After the horrific ordeal of cycle 1, I really questioned whether I wanted to go through another round again. I think at this point, I was far beyond desperate; it was hurting too much just thinking about why this was taking so long and the process so painful. I have to admit that before we started IVF, I thought it was such a simple and straight forward thing. I mean, I even referred to it as a thing because I literally thought they took the egg and the sperm, put it in a dish or test-tube and boom- a baby is made! At one point, I didn’t even think the woman’s egg was real – dumb, I know! In life, we can be so ignorant about the things we think will never affect us- we’ve got to keep feeding our minds.
We had already gone through the nurse consultation during cycle 1 so we knew the drill when the time came again. I realised that I still had questions about the process and why it had not worked but unfortunately, there were no answers. Our consultant had decided that she would start me on a higher dose of gonal F injections so that I would not need to stimulate for as long as I did first time round. She reassured us that they would be keeping a close eye on me to ensure there were no signs of hyper stimulation. Boy was I happy to hear that because the thought of reliving that pain was not appealing in the slightest.
Again, I took two weeks off work and you know what? I felt good! I did not need to take the pill for a month to down regulate so I felt quite relaxed as the process was not seeming as long as the previous. I felt that the gonal F was not affecting me as much as it did the first time either. This may have just been my mind but hey, it was a good feeling.
Oh, I forgot to mention in my previous post that we were advised to tell as few people as possible to not add any stress or anxiety to how we were already feeling. We decided that we would still not tell our parents as the thought of them calling every day to see how things were going was not something we felt we could deal with- especially me. Even though I knew they’d mean well, I guess you kinda want to put off telling them bad news if it doesn’t go to plan. That feeling of disappointing them was eating me up inside even though I knew it was beyond me. I was still blaming myself for everything- I hadn’t yet listened to that inner voice that was telling me to relax, let go and let God. I was still trying to find ways of being semi-in control of it all.
So, they scanned my womb and ovaries on day 1 to ensure everything was “quiet” as they liked to call it. I had approximately 8 tiny follicles in each ovary which was good for a woman with PCOS.
Day 3- The follicles had increased in number and slightly in size and I was feeling hopeful that by day 8, I would be told to prepare for egg collection. I was taking it very easy and drinking plenty of fluids as the fear of OHSS was still looming over me.
Day 5- I had over 20 follicles in each ovary and I was extremely bloated and uncountable. I was progressing nicely and on track for egg collection. Whoop whoop!
The day of egg collection came and I was a nervous wreck as I dressed in the surgical gown and waited with my hubby in the small cubical area allocated to me. I looked at the other 3 women who were there with their partners and they looked as nervous as I did- the silence was awful! When it was time for me to be ushered into theatre, I kissed my husband and he said a little prayer, reassuring me that everything would be ok. As with the first cycle, I began to feel everything they were doing but the gas and air seemed to help a tad bit more. As I cried in anguish from the pain, they decided to give me something (can’t remember what) but it knocked me out and I woke up with the most painful hiccups and stomach pain.
When I finally came round and was back in my cubical area, I quickly realised that the pain I was experiencing was OHSS. I felt my whole world crashing and just wanted to run out so that the consultant would not see me and put a stop to the treatment- I was so scared. The procedure after egg collection is that the consultant and embryologist will see you once the nurse has informed them that you are fully awake and have been able to eat a biscuit and have a drink. I was eager to find out how many eggs they had collected and was over the moon when we were told 21. Again, my hopes of having a baby seemed close. Little did I know the blow I was about to feel… They were cancelling the cycle as I had already shown signs of OHSS that they felt were only going to get worse and there was no way an embryo could implant and survive in those conditions …
As we drove home, the devastation of knowing that the treatment had ended was horrific. So many things were going through my mind that, if I’m honest, I don’t want to repeat. To top it off, the reality that the OHSS symptoms were going to get worse also dawned on me. Our embryos had been frozen and we would need to wait another 3 months before attempting a frozen embryo transfer. I just felt like this is was not supposed to be – I had zero hope. I mean zero.
I don’t think I lasted five hours at home before I was rushed to the hospital. I was there for five days under morphine and codine pain control whilst they tried to hydrate my body. I slowly felt the spirit of depression coming back over me. The nights were the worst, it was deadly silent, dark, I was alone, in so much pain and for what? I felt that it just was not worth it. I couldn’t pray – I just found it so hard because I felt physically and emotionally drained and didn’t feel that God was listening anymore.
When our parents came to visit me, we finally told them what was going on and I have to admit, the joy and hope they expressed made me feel that it could actually happen. The prayers they prayed were so powerful- I felt like a little girl excited that her parents were proud of what she was doing. My inlaws were amazing! They didn’t judge and were just so happy we had made the decision to take the IVF route. They even said they had been discussing it but we’re not sure how we would react if they presented the idea to us. Look at that- all that fear for no reason.
Once I was discharged from hospital, we went for our follow up appointment and again tried to find answers as to why it all went so horribly wrong. There were no answers, the consultant said she was even shocked at how it had turned out but was hopeful that the frozen transfer would be successful on my body. I would not be under as much stress as I would not need to take any stimulation drugs. It all seemed like in 3 months’ time, I’d finally get the two pink lines I so desperately hoped for.
Be expectant, be encouraged