I laid flat on my hospital room bed. The blankets were warm and they felt so good on my skin. As I looked around the room, I could feel my heart rate increase. The lights were so bright. My nurses and anesthesiologist were in the room with me. My nurses were so sweet and the sound of their soft and gentle voices were calming. One of them even shared with me that she had been through this before. “You will be just fine,” she said as she took off my glasses, which made everything kind of fuzzy since I can’t see without them. The nurse took my right arm and laid it out flat. “We are just going to put the IV in. You may get a little sleepy,” she said. As they were putting my IV in, they were also strapping my arms and legs down. Even though they did this so nonchalantly, suddenly, my heart was beating fast and I was taking deep breaths to try and relax. I felt like my heart was going to pop out of my chest. I even remember telling my nurses, “I think my heart rate just went up.” Once again, they came over and stared into my eyes. I know we exchanged some words, but I don’t know what. All I can remember telling them was how beautiful their eyes were, striking blue and gorgeous. Before I knew it, I slipped away into “happy land”, as I called it.
One of my greatest worries about the egg retrieval was being sedated. I had never gone under anesthesia before and for some reason I had it in my head that I was going to have a major struggle breathing. Strange, I know. My anxiety about going under was so great that my therapist had to work with me on calming my nerves in order to work through this challenge without having an anxiety attack. Everyone who had experienced anesthesia before had all said there was nothing to worry about. However, I was scared of what it would feel like and how I would respond to it. In my counseling session just a day before my retrieval, I had an amazing encounter with the Lord where He gave me this beautiful vision that calmed my heart so greatly. In my vision, I was in my hospital room already sedated, but I could see myself laying there. I looked so peaceful and their was a glow all around me. My Doctor was already in the midst of extracting my eggs. It was so bright in the room, a golden luminous filled the air. I looked up and could see two massive angels circling my bedside worshipping the King. My heart was immediately at rest. I knew this was from the Lord. And it gave my heart such peace. This was exactly what I needed to face this day with courage and know I could get through it.
My Mom joined Ryan and I at my egg retrieval. I was so glad she could be there with us. We headed down to Reproductive Partners. I was the last surgery of the day because I had the most eggs to be retrieved. It was kind of nice because we had no traffic heading down there and I was able to sleep in. Ry and I locked hands as we headed up the elevator to the surgery center. We waited briefly in the waiting area until my name was called. There were so many things running through my mind, but I was so ready to do this. The nurse came in and got me and we headed back to my hospital room. Ryan came with me. I changed into my hospital gown and sat on my bed while we waited. There was a patient who was in the room next to me who just came out of her egg retrieval. She was still in “happy land”. As the anesthesiologist was explaining some things to her, she stopped him mid sentence and said “Okay, thank you, bye bye.” It was pretty funny and she was clearly still coming off the anesthesia. Finally, I spoke with our Doctor, Dr. Friedman, prior to the surgery and she was so reassuring that all would be great. I couldn’t trust my eggs with a more amazing Doctor. My nerves kicked in a little bit, but I just kept thinking about the angels in the vision the Lord gave me. Ryan prayed over me and my womb and headed out to the waiting area with my mom.
The egg retrieval was precise and fast. I don’t ever remember seeing Dr. Friedman, but she of course, was there. I felt like I was just waking up from a very deep sleep as I laid in my bed in the recovery area with my Mom and Ryan. What happened next is quite a blur to me. Apparently, I am quite a love bug when under anesthetic. From what Mom and Ryan say, I wanted everyone’s address who walked in my room so I could write them a thank you note. I do remember feeling like if I didn’t get their addresses right then and there, I wouldn’t be able to send them a letter. “You were also making a heart with your hands and pumping it towards anyone who walked by,” Ryan told me later. Oh my goodness. That sounds like me. At least even in the midst of loading up on anesthetic, love came out of me.
Our Doctor came in and shared with us that we had 25 eggs retrieved!! WOW. We were so excited. She then, instructed Ryan to go take care of his business. Immediately, Ryan left to go the “naughty room” as we call it. We have certainly learned to embrace certain parts of this journey and one of those things, is Ryan’s sperm. Yes, his sperm. Ryan has 91 million sperm, which is outrageous. We knew soon after his sperm was tested that it would most certainly not be a problem for us. He has stories for days about the awkward “naughty room” experiences and has learned to embrace the uncomfortableness of having his manhood tested. And he will make sure you know his killer number, 91 million. Anyways, while Ryan was gone, my Mom stayed with me. She held my hand. I was in a lot of pain, so the nurse gave me some more medication to help bring the pain level down. About an hour had passed, maybe less, I don’t really remember, but Ryan was already back and our Doctor and Embryologist came in to discuss our eggs and fertilization. Our Embryologist then began to share with us how many of those eggs fertilized with Ryan’s sperm and what the next few days would like like. “Of the 25 eggs retrieved, 18 fertilized. This is wonderful. We will call you on Day 3 and again, on Day 5, to let you know how many survived. Typically, we see about half survive.” Ryan, Mom, and I were overjoyed by these numbers. To think we would have 8-9 embryos was amazing!!! Eventually, my Mom helped me change back into my comfy clothes and the nurses wheeled me in a wheel chair out to the car and we headed home.
My Mom cared for me a lot while I was recovering, which was absolutely miserable and deserves and entire entry all to itself, so I will save that for later. I was incapable of doing so much because the level of pain and discomfort I was in. My Mom, thankfully, dropped everything in her life to literally help take care of me. It was Day 3 and I was laying on the couch while she cleaned my house, God Bless her sweet soul. I didn’t realize it, but my Doctor and Embryologist tried calling and I had missed their call. I called them back right away. I was so excited to hear how our embryos were doing. Both of them were on speaker. They sounded so happy. The joy in their voices was enough to fill my heart with the love from Heaven. “We are just blown away, but all 18 embryos have survived up to now.” Immediately, I burst into tears. Amazing. I called Ryan and I can still remember the joy in his voice as we celebrated our 18 embryos over the phone. By Day 5, we had 12 embryos ready for freezing. All which, our Doctor and Embryologist said were just “so beautiful.” Our Embryologist told us she would call us the next day to discuss the remaining 6 embryos. The following day, we were able to save an additional 2 more, giving us a total of 14 embryos. O M G. God gave us 14 embryos. I was just in awe to see what God was doing and how He richly blessed us. Because our embryos are frozen, they are also called snowflakes. Ryan and I are in love with each and every one of our little snowflakes. And although, we don’t know the outcome and destiny He has for each one of them, we know that they are HOPE for not just Ryan and I, but for you, and for many other couples who are walking the agonizing, yet hopeful path of infertility.