Entry 20: The Egg Collection Process


I was nervous about all the wrong things. I didn’t choke in my sleep like I feared, and my egg count, I’m happy to report, is stellar! But the egg collection didn’t go very smoothly, if I’m honest. I’m hoping it’s sort of like child birth, in that I forget about this pain and discomfort soon – I suspect that won’t happen until I hatch one of those little ladies (I’m referring to everything in my body and all that it produces as girls or ladies at the moment), but regardless, I’m so happy I did it.

The day started with me having to forgo anything to drink, or eat. Then at 10, my mom and I Ubered it up to NYU Langone Fertility, where the first thing I did was fill out some paperwork to authorize anesthesia. Then up to the operating room waiting area, where a lovely, funny, British nurse called me and assured my mom that I was going to be well taken care of. She took me to a little locker room, where I was asked to put this number on:

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After my wardrobe change, I had to go weigh myself and report back to the nurse. I’ve shared just about every detail about this process, but I’m keeping my weight to myself, thank you. Then we went into another little waiting area, where she took my temperature and my blood pressure, and explained what would happen. She told me I would be asleep, with my legs in stirrups and jokingly reminded me that stirrups were just par for the course as a woman – which got me thinking that it really sucked how women alone were basically carrying the burden of procreation in this new era of fertility treatments and men who live in Never Never Land.  But I digress . . .

Horror of horrors, the cute doctor I saw at my last monitoring appointment (and wrote about in one of my entries) was one of the attending doctors, and he escorted me to the operating room. I prayed that he didn’t actually read my blog – of course the minute the thought came to my head, I brushed it away as self flattery, and forgot all about it until later . . .

The operating room was buzzing with doctors and nurses, who could see the fear in my eyes. They were soothing, warm and kind, and tried their hardest to comfort me. They covered me with a warm blanket (between warm blankets and my locker key around my wrist, it almost felt like I was getting ready for a massage at Soho Sanctuary – except for the beeping machines, big over-head light, oh and all the doctors in scrubs). Then the anesthesiologist hooked me up to an IV, asked me a couple of questions, and told me I would have the best nap of my life. I immediately started to feel myself slip into a deep sleep.

Next thing I know, I’m waking up in the recovery room. The entire process, self injections and all,  had been pretty pleasant up to this point. But the minute I woke, I felt an intense pain – like menstrual cramps but ten times worse. And I felt this crazy pressure in my lower back. It really felt like my ovaries were angry with what I had put them through. Rather than mention the pain, my first question to the nurse by my side was ‘How many did they get?!’ She didn’t know yet.

The pain persisted, and my blood pressure was erratic. I was getting a saline solution through an IV to keep me hydrated, but when the doctor saw I was in a lot of pain, he added a heavy duty pain killer. I think this is what set my blood pressure off. It went back and forth between 97 over whatever and 64 over whatever (I was only paying attention to the top number – memorizing two numbers felt like a lot of effort at that point). When it dropped into the 60’s, I felt terrible – like I was going to black out – and had a mild panic attack. But again, the nurse who was taking care of me was lovely. I am ashamed to admit that I broke down at that point and cried like a baby, but she stroked my hair and managed to calm me down.

About an hour later, they gave me graham crackers and apple juice (and it was the best thing I had ever tasted at that point!), and asked if I wanted more pain killers. After my blood pressure episode, I declined. I’d rather deal with some cramps and live to see my eggs hatch.

They also informed me that they counted 34 eggs! That made me feel like I had just won some sort of important race or competition. But they said it’s also the reason my ovaries were screaming at me. That’s a lot of eggs for my girls to host, and I assume it took a lot of effort to get them out! The doctor wrote a prescription for Percocet, which of course, I lost on my way home somehow, so I’m now trying to ward off the pain with Tylenol (which is as useless as ever).

Women came out of the operating room, into the recovery area and spent at most, 45-60 minutes there. I was there for nearly 3 hours. All I wanted to do was get a salad from Sweet Green, sit on my couch, and watch a Law and Order marathon, but my blood pressure would not cooperate. I suppose that’s what I get for patting myself on the back about how lovely this process has been for me.

They gave me my instructions for the next couple of weeks. I’m not to exercise for another 2 weeks – ugh! And, ironically, I have to weigh myself every day to make sure I don’t gain weight. Rapid gain weight is one of the signs of ovary hyper stimulation syndrome. How do I not gain weight when all I can do is sit around? I promptly sent my mom to Bed Bath & Beyond for a scale. No self respecting woman should own one. I’m satisfied with a mirror and my jean size as evidence that I’m just fine. But, I now own a digital scale which I will trash the minute this is all over.

As I was leaving, one of the nurses said to me, ‘well I’ll have a lot to read about after this recovery!’ They are reading my blog! I told one of the nurses about it a couple of weeks ago and she wrote down the address, but I didn’t think they would actually read it. I was flattered, but it also dawned on me that maybe the cute doctor had seen my post about him after all! Damn. I had planned to play hard-to-get.

In all seriousness, if anyone from NYU Langone Fertility is reading this, thank you for making every visit pleasant and for genuinely caring about my well being (and the well being of my eggs). It has been a pleasure, and I am sending all of my friends who are considering egg freezing (or any form of fertility) to Dr. Noyes and the rest of the fertility team at NYU.

As I write this, I’m still in a lot of pain and my tummy is so swollen that I have no idea what I’m going to wear to work tomorrow. The only thing that will fit is the pajama pant I’m wearing right now.

I get my official egg freeze numbers tomorrow. While they counted 34 at retrieval, they’ll only freeze the good eggs. Stay tuned!

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