I decided yesterday to write the whole story of retrieval, since it seems that all too often we are too zonked to do so and I thought it might be helpful to someone. Yesterday's attempt was of course witty, hilarious and quite above my usual standard of writing. Today's may be less inspired, but I'm determined. Got the 'draft' feature turned on on Typepad, H is watching Man U beat Chelsea which is keeping him happy and occupied, so there's nothing to stop me. Here goes.
06:55 H and I arrive at clinic. H goes off to buy a paper. I wait outside with a lovely woman who is on her fourth IVF in hopes of conceiving number two, and an Asian woman who already has two older children and is struggling to conceive with her new husband. They talk about the longing for a child that no one else can understand, even if it is number two or number three. It is cold. We all shiver a bit and wonder why the bloody hell if they ask you to show up for 7am they can't open the doors at 0650 or so.
07:00 Clinic doors open. Nice receptionist tells me to go sit on the sofas til I'm called.
07:02 H shows up with the paper, all anxious in case he's missed anything.
07:05 Nice nurse (Nurse Cheery, I think would be appropriate) shows up and starts calling out names. We are the only ones there. That probably should have told us something. Nurse Cheery shrugs and says she'll get started with us, then.
07:08 Nurse Cheery ushers us through to the egg retrieval area. It's in a portacabin off the side of the clinic. There are six beds spaced around two walls of an L-shaped room. The theatre entrance is to the left hand side of one of the other walls, next to the door to the women's loo. I try not to worry about that. Nurse Cheery seats us in bed area number three. There are curtains that can be drawn round, but they aren't fully closed - just about 2/3rds of the way down the bed so that we won't be able to see the faces of those in the beds next to us, but we will be able to see their legs. I'm in bed #3, which makes me patient #3 for today. Unlike beds #1 and 2, which are tucked down the narrow bit of the L, bed #3 faces into the main part of the room, directly opposite the theatre door, so I can see everything, including straight into the curtain areas for beds #5 and #6. Lucky me. No seriously. I'm very nosey so I don't mind this at all.
07:10 Nurse Cheery takes all the usual info - name, DOB etc. She shows me my bracelet and asks if it's accurate. I say yes and she clamps it on. Does blood pressure and heart beat. Asks if I have caps, crowns, allergies, etc etc. Tells us we'll go in at about 09:30 or so given we're #3. I begin to wonder what the hell we're doing here so early but decide to be a good patient and don't complain.
07:15 Nurse Cheery goes away and comes back with two more sets of patients. Patient #2 is v glamorous and I immediately hate her. She's wearing a lovely embroidered skirt, her hair is all blond and lovely and clearly blow dried. Her legs (which I can see in my sideways view) are tanned and her feet are tiny. I'm wearing black yoga pants, white t-shirt, and a big grey sweater that zips up the front that H bought me on our trip to Stockholm a couple of years ago. My feet are not tiny. Feel like a bad patient. Patient #1 looks pretty normal, as does patient #5, who arrives about 15 minutes later and then goes away again in disgust at how long they're going to have to wait. I figure out that patients 1, 2, and 4 are on their first cycle, like us. Patient #5 is clearly a veteran. I never get a good look at patient #6.
07:15-07:45 Nothing happens. H goes to get a coffee and something to eat. I read the paper. Nurse Cheery does all the entry stuff for the other 5 patients, which takes her about 10 minutes. Then everyone sits around.
07:45 Dr ICU arrives and sits reading everyone's notes at the table that is between my bed and the theatre. He looks quite smart today. Nothing happens to us. Nurses chat and other doctors come and go. A very shy looking woman who seems to be about 14 shows up. I assume she's a trainee nurse as the nurses are all being v nice to her and showing her where stuff is.
08:00 Dr ICU starts doing the rounds of the patients, starting with patient #1. I can hear the words: Risk, consent etc being bandied around. I start to get tetchy as by now I have finished the paper, and am v hungry, bored and thirsty. H is working. I complain to H that I don't want Dr ICU to do our transfer even though he's reformed. I want the star-retriever Dr Condescending. H tells me indulgently not to panic. I panic. H tries to look as if he's not laughing at me.
08:05. Dr ICU is on patient #2. H is working. And eating, and drinking coffee blast him.
08:10 Dr ICU arrives. He tells us that although he is doing everyone else's retrieval today, Dr Condescending will be doing our retrieval, he's just here to do the consents. H tries a bit harder not to look like he's laughing at me. Dr ICU goes through the rigmarole. What's my name and DOB. Do I have any allergies or crowns etc. The procedure may result in perforating my bowel or other internal injury causing them to have to open me up. He points. I sign.
08:15 I try to read the crappy chick-lit novel I brought with me. Only it's really not very good, and hence it's not very distracting. Dr Condescending appears in a tight grey sweater dress that clings to what looks like a four-month pregnant belly, and knee high black boots that make a lot of noise as she strides from one end of the portacabin to the other. And back again.
08:15-08:45 Nothing happens except some milling around and some more striding by Dr Condescending.
08:45 Dr ICU appears again in theatre gear. Dr Condescending does some more striding.
08:48 Anaesthetist comes to see me. Asks what my name is, if I have any allergies or crowns, etc. She is nice, so I forgive her for being the 75th person to ask me that today.
08:50 Nurse Cheery hands patient #1's partner a sperm collection kit and sends him off. Patient #1 has the curtains drawn so she can change into her theatre gear.
08:55 Nurse Cheery comes over and gestures towards the shy young 14-year-old I saw earlier, who is now in scrubs. "A medical student would like to observe your procedure," she says, "is that ok?" I nod yes, and feel strangely flattered that I am the only patient who is asked. The fact that this means that my ovaries are almost certainly more fucked than anyone else's in here today does not occur to me until later.
09:00 Nurse Cheery hands patient #2's partner his sperm collection kit and sends him off. I wonder if there are two wanking rooms, and if so, which one is better.
09:04 Nurse Cheery hands patient #1 a grey cardboard tray. All I can see in it is a rubber glove. Patient #1 goes off to the loo, clutching her gown closed behind her.
09:10 Patient #2's partner returns clutching his paper bag. I feel bad for patient #1's partner.
09:15 Patient #1's partner returns. I feel relieved.
09:17 Patient #1 is walked off to theatre. Dr Condescending does some more striding. I am bored. And hungry.
09:18 H is sent off to do his bit. Plastic cup with a lid, he has to write his name and DOB on both lid and cup. And fill in a form that goes in the paper bag with the cup.
09:19 Patient #2 does the curtains closed, change into gown, disappear off with grey cardboard tray thing.
09:26 H returns. Feel v proud of him for being such a performer. He tells me there was a porn film playing with the sound down but he didn't turn it up, partially for fear that the sound of panting would reverberate through the clinic.
09:35 Patient #1 returns on her gurney. She looks out of it. I get a bit tense. H holds my hand.
09:37 Patient #2 walks through to theatre. She is so skinny that she doesn't have to hold her gown closed. Hate her a little bit.
09:38 I get to do the curtains closed, get changed thing. Nurse Cheery says she'll be back in a minute with my suppository. Aah, light blossoms.
09:40 Dr Condescending does some more striding. My stomach is rumbling.
09:45 Nurse Cheery has not returned with suppository. I am anxious. And hungry. H volunteers to go and get her, but I feel bad about making him ask for my suppository so I say no.
09:50 I am worried still. H goes and reminds Nurse. She immediately shows up with suppository equipment tray. Apparently it's a long acting pain killer to help after the procedure. I go and play in the women's loo. It's not difficult but I am glad of rubber glove. Wondering if they'll give me some to take home for the progesterone suppositories.
10:00 Patient #2 is wheeled out of theatre. She is sitting up and laughing and joking. Long blonde hair is spread over her pillow. Hate her a bit more.
10:05 Theatre nurse comes to get me. She asks me my name, date of birth, checks my bracelet, asks if I have any allergies or crowns, etc. I decide hitting her would be a bad move. She walks me into theatre. H kisses me goodbye.
10:06 The theatre looks just as scruffy as the outside room. There are at least six people milling around including Dr Condescending who has at least changed into scrubs. She says hi. One nurse undoes my gown while another helps me climb on the table. I scoot down and someone helps me put my legs into the holders. A blond woman leans over me and introduces herself as one of the embryologists. She checks my wrist bracelet and asks me to say my name and DOB. I want to kiss her for not asking if I have any allergies. Decide not to.
10:07 Anaesthetist starts looking for a vein. I point her to the good one. She puts the IV in, then adds drug number 1. I feel tingly. She then starts to add drug number 2. She says it will make me feel like I'm drunk. I comment that I'm a cheap drunk, and will the anaesthetic have the same effect. She laughs and says maybe.
10:35 I wake up when they ask me to move from the theatre table to the gurney. I am amazed to have slept through it all. They wheel me out to a visibly relieved H, who says that since I'd taken over 30 mins he was convinced I was bleeding out on the table. Nice to know I'm not the only one who freaks out like that.
10:37 Dr Condescending appears and tells us we got six. I feel a bit sad, and ask about the others. She explains that they were either too small or too hard to get to in the case of two of the ones behind the endometrioma. She is nice. I decide her bedside manner is much improved by her scrubs, and perhaps by doing something she is really good at?
10:38 Dr Condescending leaves. I cry at the thought of my hopes for eight. H holds my hand.
10:40 I try to nap but the bloody blood pressure cuff keeps going off just as I drop off.
10:50 Nurse Cheery says she'll bring me some water in a minute. H points to the bottle of water he'd already bought for me. She smiles at him. I drink water.
10:55 Patient #1 leaves with her partner. I hear her talking about four eggs. I feel guilty for worrying about six. I drink some more water.
11:00 Nurse Cheery offers tea and biscuits. I say no to biscuits (no wheat, don't you know) and yes to a hot chocolate (hang the no sugar). I sip hot chocolate. It's not very nice.
11:02 Patient #4 returns from the theatre. She seems to be sleeping. I read the gossip magazines H has bought me and think about posting to you guys on my blackberry. Only my handbag is on the floor and I can't face picking it up and asking H seems too hard, too. H is so bored that he is also reading a gossip magazine. I promise not to tell anyone (except the internets)
11:15 Patient #7 arrives with her partner, they are ushered towards bed#1. They both look frighteningly young, and scared. I want to give them a hug and tell them it will all be ok, but I realise that it might not be, and it's none of my business.
11:20 Patient #2 has her exit discussion. I hear her ask, "If we are lucky enough to have three on Monday, will they let us put three back given my age?" I don't hear the answer but feel a new kinship for her humility and her worry about Monday. Also am glad that I figured out that they wouldn't do their usual two day transfer if it fell on a Sunday, and so last night called my assistant and cleared my diary for Monday. Wish I could have cleared it for Tuesday, too, but that just was not to be.
11:25 Nurse Cheery offers me a sandwich. I ponder the no wheat thing and then refuse. She says I have to eat something. H points to the nuts and raisins he bought me earlier. She says I can eat those. I eat them. They are delicious. I drink more water.
11:27 Patient #5 is wheeled out of theatre. She is crying. I hear the nurse saying: "But 15 follicles doesn't mean 15 eggs." I can't hear how many she did get but it's either six or eight. Get cross with her for crying, then realise that I'd be the same way if I thought I was going to get 15 and I only got 6. Feel sympathetic instead.
11:30 Patient #2 leaves with her partner. She still looks v glamorous, but feel a new sisterhood with her given what I overheard. Don't hate her any more.
11:35 Dr Candour shows up. He looks very dapper. He comes over with my notes and says he's happy with six. I say eight would have been better. He says yes, they were hoping for eight but six is the best they could do given my anatomy. That he was on the phone to Dr Condescending during the surgery and agreed with her choices. That six good ones are better than 20 poor quality ones, and all we can do now is hope. We find out from him that the embryologists will only call if something goes wrong. I think this is a policy designed for maximum tension in us, but decide not to bring that up as am already the patient from hell. Dr Candour smiles and pats my hand, and leaves. He looks dapper from behind, too.
11:45 Nurse Cheery says we just need one more measurement, then I can get dressed.
11:50 I've passed and can get dressed. Do so. Am in considerable pain. Nurse Cheery notices and comes back with some painkillers and suggests I get back on the bed until I feel a bit better. H goes to put money in the meter.
12:00 H returns. He tells me that patient #4 got no eggs. He's just met her husband in the car park. I heard in their intake discussion that they've been trying for six years. I feel terrible for them. Start to cry again. Distract myself by reading about the new Spanish princess.
12:15 Am feeling better. Nurse Calm comes to do the discharge discussion. She draws our curtains and does the whole discussion by pointing to the piece of paper she's carrying, so as to protect the feelings of patient #4. H and I comply. I realise later that this means that H has understood nothing of the discussion, but that doesn't matter as he and I both retain the observation that we need to bring £400 on Monday or else they won't freeze anything. Nurse Calm reiterates the 'no news is good news' mantra, and affirms that we need to come in on Monday at about 10, and I need to have a 'comfortably full bladder'. I try to figure out what that means. Antibiotics are to start tonight, Progesterone pessaries on Saturday night.
12:20 We leave. I feel ok about the six. Am a bit surprised at myself. I post from my blackberry to you guys.
12:30 Home. I sit on sofa. H makes smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on (wheat free) bread. It is delicious. He goes upstairs to work and takes my mobile with him so as I don't have to panic when it rings. I watch America's Next Top Model. It's one I've seen before but I don't care. I sleep.
There you go. It's now Sunday night, and no one has called. Which means that barring anything bad happening overnight, which I'm sure can happen, we have some embryos to transfer tomorrow. I am very excited. I know it's ridiculous, but this is the closest we've ever been to being pregnant. It feels good to have got this far. I still feel a bit uncomfortable, enough so that I'm glad they didn't do the transfer today, much as that would have given me two potential bed-rest days.
I am worried about not doing bed rest. I know the studies say it makes no difference, but it's a bit like some of the dietary stuff. I don't know if it will have any effect, but I want to do everything in my power to make this work. But I have stuff in my diary for Tuesday that I cannot move. So tomorrow I will go into town to do acupuncture, go back to the clinic for transfer, go back into town to do acupuncture again, then go home in a taxi and rest for the rest of the day. Then on Tuesday I will get up and start to live my life again. I'll post another blackberry post tomorrow just to confirm how things went.
Thanks again for all the support.