It’s funny how one little task, such as boiling eggs, can make your mind drift to a significant moment in your life. For real though, I am boiling 10 eggs this morning as we like to have hard boiled eggs on hand in the fridge. If you like eggs, you should try having them on hand. They make for an easy go to- snack, a great salad topping and you can easily whip up egg salad sandwiches for lunch when in a bind. Not to mention, it is something that my 5 year old actually eats that are good for her! Hard boiled eggs is not the topic I wanted to discuss though. What I wanted to discuss is where my mind wandered too when I first grabbed the eggs out of the fridge this morning. Two words: Retrieval Day.
During the IVF process, Retrieval Day is one of the many nerve wracking days in this process. All those medications I took and all the shots I received were prepping my body to have enough eggs to fertilize and make embryos. I say embryos in the plural form because I think most people’s goals is to have multiple embryos as an outcome. At least for me, that was my wish.
I remember that morning like it was yesterday. My husband and I arrived to the clinic in Gurnee, IL after a couple hour drive, from WI, that was filled with both anticipation and fear. There were lots of quiet moments on that drive as we both were consumed with our own thoughts and yet there were also some moments with small talk because our nerves were getting the best of us. When we arrived in the parking lot that morning, I remember that reality truly hit me in that moment that we were doing this. Which is strange, because one would think reality would hit you the moment that big box of medications is delivered to your front door and all those overwhelming feelings settle in your chest and there is a $5000+ charge to your VISA from Braun Pharmacare. It was truly one of those feelings I will never forget, and I remember taking a deep breath, got out of my car and felt that this was my time to be brave. It was also our time in general. I kept telling myself this over and over and over as we walked to the door, “you’ve got this, you’ve got this, you’ve got this.” On a funny note, I was really trying to tell my brain and my body everything I could to distract myself from the fact that I had to pee so bad (you are instructed that you need a full bladder for the actual retrieval and it was honestly the worst part of the whole process).
When we got inside the clinic, we waited a very minimal time in the waiting room, but I honestly remember it feeling like an eternity. When my name was called to come back to my room and get prepped for the retrieval, my heart skipped a beat but I could also feel the smile of anticipation and excitement spread across my face. The smile came from a place of this being such an pivotal moment in this process and the fact that we were one step closer to our embryos.
After being prepped, there was a short amount of time my husband and just he and I before I was wheeled back to the room where my eggs were being retrieved. I remember my husband had ants in his pants (meaning he just couldn’t sit still) and he looked pretty darn nervous. When I was finally wheeled away, I don’t remember too much of being in the actual room since I was put under.
When I was wheeled back into recovery, I wasn’t there too long before looking at my hands and thinking, Oh I guess they don’t write the number of eggs retrieved, in maker, on my hand like you hear some clinics do. I looked to my husband instead, thinking he may have got the answer before me but he said they didn’t tell him anything yet. A few minutes went by (the longest few minutes of my life) and finally Dr. Sherbahn came into the room. He first asked how I was feeling and then got down to business.
I remember this part so clearly. Dr. Sherbahn next asked, looking directly at me, “So, how many eggs do you think we got?”. I remember thinking to myself that his face gave no clear cut answer as to if the number was good or bad or if we even got any eggs for that matter. My expectation for eggs, was at least 20. I again, remember looking at my doctors face before blurting this number out confidently and instead of giving him a number I looked at him in the eye and instead said, “Any number is better then none. So, it is my hope that we got at least one.” He again, very stone faced looked at me and said, “Well, I had high expectations for you myself and all has gone smoothly so far with treatment (my heart then began to sink) but we only got 4 eggs Nichole.” I could feel the disappointment swell my entire being and then I felt deflated. However, a little voice inside kept whispering positive thoughts saying, “Nichole, be overjoyed that you got 4. It only takes 1. It only takes one quality egg.” With that little voice, I decided to smile instead of cry.
With those 4 eggs, in the days forward, we ended up having 3 embryos. Two of which embryos made it to transfer, the 3rd arresting before freeze. Fast forward to today, we have 1 beautiful, thriving, healthy & happy baby girl that we brought home. I share this glimpse of my IVf experience with you because it is truly something you never forget. As life continues on, it amazes me how one little instance can stop me in my tracks and take me back to certain days in my journey-like today just boiling eggs! I also share this tid bit with you in my journey to continue to give those of you out there just a little bit more hope and hopefully you listen to that little positive voice that is whispering within you during a time when so much is against you and there is so much despair. I haven’t talked about my IVF journey for quite some time but I felt compelled to share this with you all today. I really hope that it spoke to you in someway, shape or form!