Guest blog :: Chelsea Oliver | @_babytalktime
This article is a continuation of Chelsea and Dan’s story. Read the original article HERE.
The day I started bleeding.
It was meant to come on the 26th but it didn’t, then the 27th, but it didn’t… I can tell you right now I know every single little feeling in my body, I am so in tune with it, I might as well be a doctor. The feeling of excitement — is this our time? Are we pregnant?
On the 28th, I woke up at 5:40am for work, went to the toilet, and as I wiped I saw a light shade of blood on the paper. Without even realising, a small tear dropped from my eye. That was the beginning of our IVF journey.
I signed into a fertility clinic patient portal and logged day 1 of my cycle.
The injections started. What a bizarre process. At 9pm each night we injected ourselves. Women all over the world were doing the same thing for the same outcome, but not many speak of it.
7am scans and blood tests… the production line of women in the waiting room at this time of morning is astounding. One at a time, names get called. It’s a funny place — there is no wondering about what they’re there for, we all know but no one speaks.
My first scan was with the sonographers, Simone… she was beautiful. So calming, so kind and made me feel extremely comfortable, even though I had had a million scans the same in the past, she made it feel like it was my first.
I got a phone call from the fertility clinic to tell me that my scans and blood tests were not as expected. Turns out I didn’t have enough follicles and if I continued on with the medication and egg collection they would have only been able to retrieve a maximum of 3 eggs, a very poor count for someone of my age. The devastation that I felt in that moment is indescribable. The poor lady on the other end of the line could just hear me sobbing, she said they should have put me on a higher dosage of medication. I didn’t even know this was a possibility… it felt like the 8 days of injections were a complete waste of time.
We started all over again. Back in the waiting room with the other 9 women ranging from ages 25-45. There was one lady who brings her young child to the waiting room. I work with children every day so naturally this doesn’t bother me, but I can’t help to think how the others might feel. Do they already have children? Does it pain them to be around children? What are they feeling? One of these days I will bring up the courage and ask the simple question, how are you? All nine of us are on our phones. No one dares to look up in case they see someone they know… Adelaide is a small place after all.
I turned 30 yesterday, and couldn’t celebrate with a glass of bubbles but I was ok with that. As I turned 30 I wondered… now I’m 30 will people stop saying “don’t worry, you’re still young and have plenty of time”. I really do hope so, but also don’t have a lot of faith.
I’m sitting in the waiting room again, waiting for my second round of scans and blood tests. Today will determine if I’m on track for egg retrieval. As I look around there are so many nervous faces. A lot of men are here to support this morning which is lovely to see. What a great result. We are on track. Butterflies appear as this is the real deal. It is really happening. The injections were all worth it.
What a bloody lengthy process. I felt like I had been waiting for this day for years… I guess I kind of had, in a way.
Egg collection day. We were booked in for 7am. I was so incredibly grateful to know two beautiful women who work at my fertility clinic in theatre, so I knew I was in great hands. As Dan and I sat in the waiting room, I didn’t feel nervous. I felt excited. I felt relieved. A small part of me was worried about the number of eggs they would collect, but I felt positive. I remember waking up to see the number seven on my hand and I burst into tears. I was so pleased to have our dear friend Cassie by my side holding my hand, and she assured me it was a great result and that I only needed one. In my groggy state I just couldn’t stop crying, and all I wanted was to see Dan.
When we left the hospital I received a text message on my phone from the clinic — it turns out that they made a mistake. They retrieved eight eggs instead of seven. Eight, can you believe it? Both Dan and my lucky number. I felt hopeful.
Egg collection was on Wednesday, and by Friday morning I had been told that two eggs had died leaving us with six positive eggs. Embryo transfer wasn’t until Monday midday, so we were not in the clear yet. Over the next few days I remember feeling anxious but also mixed with excitement. I consider myself a pretty laid back, chilled kind of person so I think I remained pretty calm to the general public… I mean, I wasn’t a crazy woman anyway!
Another lucky sign — the date was the 8th, our lucky number. This was embryo transfer day. We arrived to hear that we had three really good quality embryos and that the best one would be transferred today. Dan came into the room with me and we both had no idea what to expect. They showed us a picture of the embryo that was going to be transferred — this was potentially our baby and we should have been so excited, but we just had no clue what we were looking at if I’m honest. It just looked like a ball of bubbles. We trusted that they knew what they were doing and let them insert our best quality embryo. Dan felt nervous and didn’t want to stay in the room for the transfer. When I told my friend later that day she said if he had left the room, he technically wouldn’t have been in the room on the day of conception… thank goodness he stayed!
It literally took 15 seconds for the embryo to be transferred inside. Boom. Just like that. I was now potentially growing a human. I crossed my legs and prayed that it grew, but of course… only time will tell. Another waiting game.
Two days later, on Wednesday the 10th of April, my stomach looked like I might as well be pregnant. It was huge. I was so swollen, bloated, cramping and having difficulty breathing… which surely was not normal. Naturally, I did some Google research… Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome is what I narrowed it down to. Then I thought to myself, “shit the bed, what the hell does that even mean??” I called the nurses and they told me to come in right away. Blood test, poke and prod.
I was told that I had OHSS, and by Saturday night I was literally the size of a horse. Sunday morning I was admitted to the Women’s and Children’s. My Emotions were running high and I also had developed pain in my back. I was struggling to breath and experiencing cramps like you wouldn’t believe — actually I’m sure some of you reading this know the exact feeling that I had as apparently it happens to 1 in 20 women… lucky us! I was in hospital for four days and was so grateful to the beautiful nurses at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. They took such good care of me and made me feel incredibly comfortable… well, as comfortable as one could be in the state I was in and sitting in a hospital bed. Lets be honest, they’re bloody uncomfortable and don’t even get me started on those pillows!
While I was in hospital they took my bloods each day, so naturally I asked for my HCG level everyday — it was increasing so things were sounding positive, but I wasn’t too hopeful at this stage with the state I was in.
I got out of hospital and was finally able to do a pee test, and then on the following day (Good Friday) I went back to my fertility clinic for my final blood tests, to see if the embryo transfer had worked and to see if all the injections were worth it. I waited around all day anxiously for the call to say if it was confirmed or not… the results?
Stay tuned for the next chapter…