My experience with IVF took an interesting turn down Bloat Road only five days after it all started. After about day five of the hormone injections I couldn’t walk without each heel strike hurting like hell. And what’s a girl to do in these circumstances? I had no choice. I spent four days walking around like the soles of my feet had been burnt off in an horrific house fire and I had something of significant proportions jammed firmly up my derrière. By the time Monday came and I had my scan with my doctor I looked a bit like I’d swallowed a bowling ball. I sat, pantless, legs akimbo in front of her and she asked me how I was. I proceeded to tell her about the house fire, the gerbil and the bowling ball. She looked sceptical. Until she glanced at the screen. And my bulging ovaries.
That’s what she said. I kid you not. Shit. I tugged up my jeans and followed her back into her office where she proceeded to tell me that she’d given me such a low dose of hormones she thought I’d be mad at her because I only had one or two follicles. I had 38. Big ones. Anything over 20 and you’re at risk of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome). 38.
She told me I had ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
Two days later I’m sitting in a small waiting room in hospital with nine other women in varying states of boredom and misery, wearing nothing but a flimsy white gown, blue booties and the most unattractive blue hat you’ve ever seen. I had my second ever general anaesthetic and woke up an hour or so later feeling particularly gross with a creeping abdominal pain that decided to hang out with me for the next two weeks. My doctor flashed by me in a whirl of blue and I wondered why she looked so glamorous in the hat and booties and I looked like Smurfette on crack. She grinned at me and told me they got 30 eggs out of me. She seemed extremely happy so I decided to be happy too. The women on either side of me looked at me like I was some sort of Jersey cow and I smiled with pride at the fabulous effort my ovaries had gone to on my behalf. They wouldn’t release me of course, with all that pain, so I watched the recovery room slowly empty and wished they’d let CJ in to see me. Eventually I lied. I said my pain was gone, it was a miracle, and could I please leave now? They’d given me numerous intravenous doses of fentanyl and an unidentified meat sandwich and I guess they wanted rid of me as much I wanted rid of them because they finally let me go.
I don’t recommend you ever board the OHSS Pinafore. It is not a hoot. Over the next few days my belly decided it might like to practice looking 9 months pregnant, except it was full of fluid and not arms and legs, and I basically stopped peeing. Then my lungs decided to get in on the action and I couldn’t breathe for a day or two.
I saw my doctor a few days later and she warned me the worst was yet to come. Fabulous. But that we had 15 embryos, 8 of which were of excellent quality and now sitting in a freezer somewhere, nestled in next to the peas and corn, ready for me to get better. According to my doctor that’s a very good result , so suddenly my mega-bloat, nausea and lack of oxygen were much more tolerable.
I’m finally recovered. I wish never to revisit OHSS again for as long as I live. We’re doing a natural cycle this month, so all going well, we should be implanting in around 2 and half weeks. And my expectations are high.
We have so far forked out (with help from our families – THANK you families) around $12,800. You would hope and pray that a bambino isn’t too far away!
The funniest thing to come out of my month of injections, nasal sprays, egg retrievals and exploding ovaries, bladders and lungs is that when I texted my mum after the egg-pick-up when I had my mega-haul of 30 eggs, her friend who was with her asked her if I worked on a farm…