. I figured if all goes according to plan I might be pregnant in a few days so I should get my sushi while I can. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we are off to the clinic. Wish us luck!