Fifteen Embryos

Sometimes in the midst of all the chaos I stop and think about all the things I have experienced in my life before the age of 30, and also all the things that I have not.

I have not…
1. Seen snow
2. Been to Europe
3. Smoked a cigarette
4. Had brain freeze
5. Owned a dog
6. Broken a bone 
7. Skinny dipped
8. Gotten a speeding ticket
9. Been married

I have…
1. Walked on a glacier
2. Fallen in love
3. Experienced the great loss of death
4. Completed a half marathon
5. Had breast cancer
6. Witnessed the love and goodness of people
7. Found faith in something
8. Experienced the bizarre science and pain of IVF
9. Fertilized 15 embryos with Brian

Given all of that, breast cancer especially, I no longer stress about “getting older”. My upcoming 30th birthday used to make me feel like my experiences were inadequate. Societal expectations made me feel like there were so many things that I “should have” done by now. The reality of it is that I have time. I have bought myself time. Thirty is no longer a birthday to hide from, it is an experience to be had.

The last few weeks have been physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. I have met more doctors than have treated me in the entirety of my life. I have been stuck with needles around 30 times. I have gone under anesthesia twice. I have made several life altering decisions and this journey is not even over yet.

So far, egg retrieval has been the most painful part of all of this. Seriously, the lumpectomy was a piece of cake in comparison. The marathon of injections and bloated ovaries were uncomfortable, but nobody prepared me for the aftermath of removing 19 eggs. Apparently the more eggs you remove, the more pain you will have. The procedure went well. The anesthesiologist did a great job with my IV (no blown veins). I wasn’t even groggy after. The trouble came later after I woke up from a nap. Everything hurt from my pelvis to my shoulders. It was like the worst gas you’ve ever felt covering every square inch of your torso. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t function. I’ve never been in that much pain before. It sent waves of nausea through my body. When I lifted a water bottle to drink, spasms would break away through my chest and shoulders.

All I can say is I’m relieved that it’s over and the procedure was a success. Fifteen of the 19 eggs fertilized. Now they just need to develop for a few days before Brian and I put those babies on ice. Weirdest experience of my life.

What’s weirder is when you walk past the lab to see the culmination of your own personal science experiment. Incubators holding all the eggs. I now understand how salmon feel.

**Update, 8 out of 15 embryos made it to freezing!**

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