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Week 6 – From Medications to Retrieval

June 16, 2021 

What a change this week has been – and I am not sure where to start. It is only Wednesday and this week feels like it has been around twice already. This week has been much more difficult than I thought it would be. I generally feel strong and always know how to manage a cranky body. Post-surgery has left me with more pain and discomfort than I had expected, considering everyone warned me the medication phase would leave me feeling more unwell.

Saturday June 12 Before we get into Tuesday’s egg retrieval let’s jump back to the end of the medication journey. My bloodwork on Friday revealed very high estrogen levels and 18+ eggs which placed me at risk for ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS). The phone call from Judy (our IVF nurse specialist) on Saturday came in about 4pm regarding my hormone levels, the medication schedule and egg retrieval plan. The elevated estrogren levels meant my medication dosage came down  and this has reduced my estrogen levels to a suitable level for retrieval. I am beginning to feel a little bloated and sore, however, not as bad as others have told me I would feel. How exciting –  we go ahead Tuesday for day surgery with specific trigger shot instructions.

Sunday June 13 at 8pm explicitly was the designated hour for the trigger shot. With IVF, the trigger shot is used before egg retrieval to help facilitate a process called meiosis. In meiosis, eggs go through an important division where its chromosomes go from 46 to 23, priming them for fertilization. There was nothing else particular about Sunday other than no evening medications – just the trigger – yaaa! I followed the same tea and meditation routine with a good book in bed. As a gal who loves routine this has been a blissful way to end the evenings. I would love to say I do this every night, but I give myself a high-five when I manage a full routine for 3-4 nights of the week. On the odd occasion I will have a bath (but not the beautiful hot and bubbly kind because I am not allowed to “over cook” the ovaries.

Monday June14 saw me teaching HiiT Pilates and Stretch / Strength class with only a little discomfort. I miss running and jumping at this stage. I use exercise and running as my stress-relief, time for myself (and the pups) and time to be in nature. I always end my walks/runs on the beach – which even that feels uncomfortable to walk in. The excess estrogren has had an effect on my musculoskeletal function.                              A fun-fact

Beyond the known relationship between estrogen and bone, it directly affects the structure and function of other musculoskeletal tissues such as muscle, tendon, and ligament. In these other musculoskeletal tissues, estrogen improves muscle mass and strength, and increases the collagen content of connective tissues. In tendons and ligaments estrogen decreases stiffness, and this directly affects performance and injury rates.

To anyone else going through this process – light exercise can be a saving grace. It helps manage the excess fluid filling the up in the belly, it helps manage the stress/worry and gives you somewhere to drift off to for a while. I will post more about this in another blog. I do recommend everyone adhere to the light exercise rules to protect the ovaries. High intensity exercise can increase discomfort and place a lot of pressure on the ovaries.

Tuesday June 15, 2021 – SURGERY DAY. The morning started well and honestly very exciting. My only wish for the day is they would be able to extract the 18 eggs they found on the Friday and there would be no other complications. Townsville Day Surgery and their staff were excellent from sign in through to discharge. I was promptly admitted and taken in with a short wait before walking into theatre. This was the most surprising part! Literally walking into the theatre room with all the doctors and nurses and crawling up onto the bed myself. None the less, up I went and out like a light till I woke up about 2.5 hours later. The wake up was the most horrible experience and the following 48 hours were a struggle! This was due to a poor reaction to the general anaesthetic for me, a surprising amount of pain and swelling which resulted in a lot of difficulty walking. I was on a high dose of pain relief and panadol for the first 24 hours then just panadol for the following 24 hours. I am still taking the odd panadol when the abdomen swelling gets to be too much.

         

Wednesday & Thursday June 14 / 15 were the lazinest days I have ever had. I struggled to just stop and do nothing. To sit on the couch or in bed and lay quiet. I had big plans for my week at home which included a lot of business planning, pantry organisation, painting, baking and banking. I have managed to achieve none of them. I have however managed to complete a puzzle and 3 TV series on Netflix (still not sure how I feel about that!) The nurse specialist called

on Tuesday to let us know how the eggs have travelled and update us on the fertilisation process. Of the 18 eggs collected, 18 were viable for fertilisation (Woohooo). Because this was the first round of IVF they split 9 for natural conception and 9 for ICSI (direct injection into the egg). All 9 that underwent natural conception died (likely the protein coating on the outside of the egg was too hard), and of the 9 ICSI, 7 have continued to divide and are going strong. We will have another update on Friday. Again, fingers crossed of these 7 at least 5 survive so we have a few more to freeze so I do not have to undergo the collection process any time soon!

 

Wednesday also meant I started taking new medication called CRINONE. Crinone is used to supplement or replace my own natural progesteron before leading to embryo transfer. This  progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to allow a fertilized egg (embryo) to stick or implant. There have been no side effects so far from taking these. Morning and night( just like the other ones) and that is it!

I am waiting for a phone call today to say how these little cells have survived to Day 3 and then the real numbers come in on Day 5!! I will update again as soon as we know how many are going strong! Till the next post & Happy Friday!

xx Anne & Future baby Wright

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