Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Ivf is done, chemo is just about to begin.

I'm not feeling too great tonight as my ovaries have taken a beating today, and I start chemo tomorrow, but I've actually had a pretty wonderful week up until today. It was my husband's fortieth birthday on friday and we spent pretty much most of the week celebrating, going to two concerts and having two parties, in between all of our ivf appointments that is.

On Monday night I took my husband to see Bruce Springsteen and it was incredible especially when you consider he is 63 years old! We had great seats but never really sat down as we were on our feet dancing for most of the show, which went for almost 3hrs. Most of the songs went for 10 minutes, he and the entire band which included a full brass section were doing little dances, he crowd surfed, and did a move on stage that I can't even describe so I have included a photo at the end of this post, but the best part of the whole night was when my husband kept turning to me saying 'best birthday ever'.

Friday was my husband's actual birthday. We had a lovely morning at home and then little birdie and i drove him into work. He had no idea that his wonderful boss, and friend, was throwing him a surprise birthday party which we were secretly invited to. Of course little birdie was the centre of attention (see photo below) and we all had a great time.

On Saturday we had all the family over for a big BBQ/pool party. Unfortunately it was almost ruined by a call i received from ivf as all our guests were arriving. First they asked me if I could postpone my chemo (which was booked in for 3 days time), then they told me my egg collection would be a day earlier than previously planned, then they reminded me of a medication that, unlike everything else I had had to take previously, had to be purchase from a specialised chemist, that day, in the next few hours, from 40 minutes away! I got so worked up that I ended up hiding in my cupboard for a few minutes before I could go out to greet our guests. Luckily it all worked out. I calmed down and my dad and brother went and picked up the medication for me without even being asked. The rest of the day, and night, were a ball.

Then on Sunday night, two of my husbands best friends and I managed to surprise him again by taking him to a secret gig of one of his favourite bands, Leonardo's Bride, that haven't played for twelve years. He had no idea they had reformed and, needless to say we, and more importantly he, had a great night. We also stayed the night in a hotel in the city for the night as my ivf was booked for the next morning so it was a fabulous weekend all round.

Now to the ivf.
Saturday morning was my last ultrasound which showed i had 25 follicles in my very enlarged ovaries (see photo below), which I was quite happy about. Saturday night, I injected myself with my two 'trigger' injections, and was told to be at the ivf clinic exactly 36hrs later to have my eggs collected. We arrived at 6:30am this morning for a 7am procedure. I hadn't really thought about what it would feel like to have my eggs retrieved. I think I assumed it would be about as uncomfortable as a Pap smear, but I was very wrong. I was injected with some pain relief, the internal ultrasound probe was inserted, and then the dr took a needle that was at least 30cm long, and inserted it in you know where, all the way to my ovaries. It was excruciating and felt like the pain of the worst ever urinary tract infection. Eventually the medication brought a bit of relief and I was able to focus enough to look at the ultrasound screen to see the needle go into my follicles and drain the fluid which contains the eggs. The fluid drained into test tubes that were on the table next to me and i watched it change from clear, to pink, to red, which was a bit disturbing. The sharp pain from the needle kept coming and going, and I could feel the dull ache of the ultrasound probe. It wasn't all bad though. We had a Scientist in the room with us which was very cool. He would collect a test tube of fluid, take it over to his microscope which was inside what looked like a humidi crib complete with arm holes, and find each egg, all of which we got to watch on a big tv screen. He managed to find 23 eggs, a number which seemed to impress everyone in the clinic. In recovery he explained to us that in traditional ivf the eggs are put in a dish with the sperm and left alone to fertilise. For us though, they would use a process called icsi, where they inject the sperm directly into the eggs. This would give us an even better chance of having healthy embryos which was important as we won't have another chance to harvest eggs before chemo. In five days time they will freeze all suitable embryos and store them for future use so we can give little birdie a little birdie or sparrow to play with one day.

I spent most of the day resting at home as directed. I originally thought this seemed unnecessary but like i said, i totally underestimated the procedure. I have had pretty bad cramping pain all day and am so swollen that I look six months pregnant, which isn't hard to believe seeing as my ovaries are about four times their regular size from housing all those eggs! I did have to do a few things to prepare for chemo tomorrow though, so i couldn't spend the whole day resting. I saw my oncologist earlier today for my final check up before chemo, I started my steroids- ugh, and this afternoon I had to go pick up another medication before going to the GP to have it administered. It was an implant that had to be injected by a pen-refill-sized needle which will stop me ovulating while undergoing chemo. This is just another precaution that will give us even more of a chance to have another baby down the track by protecting my ovaries from the damage that chemo can do to them.

Anywho, it's now midnight and 10 hours till I start chemo, so I am going to go to bed. I'm not sure how likely it will be that I will go to sleep but I may as well try. Wish me luck!


  1. UGH!! Breast cancer does love giving more crap out...thinking of you

    1. Thanks Anne Marie. Your comments always make me smile x

  2. Your story about the procedure brought back flooding memories of my own. I too underestimated the pain it would cause as well as how sore and bloated I would feel for the week after. It sounds like you got a lot of eggs! We're all 23 successfully frozen? We started out with 18 eggs and then only 14 made it. And after the baby mixing and a few days of waiting for them to mature they determined that only 10 were in good shape so the rest were discarded. So crazy that whole process. The back and forth at the clinic. The shots. The hormones. Ugh I don't miss that!

    We are so fortunate to have been able to do IVF before treatment though.

    It sounds like you had the same ovary suppressive injection as I did too. Four times in total for me. That thing made the hot flashes during chemo even worse. But I was glad to have that added potential safety net of preserving fertility.

    All the best for your first chemo treatment! Hugs

    1. I've been waiting for our results before replying. We got 9 embryos frozen. Yay!

      Thanks so much for your message. I hope you are doing well now x

    2. Woohoo! Great news :) xo