It was just hours after my egg retrieval. We were home and I was on strict bed rest. My Mom was out getting some food for us, while Ryan stayed home with me. I was pretty out of it and couldn’t do much on my own. I was on some very strong pain meds and my ovaries were very swollen. I needed to use the restroom. Ry helped lift me from the couch and we walked down the hall to our bathroom. I started to feel dizzy as we slowly took each step. Our hallway felt like it was a mile long and it seemed like it took forever to get there. I knew if he let go of me I would probably fall down because I was so imbalanced, so he held me tightly in his arms and eventually we made it there.
In the midst of going pee, the door bell rang. I knew it was my Mom. Ry went to let her in while I sat there on the toilet. Suddenly, an overwhelming heat filled my body. “I’m hot,” I kept telling them. “I’m so hot.” I started to feel like I was going to throw up. The nausea began to really kick in. The Doctor told us this might happen as the anesthetic subsided. I was dry heaving. I had barely eaten anything that day, so there was no food in my stomach to even throw up. It was awful. I still felt hot and clammy. “Can you take off my clothes? I am so hot.” I muttered in a whisper. I started to feel a bit incoherent. Everything was kind of a blur. I had no energy to even lift my head as I spoke mumbled words to Ryan and my Mom. I was stripped down naked , insisting on taking a bath. “I don’t think that’s a good idea sweetheart,” Mom said. She was right and they convinced me to take a shower instead. However, I was still sitting on the toilet and needed to wipe myself. “I can’t wipe myself,” I humbly admitted. Thinking back it is pretty embarrassing to know that I was so out of it that I needed help using the restroom, but in that moment, I didn’t care. I felt like I was going to pass out. My Mom wiped me and they helped me into the shower. Ryan held me as the cool water dripped over my stark naked body. He was fully clothed as he stood there with me in the shower holding me tightly so I wouldn’t fall. “It’s okay sweetie,” he said repeatedly.
Mom and Ryan got me back to our living room, where I dozed in and out of sleep. My Dad and sister came by to visit. My Dad walked through the door with a care bear stuffed animal.
“I was telling the check out lady all about you and she says congratulations.” My Dad is so cute. It made me smile so big.
Everyone was talking as I laid there energy less on the couch. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I popped up gasping for air, holding my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I felt frantic as I didn’t know what to do. My mom thought I was going to puke again, so Ryan grabbed a trash can for me. However, that was clearly not that problem. I was scared and didn’t know how to express that I couldn’t breathe. “Oh my God, I think we need call 911,” I kept thinking, but I couldn’t speak. Finally, I was able to say in a low whisper: “can’t breathe.” Seconds later, an airway opened up and I was breathing heavy and fast. My heart felt like it was going to pop out of my chest. It was so scary and truly, freaked me out.
After that my family calmed me down. My Dad said “Now, if this happens again, you just need to remind yourself that you will get your air back soon because becoming frantic will just make it worse.” However, I didn’t think I would experience this again. Unfortunately, I was wrong and I had a very similar frightening experience right before bed. I popped up gasping for air and had to tell myself “you are going to start breathing soon, don’t freak out.” It was awful. We even called our Doctor late into the night at one point because we were concerned that something was wrong. Unfortunately, it was normal to experience what I was experiencing because they retrieved so many eggs and my swollen ovaries were pushing up against all my other organs making it very uncomfortable and sometimes painful to even breathe normally. The first night I had to sleep sitting up. It was a very rough night and difficult to even fall into a deep sleep.
Day 1 of my recovery was long, agonizing, and exhausting. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize what was ahead in my steps to feeling back to my normal self. My recovery took much longer than anticipated. I was still in so much pain and extremely swollen just a couple days following my retrieval and I knew something wasn’t right. The doctors told me prior to my retrieval that I was the “poster child for hyper stimulation,” and they were right. My recovery should have just been a couple days, at the most, however because I hyper stimulated, it took 2 weeks! It was incredibly frustrating as I didn’t plan for it to take as long as it did. I was literally incapable of doing many normal daily activities on my own. I hadn’t even been outside to stand on our front porch in over a week. I had to postpone several photo shoots and my Mom came by every single day to help me, since Ry had to work. My Mom and sister-in-law bathed me and washed my hair. I truly have never experienced anything more humbling as I sat in the bath tub bare naked, as they washed me. It hurt deeply to laugh or cry for several days due to the swelling. I lived off chicken broth and lost nearly 10 pounds. I wasn’t allowed to have water for 10 days. I think I have tasted every flavor of vitamin water there is. My stomach was as hard as a rock from being so swollen and I felt extremely uncomfortable. It took about 3 weeks after my retrieval before I was finally back to my complete normal self. This was undoubtably the worst physical pain I have ever experienced in my life.
However, despite the misery and pain that I physically and emotionally experienced, I knew God would get me through it. He gave us 14 snowflakes to birth strength and hope in me. He blessed us with friends and family who came to visit and bring dinners. And continually showered my heart in His love and truth.
So many times I used to think our story to parenthood was long and ugly… but the truth is our story is hope and I have never seen God reveal Himself to me in such wondrous ways as I have on this journey. We have 14 snowflakes awaiting their destiny. I know that I am not a Mother, just yet, however I love our snowflakes with the Mother that is inside me. They are mine. I would do anything for them–even if it meant I had to walk this daunting and excruciating journey all over again. Mother’s do whatever they need to do for their children… even when they aren’t even born yet.