This post has taken a lot longer to write than initially planned (it’s been sitting in my Drafts for a few weeks already, how lame) – but better late than never, right?
So on 28 May I did my third round of egg donation – I even hit a personal best, with the doctor retrieving 18 eggs. Hopefully there were some goodies in there – but, as usual, I try not to think about it too much in case I jinx anything. (I’m horribly superstitious. Send out some positive vibes, okay?)
If you want a much more in-depth account of my first two rounds, plus a more detailed description of the process, check out my very first egg donation post.
This donation was for a foreign couple, and while I had been scheduled to donate in April we had to push it back to accommodate her. I must admit, it has been awesome to give my body a little bit of a break after my second donation – during which I was on the stims slightly longer because my body just wasn’t playing the game.
This time, however, it was all smooth sailing. It is a strange thing for the doctor to tell you that you are a “pleasure to work with”, just for doing something your body is meant to do naturally – but I’ll claim it!
What was awesome about this couple is that they sent me quite a detailed email telling me about themselves. I can’t tell you how cool it was to have a slightly clearer picture in my head going in – and they both sound like total rockstars! For a number of reasons, I connected so strongly with this recipient – and the chance to help… Well, there’s no feeling like it. Third time down the road and I’m still overwhelmed by this whole amazing process.
So, as for the technical stuff? Well, I’m still – and will probably always be – a little paranoid about the initial tests. HIV, syphilis, hepatitis… Never mind that I’ve not had sex in months, it’s a case of “What if?!” that does my head in. Initial scans, too, are also quite scary. But once the ball’s rolling, well, I know I’m in the best hands possible.
The only different thing this round was that I had started the crazy gym programme. I’d read all sorts of articles from various sources stating why you can/can’t exercise while on the Gonal-F (ovarian torsion, anyone?) but the Amazing Doctor H at the clinic pretty much put the ball in my court – as much as I’m comfortable with – but nothing for the first six days after the retrieval. Which, I might add, I was 100% okay with. Doctor’s orders to be able to veg out for a week? Sign me up!
So everything went super smoothly – it’s amazing how much better I’m getting at self-injection, only one bruise from myself. An overzealous sister at the clinic and a fuck-off big shot of Cetrotide was another story… Not only was I itching like mad (“The rash is good,” my first doctor assured me. “Means it’s working!”) but I also ended up with a massive bruised spot. She did apologise like mad – because of the size of the shot, she said, she wanted to inject it slowly. And the trigger shots of Lucrin went a lot more smoothly this time, too – largely because I didn’t put them in the fridge and they didn’t freeze!
Retrieval day I managed to wangle a lift from my dear friend T, who bless his socks is an absolute dear about something completely foreign to him. I was feeling a little nauseous (no drinking or eating AND a case of nerves is no fun at all) but he managed to chatter away and distract me. I was whisked pretty much straight in and got right to it. By the third time, everybody keeps telling you you’re a total veteran – which is awesome, I do like feeling good at things! – and the whole process goes a lot more smoothly. Checked in, dressed in gown, tagged, consent forms signed and checked by the anaesthetist and we’re all A-for-Away. I’ve had a different anaesthetist each time I’ve donated – this one placed the cannula in the crook of my arm as opposed to my hand – which was oddly more painful.
Anyway, the amazing nurses do a great job of fussing over you and with a reassuring arm on my shoulder from Dr H, I was out. Woke up this time with very little pain (apparently after the first time, when I hurt so badly, they’ve now started giving me painkillers while I’m out) and no nausea – in fact, I recovered super quickly this time.
My wonderful colleague B was there to pick me up – she’s been a trooper every time – and I was back home and out for a nap.
Aside from a little more bleeding than usual that led to a trip back to the clinic a few hours later (hey, rather safe than sorry, right?) and a few less-than-subtle questions from the staff as to whether I’d be donating again, we were all done. I sneakily took an extra day off work the next day, and by the time I was back in on Wednesday, I was back to normal.
Am I doing a fourth round? Well, I haven’t officially confirmed with the agency yet, but honestly my belief is that I will donate as many times as I’m legally allowed to. If I can, why not? I’m not being melodramatic when I say that this entire process has changed my life.
It’s changed my life, made me more aware of my body and what a freaking miracle it actually is, and – yes, kickstarted my desire to have a family of my own someday.
If you and yours are in South Africa and think that egg donation is something you want to do, I won’t hesitate to recommend Nurture. Tertia, Melany, Lee and the rest of the team are absolute angels.