I got some discouraging news yesterday. I’ve been on cloud nine since we started the IVF process, so this really brought me back down to earth, to say the least. To be honest, it really devastated me.
We knew going into IVF that I would be at high risk for hyper-sitmulation (due to PCOS, and to my age), which is why I have been at the doctor’s office every day for the past several days for monitoring (blood work and ultrasound). Everything looked great Tuesday. I had lots of follicles on both ovaries, and although they were still a bit small, the doctor and nurse assured me that this was nothing to be concerned about. They assured me that they would grow, and we would be on track for the egg retrieval in a few days. My estrogen level on Tuesday was just over 1,700.
Then yesterday, all of a sudden, I had even more follicles than I did the day before, some still very small, and some quite large. My estrogen level was just under 3,000. The nurse explained to me that it looks as though my ovaries are hyper stimulated.
And sure enough, I am experiencing ALL of the symptoms that accompany ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome:
- Severe bloating
- Abdominal pain
- Mild nausea
- Significant weight gain
- Trouble urinating
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
Here are some things to do at home to help relieve the OHSS symptoms:
- Stop exercising, but maintain light activity.
- Put your feet up. This can help your body get rid of some of the extra fluid it’s retaining.
- Avoid sex until you feel better.
- Drink lots of V8 juice and Gatorade.
- Consume plenty of fiber.
- Snack on salty foods.
So what does hyper-stimulation mean for our IVF cycle? Well, when I learned this, I had an absolute breakdown. My nurse warned me that, although we will still be able to move forward with the egg retrieval, we will most likely not be able to do a 3-5 day transfer, as was the original plan, and as is ideal.
Instead, we will freeze any embryos that we get after the retrieval, and use them next month. The nurse assured me that frozen embryo transfers have nearly the same success rate as fresh embryo transfers. While I appreciate her effort, this was not comforting to me at all. I will go off all the meds, begin a period on my own, and then we will begin monitoring, meds, etc.
The medications I will take will be to help the lining of the uterus become ready for implantation. Estrogen and progesterone injections will be given every third day for 2-3 weeks, and then my lining will be checked via ultrasound. No super-ovulation drugs will be necessary this time around.
There is a small, small chance that it will not come to this, and that we will be able to proceed with a fresh, day five transfer next week, but it is highly unlikely. The nurse told me to go ahead and prepare mentally for a delay.
I am incredibly discouraged. I realize that in the scheme of things, waiting one more month should not feel like a long time, but somehow, it does.
If any of you become hyper-stimulated, or think you have become hyper-stimulated, please email me! There are so many intimate details you will want to be aware of, but I felt like sharing them here was a bit TMI.
This morning’s devotion was perfect for today:
“Do not let unexpected problems distract you from My presence. Instead, talk with Me about everything, and watch confidently to see what I will do. Adversity need not interrupt your communication with Me. When things go “wrong,” you tend to react as if you’re being punished. Instead of this negative response, try to view difficulties as blessings in disguise. Make me your Refuge by pouring out your heart to Me, trusting in Me at all times.
-Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice.” -Psalm 55:17
“You are my hiding place. You will keep me out of trouble and envelop me with songs that remind me I am free.” – Psalm 32:7, The Voice translation
“Have faith in Him in all circumstances, dear people. Open your heart to Him; the True God shelters us in His arms.” – Psalm 62:8