Before I continue with this post, I should mention that two days before egg collection, I started to drink one small glass of (not from concentrate) pineapple juice a day. Apparently, pineapple juice contains an antioxidant called Selenium which helps to promote a healthy womb lining, which is thought to help aid implantation.
Saturday, July 16th 2011. Trigger (HCG) Shot
HCG is the pregnancy hormone. The trigger shot helps the follicles to mature and triggers the release of mature eggs from the follicles. The day after the HCG injection is a 'drug free' day. This means no injections! No Suprecur, no Menopur, nothing! Having my husband inject me for so long, and now having a day without an injection was definitely something to look forward to!
We were told, many, many times by both the nurse and the consultant that it was really important to do the HCG injection at the exact time they tell us to. We did our Suprecur and Menopur injections as normal, at 9pm. We were told to do the HCG injection at 11.30pm. I remember counting down the hours to that moment. My husband wanted to go to bed, but I kept him up so he could do the injection for me! After all, he'd done all of my injections, so there was no way he was going to miss this one!
11.30pm arrived and we carefully took the HCG injection out of the fridge. We unwrapped it as though it contained the crown jewels! Carefully, delicately and gently! As my husband, prepared to do the injection, I stood nervously in front of him, wondering if it would hurt. It was the biggest one so far. However, to my surprise, I didn't feel a thing.
Sunday, July 17th 2011. Drug free day
When I woke up that morning, I remember thinking to myself...."I can't believe tomorrow, we are having egg collection."
I felt relatively calm.
Monday, July 18th 2011. Egg collection
Before you read this section of my post, I need you to know that I write honestly and openly. My experience of egg collection was not a great one. However, I have spoken to many, many women who have had egg collection and their experiences have been the complete opposite to mine. This is a very honest account of my experience of egg collection and you may find it unpleasant to read.
The doctor who carried out the egg collection, was very nice, as were all the staff and nurses. They put a venflon in my hand so antibiotics could be injected into me. I was then walked to the operating room, alone, without my husband. I wish he could have come in with me, stood by my side, held my hand and told me everything would be all right.
As I lay on the table with my feet in stirrups, the nurse injected a general anaesthetic and then the doctor inserted a speculum and long fine needle.
Now for the honest bit
I expected egg collection to be painless. I had read many accounts of women's experiences of egg collection and all had made me feel positive and confident that the procedure would not hurt. However, I have to be honest and say that although I believe I have a high pain threshold, I felt everything. I mean everything. It hurt so much. I cried all the way through. I felt the needle go in, I felt scraping, I felt squeezing, I felt everything.
When we got home about 1.30pm, I went straight to bed and slept until 7pm. When I woke, I cuddled my hot water bottle for dear life!
Even though, it was painful, in hindsight, I know I would go through it again and again and again if it meant we would have a child from it.
So, I bet you are all wondering how many eggs were collected? 17, is the answer to your question!
17 wonderful eggs! The embryologist told us that 11 of these were mature enough to be injected with my husbands sperm. We prayed that my eggs and his sperm would get jiggy in the lab that night and we anxiously awaited the embryologists call the next day for an update.
Tuesday, July 19th 2011. The telephone call
The day after egg collection and I was still in some pain. I was managing it with paracetamol and my beloved hot water bottle! My hubby waited on me hand and foot and I had lots of cuddles with the cats!
We waited and waited and waited. Finally, the embryologist called. He told us that out of the 17 eggs collected, 11 were mature enough to be injected, and out of those 11, 9 had fertilised normally. Yay!
The embryologist said that after we left yesterday, as well as the 11 mature eggs, 3 of the 6 immature eggs went on to mature. As a result of this, he decided to inject these eggs as well. This meant we now had 12 fertilised eggs. He told us that he was keeping an eye on the 3 he injected after the initial 9, as ideally he wants to transfer 2 of the 9 mature eggs. He also advised us that normally he would expect a fertilisation rate of 60-70%, so we had done better than that, which was excellent.
The embryologist went on to inform us that he would check our embryos again tomorrow, around midday, when they should ideally be 2-4 cells. This would allow him to have a better idea of the quality of our embryos, which meant he would get a good indication of whether they would transfer them on Thursday or Saturday. Either a 3 or a 5 day transfer. A 5 day transfer (blastocyst) would be better, as the eggs would be more mature.
My husband and I had previously discussed how many embryos we would like to have transferred and we decided on two.
Wednesday, July 20th 2011. A last minute scan
What a day! I woke up at 01.30am needing a pee! I was in a bit of pain, so I took some paracetamol and went back to sleep alongside my snoring husband!
I woke again at 07.30am, took some more paracetamol and went back to bed. I finally got up around 10am and spent the day lazing around on the sofa!
Later that day, my husband rang me on his way home from work. He said he could tell from my voice that I wasn't 100%, so he called the clinic who suggested I went up for a scan just to check how everything was. I was glad that we went, as it really put my mind at ease.
I felt bloated and I don't just mean bloated.....I mean BLOATED! I couldn't walk without pain shooting down my legs and through my tummy.
The consultant did a tummy scan, which revealed I had some fluid in my uterus. She said this was normal as my ovaries were leaking (eww!) and she didn't seem too concerned, as she said there was no fluid up high and I was going to the loo normally and drinking regularly. She did say that we should go back for a scan on Friday, just to see how everything was and she advised that embryo transfer would still go ahead as normal, but suggested considering only putting one embryo back. The consultant gave me some tablets to help calm my ovaries down, which would hopefully make me feel better. I didn't end up taking them though.
On our way out, we saw the embryologist. He told us that our embryos were beautiful and that the 9 which fertilised first were now all 4 cells (which is fab as he wanted them to be between 2-4 cells). He also went on to advise that the other 3 embryos which were injected later, had all fertilised. One was a 2 cell, one was a 4 cell and one was a 5 cell. So, the embryologist said it was looking likely that we would have embryo transfer on Saturday, but he would call us in the morning to confirm.
Thursday, July 21st 2011. Pregnancy and Birth Rates
The embryologist called and let us know that he expected embryos at this stage (day 3) to be 8 cells. Out of the 9 embryos, two were 7 cells and five were 8 cells. One was an 11 cell and one was a 12 cell. Out of the other three, that fertilised later, one was a 4 cell, one was a 7 cell and one was an 8 cell.
Everything was looking good. Too good to be true? We didn't want to get our hopes up. The embryologist said that he wanted to go to blast, meaning he wanted to take our embryos to day 5.
What if none of them made it?
He went on to explain that the criteria for a day 3 transfer would be that he could pick out 3 embryo's. He went on to explain that it was difficult to pick any out today as they were all the same quality. He also advised that with a day 5 transfer, it meant that there would be less to freeze but on a positive note, he could select the best ones. He said 40% of embryos stop growing at day 3, so there is a chance that we could end up with no embryos but, out of the hundreds and thousands of patients he has treated, the ones he took to day 5 all made it.
One thing that I thought was interesting, was that he said the pregnancy rate with a day 3 transfer compared to a day 5 transfer is no different. The difference is the live birth rate. With a 5 day transfer the birth rate is better, because implantation is better. He also said that by transferring two day 5 embryos (2 blasts), there is a higher chance of twins. He said that out of the 9 embryos, 6-7 were text book and 1-2 were lower quality, but in all they were all good quality. He wouldn't check them now until immediately before transfer. This is because they were in a solution to trick them into thinking that they are in the fallopian tubes and on their way to the uterus.
How amazing is science?!
Embryo transfer was all booked for 10.30am on Saturday, July 23rd 2011. I called my acupuncturist to let her know, because I wanted acupuncture before and after the transfer.
So, the next step would be having our embryo's transferred back where they belong! We couldn't wait!