Saturday, December 3, 2011


I recently recieved a comment under a post from my old friend Anonymous, asking if I wouldn't mind conitnuing my IVF story. I looked back through the archives and found that my last blog on this subject was back in July. I hadn't meant to leave it this long so thank you for the push to resume the journey. We had left things just as I'd been switched from IUI to emergency IVF as I had far too many eggs to leave things to chance.

I went up to IVF at 8am on Thursday as intructed and one of the nurses, Anat, took me down to 'Day-Surgery' in the bowels of Haddasah Hospital. "I'm coming with you as it's your first time," she told me, "next time you can come straight down here yourself." What next time? I've got 22 eggs, why would I need a next time? At some point I noticed that my phone had no reception. It was like Journey to the Centre of the World.

I went through all the preliminaries with the nurse on duty - medical history, weight, blood pressure/pulse. I undressed, put my belongings in a locker and returned the key to the nurse. I kept my glasses, my book and my watch - time is more manageable if you know how much of it has passed. The woman in the next bed went in and came out again within half an hour. And after 40 minutes I was taken in to the operating theatre.

Dr. B was there with his big smile. He had that Tony Blair/Ehud Barak thing about him - like a big schoolboy about to have fun with cutting things and technology. The politician's first commandment: look like you're enjoying all this immensely (except when someone has died) and everyone will think  you have it all under control, nothing to worry about. If this was the case, it worked. I felt safe and relaxed. As I got to know Dr. B better I learned that there is nothing calculating about his behaviour and it was his sincerity that led me to trust him completely.

The anaesthetist started sticking little round patches in strategic places around my upper chest and shoulders. These are... well actually I meant to ask but I never did and so I still have no idea what that was about. Suddenly a grinning face appeared through a hole in the wall. It asked me to say my name. wished me good luck and disappeared. If I dreamt about the Cheshire Cat I'd know why. The drip was connected via my arm and I was told to count to ten. I don't remember how far I got.

I woke in the recovery room. I call it the recovery room but it was more of a corridor half-way between the operating theatre and the before-and-after room. It was cold and my stomach hurt. Not really my stomach of course but rather like a bad period pain. There was no one else around as far as I could see in front of me and I was still too out of it to be able to turn over and do a full recky. I decided that groaning would help. The noise detracts from the discomfort and it may attract a nurse. I wanted a blanket and a painkiller.

Someone came. It was Anat from IVF. She found a blanket and put it over me. "I'll get you something for the pain," she said. Then she put her hand on my forearm and stroked. Three quick strokes up and down followed by a gentle squeeze, and she was gone. I cannot express how much comfort that brief moment of human contact gave me. This wasn't a warm room with a picture on the wall, a bedside table, and a comfortable chair by the bed. It was the corridor with the air-conditioning on too strong and not a soul in sight. I just wanted Anat to return and and put her hand on my arm again. I was reliving that moment like it was the most desireable of fantasies one could ever have.

They must have put me back to sleep again as the next thing I knew I was waking up in the before-and-after room. I was warm and the pain had gone. My glasses, watch and book were in the drawer next to the bed where I had left them. All was right with the world. The nurse popped her head in and told me to wait for the doctor. About 20 minutes later Dr. B arrived looking very pleased with himself.

"We got 16 eggs." he said. I was surprised as there had been 22 eggs measured and listed on the ultrasound chart, what happened to the other six? I didn't like to ask so I just said 'thank you' in my terribly British way.

I stayed and rested for about an hour, drifting in and out of sleep. Dr. B said that the test was if I could walk to the door and back without falling over I could go home. I needed to go to the bathroom, which killed two birds with one stone as it required walking even farther than the door. On the way back I retrieved my locker key from the nurse and picked up my clothes and bag. "Take it easy for the rest of the day and be ready to come in on Sunday morning as we may be putting back embryos."

I got into a taxi and went home leaving them to make my baby in the lab.


  1. Oh my God what a truly amazing story

  2. Thanks for commenting Liska. It was a bit amazing - I'll try to write faster so you don't have to wait so long between episodes.

  3. I've also been wondering when you would continue your IVF story. I might be headed that way myself - have now been diagnosed officially with 'unexplained infertility' so after one more test, if I'm not pregnant naturally, it'll be the IUI and then if that doesn't work, IVF route for us. I've never had an operation - never been put under. Quite nervous about that! Hearing about it in detail from someone who's done it before makes it easier to anticipate!

    thanks for continuing!

  4. Beth - you and women like you are exactly the reason I wanted to write about this publicly. I had also never had an operation before IVF btw. I wish you the best of luck towards motherhood.

  5. Thanks so much. I do have a 3 year old son, conceived naturally and easily. It's number 2 we're having difficulty with...