23 October 2013

Our Egg Retrieval

It was a dream to get to the stage where we could do the egg retrieval.  PROGRESS!

During the drive in, Danny played some of our favorite love songs.  Like this one.  My heart was so full.  My gratitude for my dear partner has consumed me each day of this process.

Four years ago, I drove through the Battery Tunnel to go and pick up Danny and meet him for the very first time.  It was the most exciting day of my life.  I was so in love, so happy, and surprisingly, so very much at peace.  I remember screaming out of pure happiness as I drove through this tunnel.  That memory is seared on my brain forever...and I think of it every single time I drive through that tunnel, as I did that day.

We made it to the office on time.  So glad.  Everything has to be timed perfectly according to the ovulation trigger shot I took at 2:30 am that morning.

Our hopes were high.  I had 15 follicles going in.  (This was more than the 7 follicles I had last time.)

Follicles contain the eggs.  Sometimes you can have a follicle without an egg inside or sometimes the eggs won't be good quality, so there's no guarantee regarding how many you'll end up with after the retrieval.

Time to prepare for the operating room.  Danny didn't get to join me for this part.  During the retrieval, I was put out by general anesthesia.  They go in with a needle (something I prefer not to think about) and they retrieve the eggs from the ovaries.

Last time the process turned out to be easy for me, so this time I felt quite calm approaching this experience.  When they called my name, I gave Danny a kiss in the waiting area and then changed into the hospital gown.  They soon called me in, I got an IV, and I waited for the Dr. to start the anesthesia. He said I'd be out in 10 seconds.  I always close my eyes.  The thought of going out with my eyes still open is a bit too much for me.  A few seconds in he asked, "Are you asleep yet?"  I felt normal and said, "nope." And then RUUUUSH....  It's like a bubbly, tingling sensation, as if your consciousness is being shut off by rising particles or champagne bubbles in your brain. It happens so fast.

The next thing that happens is you find yourself being woken up by the doctor.  The whole procedure takes about 30 minutes or so, depending on how many follicles you have.  But on my end, it feels like a short nap.  The doctor was calling my name and as I was waking up and feeling groggy...I think I said something to him and used the word, "honey."  oh dear.  And then I realized it and said, "Oops, I thought you were my husband." :)   They had me walk to a room nearby for recovery and they had Danny come in there to be with me.  It is always so wonderful to have Danny by my side.  He is the most comforting presence in the world to me.

After my first egg retrieval, I did not have any pain after.

This time, I had a completely different experience.

As I laid on that bed, my lower abdomen began cramping soooo badly that all I could do was roll around on that bed, changing positions, probably moaning, wincing, probably saying, "oh my gosh" over and over.  The doctor said cramping was completely normal.

Somewhere in there we got the news that we got 9 eggs instead of the hopeful 15.  Because of an accent, the nurse actually thought the doctor said we got "none." So actually, 9 was way, way better than none!

After about an hour of intense pain, the cramping lessened enough that I could stand up and change and we could head out.

The next step was to wait and see how many eggs would fertilize.

Danny hooked us up with that part.  :)

And then we went to a restaurant as soon as possible.  It was about 4 pm and due to the anesthesia, I hadn't eaten since dinner time the night before.  I was FAMISHED.  We stopped for tacos in Brooklyn.

When we got home, we were surprised by these flowers awaiting us.  Some of our dearest friends were staying with us for the weekend. It was wonderful to have them there...they are some of my oldest friends who used to live in Brooklyn, and they feel more like family.

 The cramping continued to subside as I rested on the couch at home.  And life was good again.

P.S.  We felt so badly, but on this day, we were supposed to speak at a huge singles conference in Washington D.C.  We had to cancel due to this procedure.


  1. I'm so glad to hear from you again. We all missed you here in your corner of the internet. Take care of yourself! We're praying for you!

  2. Sending prayers and positive thoughts your way, Mara! I know that IVF is incredibly rigorous and taxing on the body, so keep taking good care of yourself. Very glad to have you back!:)

  3. Hi Mara. Sounds like a relatively successful, although grueling, experience.

    I was reading through your blog from yesterday again and empathizing with many of your thoughts. IVF is so intense and so unnatural in many ways (most ways), so yes, it's easy to see how it can feel abusive to your body. Especially when you spend enormous amounts of time trying to cultivate healthy emotions, energy, nutrients and relationships! Nothing could be more unnatural than injecting things and taking things from your system. So I think it's completely understandable that in the midst of all of this, your ache/desire to be a parent wanes. I've been training to be a surgeon for so many years - college, medical school, graduate school, residency - and the residency is the hardest part. Endless hours, no sleep, sick patients you can't help, abusive coworkers -- so many times along the way I've questioned if I want to do it at all. Where are those feelings of joy, passion, love for something I've spent years dedicated towards? The truth is, nothing comes easy and the process itself can completely obscure your intent in the first place. My conclusion is that you can't make a judgment when you're "in it." You won't know how you really feel about children again until the IVF process is over. So give yourself some time and a break! You won't know until you're on the other side and all the chaos dies down. I wish you all the best on this journey. My best to Danny too!

    1. Hi Marlene, thanks for your thoughts. I know it would be very unwise to make decisions while going through IVF. But unfortunately, my desire for children has barely been there for about 2 years...long before we did IVF. I know I could certainly change my mind one day, but I guess at the moment I don't think it's wise for me to force it anymore. Of course, we'll embrace whatever comes...including, of course, a pregnancy, if it happens. But sadly, my desire to continue the pursuit is not there.

  4. I have missed your posts! Sending love and so much good to you both! xx

  5. I was so excited to see a post from you in my reader today! Kind of weird how much I missed you too...and I don't even KNOW you. Sending love, keep resting!

  6. hello Mara, 9 eggs is really good. The other eggs or empty follicles were probably ones your body wouldn't have picked anyway. Good luck with everything. You didn't have to explain anything in your past post about your absence but it was wonderful to read and know you're well.

  7. Guess what girl - 9 eggs is exactly the number I had after my retrieval! 6 fertilized. I'm now pregnant with twins! 9 is a very lucky number. xoxoxo

    PS. I was actually awake for my retrieval, just drugged up. I didn't have too much pain, and it was kinda cool because I could watch on the screen as they extracted the follicles. Hubby was beside me and watched the whole thing too.

  8. your skin is flawless, and you look beautiful! good luck!

  9. mara + danny, so happy to have an update from you! sorry to hear that the last few weeks have been so trying but i am sending so many good vibes, prayers + thoughts your way to (hopefully) help strengthen you during this process. i think all of your readers are holding their collective breaths in hopes for a happy + healthy outcome for you...take care!

  10. Love your glasses! What brand?

  11. I really like Marlene's comments above.. you're really in the trenches right now - and trenches are not generally conducive to expansive perspectives. Despite how well you've mastered flexibility, I think you still like to have a concrete life plan. Sometimes we are forced to recognize what an ethereal and flighty thing a life plan is, compared to life actually lived. It's okay to sometimes say, I have no idea what the future is going to look like, and to wait a spell before rebuilding expectations. Lots of love and (admittedly relieved) prayers continuing your way friends.

  12. I've missed you and Danny in this space. Hoping for you.

  13. I am loving these updates and wishing all the very best for your whole little family! I'm also glad you selected Pearl Jam. That particular song has the most.....anchoring kind of sad and calm and resolute determination. It saw me through a rough breakup. Just Breathe, indeed!

  14. Thanks for sharing your IVF story--all of the steps & emotions. This helps me understand what a couple goes through.

  15. Mara, I know I have never commented on your blog before. I am not very connected in that way, but I always go back to yours because I have so much admiration for you and I feel a deep sense of gratitude for someone who thinks and expresses themselves similarly. I feel like I know you, and I appreciate your openness. My best friend and I were just talking about you the other day and how wonderful and inspirational your blog is, and how taking you and Danny to dinner if we ever came to NYC would be like a dream... You are like some kind of celebrity to us:) It breaks my heart to read what you have been going through, and I wish I could share something that could help you, as you helped so many people through your words. You are lovely, my dear and I wish you deep and abiding peace as your journey on.


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