Former Egg Donor Undergoing IVF

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Post Retrieval: Almost 2 weeks

It's been almost two weeks since the aspiration, and I began my (eh-hem) period today... Which I am SO excited for. After a retrieval, you are supposed to start your menses within 14 days. I am excited for my period for two reasons: one, it means that everything in my body is OK post-surgery, and, two, is much too embarrassing to reveal even if this blog is anonymous... but, it basically means, it's safe to (um) 'dance' with my husband again.
I am not sure if I already mentioned this, but I received my compensation check in the mail a few days after aspiration. My initial emotion seeing the check for such a large amount was gratitude because they money could not have come at a better time for my husband and I. Then, all at once, I felt like I was stealing... Like, it really wasn't a donation. It wasn't until yesterday my husband asked me this question, and I felt better after our conversation:

Husband: "Do you feel the compensation money was more as a gift? or that you earned it?"
Me: Hm, well, giving injections to myself wasn't work to me... and surgery was not the most fun in the world... hmmm, I see it more as a gift. Like, I sacrificed some eggs, and they were thanking me. I don't feel like they paid me for my eggs.
Husband: Okay. I wanted to ask you indirectly so I would know whether or not we should pay tithing on it.

(Tithing: I am LDS (aka: Mormon).

Even though my husband was being sneaky about asking me about how I felt about the compensation money, I am really happy that I truly feel that way about my donation experience. I know there are many women that do it JUST for the money. The money was the furthest thing on my mind pre/post surgery. I constantly think about my intended parents, praying for them to get pregnant. Tomorrow will be one week since my intended mother was implanted with fertilized egg(s). Yay!

So, (If) Until my Intended parents get pregnant or until I get chosen as a donor again, this will be the last you hear from me... Hope to write sooner, rather than later! Adios

Monday, September 20, 2010

Post-Retrieval: Day 4

Yay! I am feeling back to normal. My ovaries don't feel like they are ginormous water balloons bouncing in my belly, and my bruises (where I took injections) are gone!Despite the weight gain that is stubborn to go away (or perhaps it was all the take-out food we ate during our out-of-state egg retrieval), I need to hit the gym again anyways.
I hope I get chosen to donate again, though I am skeptical any other couple will want to use me because I was only able to produce five mature eggs for my recipient. The doctor informed me that a woman can produce anywhere to 0-80 eggs as a donor, and the number varies monthly. For example, a donor may have a great cycle with 30+ eggs, but the next cycle, she may only have 5 mature eggs. I have to keep telling myself, "Quality is better than quantity." I had superior mature eggs, so despite the small number, it only takes ONE to get my recipient pregnant.
It was a beautiful experience I shared with my anonymous recipient, though I am sure egg donation is not for everyone.
I am told my recipient implants the fertilized egg today. I will keep her in my prayers that she will get pregnant.
I am now have donation experience, so comment/email any scary, uncomfortable questions you like while you are debating the same route yourself.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Post-Retrieval: Day 2

I woke up with little to no pain this morning. The bleeding even stopped! It wasn't until a couple hours later that I began to feel a little sore towards the lower part of my abdomen, and there is light bleeding again. My husband and I are currently waiting at the airport, and I am waiting for the prescribed vicadin to kick in to my system, to stop the pain. The pain/soreness is nothing at all like yesterday- so, I am very grateful for that.
I went into the clinic today to drop off the sharps container, so it wouldn't be a burden to carry around anymore. Inside the container was the remainder of the medicine. I felt like I was throwing away thousands of dollars of medicines, but I was told no one could re-use them anyway. I also asked more questions about the procedure, and why only 5 mature eggs were retrieved. The answers I received were still a little vague for me though... I had more follicles, but they did not aspire them. The nurses also told me that perhaps my estrogen was not high enough, even though they were sure that my estrogen had reached its peak. I still can't help but feel disappointed in my body's biology... why it couldn't produce just a few more eggs for my recipient. Though only five eggs were aspired, the nurses told me my eggs were excellent quality. I can only hope my intended parents get pregnant! If they don't, I am tempted to donate again to them (if they want me, of course), for a fraction of the compensation money. It's not about the money... I truly want this anonymous couple to get pregnant. Am I crazy for becoming so attached to a TTC couple I have never met before in my life?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Retrieval Day

It's been 12 hours since the aspiration. The entire procedure lasted about ten minutes. I was wheeled out to our rental car, and heading to our hotel room. I slept for the majority of the day, and at around 5:30PM, decided that I needed to get some fresh air. We went out to a small, dinner joint, which turned out to be delicious. It pains me to walk (My stomach doesn't hurt... it's more my vaginal area that is extremely sore), plus I am still bleeding a good amount, so we borrowed a wheelchair from the hotel. I hope tomorrow the soreness and bleeding will decrease, especially for on our long, flight home.

Okay, so here are some details about the egg retrieval: I was not "put under," however, I was given medication that let me 'forget' all the pain I endured afterwards. My husband was in the room, and he told me that I sometimes whimpered "Ow," but that overall, I was quiet. Before I knew it, the nurse told me that the entire process was completed, and to my surprise, I could not remember a thing or pain I felt. I was told that I bled A LOT! There was blood everywhere... (sorry for the visual). I guess it's not normal to bleed as much as I did, because even the nurse stated that she even felt light headed at the sight of so much of my blood. I can't be sure at the reason I bled so profusely, but my husband thinks he heard them say it was because I had thick lining surrounding my walls. My agency advised me to pay a visit to the clinic tomorrow, about the bleeding. I had 17-19 follicles between both of my ovaries 48 hours before the procedure, however, the doctor only retrieved five eggs. I am not sure why he only aspired 5 eggs... my agency wants me to ask the clinic on why such a small amount of eggs were retrieved when I visit the clinic tomorrow. My agency resolved that it could possibly be due to the heavy bleeding I experienced during the aspiration. I'm not going to lie, but I am really disappointed in the small amount of eggs retrieved- Mainly because it will be extremely difficult for me to ever get picked again. Yes... I said it... I am strongly thinking about donating again.

Updates soon about my condition post-retrieval!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Night before the Aspiration

Wow! This process has gone by quickly. Tomorrow morning is the egg aspiration. I probably should feel more nervous, but I am not. I really trust and love the clinic's nurses, and I will actually be sad that they won't have a reason to call me anymore. I am excited, however, that I do not need to inject myself further with anymore medications. My right abdominal area has taken on a kind of blue-black color in bruises from the injections. I did not spread out the injections because the left area of my tummy simply would not accept needles without a fight.

When I went in yesterday, I was told my estrogen levels had reached its plateau at 1,182, and both my ovaries were doing well. Due to the plateau of my estrogen level, I did not have to take menopure, follistim, or Lupron yesterday. The only medication I was required to take, was an injection of the HCG hormone. This medication did not sting at all, and I was grateful. Tonight, I am excused of all medications/injections, and I am to go in for the aspiration tomorrow morning. Beginning at midnight tonight, I will be fasting until AFTER the aspiration. Fifteen minutes prior to surgery, I will take prescribed Valium to begin to "knock me out." At 9:00AM, I will check-in to the clinic, and the procedure will begin at 9:30AM. I am not sure how long the aspiration surgery is, but from what I've heard, it is not long. I will write details about this later.
Today I did not feel much pain in my tummy. Because I wasn't in pain (and I had a coupon), my husband and I went on an hour cruise. I had never been on a boat before, so I thoroughly enjoyed our little adventure. For dinner, Red Robin's "Burnin' Love burger" was a nice touch for dinner, but I found myself barely touching my food. Even though I am not in pain, my stomach still feels "full." I swore to myself that after donating, I am jumping back into the gym-scene. I feel so heavy, and bloated. At dinner, my husband asked me if I would be up to donating again. I told him that I would have the answer post-surgery. Right now, annoying, growing ovaries is not enough to keep me away from donating again, but I will have to see if the "donation weight" really does melt off and how bad/painful ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is (if I get it).

Until next time!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 8: Stimulation Meds/Day 12: Lupron

My husband and I flew into _____ yesterday. The flight went great, even though I was skeptical that security would give me a harder time about carrying my needles, syringes, and foreign liquids on an aircraft the day before 9/11. I had a written note of permission from the doctor to carry-on a large, insulated lunch box full of needles, syringes, and foreign liquids. Surprisingly, we were able to zoom on through, after flashing my permission slip.
When we arrived, we were pooped. We went straight to the hotel, and took a nap. Afterwards, not really knowing what to do in this city, we headed to a local mall. Of course, my first store was Nordstrom rack. It was difficult to shop though... Since, nothing fits me! I left the mall empty handed. I have only gained a couple pounds, but I am bloated... really, really bloated. I think it's water retention, caused by this process. We took some pictures, and after I saw the pictures of myself, I wanted to throw up. I officially look plump! I asked the clinic this morning, if this weight gain was normal. They said, it was very normal. I am glad I though ahead of time while packing... I only packed sweats.

Today, we went to a free, famous attraction here in the city. The city is gorgeous, however, very confusing. To avoid parking fees of $6.00-$10.00/per half hour, I made my husband park over 9 blocks away, where we only paid $3.00 for unlimited hours. On the way back to the car, he tried convincing me to flag a taxi, since the way back to the car, was 9+ blocks uphill. I refused, and was firm about the hike back to the car. After seeing my plump tummy, I was adamant about working my body 9 blocks uphill. Needless to say, it was an intense work out, and we were breathless by the time we reached the car. There was really nothing else to do in the city, without spending tons of money that we don't have, so we headed back to the hotel. During the long drive home, I started having tons of abdominal discomfort. Not abdominal cramping... just pure discomfort. The waist band of my sweat pants felt like they were piercing into my stomach, and I swore that my ovaries were growing that very minute. Speaking of growing ovaries, the clinic measured my ovaries to be about 20mm! Just two days ago, in my home-state monitoring clinic, my ovaries were 11mm (with an estrogen level of 548, which I am told is an awesome number!) My follicles are huge and are looking great! The clinic counted 17-19 follicles a couple days ago, so I'm really excited. One thing I was NOT excited about, was the ultrasound's "monitoring wand," not having ANY jelly on it's way up inside. It was so uncomfortable... painful even! My husband saw my face drain with blood during the ultrasound, and asked if they could put jelly on the wand. They stated that they don't like using jelly this close to the procedure. Tomorrow, I am going to demand jelly. I am in too much discomfort already... I don't need the extra grief of painful ultrasounds.

I only have one vial left of menopure left, an injection (or two) left of Follistim, and a little bit left of Lupron. Injections today were not too painful. My stomach is getting 'tough skin', I guess. I wonder when I can stop injecting myself? I hope I haven't run out too soon? Definitely a question I will bring up to the clinic tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow shows promise. We will be traveling to a city I have been wanting to visit for awhile. It's more than 3 hours away, but I figure, a 3 hr drive is better from our hotel, than a 3 day drive from my home-state. I don't know if my growing ovaries are the reason I don't want to go out too much. I really want to tour the city, but the discomfort in my stomach makes it almost impossible. Any other egg donors have/had any similar bloating/discomfort/weight gain around this time in their cycle? Do share!

*Update: I found out at an appointment at the clinic, that sleepiness is very normal with increased estrogen levels. My estrogen at the time of this post was in the upper 500's. When they measured my estrogen levels the following day, my levels had doubled (1,100's!). I have also been really forgetful... like really, really forgetful. I asked the nurse about my recent dementia symptoms, and she said forgetfulness is also normal with increased estrogen levels.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oh Follistim... Why must you hurt me so?

Today is Day 8: Lupron
Today is Day 4: Menopure & Follistim

This morning, I weighed myself and I had gained two pounds. I'm not sure if its too soon for my ovaries to be growing, or the two pizza slices I had the night before? Due to my extra poundage, my jeans aren't quite fitting right- so, I've brought out my sweat pants. Today, was day 1 of sporting one of my Juicy Couture tracksuits.

I definitely feel sore, and "heavier" in my abdominal area. The injections gifted me with another bruise on my tummy this morning and I'm running out of "non-sore" places to inject myself! For potential donors: don't be scared of the injections! They are uncomfortable, not unbearable (yet!- haha).

In just a couple of days, my husband and I fly out to *New York for 6 days! I am really excited to squeeze in some good sight-seeing days, before the egg retrieval. My excitement is also shared with a lot of nervousness. I am nervous about not being put under anesthesia for the surgery. Without anesthesia, I am worried that I will be able to feel the entire surgery.

Until next time!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 3 Menopure, Follistim/Day 7 Lupron

Yesterday was day 2 (today day 3) of my Menopure and Follistim injections, and my 6th day (today day 7) of Lupron. I can barely feel the injections of Lupron, however, Follistim has a little sting to it. Nothing too scary or painful though. Honestly, the shots aren't really that bad. I have very slight bruising on my abdomen since beginning Menopure and Follistim (never with Lupron), but with my ovaries increasing in size, it's not like I'm sporting a bikini, showing off my midriff.
Emotionally, I have been feeling... well, for a lack of better words, "emotional." For example, yesterday, I began crying after a party thrown by my in-laws, because my husband left my side for 15 minutes. Today, was a lot better though. I didn't feel crazy-girl emotions or anything (Thank goodness). I was told crying and moodiness were symptoms of this medication. I figure that 2 weeks of being on an emotional roller-coaster is totally worth a potential child being born to my recipients. Until retrieval, I will try to hold in any silly girl emotions ;)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

FSH, Menopure, and Lupron Injections - Day One

I began my period a couple days ago, so I was ordered to then decrease my units of Lupron from 10 to 5 units. Today, was my cycle day 4, which means, I had another ultrasound, and blood test. My results came back perfect, thus allowing me to begin my follistim and menopure injections.

Currently, my ovaries have approximately 17-19 follicles total- Yay!
On cycle day 8 (Sept. 9th), I return to my monitoring clinic, for yet another ultrasound and blood test. On September 10th, my husband and I fly to New York* for egg retrieval. It is planned that we are to retrieve September 15th or 16th. My husband and I are really excited to tour around such a fun state before the retrieval.

More importantly, I am even more estactic that the numbers of follicles I have has increased- making the chances of pregnancy for my recipients higher!

Everything is going so smoothly, and I could not be happier.