Quick preface and exactly as I mentioned in my past posts… fertility can be a very tricky, emotional, and personal subject to discuss. If the topic is at all triggering for you, please know that I’ll be speaking very candidly about a lot of my personal fertility experience below.
As I mentioned in my past posts, retrieval day is planned pretty last minute. You know what day you’ll be going in for the procedure approximately 48 hours in advance, which is a pretty short timeframe when you’re also trying to live as normal a life as possible.
Being someone that typically plans very far in advance, I am incredibly grateful that OVA was willing to work with me on my drop off time so that I could attend one last important meeting prior to being put out like a light! Life happens while you’re busy making other plans… but those plans were on the calendar for several months, ya know?
I was feeling pretty good the whole day going into retrieval. The one caveat was that I was VERY hungry. You aren’t allowed to drink or eat anything at least 12 hours prior to your retrieval, and since I had a late drop-off time, hunger was inevitable. (Pro tip: I woke up in the middle of the night, exactly 12 hours 15 minutes before drop off time to scarf down one last protein bar and down a glass of H2O to tide me over.)
After drop-off, I was back in my very formal hospital gown within about 40 minutes. Then I signed a few forms and before I knew it, I was being walked into the operation room. The whole process was MUCH faster than I expected. While I was under anesthesia and still don’t remember much from the operation room, I was told that I was in surgery for around 15-20 minutes. Quick!
I hung out in the recovery room for about an hour afterwards with an IV (#hydration), some animal crackers and Doritos, and some monitoring equipment to slowly wake back up. Then my ride picked me up, and we were off!
Talking about the whole retrieval process, I almost feel as if I’m skipping over some details. But it was really that fast! A grand total of around two hours, not including my ride there and back, and the staff at OVA made it as seamless as possible. From everyone I’ve spoken with, the timing I experienced seems to be pretty common with few exceptions.
Post Op Recovery
OVA instructed me to eat lots of salty foods and drink lots of electrolytes. Especially because those are foods and drinks I typically avoid, you better believe I obliged. I ate ALL the salty foods. Pringles, Doritos, Chex Mix, Oreos (those count as salty, right?), whatever snackies you can think of, I enjoyed.
I highly recommend having your snacks and drinks ready to go before you head into retrieval, because I didn’t want to leave my couch the rest of the day…. or the day after that. Cramps galore. I was loopy as can be the rest of the day, too, which was entertaining. (See my pic below for proof!)
Other preparations I’d suggest would be to have a heating pad and Extra Strength Tylenol readily available. My heating pad and I stayed close friends for the next few days following retrieval. (This is the one I’d recommend.)
No matter how you feel, you’ll likely be moving pretty slowly after being on anesthesia, so I would not suggest planning any activities that day. I also decided to take the next day off of work and I was glad I did. I rocked through a couple of emails and immediately got a headache. If you are able, try to give yourself some grace. Your body just went through a lot!
I was relatively back to normal by around five days following retrieval. Even though I was feeling great, be aware that restrictions hold until after you get your next period, which is typically 8-13 days following your procedure.
Throughout this process, I’ve become a big believer in keeping my egg count private. Whether you have more or less eggs then somebody else can be surprisingly triggering, and I have no desire to either prompt somebody else to feel that way, nor feel that way myself. Here’s what I will say… I was very proud of my results.
In the three months since my original assessment, I doubled my follicle count! Of those follicles, about 75% had eggs and about 80% of those eggs were mature and will be frozen.
If you remember from my past post, I worked very, very hard on trying to increase my egg count… and it worked! While what worked for me may or may not work for you (everyone is very different), I credit much of my result to listening to my body and going into this process with the right mindset. Just do the best you can with the resources you have available and that’s really all you can do. What’s meant to be will always find a way!
What Would I Have Done Differently?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but if I was in the right mental state at the time, I wish I had frozen my eggs around age 30 or 31. Though there are several details to consider before you decide if freezing your eggs is right for you, and I was not in the right place in my life at that point. (A few considerations are shared below.)
Honestly, I’m actually really proud of my results and how everything turned out. This is absolutely the right point in my journey to be going through this process and I don’t think I’d change a thing.
What’s Next for Me?
I haven’t decided what my next step might be in this journey. At this point, my egg count is at a place where I’m comfortable, but it would be nice to have a few more in the arsenal, especially because I’m a bit “older” in fertility terms.
However, just like everyone else, I have the same considerations (shared below) to think through before I sign the dotted line.
However, should I decide to do a second cycle, I will absolutely be waiting a few months for my body to fully recover. While there are some people that can rock out cycles back to back, I don’t feel that I’m the right candidate for that kind of action. If I do a second round, it would likely be around five months after my first.
Some Factors to Consider Before Freezing Your Eggs
For one, financially, it’s not cheap. While I’ve said in the past that it’s cheaper than having a child (seriously), it’s still pretty pricey. Being in a place in my life where I’m financially able to prioritize my procreation is something I do not take lightly, and I feel very blessed to be here.
Other details to consider would be everything from your physical health to your mental health to your current relationship status and beyond. While this process is technically only about a month of time, which is not very long in the big scheme of things, it does take a toll on you. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish across your year and in your future before you decide to step into this process. You want to be relaxed and calm for best results, so I highly suggest being at a point where you are at peace with your choice if you decide to freeze your eggs.
Lastly, THANK YOU!
I recently posted about this journey on my Instagram and on two other posts (here and here) and I just wanted to shout a massive THANK YOU from the rooftops. The amount of support I’ve received has been wildly unexpected. And the messages I’ve received seem to share that these posts have been helpful for you, too.
Freezing our eggs is a process that is often kept behind closed doors, but I honestly don’t know why. If you ever get a negative response about freezing your eggs, please know that it is a direct response to whatever that other person is dealing with in their lives. It has literally NOTHING to do with you. All you can do is be the best parent you can be, before you’re even a parent. You’re doing the right thing for you!
And one final thank you to the team at OVA for being so wonderful to work with throughout this entire process. You all are a dream!!