I woke up as late as I could the morning of my egg retrieval (since I was fasting and tend to get “hangry”), got ready in no time flat, and we called a taxi to take us to the clinic. I was super-nervous, but I also felt determined. I had made it this far, all that was left was to take a nice, drug-induced nap while Dr. Skinner retrieved eggs from my hugely swollen ovaries. Piece of cake!
Once there, we were taken back to curtained pre/post-op area, and I changed into the all-too-familiar, even in a foreign country, surgery garb: a blue gown, blue hair net, and blue mesh booties. Good thing blue is my favorite color! Of course, I was also wearing the earrings I’ve worn to every appointment down here… my sperm and egg.
The theatre nurse, Emma, kept us in stitches while she checked me in and took my vitals. Dr. Skinner did a quick check of (I’m guessing) my lungs to make sure I was safe to sedate, and told us what to expect as far as how long I’d be in, when Ethan could see me, and how long I’d be in recovery.
I wasn’t separated from Ethan until I walked from my curtain to the operating room, which I really appreciated. Lynn was the surgery assistant, and she kept up a pleasant stream of chitchat while she made sure I was comfortable on the table and in the stirrups (the ones that you place your calf in, instead of your heel… love that!). Dr. Skinner came in and took up the conversation, keeping me smiling and otherwise focused while she slipped an IV into my vein faster and smoother than ANYone EVER has. Lynn placed an oxygen mask over my face, Dr. Skinner started injecting into the IV, I got a really weird taste in my mouth, coughed a little bit and cracked a joke about it, and the last thing I remember is chuckling with my doctor.
I cannot stress how different that was from every other surgical experience I have ever had. I told Ethan I usually feel more like a surface being prepped than a human patient, like the counter a cook wipes down before they start chopping ingredients. But everyone at BFC from the moment I got there answered questions, joked, encouraged and did whatever else needed done to make me feel absolutely comfortable and valued.
I woke up a couple of times and remember little bits of each time, just enough to feel like déjà vu when I woke up for real :-) Apparently I told Ethan each time how great Dr. Skinner is! I guess I also read my texts like they were new each time, too. When I woke up for real, I was hurting. Quite a bit. It felt about as bad as one of my worst cysts popping, and I mostly spoke in whimpers and asked repeatedly when I could have pain medicine. It came soon enough, and I woke up enough to be able to converse semi-intelligently.
That’s when Anna came in, which delighted us, because we love us some Anna Hosford! She incredibly gently explained to us that our transfer would have to be delayed, and gave us enough information to start processing it as a couple. She came back a little bit later, when we had talked and processed and had some questions articulated, and did one of the things we love her for… she gave us a plan. She gave us a plan to get through the night, then scheduled an appointment for us the next morning to come up with the rest of the plan. The compassion for our heartbreak from both Anna and Emma was unbelievable, and I choke up a little thinking about it now, four days later.
We knew ahead of time that my ovaries were hyperstimulated, and that it had the potential to get worse. I knew from my time on the internet that cycles were sometimes canceled because of it. We are so thankful that our cycle was not canceled before retrieval, because while I deal with immense bloating, shooting pains, cramping, nausea, and shortness of breath, I can comfort myself with the fact that we have 23 beautiful, mature eggs frozen at the clinic, waiting for us to return for an FET.
We have stayed in Barbados for additional monitoring, as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) can get extremely serious and require draining or even hospitalization in the most severe cases, and we will be returning home when we were originally scheduled. I have stayed in bed most of the last four days, and am on strong pain killers to deal with the OHSS. (I am fairly sure my procedure pain was almost gone by the next morning!) I have had one ultrasound follow-up, and my OHSS is still considered mild, as I do not have much fluid free-floating in my abdomen. She could find my massive, fluid-filled ovaries almost up to my belly button… they’re definitely not supposed to be up that high!
All things considered, I’m okay. We are planning a brief return trip to Barbados when my body has had time to heal. A silver lining is that my body will not have been through such a recent trauma like stimulation and retrieval when our precious embryos are transferred back into me.
So, this chapter of the BarBABYdos story is ending. The next one begins in September. Stay tuned :-)