My husband and I recently went through our first round of IVF. Eventually I will be writing about the whole process more thoroughly, but I had a good friend have her egg retrieval surgery today, and as I was giving her some advice, I realized I should write all this down while I’m thinking about it!
Leading up to your egg retrieval surgery, you’re on a lot of really fun hormones and shots! We call this ‘stimming’ in the TTC world. I think the average length of stimming is around 8-10 days, but I’ve personally known girls who have had to stim for up to 15 days! Not fun. I was lucky and responded quickly to my drugs and only had to stim for 8 days.
Since egg retrieval is a surgery, you can’t eat or drink before the procedure. Because of this, they generally try to do retrieval early in the morning. The whole process is fairly quick. I suggest wearing sweatpants or something comfortable and easy to get on and off (honestly, after stimming for so many days, you’re probably bloated and sore and happy to wear sweats where ever you can!). My IVF nurse had me bring a snack so I could take pain medication right after surgery for the ride home but more on this later.
I was most anxious about the IV, and I have no clue why. I’d been giving myself multiple shots a day for days. But for me, that was the worst part! Before I knew it, I was waking up in recovery. I think the whole procedure took maybe 15 minutes.
I’ve only been through this once, so I’m sure there are more experienced people who may have different advice, but here is mine:
- You will (obviously?) need someone with you to drive you home. If you’re doing IVF, that will be your husband/partner most likely because the clinic will need their “sample” that morning to fertilize your eggs! It’s conception day!
- Dress comfortably! I put on only enough makeup to look human, and wore my comfiest clothes.
- That being said, wear your hair down. You have to wear a scrub cap, and it’s much easier and more comfortable to lay down without a ponytail bulge in there.
- BRING A DRINK FOR AFTER! Holy crap was my mouth dry afterwards. No one warned me of that! It was insane, like having to put water in my mouth while chewing so that I could swallow.
- Don’t bring a salty snack. See last bullet point. I took pretzels.
- I took the day of retrieval and the following day off from work and highly recommend it. Obviously you can’t work the day of retrieval, but the next day is still hard. I was still taking pain medication as needed.
- The heating pad is your friend, use it!
- Don’t delay taking stool softener. I never said this was glamorous. Constipation and trapped gas are painful after surgery, and you’re already in pain.
- Treat yourself well! Your body just went through a lot. Relax and let someone take care of you. My husband stayed home both days with me and he was awesome. I even got pizza after a nice nap the day of retrieval! I love pizza!
Like I said earlier, I have a lot more to share from my IVF experience, but these are just a few random things I learned about egg retrieval that I think are useful! To anyone who may be going through this soon, baby dust to you!