No, that’s not emergency room, that’s egg retrieval room. I guess it would be more accurately called the egg retrieval waiting room. At my clinic, it’s simply a room that has curtains which allow them to compartmentalize the space down into three smaller private areas. Two of the compartments are larger and seem more for the intended purpose while the third seems more like an afterthought, with the entire space being MAYBE four feet by six feet. About 15 feet away from this room is the actual procedure room where they do the retrievals and transfers.

Anyway, the way things work is once they call you back, they send you off to the bathroom to change into your gown, hat and booties. Once you’re appropriately attired, they set you up in one of these compartments in a comfy recliner, take all of your vitals and get your IV going. Then it’s just a matter of waiting until the woman who was scheduled for retrieval right before you is done and put back into her compartment. Meanwhile, the woman who was scheduled for retrieval before the one who is currently in retrieval is hanging out in the third compartment coming off of the anesthesia in the company of her husband/significant other/whatever. It’s a fine system and it seems to work well for them; patients flowing in and out quite efficiently.

I wasn’t too concerned about egg retrieval during our first IVF, for some reason. Even though I’ve never had surgery before and had no idea what it would be like to be under anesthesia, I really wasn’t worried about it. I generally like to think of myself as a tough cookie and figured that I’d be able to handle whatever came up, so I guess I didn’t put too much effort into worrying about the whole procedure. I was confident that everything would go well and I’d be back to my normal self in a couple of days.

We showed up at our appointed time and were put into the tiny compartment since there were already women in the bigger compartments. The tiny compartment is pretty much right on top of the nurse’s station and directly facing the door to procedure room. So I’m sitting there in my chair with Mark while they take my vitals and get my IVF going feeling pretty good about the whole thing. Then, all of the sudden, I hear moans coming from the other side of the door down the hall. At first they started out as low, sporadic moans. Mark and I exchanged glances upon hearing the low moans, wondering what exactly laid ahead for me. Eventually the moans became increasingly louder, more frequent and more frantic. Now not only did we I exchange glances, but raised eyebrows too and terrible thoughts started racing through my head. I wondered what in the hell was going on in there that was causing this woman so much pain and agony. At points, she would actually be screaming incoherently. I kept glancing at the nurses to see if they were having any reaction to the commotion, trying to get a read on whether this was typical or not. They didn’t give anything away.

Needless to say, I was starting to get nervous. Eventually the screams and moans subsided and the door down the hall opened. The woman was walking right at us on her way to her compartment to recover. I snuck a peek at her and she looked like hell warmed over. The nerves ratcheted up yet another notch.

By this point, the woman who was waiting out her anesthesia in the other compartment was ready to get changed back into her clothes and on her way. She and her husband got up and went into the bathroom and a few minutes later, he came out and told the nurse that his wife was feeling really nauseous. The nurse went off to get something for her and he went back into the bathroom to be with her. A couple seconds later, we can clearly hear her vomiting in the bathroom. Oh good lord. For someone who came into this completely confident and not at all concerned, I was now a bundle of nerves. One woman screaming like her insides were being ripped right out of her, and another throwing up after her procedure where not things I expected to have to deal with.

As it turns out, the second they put that magical medicine into my IV, I couldn’t care less about what had just happened. I felt instantly drunk and everything was fine with the world. I walked down to the procedure room, hopped up on the table, felt them shoving some cotton in my va-jay-jay and the next thing I knew the nurse was telling me I was done. I hopped off the table, back to the waiting area where I had been nicely upgraded to one of the bigger compartments, plopped into the recliner and went to sleep. When I woke next, Mark was there with me.

All told, the retrieval was a breeze. As far as I know, I was not a moaner, though I guess I’d have no way of knowing if I was. I suppose you’d have to ask the woman who went in for retrieval after me. And there was no nausea for me either, which was a definite relief.

My second retrieval was uneventful which was somewhat disappointing. There was one woman already in recovery when we got there and by the sounds of her extremely loud snoring, she seemed to be doing just fine. At least the snoring was mildly entertaining.

Lesson learned: retrieval is no big deal. Of much higher importance is to remember to start taking a stool softener once you trigger. From my experience, the pain of being backed up is FAR worse than the pain from retrieval.

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