Years ago, when I was right in the thick of IVF, I wrote about my experience during my second egg retrieval. The post went viral and remains my most popular blog post to date, so I thought this needs to be shared on the podcast as well!
I had two egg retrievals and both of them were such different experiences.
My first experience was my first time jumping into IVF. Everything went well and for the most part, I felt pretty great afterwards. 48 hours later, I was feeling quite bloated but excited. They said it looked like I had the symptoms of hyperstimulation. I told them to go ahead with the transfer and I progressively got worse and ended up with horrible ovarian stimulation and felt like death. I felt the worst at 10-11 days after retrieval. I fell pregnant during that cycle, but we later lost that baby. As far as the retrieval went, it was smooth sailing.
My second retrieval was a different story. This was done after another failed IVF transfer using frozen embryos. I had three, so they put two in at this time but neither took, but this was also the time I started doing the emotional work around surviving my miscarriage and ocming out of this process. I was feeling really good and confident. I was admitted to the public maternity ward and didn’t get my private room. After this retrieval i was feeling really foggy when i woke up and couldn’t remember a thing. I was wheeled back to the public area and i remember being in so much pain and after strong painkillers administered by the loveliest, caring nurses. I had to get through two drips before being discharged and then there nurses’ shifts changed. I still didn’t feel good and the new nurse rushed me out and wouldn’t let my husband come and help me to get dressed. After making it down the carpark and while waiting for my husband to get the car, I was blacking out. He carried me into the car and then into the house. Then I felt this incredible pain in my shoulder (referred pain from the procedure). 24-48 hours I felt much better and didn’t get hyperstimulation. This cycle was successful!
ROBYN’S 5 KEY TIPS:
1. Wear loose clothing to the hospital
Why, oh why did I wear my tight jeans? I know, because I’m vain, but my advice is to definitely wear loose clothing, because once I got out of the bed to get changed and go home, I could barely do them up from the bloating. Not being able to do up my pants would have been waaaayyy more embarrassing than wearing daggy yoga pants!
2. Get a wheat heat pack
We got 14 eggs out of me for fertilising (woohoo), but I had the anaesthetist and about three nurses say to me afterwards that they had to do ‘quite a bit of extra digging around in there’ so I was in quite a bit of pain, and was given a lovely cocktail of painkillers, which wore off when I got home. I got panadeine, but it was the wheat pack and hot water bottle that got me through the night, not the painkillers.
3. Brief your husband or your partner
The last time I had an egg retrieval I coasted through. I had my dad pick me up, we got Mexican for lunch and then I had to tag along to an appointment he had. This time was a little different. My husband literally had to carry me inside the house because I was blacking out as we got out the car, and I was in agony. So glad I asked him to take the full day off work and asked him in advance to look after me. He was amazing and really did a great job. I don’t think anyone else would have been so wonderful.
4. Be selfish!
You know what? After my egg retrieval, I asked my mum to do my laundry. I had no plans to be a hero and push myself, and fully intended on chilling in bed or by the TV for the next couple of days. At the last egg retrieval, I tried to power through and even went to work the next day, even though I could barely walk. Straight up resting, taking time to recover and asking for help feels so much better.
5. Look on the bright side
Sometimes, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.
If you’re feeling all the feels, allow it! Because this is a big deal. But do know this – you’re one step closer to becoming a mom. Sometimes IVF is diagnostic as well as prescriptive and this could give you the answers (and result) you’ve been searching for.
Plus, if this cycle doesn’t pan out (I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that it does though!) your Specialist will be better prepared for next time – they’ll have a great idea of how your body responds, what your egg quality is and how they can then further optimise next cycle. You’ve got this!