My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 9
This is the continuation of my post, My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 8, where I explained in detail the whole IVF preparation process, which includes the most painful procedure I had ever experienced in my life by far. And I'm talking about the egg collection procedure. Well, let me rephrase that. It was not the procedure itself when I experienced the most excruciating pain, but it's what happened after that.
Prior to egg collection, I had to inject my abdominal area with a variety of medications to stimulate the production of egg cells in my ovaries. Finally, there was the last injection that had to be done to trigger the ovulation, which means, the stage where mature follicles or egg cells would be released from my ovaries. Then, I must be in the clinic and be admitted into the operating room so that they could proceed with the egg retrieval.
I mentioned in my previous post that at the time of the HARVEST, the doctor was able to retrieve 20 egg cells. And that was a lot of egg cells. Mind you, I will already be considered lucky if the doctor is able to collect 5-10 egg cells in one procedure, in one cycle. But that cycle, 20 egg cells were harvested, which gave us a higher chance of having more fertilised cells (the stage wherein my husband's semen is combined with the egg cells - the process of fertilisation).
However, there was a negative side effect of the injected medications. I experienced symptoms, such as unrelieved pain, excessive abdominal bloating and reduced urine output, which were the results of a serious complication called the Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.
What is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome?
According to Flinders Fertility Clinic, OHSS is actually a well-recognised risk or complication of ovarian stimulation for IVF. It occurs when the ovaries become more active due to the ovarian stimulation, which means, in my case, my ovaries became that active that even after the egg retrieval procedure, my ovaries could still be producing more mature egg follicles and therefore, sexual intercourse must be avoided at all cost until everything would get back to normal. Otherwise, it might result in multiple pregnancies which could pose a higher risk for me.
I could not walk for almost a week without feeling that severe abdominal pain. My belly was really bloated that people thought I was already pregnant. At that time, only a few people knew that my husband and I were doing the IVF treatment. There was one time I had to go to Target to buy a gift for my friend's baby shower, and I was really struggling to walk because of the pain. My cousins saw me at the shop and asked me, "Elizabeth, are you pregnant?" I said, "No, I'm not. I have just a big belly, that's all."
You know, when women are asked if they're pregnant even when they're actually not, it can be a little embarrassing. You don't ask a woman that question because it can also be considered offensive to some. In my case, I was not offended at all. I just told them, "I wish I was pregnant, but you know I've just got a big belly, that's all." I couldn't tell them that my bloatedness and laboured movement were due to my ovaries being hyperstimulated from the medications.
These symptoms lasted for days. I was not able to go to work for a week. Thankfully, my ELC Director was very supportive and understanding of my situation. I had to take this medication called "Cabergoline" orally, once a day, for seven days to manage the symptoms and to reduce the risk of complications of ovarian hyperstimulation. I was also advised to drink between 2-3 litres of water a day to prevent dehydration.
Now, it sounded like what I experienced was really bad, but actually those were just mild. Apparently there are some cases just like mine that become more severe and, therefore, will require medical attention and even hospitalisation. Thankfully, I did not reach that point. After seven days, I was back at work. I could run and play with the children at ELC. Also, my belly turned back to its normal size (Haha!!!), maybe just a little bloated, but nothing exercise and workout could not do.
I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His divine protection and healing!!! I was able to endure everything, all throughout the process up to that stage, because of the grace of God. He has protected me and kept me alive. You see, I have nothing to worry about because if He takes care of the animals and all His other creations, He will also look after me and I know He always watches over me. #eyeonsparrow
All throughout the process, I always claim in my heart and with my mouth, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," from the Holy Bible, Philippians 4:13. And another verse, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” from Jeremiah 29:11.
I believe that God will work miracles in my life in His perfect timing and His purpose. His plans for me are much bigger than the plans I have for myself. Even though I sought help from fertility specialists, it doesn't mean that I lost faith in Him, but I know through these medical doctors, He would work miracles, and my life will be a living testimony of how great and amazing and awesome God is!!! Praise Jesus!!!
My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 1
My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 2
My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 3
My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 4
My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 5
My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 6
My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 7
My IVF Pregnancy Journey Part 8