Egg donation #6: It’s go time

So tomorrow morning I have to report to the hospital bright and early at 6.45am. Yep, on a Sunday. The theory is that I’ll be admitted to theatre by 7am, have the retrieval performed and be out and on my way home by 9am. Which is round about the time most people will be waking up!

For the three mornings before my scan, I was taking a combination of 150 units of Gonal F (the medication that stimulates egg production) and mix-it-yourself Cetrotide (the medication that prevents ovulation and helps to mature the eggs).

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Now, if you’ve read my previous posts on egg donation, you’ll know that mix-it-yourself Cetrotide and I do not have a good history. My very first donation I ended up a) Getting overenthusiastic and creating a wonderfully foamy Cetrotide while mixing the water and the powder (guess who’s watched too many episodes of House…) and b) Spritzing a ton of the mixture across my bedroom while trying to remove the air bubbles from the syringe.

Bloody air bubbles. Especially at 7am, already late for work. I just don’t have the co-ordination for that sort of thing.

Anyway, had my final scan on Friday and the doctor was thrilled. Like, I actually got a high five.

So, I was booked in for Sunday morning and given the two shots of Lucrin to take home. As I’ve mentioned before, these shots are my favourites – they’re the injections that trigger ovulation (through creating a surge of Luteinizing hormone in the body). The trigger shots must be done precisely 36 and 24 hours before the egg retrieval – when the doctor catches the mature eggs in their follicles just  before ovulation occurs. It’s pretty hardcore. The only problem is that the Lucrin shots tend to make me very, very crampy – but I’ll take it, as they also bring down the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome way, way, way down.

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I was initially supposed to do the shots at 10pm on Friday night and 10am on Saturday morning, but my theatre time got bumped up – so I had to take them at 8pm and 8am. Much better, because it meant that I didn’t have to shoot up in the middle of N’s lounge on Game Night.

So now, I’m prepping for tomorrow morning. My “kit” for retrieval day looks something like this…

Candace’s Egg Retrieval Day Kit:

Kindle/book/magazine 

They usual request that you arrive at the clinic while before your surgery, so I like to take some reading material. My last donation, I forgot to pack something, and I pretty much memorised the pamphlet on anaesthesia that was left next to my bed while I waited.

Pads
Some bleeding after the procedure is normal, so I carry my own brand of sanitary pad to replace the usual horrendous ones they give you at the clinic. Ones that aren’t just glorified wads of cotton wool.

Water
After having to fast before the procedure, and after coming around from the anaesthesia, I get wildly thirsty. I usually also have a cup of tea or some juice while in the recovery room, but the extra water is a must. I also try to drink a lot of water in the days post-retrieval, as well.

Clothing
Comfortable, easy-to-put-back-on clothing is a must – you may be quite sore or tired after the procedure, so the last thing you probably want to do is squeeze into a pair of super-skinny jeans! Same goes for shoes… No heels and/or fiddly sandals.

The hospital I’m doing my donation at this time also requests that we bring a dressing gown and slippers. It has been freezing and pouring with rain this week, so I’m inclined to think that’s a good idea.

Miscellaneous
The clinic asks that all jewellery, make-up and nail polish be removed for the procedure – so best to not wear any! I bring extra hair ties, just in case.

Home comforts
Resting after the procedure is a non-negotiable. And my number one tip for the day of retrieval? A hot water bottle. Seriously. It’ll ease your soreness and is deeply comforting.

I climb into bed with my hot water bottle, have a nap, watch cheesy (usually Disney) movies, and do as little as possible for the day. I also tend to take the day after my retrieval off as well –  but that’s just personal preference and an excuse to chill out a little if possible!

On midnight injections and other such fun

So, we’re officially in the Home Stretch now. I had my final scan this afternoon, and now I’m waiting to do my first of two trigger shots – which only happens at midnight (in other words…  one hour and five minutes from now).

I was booked in for my last scan at 12.45pm today, and the waiting room was positively packed. The Amazing Dr H and his equally amazing assistant – also H, for the purposes of this blog – were rushing up and down the corridors, and I only managed to get in around 12.55pm. Dr H says all is looking “beautiful” – there are fifteen little follicles ready for harvesting (“Strange things us doctors get excited about,” he said – but it’s not just doctors, I’m excited too) and I was booked in for retrieval at noon on Wednesday. He wrote out my instructions, organised my two trigger injections of Lucrin, and off I went.

Fast forward to about 3pm. I get a frantic email from H – “URGENT: CETROTIDE”, it read. Between Dr H and myself we had forgotten the second shot of Cetrotide – the drug that helps the eggs mature and prevents premature ovulation – and H had been trying to dial my old cellphone number. You can see how this could have been bad. So into my car I hopped and positively nailed the 20 minute drive into around 15 minutes. H shot me up – it’s my favourite, itchy and rashy medicine – and off I went on my merry way.

And now? Well, I’ve been playing DOTA to keep myself awake (it’s the excuse I’m using! Ha! Eight hours in and I’m only marginally less awful). And why am I awake so late, when it’s way past my bedtime? This guy.


Lucrin – also known as Lupron, says Captain Google – is used as the “trigger” medication before egg retrieval, and it’s pretty much my favourite one (yes, midnight shots aside, and the fact that it makes me WILDLY crampy). I think it’s because of the precision factor – the two shots have to be done precisely 36 and 24 hours before the retrieval. Cool, huh? Lucrin also helps to reduce the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome – which is exactly what it says on the box. Over-excited ovaries, which causes ovaries to swell and fluid to push into the stomach/chest. Most cases of OHSS are relatively mild, but looking at what can happen is quite sobering. Bring on the Lucrin, I say.

And for now, I have 45 minutes to kill before the midnight injection. Another round of DOTA? Okay, if I must.