Yesterday, I spent my pre-retrieval day mostly moping around my apartment and watching a whole heap of Masterchef Australia to pass the time. I guess I was roosting and didn’t really want to move. I wanted to nest in my bedroom and avoid all contact with the outside world. I did see the sun for a short time in the morning though for my daily NYU blood test, and then walked a couple of miles down into Chinatown to get some breakfast at a Chinese cafe (roast pork bun and honey ginger tea). The need to pee (and no toilet at the cafe or even at a local Starbucks) sent me home so that my plans to amble across the Brooklyn Bridge came to nought.
I ate my last meal in the evening and drank mugs of water to hydrate before the midnight hour, at which time I would not be able to eat or drink till after the surgery. It’s amazing how concerned I was about forgetting that all-too-basic yet vitally important pre-surgery rule.
This morning I awoke, showered, and headed out to my retrieval appointment at NYU. I tried to listen to my Circle and Bloom meditation mp3 one last time. The receptionist on the 6th floor wasn’t the most welcoming of souls. She was dismissive and unfriendly – not really the kind of person one wants at the front desk of a surgical unit!! She was amazingly friendly and warm to her colleagues though. If I had been in a feistier mood, I might have said something, but I really wanted to keep my energy focused on nurturing myself. It really is hard to navigate life sometimes without a close support network of family around me. A co-worker recently went in for a procedure that involved sedation as well and she was surrounded by suffocatingly attentive family members. I haven’t had that experience since I lived in NZ in my early 20s. Not that I necessarily needed nervous family members sitting around me to hold my hand, but it would have been nice to have had multiple offers from people wanting to accompany me to this important appointment. I was lucky to have a few, but I know that with family, I would not have needed to feel nervous about waiting for an offer to come. It’s kind of like the feeling near Thanksgiving or Christmas when it’s unclear where I will be and whether I will be invited anywhere. Also, having someone there before the surgery would have helped me remember some of the discharge instructions that they gave me about my antibiotics.
Soon enough I was taken to the clinic area and asked to strip down into the nuddy and put on 2 gowns – one open at the back and the second open at the front – and a silly meshy hat much like a shower cap. I was then taken to the surgery room (or “operating theatre” in kiwi speak) and lay down. The anesthesiologist was a chatty, funny man who calmed my nerves as he inserted the intravenous needles and injected his magic concoctions into me. He asked me how much I drink and I said “I don’t drink” to which he replied “Nothing? Nothing at all? I’m Italian…now I feel bad.” Within a couple of minutes, I was passed out, sedated by the drugs. I never met my retrieval doctor, but I know it was Dr. Berkeley, the wise soul who I spoke to during my canceled cycle.
Before I knew it, I felt a bit of activity “down there” and woke up. I somehow ended up in the recovery room though I can’t remember if I walked there or was pushed there. It took me ages to really want to wake up, even though I could have had I been pushed to. I love to sleep, and I vaguely remember slurring the words “I wish I could have this every night so I can get a good night’s sleep” to which the nurse replied “it’s not real sleep.” I think the nurse wanted me out of there, though she wasn’t super-pushy. She sat me up, made me eat Graham crackers and drink water and apple juice, and then even rubbed my back to get the circulation going again. I’m assuming she was trying to get my floppy, lazy body moving more quickly. I was then told to “void” and then sit in a La-Z-Boy type chair before finally dressing and then leaving. She went over and gave me discharge instructions to take home with me, including the frequency and dosage of pain medications, antibiotics (doxycycline), as well as recommendations about food intake upon my arrival home. I also discovered that they miraculously retrieved 7 eggs. I don’t know how many they will be able to freeze successfully, but that is a much higher number than I was expecting!
I left the recovery room and my Dr. friend was waiting there to pick me up. It was so great to see her and to know that an actual physician, no less, was going to be my escort! I still felt pretty dizzy but enjoyed being outside in the glorious weather. We took the subway home. My nurse, seeing how dopey I appeared, told me to go home, have a snack, then nap. Then eat a larger meal if I could and get into bed again. Having a Dr. by my side meant that I felt ok about breaking all the rules and we ended up going out for a large Polish meal, grabbing supplies from Trader Joe’s, before I finally went home to nap. Maybe I’ll pay for the overexertion tomorrow, but I’m a big walker and I felt so invigorated from the exercise. Although maybe it was the morphine kicking in….hmmm.
Overall, I feel pretty happy about how the day went. I am anxious to find out about the number of eggs that they were actually able to freeze, but I feel confident that I will go forward with a second cycle in the not-too-distant future. Knowing how the procedure works makes me realize that it is all do-able and did not affect my daily life much at all. The injections were a piece of cake and it really, for me, has only been an 11 day procedure from start to finish. The only real barriers to this process are age (and therefore, fertility) and money, and I think I still have a little bit of time on my side as well as some mullah to do it again.