IVF: Not Your Typical Egg Hunt

By Lori Shandle-Fox

To me, everything we need to know about getting pregnant can be summed up during this particular holiday season.

Getting pregnant without assisted reproductive technology is like the Easter egg hunts I remember as a child: Sperm are like the unruly kids. Everybody is pushing everybody else out of the way vying for that one shiny egg.

ICSI is that annoying parent who steps in to help push because they think their 12-year-old can’t get to the egg on his own.

IVF is like Passover matzo: Too much to digest, you can’t wait to not have to deal with it anymore so you can go back to your normal life.

As for the egg retrieval:

The egg retrieval is like your average Easter egg hunt in a rough neighborhood: They knock you unconscious and see how many eggs they can snatch out of your basket before you wake up…  Okay, it’s not really that bad…

When I write about my egg retrieval, I always mention the anesthesia. Maybe it’s because it is the last thing I remember about the procedure. Maybe it’s because I had never been knocked out before and I was terrified. Maybe it’s because the anesthesiologist was a stunning looking man with an Italian accent. Who can say?

(Apparently, I have a low threshold for falling in love. A handsome man walks into the room and ten minutes later, I’m lying naked from the waist down and happily handing him over my arm for him to stick a needle into. I’m grateful that I happened to meet him in a medical facility and not a drug den.) And, oh yeah, there were some other people in medical-looking garb standing around also. One was a doctor I think. There might have been a pharmacist too. Or maybe it was the woman from “Billing”. I’m not really sure who else was there.

A nurse told me that I would be “out” for a little while and then wake up feeling like I had had the best sleep of my life. Then I drifted off with my beloved holding my hand, and my husband in the recovery room. It was your typical love triangle: One man giving me the anesthesia I so desperately longed for, the other giving me the sperm I so desperately needed.

So, if you’re going for your first egg retrieval and I’ve made it sound like it’s “no big deal”. It’s because: 1) Sarcasm is I and I am sarcasm. and 2) It really wasn’t a big deal. I know each person’s experience is different but to me, the egg retrieval really was quite quick and relatively painless.

And I’m someone who was practically traumatized at the idea of an egg retrieval. Even though I was 41 when I had mine, I had never before had any type of surgical procedure and was deathly afraid of anesthesia. (Even at the dentist, I avoid pain drugs if at all possible.) However, from my actual egg retrieval, personally, I had no side effects. I was just told to “take it easy” for the rest of the day which I took as a medical order to lie around braless and watch episode after episode of something that makes my husband recoil.

Lori Shandle-Fox is a humor writer and infertility survivor. Her pieces have appeared in The Washington Post, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Reader’s Digest & on NPR. She is also the author of: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

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