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Nobody tells you what to expect when you go into an Egg Retrieval procedure. You are told to show up at a given time, and to have a ride home. That’s all they told me.

I reached out to someone I knew from Instagram who had gone through the process a year before, and got some insight into what I’d be walking into. I can’t even imagine that so many people go into this blindly, often afraid to share their journey and seek out supports. I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones. I’ll share exactly what happened and what it felt like in this post in case you have come across this seeking answers as well (I’ll note that individual experiences may vary).

I went to bed early the night before. The procedure was to start at 8am, but they ask that you arrive 30 minutes early. I historically have had bad experiences with IV placement, and had asked in advance if I’d need an IV – so they had me come in 60 minutes prior to take an Ativan to ease my body’s response (apparently called a vasovagal response, where you faint in response to certain triggers – I had fainted during my one other IV placement in my life, not during the placement but a few minutes after once my body reacted).

My husband brought me in and waited with me until they called my name.

I’ll pause here to say that he went to do his part – in all of this it’s so mind blowing the very very little men have to go through physically in the IVF and infertility process. Not to mention they get to experience a ‘release’ while doing it. Yes, it’s awkward going into a stark room with a sink and an ipad, that may or may not be located right next to the clinic lobby, but I’d take that any day over what I’ve been through. I digress…

Once they called my name (30 mins later) I went into a room where they had me take off everything below the waist (you can keep socks on in some clinics, I left mine on for some resemblance of warmth and dignity). You put on little booties, a hospital gown, a robe, a hair net and a mask. They gave me my Ativan and I was brought to a hospital bed to rest for 20 minutes while it took affect (it should have been longer honestly, considering how early they had me arrive).

The nurse was super sweet, I remember zoning out staring at the ceiling due to the drugs and listening to her talk to her fellow nurses about a Christmas market she went to over the weekend. I studied the ceiling tiles in great detail until she came back into the room.

It was time to place the IV, which actually went perfectly smooth despite my nerves. Not over the IV itself but the fear my body would do something I couldn’t control. She started a saline drip, wrapped me in a warmed blanket and I awaited the embryologist. The liquid felt weird coursing through my veins.

The embryologist came and we reviewed my consents I had signed previously, confirming my name/birthdate over and over to ensure the right chain of custody occurred for my eggies. Once the operating room was ready (YEPPP it was an actual operating room), they had me walk in with my IV pole and sit on the table below one of those giant lights that they use for surgeries. This was a bit jarring as I had never been in an operating room before in my life, let alone been awake for it.

The nurse had me scoot my gown up, and it was at this moment my dignity felt like it went out the window. All the niceties of the previous scans went out the window, we were here to get down to business. I scooted down on the table, much like what you’d expect for a pap test, but this table had a removable bottom and made you squat a bit more than I was used to. I laid back and once again analyzed the ceiling.

The doctor came in, it was a doctor I had never met before who did my retrieval. He was nice enough. We made cheerful small talk as he inserted the speculum. He washed my cervix, which was just some fluids flushed in there, and readied himself and the tools for the procedure. He ensured the embryologist was ready, confirmed my name and date of birth again 2 times and told the nurse to start the drip.

I feel bad saying this but the nap that followed mere seconds after those pain meds started dripping was both bizarre and euphoric. The procedure in BC is done under conscious sedation, but for some they conk out almost immediately. They also give you a med that interrupts your memory of the procedure (not far off from a date rape drug). I was thankful for both. This is the last thing I remember.

The procedure itself is something I had researched myself, but they never did explain what was happening, because well… I was out cold. Ann egg retrieval involves taking a intravaginal ultrasound wand (which I dub Wanda), not far off from the Wanda’s I got to know intimately in my monitoring appointments. Weeks of scans every few days leading up to the retrieval. The difference with this Wanda is that she also has a very large needle attached, which has suction. It is inserted once the follicles (little pouches containing the eggies) have been identified, and the doctor watches them empty on the ultrasound screen. They are collected into vials, and immediately checked by the Embryologist for maturity.

I woke up on command (how?!) and was told I was done. I stood up and walked back to the hospital bed in the triage area. They gave me baby cookies and juice, and I took a few minutes to come out of my haze. It wasn’t long before the embryologist came in to tell me that they had retrieved 13 eggs, and ALL 13 were mature.

My husband was called to pick me up, and I dizzily walked to the car. I ordered him to take me to McDonalds immediately for breakfast before the pain meds wore off, and hunkered down in our hotel to await the inevitable.


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