A rundown of my egg retrieval process

Our doctor started me off with a relatively high dosage of Gonal-F/Follistim at 375iu daily to stimulate my ovaries, alongside 40 units of low dose HCG daily. These are both given as subcutaneous injections (under the skin) in the lower abdomen near the belly button. I’m not sure what the normal protocol is but my doctor’s office did not show us how to give the injections in-person but rather directed us to watch videos on freedommedteach.com.

I’m supposed to do what?!

I had never given myself an injection before so the first time I was definitely nervous. The needles are small and I’m actually quite good with needles, given my medical history, but giving yourself an injection is an entirely different feeling. I was a bit shaky when giving myself the first injection, and even messed up the Gonal-F by accidentally not injecting all the medication, but I managed to make it work in the end. The anticipation was scarier than the injections themselves and it got easier each time I did them.

It was a process though with refrigerated medications, various syringes, alcohol wipes and gauze pads. I also had to be consistent with timing, so I chose 9pm for my injection time. No matter where I was, that was the time that I would be giving myself injections, and I’d have to bring them in a cooler with ice packs if I wasn’t going to be home.

My protocol started with the Gonal-F/Follistim and low-dose HCG and then every 2-3 days I would have bloodwork and a transvaginal ultrasound between 7-8am. They’d measure my egg follicles and check my hormone levels to ensure the medications were working effectively and to make sure the timing of everything was aligned. It’s a very time-sensitive process. When my blood levels indicated I was near ovulation, I started the Ganirelix injections to stop my body from ovulating. You certainly don’t want to ovulate when you’re trying to collect eggs! 

Lastly, when my egg follicles were measuring around 18-20mm, I stopped the medications and took my two trigger injections. My doctor had me take Lupron and Ovidrel for that. The following day I got bloodwork done to ensure the trigger injections worked and then my procedure was the day after that. All in all, the process took about two weeks leading up to the retrieval. It doesn’t sound like a long time but it really feels like it!

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