I am the egg man goo goo g’joob

We allowed one hour and 30 minutes to get to Guy’s yesterday morning, a journey the SatNav claimed would take us half an hour.  In actual fact, we were tantalisingly close by 5 to 10, when a police car spun around and parked itself across the street we needed to take.  This meant a crazy diversion around streets that were totally unfamiliar and I had to call the ACU to let them know we were going to be a bit late.

Fortunately, the 10am check in time was really just to make sure that we would be there in plenty of time for my 11:30 procedure, so it really didn’t matter when we rolled in at 20 past 10.

I felt quite nervous, having never experienced general anaesthetic before, but the staff at Guy’s were all great.  We were called through to the procedure room at around 11:15 and were given a cubicle where I had to change into a gown, hairnet and foam slippers.  I looked fabulous!  Unfortunately our phone batteries had been drained by the SatNav so no photos exist of my incredible apparel.  Our cubicle also had an incredible sweeping view across London, although the rain and mist meant we didn’t have the best visibility.

A nurse came and inserted a cannula into my hand.  (I think that’s what you call it, right?  Or is that some kind of pasta?)  I didn’t watch.

Then, just after 11:30 I was taken into another room, which was where they were actually going to perform the procedure.  I positioned myself on the bed and had my legs strapped into stirrups by another nurse.  They checked my name and date of birth several times to make sure they had the right person.

The anaesthetist explained what she was going to do and gave me a shot of paracetamol into the cannula before she injected the anaesthetic.  She said that the anaesthetic would feel cold and might make my arm ache.  It was weird, it really did cause a dull ache to travel rapidly up my arm from my hand.  It was almost unbearable, but not quite.  I rolled my head back and looked at the patterns on the ceiling.  I had literally only just had the anaesthetic injected but suddenly the lines on the ceiling seemed to double.  “Wow,” I said.  “It’s working already.

And that’s the last thing I remember.

I woke up suddenly, like when you hear a loud bang, or wake up from a scary dream.  “Am I supposed to be awake?” I slurred.

The doctors and nurses reassured me that I was and wheeled me back through to my cubicle, where L was waiting.  They got me a glass of water and after only a few minutes, asked me to try and get dressed.  I felt a bit groggy, but actually was surprisingly awake.

A nurse popped her head in and told me they had got 21 eggs!  We needed to wait for the consultant to let us know what was happening so we spent quite a long time just sitting around.  I had a cup of tea and several glasses of water.  Because they’d managed to get so many eggs that did actually mean I was susceptible to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, so I had to make sure I drank plenty of fluids to try and prevent this.

After a very long wait, a doctor came to see us.  They had thawed out one ampoule of the donor sperm and it didn’t have a high motility rate.  This meant that it might not fertilise the eggs through IVF (when they just put the eggs and sperm together and let nature take its course).  He wanted to know what we wanted to do.  We have 6 ampoules of donor sperm in total, but obviously bought that many with a view to having genetic siblings in the future.  There is an option called ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injectionwhere they help the sperm out by injecting it into the egg.  This obviously removes the Darwinian aspect of reproduction where the strongest survive.  We decided to allow them to thaw another ampoule to see if that would provide enough strong sperm to work with IVF, but signed a document to say that if not, we wanted them to use ICSI.

We were finally allowed to go and I could finally EAT (OMG it had been HOURS!!).  We got home and I chilled out on the sofa for the rest of the day, dozing and watching TV.

Today has been similar.  I’ve set up camp on the sofa and dozed a lot.  My stomach’s been tender, but ok.  It kind of comes and goes in waves.

At around 11:10am I heard from Guy’s.  They injected 17 of the eggs (the other 4, weren’t mature enough) and 15 have fertilised.

Of course that’s only step one.  It’s likely that only some of those eggs will thrive and they will select the strongest to go back in.  Embryo transfer is provisionally booked for Friday.  If only a couple of eggs are thriving then it is likely this will go ahead.  However, if several are thriving, they will postpone embryo transfer for a couple of days in order to try and get the embryos to blastocyst stage, when the embryos are stronger and more likely to take.

Having said all that, friends of mine who had IVF had two embryos put in on days 2 and 3 respectively.  This was obviously because the embryos weren’t thriving brilliantly in the lab.  However, the first friend is due with twins in a couple of weeks and the other had a lovely baby boy who is now getting on for two years old.

The next big decision we will have to make is how many embryos to have put in.  Generally the doctors will be agreeable to putting two in if we go in on Friday.  If the embryos reach blastocyst stage they will advise us to only have one put in.

We are erring on the side of having two put in regardless of the stage at the moment.  Apart from the money, which is a BIG factor, having been through the whole IVF process I am now not particularly eager to go through it again anytime soon and will feel pretty gutted if I’ve been through it all for nothing.  We can’t freeze any unused embryos because the donor hasn’t given consent for that, so we feel like the risk of having twins is worth taking over the risk of not getting pregnant – although obviously there’s no guarantee either way.

The hospital will ring us on Friday morning to let us know the progress of the embryos and whether or not they want to do embryo transfer on Friday.  We are really lucky that work are so understanding, because obviously teaching is not exactly the kind of job you can just pop out of when you need to take a phone call or attend an appointment.

So, it’s still a waiting game, and will continue to be so even after embryo transfer when I have to wait two whole weeks before I can take a pregnancy test!

Thanks to everyone for all their positive thoughts and lovely messages.  We really appreciate it.

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