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Retrieval tomorrow - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
Retrieval tomorrow
I got the word yesterday afternoon and triggered at midnight. Retrieval is tomorrow at noon, though we have to be there by 11am. If all goes well (and we have embryos to transfer) transfer will be on Friday. Now we have hard dates for the rest of the cycle.

I'm not surprised. Starting Saturday I could tell that we were getting close. People in the infertility blogs I read have often mentioned a feeling of fullness, but they never describe it. Now I know what it feels like. You know that slight ache you get when your bladder is too full and the bathroom is too far away? Its much like that, only its on either side where your ovaries are located. It made dancing uncomfortable on Saturday night, and I developed an aversion to being jostled or hugged below the ribcage. Theoretically I suppose that that casual squeezing isn't going to pop the follicles like so much bubble-wrap, but my less logical brain functions are insisting that I behave as though I'm carrying delicate, priceless glass sculptures around in my lower abdomen. I figure I'm entitled to a little paranoia about the follicles given that its my first IVF.

The shots have not been a big deal to me, though I'm glad that last night's trigger was the last one I needed to find belly flab for. While they don't hurt enough to register on my pain-o-meter, my lower belly is currently covered in little bruises. I bruise very easily, and 400 units of Follistim is a non-trivial amount. It had been getting increasingly difficult to find a usable spot. Of course, starting tomorrow night I'll be getting progesterone in oil shots in my backside. By anyone's account the progesterone in oil is pretty nasty. I can't give myself that shot, so finding a fresh spot will be psychohist's problem. It we're really lucky that will prove difficult, because if this whole thing works we continue progesterone in oil through the first trimester.

The instructions for retrieval are interesting. The ban on eating or drinking after midnight tonight is expected, as is the ban on jewelry and makeup. This is because of the anesthesia. The interesting part is the ban on nail polish, perfume, or fragrance of any type. This includes aftershave for psychohist. The no fragrance thing will be tricky. Just about every toiletry I own is scented in some way or another. The thinking behind it is simple: the eggs are fragile and they don't want any ambient chemicals floating around. I'll see if I can scare up a bar of ivory soap for my shower tomorrow.

As for the retrieval itself, if you're curious about how they get the eggs out, they use an ultrasound probe with a big needle on the end of it. I wonder how much I can freak my mom out by describing a probe shoved you-know-where with a big needle on the end of it. Probably a lot; I'll have to save that one up for the next time she tries to nag me about something. It doesn't freak me out because the plan involves me being mostly unconscious while it is happening.

I have no idea how many eggs we are likely to get. I suspect the answer is 'not as many as I'd like'. I am greedy, and want lots. On the other hand, I am educated enough about this to realize that the important thing is having two good looking embryos to transfer on Friday, and no amount of eggs will guarantee that. Even having two lovely embryos come Friday is no guarantee that either of them will take, but its what will give me the best chance of having this cycle work, and that is what I am focusing on. I am resolving do my best not to stress about the intermediate steps.
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firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: December 4th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)


Does it mean, don't put on any nail polish after midnight? Or don't be wearing any nail polish? Back when I wore nail polish, I didn't apply it all that often, but it seems like it'd add more chemical atmosphere to start playing with nail polish remover than to just let whatever is on stay on.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: December 4th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: curious...

It means don't be wearing any nail polish. I guess they worry about chips as well. Considering what is at stake, I'm happy to be paranoid along with them.
jaedian From: jaedian Date: December 5th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: curious...

I thought they usually take off nail polish, or request that you don't have it on so they can monitor you. I think the fingernail bed is one of the places they look to see if you are turning blue should something go wrong. Admittedly. nowadays they have better ways to monitor O2 levels.

I haven't a clue about the fragrances though. I find it hard to believe it could mess up the eggs. Usually no fragrance is for other people who might be sensitive.

Good luck! I hope this works out well!
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: December 4th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good luck!
remcat From: remcat Date: December 4th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Luck to you!

Nosy question: why prog in oil shot, instead of a prog vag suppository? Just curious .... (I had the latter, and was told by dr that "delivering it locally" was better -- it made sense at the time and obviously worked out ok, but now I can't quite figure out the reasoning.)
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: December 4th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't quoted the exact studies, but it seems that the current thinking is that for IVF the progesterone in oil just works better. If you think about it, it make some sense. For IUI, I was using the suppositories, but they weren't messing with the follicles themselves, just stimulating me more than normally. For IVF, they are going to go in and surgically piercing the follicles and removing the egg. In a normal cylce its the ruptured follicle that becomes the corpus luetem and produces progesterone. Thus it makes sense that if they are physically messing with the follicles themselves I might need more progesterone, and getting it in a shot seems a better method of insuring that I get enough. I don't know about you, but for me the suppositories didn't dissolve too well, thus it was hard to tell how much I was getting.
remcat From: remcat Date: December 5th, 2006 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Huh, very interesting. I hadn't consindered the impact of egg retrieval on the corpus luteum. Thanks!

Again, mucho lucko!
enugent From: enugent Date: December 4th, 2006 08:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hooray! (I have my pooled progesterone tests this week, so I'm carefully and curiously following this now.)

Is the difference in location of the two shots because one is subcutaneous and the other intramuscular?

Good luck, and I hope you get lots of embryos!
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: December 4th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is the difference in location of the two shots because one is subcutaneous and the other intramuscular?

Indeed, the progesterone in oil is intramuscular and the others are all subcutaneous.

Good luck with your progesterone test. I hope you start getting answers soon. Nothing is more frustrating than a lack of answers, as I know all too well.
merastra From: merastra Date: December 5th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Good luck! I'm crossing fingers for you.
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