Thursday, July 9, 2009


I've been putting this off long enough. I just need to get it out. Here's the last installment of the story of how our IVF cycle turned into a nightmare. If you missed the beginning of this story, you'll want to read this post first, then read this one.

Deep breath. I can do this.

Once admitted to my hospital room, I had a team of nurses buzzing frantically around my room. Though they worked quickly and seriously, they did a nice job of keeping everyone thinking that this problem was, in fact, fixable. It was now after 5:00 AM and I had been violently ill for over two hours. The nausea and vomiting was getting worse; I gasped for air between painful retches. As I continued to be sick into my trusty hospital-issued mauve bucket, Kev stayed by my side, dabbing my face with a cool rag. Meanwhile, Nurse #1 attempted for fifteen minutes to find a vein in my left arm for an IV. She stuck me several times, but found no usable vein and no blood - I was too dehydrated. Nurse #2 took over and began sticking my other arm. She tried for another fifteen minutes and was about to give up when she finally was able to find a vein on the back side of my forearm near my elbow. As soon as the IV fluid hit my bloodstream, I suddenly felt life again coursing into my fingers. I hadn't realized until that moment how dead I had felt. Although I was still vomiting, I raised my hand to my face, in an attempt to see color return. I couldn't see anything but the bottom of that ugly mauve bucket.

I was given the first of six shots of Hep.arin in my stomach and a shot of nausea medication in my IV. In addition, I was given an initial round of nine bottles of Alb.umin in my IV. Over the next two days, I would be given somewhere around 20 bottles of this medication (I lost count). I was very hopeful that the vomiting would immediately stop as the nurses had promised, but I was so far gone that the vomiting lasted another eight hours for a total of eleven grueling hours of the most extreme nausea I didn't know existed. Once the vomiting finally stopped around 2:00 PM, I felt I had returned from the dead.

My fertility specialist came to my room around 3:00 and told me how much better I looked. I don't remember seeing him prior to this; apparently, I had my head in the mauve bucket the first time he came to check on me. He ordered that my abdomen be tapped to drain the excess fluid that had built up over the previous four days.

Oh God, give me strength. This is where it gets ugly. The squeamish may want to skip the next paragraph.

I was wheeled down to the radiology department where the nurse sonogramed my abdomen to find the best place to make the incision. He X'ed me with a magic marker and left me there for over an hour as I waited for the doctor to perform the procedure. The doctor finally showed up and shot the local anesthetic into my abdomen. It stung a little at first, but I gritted my teeth and the pain quickly subsided as the anesthetic began to work. Then it was time to make the incision. He began cutting. At first, I only felt pressure. But as his scalpel reached beyond the superficial layer of my abdomen, I felt the blade of the scalpel stabbing, cutting, tearing deeper and deeper. I screamed in pain. I screamed and screamed and begged him to stop. I screamed and stretched and waved my arms out in an attempt to find something to hold on to. There was nothing there to hold. There was no one there to help me. He screamed for the nurse to turn on the light. I screamed for a break so I could catch my breath. I don't know what he did with the light, but he soon asked for it to be turned out again so he could watch the sonogram and finish the incision. And so he did. And so I continued crying and screaming as the scalpel stabbed deeper and deeper. Several minutes later, he was finally through. He inserted the drainage tube and attached the collection bag to my leg. As I lie there trying to stop crying and to catch my breath, the nurse brought me a form and a pen and told me to sign. I was shaking so hard and had tears clouding my vision, so I asked him what it was he needed me to sign. He did not tell me. He just repeated that I needed to sign it. I asked again and got the same response. All I wanted to do was get the hell out of there and away from the man who just stabbed me. I signed it. The nurse helped me into a wheelchair and took me back up to my room. When my mother-in-law saw me white as a ghost and shaking, she went limp, obviously worried, and asked me what had happened. I couldn't speak. All I could do was shake my head and quiver.

I don't know what went wrong. I don't know why I could feel the scalpel slicing my flesh open. The doctor who performed the procedure came up to my hospital room and gave some lame excuse that his needle wasn't long enough to reach all the layers of my abdomen. I know that has to be bullshit. I'm not that big. He fucked up and was trying to cover his ass. I will be filing a formal complaint with the hospital. I don't want anyone else to have to endure that terrifying pain. Imagine a small child in that man's poor care. He needs his cutting license removed. I'd like to cut him. I digress.

Over the next 30 hours, over two gallons of fluid was removed from my abdomen. As disgusting as that sounds, it was definitely sweet relief to no longer have that fluid crushing my organs. I was given more Hep.arin, several shots of Dem.erol, and loads of Darv.ocet. Neither of the pain medications did anything to alleviate the torture of the drainage tube lodging itself into my enlarged and extremely tender ovaries. Once the tube was removed, I was pain-free for the first time in five long days.

I was sent home Wednesday evening around 9:00. I had an appointment for embryo transfer the next morning. At the appointment, I told my doctor that I had been extremely dizzy since 4:00 PM the previous night and that I still was not urinating. The embryo transfer was cancelled. I was still too sick with OHSS too transfer. He said it would have been inevitable that I would have ended up in the hospital again if the embryos implanted. The OHSS would be worse and would last much longer. Weeks or months. I was crushed.

Writing this post has been difficult. I had to stop and cry a couple of times, but I think it has helped me. Maybe now that I've gotten it out, the insomnia and nightmares will stop.

Now on to our frozen embryo transfer in August. We have ten embryos frozen and waiting for us. I can't wait to meet them. I love them already.


armyadamsgirl said...

aww gina... i am so sorry.. what a asshat that cut you...i know in august it will work for you but i am sorry it was such a terrible road..


'Murgdan' said...

Ooohhh. I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that...all of this. Ugh.

Melissa said...

I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that. Poor thing!

Shinejil said...

I was nearly in tears reading about how much suffering you went through. It sucks that you got such terrible care, too! Argh!

You did an amazing job writing about it, and I hope it helps others. But more than anything, I hope you start to heal physically and emotionally from the trauma.

Allygator said...

Oh my God, how absolutely awful! How you made it through all of that in one piece, I don't know. I have to say, I'm also surprised that your RE would even think for a second about doing your transfer with such a severe case of OHSS! Thank God they didn't or you would have been back in the hospital for sure! I hope someone is made accountable for the pain you felt during the drainage procedure. Wow. Hugs.

the Babychaser: said...

Oh my god, that sounds so horrible! My last cycle ended with what I thought was pretty painful OHSS, knocking me on my ass for a few days, but I had no idea it could be so bad. Wow.

I think the hardest part might be having to postpone the cycle. Though I think your chances are much better if you put the embies in a body that's at peace, not so traumatized. At least they're safe on ice, and you have all the time you need to heal.

And don't just write a complaint to the hospital--sue their asses. Because the "needle wasn't long enough" excuse is horseshit.

Hang in there. Just take really good care of yourself. The memory of the pain will recede and your body will be okay again. I promise.

cmhudson07 said...

Oh my goodness! Sweetie I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. I hope you're feeling better. I agree with Babychaser--contact an attorney. You were supposed to be numb from the anesthetic. What did they have you sign???

Photogrl said...

What a horrible experience to go through! I can't believe the idiot kept cutting!?! I agree with the others, you should contact an atttorney.


Mad Hatter said...

What a horrible terrible thing to endure! I'm so sorry. Thank you for sharing all of that with us. The silver lining on a very dark cloud is that you have 10 beautiful embryos waiting for you - 10! That's amazing! And you have time to heal emotionally and physically, and it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job of that already. XOXO

Christina Claassen said...

I'm sorry Gina. I am thinking of you.

Chelle said...

Hi, I'm here from LFCA.

I know exactly what you are going through and I am so sorry you had to endure this.

I too, last year, hyper stimulated. I was one of 2 patients in 20 that my RE had seen that had ever gotten that bad.

I did not go to the hospital because in my small town, they would not have known what to do with me. My husband was the doctor and for over a month took care of me. (I traveled to my RE's, so he couldn't have done much either). In the week after retrieval I gained 47 pounds in fluid. I couldn't pee, I couldn't breath, my resting h/b was 12 bpm. I have never been that sick in my life. The vomiting and nausea are unlike anything I've ever been through.

I had two draining sessions. The first time they drained off a liter and a half, the second time they drained another 3 liters.

Over the next MONTH, I slowly got better. The two things that were life savers: Protein and acupuncture. The protein acts like little sponges that carry the excess fluid to your bladder so that you can pee it out. I was consuming 200 grams a day. No joke. Choke it down if you have to. It helps. Next, my acupuncturist had me running to the bathroom as soon as I got off the table.

My retrieval was in July and I finally got to transfer in October. It is so hard and I cry just thinking about it and feel so bad for you, but believe me when I say that it is worth the wait to transfer. Let your body heal.

Unfortunately, I miscarried in November. However, my second IVF was successful (I am pg) because the protocol was changed. I STILL ATE PROTEIN THE WHOLE TIME. Seriously.

You can visit my IF blog if you would like and look at some back stories.

Good luck. (Sorry about the novel!)

Anonymous said...

Gina, I am so sorry to hear that you have had to go through all of this. That man deserves to be stabbed in a dark room. I know that you are really on top of your medical care, but I wanted to let you know that Eric and I were talking about painkillers the other day (spurned by the MJ drama) and he mentioned something about demerol being unsafe and possibly being removed from the market. I don't know why it is getting a bad rap, but when I saw it in your blog, I felt compelled to mention it. I'm sure he would be glad to let you know what he knows, if you are concerned. Please know that we think of you guys often, and that our thoughts are always accompanied by prayers and well wishes. ~Jessica Allison

Bon said...

Gina, that is a horrible story. I hope you put this in your baby scrapbook so your kids know what all you went through someday just to have them. You are very brave.


Giantspeedbump said...

Oh my gosh! What a horror story! What a terrible thing to have to endure during an already difficult process. I'm really sorry you had to go through this.

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