The plan was to start the process of a full IVF cycle all over again as soon as possible so that my cervix wouldn’t have the opportunity to become windy again. I was ready, but I was also exhausted. I admitted to Dave that I wasn’t sure how much more I could take. We went with the antagonist cycle again because this had given the best response with limited hyperstimulation. Back to the shots, the ultrasounds, and the early morning doctor visits…blood work galore. It was all so routine now that I couldn’t even imagine life without IVF.
Walking into the clinic each morning, the secretaries greeted me by name. That’s not really a positive thing in an infertility clinic. You want to get in and out with success as quickly as possible. Becoming a regular is not the goal. The stimulation went well this time. It actually looked like it was going to offer the best egg retrieval yet. The retrieval day was set once again, and once again we arrived early in the morning to the hospital. I had taken my Ativan and Dave was at my side. My assigned infertility nurse was also present which was always comforting. But today, another nurse who was new to the department was also present. She was the one who would be pushing my pain medications.
I wasn’t all that thrilled at the idea of having an extra person in the room (especially one that I didn’t know), but I didn’t really have an option. Things got started and were going fairly well except for the fact that this time was much more painful compared to my previous egg retrievals. I kept asking for more pain medication (which wasn’t typical for me), and I repeatedly asked how close we were to being done. Pain, Pain, Pain! I squeezed Dave’s hand so hard that I thought I was going to break it. Why was this time so much worse? I wasn’t sure how much more I could handle. I never asked for the maximum amount of narcotics!
The physician told me that a significant number of the follicles were close to the ovarian wall. This location was often more painful for egg retrievals. Maybe, but as they wheeled in the gurney I noted that I was much more awake and lucid than the last two times we had done this. I was actually carrying on a full conversation with the nurse, which I had never previously been able to do. On the other retrieval days my mind had been sluggish and my mouth always had trouble forming the words that I wanted to say. A “yep,” or “huh” were typically all that I could utter due to the sedating effects of the pain meds and anti-nausea medications (I’m something of a light-weight). Usually, my legs were so heavy that I couldn’t even transfer myself to the stretcher without significant help. This time I practically hopped from one bed to the other.
I mentioned how strange it was that I felt this awake. Ah, well, it was over. Off to recovery once more. A new nurse came in to check on me and to flush my IV line. As she was flushing, I began to panic at the sensation. What horrible medication was she giving me? She said, “Nothing, just flushing the line with saline.” As soon as she left the room I went bizirk. My hand and arm were on fire and the pressure was unbearable, almost like compartment syndrome. Something was wrong. It was burning. It wasn’t stopping. I called the nurse back in, but she wasn’t sure what was happening. “Maybe a little bit of the medications were left in the tubing,” she suggested.
Well, that was an understatement because then my heart started racing, I began profusely sweating, my head was spinning, and I felt like I was going to pass out and throw up all at the same time. I must have looked as bad as I voiced because she quickly sprang to action, shut off the IV line and grabbed my vital signs. Sure enough…something was definitely wrong. All of the pain meds and anti-nausea meds had been sitting in my IV line, un-administered during the egg retrieval. Either there had been a problem with the IV tubing, or the new nurse hadn’t actually opened the valve on the tubing. Now I had just gotten a whopper dose of narcotics and phenergan (anti-nausea medication known to burn like crazy if not diluted properly) in one quick push!
This all explained why the procedure was so painful this time, and why I had been so alert. Within minutes after the medication overload, I was gone to the world, knocked out until late that evening. A junkie lifestyle is definitely not for me. I felt horrible. The nurse typed up an incident report, but there really wasn’t much else to do now that it was over. It wasn’t like they could take back my extra painful experience.
The good news was that our embryos were gorgeous. They were the best that we had ever obtained from a cycle. Only a few more days and once again two embryos would be transferred into my uterus. I prayed that this time it would work. I wasn’t sure how much more I could go through. My ovaries were huge and aching. My heart was heavy and aching. My endurance was waning.