Saturday, November 08, 2008

We Came, We Saw, We Fertilized

I did it. All it took was countless words of reassurance from my husband, friends, doctors and nurses, two IV attempts, some really strong anti-anxiety medicine, and my unyielding desire for a baby. Oh, and conquering a long-held phobia of anesthesia.

It got off to a rocky start. First, a nurse came out to the waiting area and told me they were running about an hour behind. Nothing like an extra hour to sit still with your belly empty and your mind full of worst-case scenarios. By the time they finally called me back for the pre-op stuff I was an absolute basket case. Their two long attempts at getting an IV in me didn't help. What finally did help was whatever brilliant anti-anxiety medication they put in the successfully placed IV. Thank you, Mr./Ms. Scientist who made that stuff! And goodnight everyone! My husband knew it was working when I asked him, not quietly, if he thought my surgical hair bonnet was "sexy." It was like gulping down five consecutive glasses of Veuve Clicquot on an empty stomach. From there, I remember being wheeled into the OR, looking up at all of the faces around me and trying but failing to form a coherent sentence, and my legs being placed in the crazy hanging stirrups. That's it.

Next thing I knew, they were telling me it was done and I was wheeled back to the recovery area, where my husband soon arrived (directly from the "men's lounge"). I asked the nurses repeatedly whether they were sure they had really done it (I give them major credit for not telling me to shut up). I was quite groggy and in a lot of pain, but mostly I felt this tremendous relief and gratitude that it was over. The embryologist came out and told me they had indeed gotten 18 eggs. I smiled, and after a short recovery got dressed, came home (I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the wheelchair ride to the car -- in my groggy state I felt like Ms. America of the hospital), had a few bites of soup and went straight to bed by 7:30 p.m.

Yesterday came the call that I'd dreamed of receiving when we started IVF and before I was sure I would get through the egg retrieval: the fertilization report. Out of 18 eggs, 9 fertilized. In a dish somewhere in the IVF suite at a nearby academic medical center, we have nine fertilized eggs. For the first (known) time, we've actually put egg and sperm together -- and something (nine somethings) is developing from it. I probably shouldn't be this excited about it -- after all, it's the first of many, many hurdles to climb before I am holding a baby. But when your quest for a baby goes back several years and the past twelve months have been filled with pills and shots and ultrasounds and bad news, the positive movement toward a real developing baby is something of a thrill.

To get here, I've had to climb perhaps the biggest hurdle of all: fear. The egg retrieval was a bravery test, a question of whether my will to have a baby could win over the convincing strength of a childhood phobia. I passed this one, and we have nine developing embryos to prove it. One or two of the best looking ones will be transferred tomorrow. Let's hope the trend continues.

(Thank you again to all of you for rooting me on throughout this process!)


kirke said...

Yay, for the first hurdle passed! Those are very impressive numbers and I can't help but be hopeful.

Michelle said...

That is great! Sounds like it went fantastic! I will be crossing everything in hopes this works for you. ((HUGS))

GreenEggsNHam said...

Great news!

Cassandra said...

Congrats on the embryos! Best of luck with the transfer, wait, and beyond.

Turia said...

Egg! That is fantastic news! I am so proud of you for conquering your fear (the idea of IVF and egg retrievals still scares the shit out of me- so thank you for your honest recap of it).

I loved the bit about when you asked your husband if the hair bonnet was sexy. :D

Such great news about the fertilization. Good luck with the transfer!!

Heather said...

Congratulations! It is scary going under anesthesia. Kudos for you facing that fear! And lots of luck with your embryos.