Yesterday, you may have read the start of my friend Beccy’s journey to donate her eggs. Here is the second part of her adventure…
As always, descriptions of bodily functions ahead! Part one is HERE if you missed it!
So, I was shown how to use the injections – again, a good thing I’m not scared of needles. I have to inject myself with Gonal every evening between 6pm-9pm. They are really strict with the timings of these injections. This injection is a bit like an epi pen but you have to inject it into your stomach rather than your leg (Gulp, panic, cold sweat, inject it into my tummy?!) but it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s very easy and simple and you hardly feel the needle going in. I had to take this one every evening for four days and then go back for a check-up. I was told I may suffer from a bit of bloating, but drinking lots of water (2.5 litres a day) will help with that.
I used to work behind a pharmacy counter and I left the clinic feeling like a OAP, with a massive plastic bag, bursting at the seams with drugs. I was hoping that there weren’t any nosey parkers on the tube going home!
Days one to four were fine. I didn’t feel any bloating and even managed to fit in a Pilates class and a trip to the gym! My check-up was fine, although the weekend nurse was not so gentle when it comes to the scan as the week day nurse but it was still nothing too bad. From the scan they saw that my ovaries are getting bigger – I felt like a proud parent looking at the scan having that explained to me. “Ahhhh look at my ovaries getting all nice and big!”
From that not only did I have to inject Gonal every night, I also had to inject Cetrotide
every morning between 6am-9am. This injection is a little harder than the Gonal, as you have to mix it yourself and use an actual syringe, but again once you’ve done it once its easy peasy and the actual injecting is painless, thought I did manage to get a couple of bruises. I have to say, the nurse was pretty impressed with my injecting skills, when showing me how to use the Cetrotide injection, to which I replied, “thanks, I’ve never injected myself before!” ( what a stupid thing to say!?)
Everything was going fine for the first 5 days and then, day 6 – felt rubbish, I have never been so tired in all my life! Day 7 onwards I felt bloated and had a constant dull ache in the ovary area. I have never really suffered with period pains before – I’m one of the lucky ones -so this was something new to me, but again, it wasn’t too bad, I know people who suffer a lot worse. I had my last check up and everything was going great, the harvesting ( for lack of a better term) had been booked in and only 3 more injections to go until I can stop. This injecting yourself gets boring very quickly, in total I injected myself seventeen times in the space of 10 days!
The trigger injection of Buserelin was done 36 hours before the egg collection. By this point, not only was I bloated but my nipples had become very tender. Wearing a bra was fine, but they were sensitive to touch. I remember I leaned over the arm of a chair to pick up a pen – NEVER AGAIN!!!
The day of the egg collection, I had really bad period pains, the worst I had to date.
Once inside the clinic, I was taken to my bed; change into a gown, all my details were checked to make sure I am the right person and the procedure is explained to me. I admit, I am not a nervous type of person, it does take a lot to faze me or worry me, but this was the first time I had had any type of operation or surgery. It was even the first time I had spent time in a hospital, apart from visiting people, so I did start to get a little nervous with all the machines beeping and buzzing around me. There was a girl opposite me who had just come back from having her eggs collected and was in terrible pain. It didn’t help hearing her moan in pain and ask for pain killers. I was already a little nervous, plus for the first time in my life I was suffering with strong period pain – like I said before, I am one of the lucky few, who doesn’t have to deal with that every month. If this is how I felt now, what was it going to be like once I had the procedure, based off this poor girl’s reaction? Time for some deep breathing…
Soon, It was my time, I am taken to the operating theatre, where they stuck one of those massive needle things into my hand to administer the cocktail of drugs they give me to knock me out. If I’m honest, this was most probably the most painful part of the whole process – yes – more painful that stabbing needles into my tummy and the bloating pain. I remember the room starting to spin and thinking that if I shut my eyes, it will make it better. The next thing I knew I was being helped out of a wheel chair onto my bed and the nurse is tucking me into bed! There was no discomfort after the collection and the bloating and period pain had completely disappeared. I actually felt better after the op than I did before. There was a slight sensation below – something similar to the feeling you have after a smear test once they have cranked you open, but this lasted probably 10 mins, tops.
After dozing for about 30 mins and drinking crazy amount of water (I had been nil by mouth since 8pm the previous night) and scoffing down loads of biscuits I was ready to leave, the doctor came and told me how many eggs they had managed to collect. I was told they managed to get more than average from me, but can’t help but feel they say that to everyone, to give them an extra boost.
So that’s my story.
Things learnt during this whole process:
· The general public are very un-educated on the egg donations process, they seem to know
more about donating sperm than they do eggs – this needs to change!
· Injecting yourself with needles isn’t as bad as I thought it was, but I’m glad I won’t be doing that again!
· I put on weight during the process. I didn’t change my eating habits at all, just put on a
couple of pounds due to the bloating – nothing toooooo bad.
· It made me so tired; it’s nice to be back to normal again.
· I missed going to the gym and exercising. The last week, I was so bloated and uncomfortable
the thought of even walking anywhere made me tired.
· My boobs got very tender, in particular the nipples. Someone brushed past my on the tube and their bag touched my boobs and I almost cried! (this was the day before my collection)
· The injections are very time dependant and some have to be stored in a fridge. Don’t plan too many things during the hormone treatment stage that interfere with injection time.
· The hormone injections can cause a mucus build up in the vagina, so be prepared for the occasional leak! It’s nothing too bad, I wasn’t walking around looking like I had wet myself and I didn’t need to wear any type of pad, just be prepared when you change at the end of the day ready for bed, your knickers may be a little damp – I’m making this sound much worse that what it was.
· I got serious baby brain, I kept forgetting things.
· A nice surprise, I was given a box of chocolates at the end of the op by the lovely doctors and nurses at the clinic.
Overall, it wasn’t a horrible experience. Somethings were nicer than others. The injecting yourself and the actual egg collection op, wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. I read some right horror stories, but then maybe this prepared me more. Who knows?
Would I do it again? Yes I would, it is completely worthwhile and within a couple of hours I was feeling like my old self. I easily could have gone back to work the next day but having quite a physical job, I decided to take a couple of extra days off and managed to enjoy a bank holiday weekend, the first one in ……. Can’t even remember the last time I had a whole bank holiday weekend off.
If you are considering becoming a donor, I would highly recommend you go through with it,
(hopefully you won’t have as many delays as I did). I didn’t suffer too badly with the side effects and those that I did were only for a few days here and there but the end result is completely worth it.