All those injections and sonograms lead to one big day: Egg Retrieval Day! The day is filled with a multitude of emotions from excitement to fear. You never know the number of eggs retrieved, the quality of eggs, or even how you will respond to the process until after the retrieval. Thankfully, my egg retrieval was uneventful. I mean, I only know from what the doctors told me since I was under anesthesia during the 30-minute procedure where eggs were aspirated through my vagina. It sounds painful enough, but I didn’t feel a thing. However, my post-egg retrieval experience was a different story, especially since I had over 20 eggs retrieved. That amount of eggs can lead to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), of which I developed a mild case. I’m sharing my post-egg retrieval experience along with some things to look out for and tips.
Related: 13 Things You Should Know Before Starting IVF
Related: My IVF Process – How We Got Our Rainbow Baby
Post-egg retrieval I didn’t experience vaginal bleeding, but I did experience cramping and bloating. The bloating was so uncomfortable! Since my doctor suspected I had a mild case OHSS I was prescribed 0.5 mg of Dostinex (Cabergoline) for seven days and placed on a diet to control Ovarian Hyperstimulation.
This diet consisted of the following:
- Limiting my water intake; drinking only when I was thirsty
- Drinking electrolytes but keeping my fluid intake to less than 7 cups
- Limiting my sodium intake – this made me realize how much sodium is in food!
- Daily monitoring of my weight daily
- Daily monitoring of my urine output
The worst part of it all wasn’t the cramping and bloating, but it was the fact that I had to pee in a basin and measure the amount excreted, and then record it in a log whenever I passed urine. Yeah, so if I woke up at 2:00 AM to pee, I had to turn on the lights to see how much urine was expelled, thus ruining my sleep for the night. Thankfully, I only had to do this for seven days. Seven long days.
During those seven days, I didn’t experience any symptoms related to full-blown OHSS, it was just the bloating that became uncomfortable. I think I looked like I was about three months pregnant, but it eventually went down.
After egg retrieval, there are normal and abnormal symptoms to look out for, which I’ve listed below.
Symptoms to Look Out for After IVF Egg Retrieval
Normal Symptoms Experienced Post-Egg Retrieval
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting (similar to a light period)
- Mild, lower abdominal cramps like what you may experience during ovulation
Abnormal Symptoms Experienced Post-Egg Retrieval (Notify Your Doctor)
If you experience any of the below symptoms, you should alert your doctor because they can be indicative of signs of OHSS.
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Severe abdominal pain or swelling
- Inability to urinate
- Severe pain
- A fever of 101 or more
- Weight gain of 1-2 lbs. per day
Tips to make your post-egg retrieval experience easier
1. Schedule Time off From Work
Once I found out my retrieval date, I put in a few days off at work. I’ve read various stories of other women’s experiences with IVF egg retrievals, and I wanted to be on the safe side just in case I needed time to recover. Thankfully, I did because I needed it. The process is exhausting, dehydrating, and uncomfortable. I’m happy I took off a few days to recover.
Speak with your doctor about your recovery and when you should return to work and resume any other responsibilities.
2. Prepare your Home
Make sure there isn’t anything for you to do when you get home like laundry, dishes or cooking. After being under general anesthesia and dealing with cramping and or bloating, you’re not going to want to do much of anything aside from rest. Make sure your household duties are taken care of before your retrieval day.
3. Keep Hydrated
Staying hydrated post-egg retrieval is one of the best ways to combat issues like bloating and fatigue. In addition to water, you can drink other beverages that are high in electrolytes, the latter helped a lot. You don’t realize how dehydrated IVF egg retrievals make you.
4. Eat Healthily
I did a bad thing, and I hope you learn from my mistake. I didn’t cook ahead of time nor did I have the energy to do so after the retrieval. After finding out many of my food options were high in sodium, my options were pretty limited. Thankfully, my bloating took away my appetite. I was good with having smoothies, eating fruit, and sunnyside up eggs. Plus, the healthier you eat now the better your body is prepared for transfer.
Related: What I did to Ensure I had a Successful IVF Cycle
5. Get Comfort from Pain
Cramping, bloating, soreness and general discomfort are common post-procedure. Make sure you have some form of pain relief like acetaminophen to help. You may even want to try a heating pad for comfort.