We had our Egg Retrieval back in March of 2019 and there are a few things that I wish I would have known beforehand that we were told after or figured out on our own. These tips are based off our personal experience. Listen to your doctor's advice and do what you feel is best for yourself.
Before we get too far, I want to share the IVF Journey Journal with you! This journal will help you keep track of medications, doctor appointments, dosages and your feelings throughout your cycle. I highly recommend the IVF Journey Journal to help you document your IVF cycle!
Before your retrieval and while you're doing stim shots:
Write down your medication dosages, set alarms for when you need to take your medications & store them properly and near one another.
Pay attention to your nutrition. Eat healthier foods to help you be at your peak health-wise. Especially because hardcore exercise is off the table with your oversized ovaries.
Take time off from work. If possible, take off at least 3-4 days after your retrieval to REST & recuperate.
Meditate, say positive affirmations and write your feelings down. Keep your mindset in a positive place and try your best to reduce any stress from your life.
RELATED: How The Good Grief Journal Changed My Infertility Experience
A few days before your retrieval:
Stock up on the necessary items you'll need for recovery. Electrolytes (aka sugar-free Gatorade or Smart Water) are your best friend and ramen noodles are now 5 star cuisine.
Fill your Netflix watchlist with new movies, shows to catch up on and your favorite reruns to keep you busy during your down time.
Check out a book or two from the library. (Because you can only binge watch Netflix for so long…)
Download any podcasts you need to catch up on or have been wanting to start.
Grab some bath bombs, face masks, lotions and body oils to pamper yourself. (I'm not a bath taker, but soaking in the bath two days after my retrieval was pure heaven)
Make sure you have someone to drive you home from the fertility clinic & make sure everything is lined up for your partner to do his part (gotta have those little sperms ready!). If you're using donor sperm, be sure to call to confirm that the donor sperm will be ready the day of your retrieval.
After your Egg Retrieval:
Ice & heat. Ice & heat. Ice & heat. The heat pack did WONDERS for my aches and pains, but I wish I would have had an ice pack for the swelling (and also the heat pack was H.O.T. & made me very sweaty)
If possible, lay on your bed with your back propped up by a pillow as much as you can.
Drink a zillion ounces of sugar-free Gatorade & eat ramen noodles for as many meals as you can stomach. (I tried to drink at least 64 ounces of Gatorade every day and ate ramen noodles for lunch and dinner for seven days straight.)
Rest. Rest. Rest. Cancel any appointments you have (unless they're at your clinic, then go to those!) and rest as much as you can. Your body is healing and you're going to feel uncomfortable.
RELATED: IVF Process | Part 2
A few questions that get asked often around here:
Q: Do they put you to sleep for Egg Retrieval?
A: Yes. Typically you are put out under General Anesthesia for your Egg Retrieval.
Q: What should I bring to the Egg Retrieval?
A: If your partner is supplying the sperm, definitely bring that or have him prepared to give his sample at the clinic. Bring a blanket and pillow for your ride home. Wear something easy to change in and out of. Wear cozy socks (my feet are always cold). Bring any consent forms you may have needed to sign at home (you may just sign those right before the procedure at the clinic).
Q: How will I feel after the Egg Retrieval?
A: I think this differs from person to person based on how your body responds to the anesthesia and procedure, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say that right after the procedure, you'll be tired. The following days will be uncomfortable and possibly painful. Your doctor should prescribe you something to help you manage the pain and help you with recovery. Like I mentioned above-- rest, rest, rest after your Egg Retrieval. Your body needs the rest.
Q: What helps with pain after the Egg Retrieval?
A: I'm not a doctor, so I'm not going to talk about medications or over-the-counter drugs that can help, because that's just not my place. BUT for me, resting REALLY helped with the pain and discomfort I felt after my Egg Retrieval. I also took a few baths with bath salts or bath bombs that helped my body relax and helped ease the discomfort.
Q: How long does it take to recover from the Egg Retrieval?
A: Technically, it takes your body/ovaries like 3 months to fully recover. Luckily, you should start feeling better within a couple of days to a week. For me, it was about a week after that I was feeling 100% again. But I was able to go back to work after 5 days. (I went back to work after 2 days, but that was a mistake and that day was VERY uncomfortable. After that day, I took the next two days off)
Your Egg Retrieval is such an important part of your IVF journey! You need those little eggs in order to be able to have embryos but you also need your body to be able to recover so your little embryos will have a safe place to grow and develop!