70 little follicles, sitting in a clump

Drum roll please….

They’re harvesting my eggs on Tuesday!

My appointment at the fertility centre this morning started with a very uncomfortable scan, given how little room there is inside of me for my organs at this point, let alone a 6-inch probe. But we saw in excess of 30 follicles on the right ovary and more than 40 on the left, all ranging from 11-17mm.

They are keeping me on a low dose of FSH (the stimulating hormone) over the weekend and triggering me ready for egg collection with something different this time*, all to try to prevent the natural ovulation that happened last time. I have also requested a scan before egg collection so we know what we’re dealing with on the day, to hopefully help manage our expectations a bit.

They’ll harvest my eggs, get a sperm sample from John (other than giving me injections, this is the sum involvement of him in this process, poor thing), and hopefully make some embryos.

However, they are not going to do an embryo transfer this time. They are just going to make the embryos and freeze them. Then it’ll be a 4-6 week wait while they get me ready by bulking up my womb lining and making sure all my hormones are doing the right things, until finally they’ll put one embryo back inside me.

This is all in the interests of preventing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which by all accounts can be a pretty nasty state to get into, with kidney failure and all sorts of nasty problems. So I’m all for preventing that. I’m at high risk due to the sheer number of follicles I have. OHSS starts around the time of triggering egg maturation (Sunday for me), but gets way way worse if you actually get pregnant after that, thanks to the hormones the developing embryo releases.

So it’s best to let my body calm the heck down before trying to grow another human inside it.

Here is a picture of my beautiful follicles. (This is just a cross section of one ovary, which is why you can’t count 30 black follicle sacs in this image.)

So I’m feeling pretty happy that we’re coming to the end of this bit again. And that I seem to have responded faster this time, growing more, larger follicles than last cycle. I hope this means they’ll get more eggs.

I also feel incredibly nervous. This is where it all started to go tits up last time, and I’m worried history will repeat itself and there will be nothing to collect on Tuesday. And even if there is, this is the bit where the emotional side of things gets really intense. In the days after egg collection: Did we get any fertilisation? Did the embryos grow and divide normally? Are they surviving? Are they good quality? And new for this time around… Did they thaw OK? Then back to the two week wait again…

So still a lot ahead. But for today I’m quite cautiously optimistic. A bit.


*This time, rather than giving a hCG trigger shot to tell my eggs to mature, they are using Buserelin. Remember, the agonist? And now we all know why this will work, don’t we? It will stimulate the hormone receptors in my brain. But this time, instead of taking so much that the receptors go deaf to its signal and give up, we’re taking just enough to turn them on and start the ovulation signalling cascade, (which begins with maturing the egg inside the follicle). Then they’ll suck those little eggs out before they know what’s hit them. Well, that’s the plan.

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