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Lia's Story

My husband and I started to try to have a baby at the end of 2001. We were unsuccessful and visited a fertility specialist two years later. It turned out that my husband had a low sperm count, low motility & so on (possibly due to testicular cancer).

We were told our only chances of having a baby were through artificial insemination with donor sperm, in-vitro fertilization, or adoption. We decided to find out about in-vitro fertilization. I was most scared about doing the shots, but I finally decided I could do it. We got everything in order for the June 2004 cycle.

Everything went as planned at first. The doctor retrieved 22 eggs from me, and I went home from the egg retrieval feeling ok. I had something to eat and went to lie down. Only a few short hours later, I became nauseous. I thought it was from the antibiotic I had to take to prevent infection. But then I began vomiting. Again and again. My urine output also declined. I stayed in bed for 2 days until it was time to go back in for the transfer. When the doctor came in the room, he took one look at me and said, "We're not doing the transfer today. You're sick."

I was so let down that I began to cry. I had gone through so much and now we couldn't go through with it. The doctor told us that we had 11 embryos. He said we could freeze them and use them later.

They gave me intraveous fluids and I vomited twice in the office. Then they sent me home. The next day things were no better. I was still vomiting, still felt sick, and still wasn't urinating normally. I called the doctor's office and they sent me to the hospital for fluids. They sent me home with the iv still in and told me to come back the next day for fluids again. But I was still very sick so that night at 11:00 p.m. I went to the emergency room. I had a form of ovarian hyperstimluation, although my doctor said that usually happens after they do the transfer.

I was admitted to the hospital, and I spent the next couple days in misery. I couldn't eat a thing and still wasn't urinating normally.

My infertility doctor was not in-network for the insurance I have, so he was waiting to get a call from the doctors at the hospital. When he finally did (at my husband's insistance), he determined I needed my abdomen drained. It was huge. I gained about 20 pounds from all the fluid! After they drained my abdomen (which was an awful experience), I felt better almost immediately. The next day I was released from the hospital. I spent 5 days there.

Then I started to fill with fluid again. I was told it could take 2 weeks for it to go down. It was awful. I was so uncomfortable and so worried about the strange things happening to my body. I somehow made it through but continued to suffer from uncontrollable anxiety and other health problems. I not only got back to my normal weight but dropped 20 pounds.

My ob/gyn and I ended up deciding that surrogacy was the best option for us if we wanted to use our frozen embryos.

We sent an email explaining our situation to my sister-in-law, and she said almost immediately that she thought she'd be able to act as our surrogate. We met with her and her husband and gave them the information that we had. She decided to go ahead with it, so we scheduled the January 2005 cycle. They implanted two embryos and then we waited! We were so nervous. She took several home pregnancy tests before the blood tests and they were positive! We were very excited but still had to wait for the blood tests to confirm. Well, they came back positive too, and now we are expecting a baby girl in early October!

We couldn't be more thrilled and thankful, but I want to warn people who are thinking about in-vitro fertilization: Ovarian hyperstimulation happens to 5% of women who go through in-vitro. I didn't think about the fact that that's 5 out of every 100 patients, and at my clinic, that is at least 2 patients a year. I didn't even think about those risks. I thought that couldn't happen to me. I didn't realize that it had happened at my clinic. I would NEVER do it again if I could do it over. I just want people to make sure they ask their doctor lots of questions about this risk, find out what your blood test levels are during stimulation, and find out what levels indicate a greater risk (although the cause is unknown, apparently there are certain people at greater risk and blood test results during stimulation could indicate greater risk).

*For more information about Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, see this page (external link): OHSS - Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

 

 

 


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