31: Egg Retrieval Injections

April 18, 2024

We’ve moved into the injection phase! Meredith is 22 injections in and reporting on all of the wild side effects: vivid dreams, unsupportive family members, and an incredible amount of trash. Truth be told, it’s a lot easier than she anticipated and way more enjoyable than the estrogen priming.

Items Mentioned

Articles Mentioned

Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology’s 2021 National Report


Transcript

In college, my gay best friend and I joked that if we hadn’t found love by 40, we’d have a baby with each other.

20 years later, I’m pulling the rope cord.

From deciding on solo motherhood to choosing IVF, I’m Meredith, and this is The Backup Plan.

We are in to IVF injections.

Guys, I am six days into it.

Let’s check my notes.

Okay, yeah, so today is going to be the sixth day.

You know what this is?

These are all of my needles that I have used for my 18 injections I’ve had so far.

I was right.

Estrogen priming was the difficult part for me.

Now, I don’t want to speak too soon because I do have quite a few days of injections ahead of me, but so far, it’s been pretty easy.

I mean, I’m not going to lie, I am not afraid of injections.

Like it’s just not something that bothers me.

I feel like I’ve talked about this before, but when I go someplace and I get blood drawn, they try to like psych me out like, okay, just calm down.

I’m like, no, it’s fine.

And if I breathe during the process, they’re like, are you okay?

And I’m like, yeah, I’m just breathing.

I like to breathe out when they put the needle in, you know?

I have been recording every single session that I’ve been giving myself shots, and I want to put together like a compilation video of what it all entails and how I’m doing with it.

But for today, I just want to give you guys an update as to what it has been like.

There have been some trials and tribulations.

You know, if I feel my tummy now where all of the shots have gone, it’s I really don’t have like tenderness or anything like that.

I will say that like my boobs are tender and a little bit bigger.

I’m wearing the bras that I stopped wearing because they weren’t fitting and now they do.

So cool.

Other than that, like it’s kind of fine.

Yesterday, I went on a long walk and I could feel it’s hard to describe like where the pain was.

If it like where your legs meet your pelvis, there’s kind of like a big tendon right there.

I would say this like an inch higher than there.

There was like a little bit of like, I don’t know how to describe it.

It’s just kind of like a little bit of a like pinchy pressure.

And I was like, maybe that is my follicles getting bigger and it’s pushing somewhere else.

I don’t know.

But that’s kind of been about it.

The estrogen priming killed my back.

When you saw me last, I was in excruciating pain.

I wasn’t sleeping.

And I am here to report that last night in this very bed, I slept a solid seven hours or something because my sleep has been so bad the past two weeks, like Apple Health notified me and said like, yeah, right girl, because it was a solid two hours less sleep every single night, which is difficult because this is a time where you want to sleep.

This is a time where you want to get a lot of rest.

So I was taking midday naps and stuff, but it just it wasn’t hidden because the problem was I had such bad back pain.

If I was up and moving, I was fine, but I was so tired, I didn’t want to be up and moving.

So I would lay down because I was tired, and then my back would seize up and I had to get up and move around.

So it was just this like never ending cycle that was really terrible.

Every three hours, I was waking up just in excruciating pain.

I slept with a heating pad, which would make me sweaty, which normally wakes me up.

I can tell my body was trying to sleep through the sweating because I’d wake up and be like sweatier than normal, but in more pain, it was just awful.

And I think that now, you know, knock on, knock on wood, I think that back pain is done.

Hopefully tomorrow night, I get another, you know, seven, eight hours of sleep like I just got and like honestly, I woke up this morning and was like, I can do fucking anything.

Like watch out, world’s my oyster.

Like I woke up kind of with like Christmas morning feeling.

It felt great.

It felt great, guys, felt really nice and I just feel better today.

Am I having hormonal anxieties?

Maybe?

Sites of family troubles crop up this week that aren’t really outside of the bounds of anything I regularly experience.

They are ever present.

Nothing between my mom and I, but it did kind of set me on edge.

I did cry about it a lot, but I’ve cried about it in the past.

So it’s hard to tell what it was.

It did coincide with another situation that we’ll talk about as I kind of go through the rundown of my days.

It just made me really, really upset.

So I don’t think the I don’t think the hormones are affecting me.

I think it’s all just kind of normal.

So let’s go through a day by day, my last five days of injections, and I’ll let you guys know kind of how those played out.

And then at the end, there’s going to be a whole compilation video of everything that’ll be released on YouTube that you can go check out.

Day one, like actually getting all the medication together, it was overwhelming.

So there are three shots that I’m taking in the evenings right now.

So it’s Menopur, it is Falastim and Zomactin.

You would think because they’re all just shots, they would all be prepared the same way, but they’re all prepared a totally different way.

The Menopur, I have two bottles that I have to mix with a little bottle of sterilized water.

Then I have the Falastim, which goes into a pen.

And then I have the Zomactin, which I have to mix into a bottle.

And then this little tiny bottle, I use multiple days in a row.

That stays with me.

So I have a different needle I have to get to put that into.

Each one is done a little bit differently, but kind of similarly.

So sometimes it can get a little bit confusing.

And that first day in particular, I was really nervous because I was like, I need an hour to prep for all these different things.

Now that I’ve done five days of shots, I can prepare it a little bit faster.

I know it a little bit better, but that doesn’t mean mistakes aren’t made.

And again, we’ll get to that.

Day one, I was still just contending with these really bad back pains.

And the back pains were shooting into different areas.

So I know it’s all kind of related to my uterus.

But I was like, why am I feeling it up in my ribs, like up in the back?

And then I would kind of feel it around the side of my ribs, too.

It’s kind of like, you know, when you get that gas that gets trapped in, like, your shoulder, like I’ve talked to some people about this and they’re like, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

And then I’ve talked to other friends who are as gassy as I am.

And they’re like, oh, yeah, like elbow gas.

And I was like, yeah, man.

It kind of felt like that.

It felt like pain that was just being redirected into different places.

And I just felt stiff all over.

So actually giving the shots was fine that night.

I did that in this bed.

That’s why I’m recording for my bed today, because it just feels appropriate because she’s seeing me through a lot.

Laying down wasn’t difficult.

So then the next day I thought, oh, maybe I’ll just sit up on the couch and I’ll do it on the couch this time.

For whatever reason, like the angle just wasn’t as good as laying down.

Laying down seems to work for me well if I’m propped up a little bit too.

The second day, I had leggings on and I was like, I just wished I had sweatpants that I could pull down further because negotiating leggings and like love handles and grabbing tummy fat and it was all too much.

I learned that doing the menopure first is the way to go for me because I want to get the worst of it over.

So I really don’t like feel anything and the needles, it’s almost like a mosquito bite.

The menopure is a little bit bigger and then as I’m putting it in, I feel it going in and it says sting.

It does burn.

It’s kind of like a cold burn and it seems like there’s more of that medication I have to pump in.

That one I did last on the first day and I was like, oh, this is easy.

Oh, this is easy.

So I learned just do that one first and let it sit for a second and then do the other two because they’re easier.

Zmaktan is the easiest.

It’s in a very tiny little syringe and it’s got a very tiny little needle and it just goes in really quick.

It’s a very small amount of liquid.

The fallow stem would be easy if it was just one, it’s a pen, so it kind of looks like an Epi pen or something like that.

And you just push down on like pushing a ballpoint pen and the syringe on it.

It’s very short, very tiny, very fine.

However, so I have to take 300 milliliters of that one.

So I have 300 milliliter vials, but the vials are all overfilled.

It behooves me to use the entire vial.

So I prepare it and then I have to bring with me an extra vial.

So I’ve been preparing everything in the kitchen and then I bring it into my room on a tray, my mise en place, as Arianna said.

So when I do that, it’s like I prepare the follow-up pen, but then I also prepare, bring with me another vial, bring with me another needle because then I put in as much as I can and then the pen stops and I look and I see however many milliliters I have left like 75 or 200 or 100, whatever.

So then I have to switch out, put another vial in the pen and do it all over again.

What should just be three shots sometimes is four shots a night and that is annoying.

That’s just annoying.

I wish I had like a big follow-up pen that had all of my medication just every night.

I could just use it, but and just for clarity, the pen, you put a new syringe on the top of it every time you use it, you don’t keep using the same syringe over and over.

So yeah, so that second night, that was when I learned, oh, I’m going to keep using this pen.

I have to prepare myself.

I feel like after that night of shots, I took a note here and I wrote down that I felt energy in my love handles.

Make a shot every time I say love handles in this episode.

It was just like a weird kind of zip kind of, but I haven’t felt anything since then.

The only like feeling I feel afterwards now is the feeling of the men appear when it goes in and sometimes like for a second or two after I just sit there with a little ice pack on it.

And a note on ice packs.

I got these little ice packs from Amazon, which I will link below any item I’m mentioning link it below.

And if you click on that link, I’ll get a little bit of a kickback, which as a single mom soon to be not a bad thing.

I got these little round ice packs.

It was a pack of I think five of them.

And then it came with sort of an ace bandage that has a pocket in it.

And so it’s great because when I have a migraine, I can put it around my head like a World War I veteran or before my shots, as I’m prepping all of this, I put it on like a belt and I kind of look at my belly and go, okay, where am I least bruised today?

Where did I do my last shots?

And I just wear it on my belly.

And so then that way for the 20 minutes or so that I’m preparing all the shots because unwrapping all the stuff takes a long time.

Everything is wrapped in plastic.

I have that iced.

So then I do the menopure and then I put the ice pack on, which is nice.

Also a note on the wrapping, there’s so much trash and I’m trying to be really good about separating it.

And obviously all the sharps go in the sharp container.

But like if there’s plastic wrap, I save that for like my plastic wrap recycling.

And if there are little caps that come off that don’t go on the syringes, but they go on either from something else, whatever, I’ll put that in the recycling and everything.

So I’m trying to be as sustainable as possible, but it’s very difficult.

And I realized on that night, too, that I’ve gained some weight.

I gained since COVID and the loss of my dad and all the grief that ensued from that.

I’ve gained about 30 pounds.

And I’m not necessarily mad about it right now because it gives me a good little like skin to pinch.

It’s a good little little pad of fat to put this into and I’m like, this would be so much harder if I was a skinny mini.

I just feel like it would be going like right into muscle and that can be painful.

So let’s be grateful for the bodies we have at the moment, right?

Also night two is when I noticed that my dreams are a little bit more vivid sense taking all of this stuff.

So I’ve had some really strange dreams.

And if you’re into dream analysis, like please tell me like, what does it mean when you dream about big cavernous spaces?

Like I have dreams about there’s this version of Vegas in my head.

And I’ve been to Vegas and it’s not that Vegas, but it’s sort of a similar thing where there are all these like really big sprawling spaces connected.

And then I also have this version of like Waikiki that is the same, which is not a bent Waikiki.

It’s not like that.

But I have these dreams of these big sprawling spaces.

And I had a dream that I worked at the Apple Store again, which I worked there for a year back in like 2013.

And I had a dream that I went back to work there for a day.

And it wasn’t the tiny little store I worked in.

It was this like, like three or four Best Buy’s.

Like imagine an Apple Store that was like a Costco or something like very, very strange.

And so that night in particular, I’m trying to remember the dreams that I have to because they’re so strange.

I had a dream that I was like in directing class, which is a class I took for my theater major.

But it was like a film directing class, and like you could only film during the class.

Like so you had to film a short in a two hour class, which is impossible.

Not impossible.

For the scope I had, it was impossible.

But like Harrison Ford was there and he like I had him explain to everybody who Steven Spielberg was.

And then later, Tom Holland and Zendaya were there.

But we were all like best friends, but like obviously they were together and I was like happy for them.

And I was just like so grateful that I got to share in their love.

But Tom Holland was mad at me because I had made friends with Hunter Schaefer in another class and I was like, she’s just a classmate.

Like I’m not like friends with her.

And I guess she had hurt Zendaya in some way, maybe during filming of Euphoria.

I don’t know.

It was very weird, but Tom Holland was very small and he was crying in a bathtub.

So the next night, night three, I was dreaming about these are my notes, dolphin training, Vin Diesel, New Zealand lunch buffet, hamburger, hamburger train, begging a cook to make me eggs.

What does it mean?

Vin Diesel was there.

I think he, he wasn’t a dolphin trainer, but he was like familiar with the dolphins.

Like he was a friend of the trainers and we were in New Zealand.

I don’t know who we was, but just like I knew I was with a group of people and there was a lunch buffet, but like it was brunch time.

And some of the people that I was with, it was like, I think it was a group like vacation.

And some of the people I was with had gotten breakfast items, but I was like talking to people, maybe the dolphin trainers and missed it.

And so I like asked the cook behind the lunch buffet.

I’m like, I know you’ve put out the lunch food, but can I please have eggs?

Like what can, what do I have to do for you to make me eggs?

And he’s like, oh, there’s some stuff over there.

And I went and there was like a machine that made this.

There’s a machine that made hamburgers, but it was a train.

It was a hamburger train.

So a little train like went around the track and it was like assembly line of it would like it was very like Willy Wonka in fashion, like.

So that was day three.

Day three, I went back to the bed too.

So I was just I had a little comfy space.

Day four was when I had my emotional breakdown.

As mentioned before, the Menopur bottles, I have three of those and I have one Zomactin bottle.

So they’re all the same size.

I also mentioned earlier, there is a lot of trash that is involved with this.

Maybe you see where I’m going with this.

Day four, I got out all my stuff to prep and I was like, where is my Zomactin bottle?

Where is the $600 vial of Zomactin in the trash?

I threw it away.

Because everything is just all together and there’s so little liquid in the Zomactin vial.

So I’d already done three shots with it, but there were probably like another two shots in there, which does mean I’m gonna have to buy another bottle of Zomactin.

And this is the one that I was like considering going to Tijuana to get, like it’s difficult to get.

There’s no other place to get it except for Schraff’s, which is fine.

They have it.

It’s not the end of the world.

I FaceTime my mom as I’m doing all this because she wants to be involved and she wants to support and she feels terrible that she’s not here right now.

So she was telling me it’s fine.

It’s sort of this ingrained thing I have from when I was a kid of like screwing things up and this mortal fear of like, what am I gonna do?

This is the end of the world and I just felt like shit.

This is the end of the world.

You know, she is helping me pay for this medication.

It would be one thing if I had totally disposable income and it was like, it’s fine.

I’ll buy it.

But that stuff is like priceless to me at this moment, although there is price on it and my mom can help and we’re okay and it’ll be fine.

But it was a really shitty shitty feeling and then coupled with a family drama that I’m going through, I just sobbed.

I cried so hard.

I think it was a good breakdown that I needed to have.

I don’t begrudge myself it, you know, like I needed to feel those feelings and ultimately I feel like stronger for it.

The drama that’s going on with my family and the ways that certain people have reacted to the process or not reacted to the process either.

It’s illuminating.

The support that I’m getting from people really shows me like they may be friends, but that’s my family.

Those are my people, the ones that are there supporting me, not the people who don’t support me.

I’ll just leave it at that.

So I don’t want to stir up any more trouble.

That was a hard night.

And then yesterday I went to the doctor to get all my follicles checked and everything looks great.

I had my labs taken.

They said to maintain the same dosage that I’m taking right now.

I had a trans vag ultrasound and she counted all my ovaries and most of them are growing.

Most of them are responding pretty well.

My tech said that sometimes she’s really funny.

She uses a party analogy and she also listens to this podcast.

So hey girl, but she uses the party analogy of like, we’re having a party right now.

This is like a little like follicle dance party and I’ve invited all of them, but some don’t RSVP and some that didn’t RSVP do end up showing up and some that do show up don’t want to take the drugs because they’re not interested in the drugs, but they may be interested in the drugs later after they see how much fun everybody’s having.

I asked to, it was like, how about plus ones?

Do we have any plus ones?

And she was like, yeah, sometimes a follicle might drop two eggs.

So you never know.

And we just maintain a certain course here.

And, you know, we just keep hosting the party and that’s all I’m doing is just hosting a little party in my belly.

I’m feeling good now that I’ve gotten a full night’s rest and I went for that long walk yesterday and I also went to the grocery store and stocked up on like hella snacks.

So I’m, I’m set.

I just, everything is feeling good except for the family drama.

Everything is feeling good.

I’m just touched by the response I’m getting from people and touched by the messages that I’m getting from you guys.

It’s just nice.

I will say that during this period, it is really difficult to maintain a sense of like realistic thinking versus optimistic thinking.

And it really isn’t a versus thing.

It shouldn’t have to be a versus thing.

It’s it’s an and thing.

They just have to live together.

But it’s really hard to keep thinking to myself positively of like, this is great.

This is going well.

Everything is going to work out just fine.

Coupled with, well, IVF only works 50 percent of the time.

I did have a conversation with Michael yesterday, which was really great because he’s had some different thoughts about our arrangement that he’s been, I don’t want to say struggling isn’t the right word, but just like considering in his mind.

And he has sought out people who were like the children of donors raised by single moms and stuff.

And he was able to have a really good conversation with a friend of his who allayed some of the fears he’s been having.

And then we ended up talking about it.

And again, I mentioned this in the past, but just I can’t help but feel like what he and I are pursuing is so much more planned out than like so many pregnancies I’ve witnessed.

Like not to hate on y’all if you’re a heterosexual couple who just had a baby, but like, like, damn, we’re talking about our feelings a lot.

And we’re like talking through like how we feel about discipline and how we feel about education and how we feel about like worldliness and like, it just, it just feels good.

It just feels like so in sync.

And I couldn’t be more glad that I’m doing it with him.

Like I have this question about do I want to do the embryo testing when the time comes?

And I love that I can go to him and be like, can you watch this couple of YouTube videos and like, tell me what you think because you are like, lab work is that is his line of business.

He understands it really well.

So I’m like, watch these videos and tell me what you think.

And I will get a solid answer from him.

It’s just great.

I’m just, I’m just really tickled.

What else did we talk about?

Oh my god, there’s something else that we talked about that was like so relevant to what I’m recording right now.

And it’s just gone out of my head.

Maybe I’m getting a little forgetful on the hormones, maybe just a little bit.

See earlier when I said I threw away a $600 vial of medication.

Oh, I know.

And I was talking to Michael and I said, this is the rate of success for IVF, right?

It’s like 50% or whatever.

I don’t have the actual number in front of me.

I’ll put it at the bottom.

I’ll put it right here if you’re watching on YouTube.

When was that study done and who was it done on?

Because a lot of people that have pursued IVF in the past have done it because of fertility issues, right?

I don’t have a fertility issue.

Like my numbers are relatively good.

Michael’s numbers are relatively good.

They’re his, I mean, if they’re, we’re at average or better for our age.

We also, neither of us smoke.

I drink more than he does.

But I also like go through really long bouts of sobriety because I just don’t, I’m not going out or I just don’t have an interest in it like I used to.

So he stays pretty active.

I’m a fidgeter by nature, so I’m always up and around and flitting about.

So active enough.

Like I wonder what the success rate is on IVF for people who don’t have fertility issues, right?

Like, am I crazy to think that I’m in a better spot because health wise I’m in a better spot?

I don’t know.

That being said, I turn 40 in January.

So you know, who knows?

Who knows?

I just overall right now I feel good and I want to maintain that and trying to eliminate the things in my life that are causing me stress, taking it slow and going with the flow, baby, enjoying my doctor’s appointments, because my gals at the kind body in Newport are great.

We’re moving into the actual office, so no more visiting the RV.

Although I hope I really don’t have to go to the office because everything worked in the RV.

I have an appointment tomorrow, and we’re just going to keep checking and then once I get to I think they said something like 18 mil.

When my follicles grow to be about twice the size they are right now, is when I start taking an additional shot.

And I guess sometime next week is going to be the egg retrieval.

Nervous because I haven’t lined anybody up to take me to that and that’s going to be a thing.

Yeah, I just want this to work and I just want to have a little nugget right here.

The bassinets can be on this side.

I hope that I don’t have to look back on these videos and be sad about planning as much as I did.

But I just feel good about it.

It just feels like the right time.

It feels like everything’s lining up.

Just keep wishing me luck and you know, rate, review, subscribe, like, share, do all the things that you can do.

If you have a friend that you think could benefit from this, please send it along and thank you again for all the wonderful things you guys are saying and all the well wishes I’m getting and I’ll see you next week.

The Backup Plan is created, produced and hosted by me, Meredith Kate.

Julian Hagins is my co-producer.

You can find us on social media at Backup Plan Pod.

The best place to get updates is to sign up for our newsletter at backupplanpod.com where we also post all episodes, show notes and transcripts.

You may also like…

34: Blastocysts

After a week of waiting, Meredith learns how many of her fertilized eggs have become full fledged embryos. She shares how she found out, how she’s feeling, and what’s up next.

33: Egg Retrieval Surgery

What’s it like to have an egg retrieval for IVF at KindBody? Meredith just had hers and she’s here to share the results – how many eggs were retrieved, how many were mature, and how many were fertilized with her gay best friend’s sperm.

Subscribe the The Back Up Plan Newsletter

Our newsletter is the best way to receive the latest news and updates!

You have Successfully Subscribed!