April 2016 3 Years Later

It’s now been 3 years since my egg freezing.  A lot has changed but also remained the same for me.  I did not update last year (2015) since it was pretty uneventful.  I continued to explore holistic healing modalities to help with my PCOS.  On my anniversary (March 2015), I received the bill from NYU for storage.  The cost remained the same at $1000.00.  I called in to pay the bill and my eggs are safe and sound.

This year on my anniversary (March 2016), I was expecting the bill for storage. However, I never received one.  I called NYU several times in March to follow up. (I’m unsure what NYU’s procedure would be if the person did not pay for storage but I did not want to risk it.) Someone finally called me back and informed me that they were changing their billing system.  There was an issue and it would be resolved before April.  She said to wait till April and if I did not get my bill to call back.

On April 13, 2016 I still not receive a bill so I called.  No one had returned my message.  I decided to just avoid the hassle of the back and forth to go directly to NYU and just pay the bill.  On April 14, 2016, I walked in.  Spoke to a bookkeeper about my concerns.  She said that the bill was mailed at the end of March.  She double checked my address and I paid the bill. Finally the next day April 15, 2016, I received the bill.  Hopefully next year I will not have to go through the hassle of coming in.

Just recently, I received in my e-mail a survey from NYU.

Here is the info below they requested.

“You are receiving this email from the NYU Langone Fertility Center (NYUFC) because our records indicate that you underwent an elective egg freeze cycle at our center. We are asking patients to complete a brief anonymous survey describing their experience during and after the egg freezing process. The purpose of our study is to better define the implications of egg freezing on women’s lives after undergoing the procedure.  We performed a similar smaller survey a few years ago and the results of that survey* were found to be helpful to women throughout the world. As the number of women freezing their eggs has increased exponentially, we felt it was time to redefine trends in elective egg freezing.”

It goes into detail about how the survey is anonymous and confidential.   My participation is considered voluntary and it will not affect my eggs or the care I receive from NYU if I need to use my eggs.

The survey questions were varied.  It took about 10 minutes and you could easily skip a question if you didn’t want to answer it.  It felt like it was a marketing survey, trying to get into my head. To understand the psychology behind someone deciding to do elective Egg Freezing.  Some examples of the survey questions are:

1. Why I did I freeze my eggs?

2.Have I returned to use my eggs?

3.Would I use the eggs if I did not have a partner?

4.  How it has changed my dating life (if I was single, etc…)?

I answered the questions the best I could.  I really feel that freezing my eggs was a very powerful thing to do.  It gave me peace of mind.

On a side note, since the egg freezing, I don’t feel like my body has come back.  I’m not sure if it due to the procedure or just aging.  I’ve had several injuries which have prevented me from exercising as well. I’m sure it is a combination of all of the above.  I have had significant weight gain since the procedure.  Over the past 2 years I have gained almost 20 pounds.  I have also dieted and try to lose the weight.  Last year for 3 months I did an 1200 cal diet and was only able to lost 5 pounds.  During that time I was doing crossfit which helps you gain muscle mass.  I’m looking to eat cleaner and moving to use less toxic products.

As of right now, I have not decided to use my eggs.  They remain frozen, a gift from my 34 year old self.  I will be turning 38 this year in July.  After reading the older blog posts and looking back on this experience, I can feel the shame and embarrassment that I felt having to get my eggs frozen.  I really came from a space of scarcity.  I felt I did not have enough time or that it would be too late.  Now that it is said and done, I am relieved that I did take control of my fertility.  I am still mindful of the people I share this information with but it doesn’t carry that much power over me.

I have one friend who at 38 (turning 39) decided to freeze her eggs last year.  She went with Dr. Berkeley as well and she had a successful egg retrieval with 52 frozen eggs.  Her experience was similar.  She had symptoms of Ovarian Hyperstimulation.  Although for her she did not have the same peace of mind.  She feels scared of not meeting someone or not having children.  I have friends of friends who have decided to do it as well.  It seems to be gaining a lot of media attention. Celebrities are openly talking about it now. When I did it the technology was just approved by the FDA and was still considered borderline experimental.  I am happy that more and more women are aware of it and taking advantage of what’s available to them.  Just recently, I was talking to my aunt and she said her co-worker just had her first baby at 51.  I’m unsure if she used donor eggs or was able to use her own but it kept me hopeful for the future.  I do not feel ashamed of it anymore.  My friends have been super supportive and really admired I took the leap.  It was comforting to know that.  I felt so alone while going through the process.  Knowing what I know now, I think I would have been more open and allowed a select few in for some support.

The last 3 years I did go on countless number of dates through online dating, meeting men at events/bars/networking, at the gym, activities.  In past posts, I shared that when I was dating someone I would have a hard time letting go of that person. In my head, I was thinking that I was too old to be so picky (clearly that was my ego). I would go against my intuition. Now I can let go of that person so I can create the space for someone who I truly want to be with.

Just recently I started dating someone exclusively.  It is fairly new and I’m unsure where it will lead.  It has been a really hard process to learn to be vulnerable since part of me wants to control the outcome.  I know for now that I do care for him .  My intuition is telling me it’s right.  We have discussed what being married means to us and what having children means to each other.  Now I’m sure you are asking if I have told him (or any of the men I dated) about my egg freezing.  I did not feel it was appropriate to.  This was not coming from a place of scarcity.  I think it is coming more from a place of self preservation.  It is a soft spot for me and I hold it close to my heart.   I know that I can be easily wounded by it.  Also I don’t think it should not be a factor in the direction our relationship will take.  If someone wants to be with me they will be with me:  eggs or no eggs.  If anything, it will benefit both of us later if ever we needed to use them.

Thanks again to D for the shout out!  I hope I was able to answer your questions and I look forward to next year’s post.  I will update as need be if I ever end up going back to NYU to use them.  Hopefully, I will have good news at next post.  Thanks for the your support and please share this info with everyone you know who is considering egg freezing.  I think the more educated we are the more empowered we become.  My hope is this will be covered by insurance so all women can have access to it.  Our fertility should not hold us back from having what we want. Egg Freezing has given me the freedom able to choose a partner that is right for me and it can do the same for you.

All the best!

March 2014 One year later…

It has been just a little over a year since my egg retrieval.  I cannot believe so much time has passed.

The reason I wrote this blog was help other women make an informed educated decision about whether they should freeze their eggs.  I made sure to go over the financial responsibilities, the physical and emotional toll it took on my body as well with my mind.

In the beginning of March I received the bill for Egg Storage from NYU Fertility.  In my previous blog posts, I wrote that there is an annual fee of $1000.00 for storage.  The price has remained the same.   The options for payment are the same:  You can mail it in using your credit card, call them and give your credit card, come in person or mail a check.  I was going to go in since it is not out of my way.  However I decided to just call them and pay via credit card over the phone.  I wanted to make sure they got the payment and actually speak to a person.  I’m sure it would have been ok to mail the payment but it felt more secure to speak to someone.  I’m unsure what would happen if you defaulted on the payment but I just did not want to risk it.  When I called they have the same system in place and someone promptly call me back the same day to answer my questions and made sure that my billing information was updated.  I assume that every year in March I can expect the bill to be sent to me for as long as I want to maintain my eggs.  

My body:  After the egg retrieval I had OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome).  My abdomen swelled and I looked like I was 5 months pregnant.  It took me 5 days to recover in order to return back to work, even after a couple of months I felt my moods were level but something was missing.  A year later I feel like myself again.  I’m still working with acupuncture to help me with my fertility and to continue cycling.  I also have not lost the weight I did gain from the egg freezing, however I don’t believe the actual egg freezing caused me to gain the weight.  It’s more of my lack of discipline in eating and exercising.

Looking back over the past year I can clearly see how this experience has truly changed my life.  It has help me shift my perspective on  myself and my romantic relationships.  I feel more empowered and brave.  It has allowed me to be more vulnerable and open my heart.  I also now have the strength, confidence and courage to know when to let go instead of holding on to relationships that I know in my heart will not work out.  I feel more supported and know that I’m exactly where I am suppose to be.  This past year has been a year of spiritual and emotional growth for me.  I have no regrets about freezing my eggs.

Thank you for reading my blog.  After today, I will be updating it annually and as needed if anything comes up concerning NYU fertility, my health etc….

If you like the blog, please share it, leave any comments and questions below.  I receive alerts and I will always make sure to respond.

Thanks again,

Eggfreezer2013

September 3, 2013 Six Months after egg retrieval

Hope everyone had an awesome summer! It’s now been 6 months since the actual egg retrieval.  Physically my body is feeling normal again.  I am finally working out.  My previous workout schedule was daily to every other day.  Last month I was able to maintain that.  However, I have not been able to lose the weight that I gained during the egg retrieval.  I know that was due to me not eating healthy.  I found that after the egg retrieval I could not control myself.  Maybe the hormones had something to do with it?  I normally am able to stop eating when I feel full but I felt that I had to keep going.  My mood has stabilized and I am not easily angered or upset.

In March after the egg retrieval,  I got my period as predicted by the Doctor.  After that I did not get another period till Sunday, September 1, 2013.  I said in previous posts the doctor suspected that I had PCOS.  I don’t exhibit  the normal signs and symptoms of someone who has PCOS except for the irregular periods.   I have never been fully diagnosed with PCOS. During the last couple months since the egg retrieval, I was experiencing amenorrhea.  I continued to work with my acupuncturist to get my cycle going. I have been taking Chinese herbs the past 3 months and getting acupuncture treatments every week.  I was very surprised when I finally got my period the other day.  I forgot how it felt like and my body’s response.  My acupuncturist said in Traditional Chinese Medicine “once it’s fixed, it’s fixed forever” unlike in Western Medicine.  So I’m pretty happy that I have my period.  Although she said it could take another year before everything is stabilized.  It is promising that I won’t be taking the Chinese Herbs forever.

Now that some time has passed, I have had a real opportunity  to look back and reflect.  During the last couple months, I have felt this peace about my decision to freeze my eggs.  I no longer worry about my fertility and to be honest I haven’t really felt that pressure I put on myself to “find” someone.  I have been actively dating and meeting new people.  The whole experience has empowered me and I feel like I am in more control and I am more true to myself.  I listen to my intuition and when something just doesn’t feel right (i.e. 1st date) I am capable of letting it go much faster.  Whereas before maybe I would have given the other person another date since I was so worried about finding someone because I felt like I didn’t have enough time.  I would get anxious and feel fearful that there wasn’t enough time.   Now I feel so much more relaxed and have this knowing that I will meet someone when I do.  Lately I have been having these dreams/visions of me holding my child.  I always assumed that I would have a girl but I soon realized that I feel like it’s going to be a boy.  I feel really good and happy about it.

Thank you for reading.  If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.  I will answer them as soon as I can.

May 21, 2013 Two Months after egg retrieval

Just wanted to give a quick update on my status.  It’s been over 2 months since I had the egg retrieval.  When I spoke to Dr. Berkeley back in April for the final phone consultation.  He had mentioned that everything would return back to normal after 2-3 months.  Since my periods are still irregular,  I have not gotten my period yet.  Also I gained some weight from the procedure.  I have been having problems losing the weight.  I find myself wanting to eat all the time.  Keep in mind that I also have not been good about exercising as well.

Also during the 2 months, I had a really bad case of the flu.  It took me over a month to recover.  I was going to my acupuncturist and she had felt it was related to the egg retrieval.  From the Holistic point of view, I put my body through a huge trauma.  I’m still slowly recovering.

My moods have fluctuated.  I’m unsure it is from the hormones or just all the changes going on in my everyday life.

Now I named all the side effects so you know what to expect.  Please keep in mind, for everyone, it is going to be very different.

Lastly I would like to add that I don’t regret going through it at all.  I used to feel this sense of urgency, this fear and worry about my fertility.  Whether I was aware of it, consciously or unconsciously it was there.  I no longer feel that anymore.  I feel really calm and it has allowed me to focus on the things that are really important to me now.

 

 

April 1, 2013 Final phone consultation

So I finally am feeling like myself.  I’m back to working out and eating what I want.  I’m back to my Pre egg retrieval weight.

I had a phone consult with Dr. Berkeley scheduled on 04/01/2013.  It was a very positive experience.  The phone call lasted about 5 mins.  He basically told me everything that I knew already.  Out of the 56 eggs that were retrieved 44 was frozen.  42 of the eggs were considered mature and the 2 immature eggs they froze were done since they did not know what kind of technology the future would bring.

He said the 42 mature eggs with the current technology would allow me to have 4 fresh IVF tries.  On average they need 8 eggs for 1 IVF try.  He was very positive and said for me they would not recommend I do the cycle again.  If I insisted I could but I feel comfortable with the amount of eggs that was retrieved.  He said that they don’t know what the future holds. As the technology gets better, they may use less eggs so I could have even more tries if it was necessary.

I asked him about my period and my PCOS.  He said I probably have PCOS since my periods are irregular but I have the good kind since I was able to produce so many eggs.  He said in NYU history there may be only 4 or 5 women who have had the same results I had.  I remember asking the nurse in the recovery room what is the record for the number of eggs.  She told me they had 1 person produce over 70.  Dr. Berkeley said it will probably take 2 months before my body fully returns back to it’s cycle which basically is no cycle at all.  I will have remnants of the hormones in my body.

At the end of the call.  he said to rest assured that the eggs are there and wished me the best and hoped that I would never need to use them.

For now I’m really overjoyed with my results.  Now that I’m done.  It just seems like a dream and I feel really at peace with it.

If you have any questions or comments.  Please leave them below.  I will be checking periodically to answer questions.  Please feel free to contact me if you need to.  Thanks for reading and good luck to you.

March 15, 2013 Post Egg Retrieval Day 7

It is now 1 full week since the Egg Retrieval.  As each day passes, I feel more and more like myself.  The hormones are wearing off.  All the symptoms I was experiencing before have started to lessen.  My mood has been a bit down.  I think that is expected.  I have 1 more week and I can finally start to work out again.

March 14, 2013 Post Egg Retrieval Day 6

I am finally feeling like I am back to my normal self.  I was able to have restful sleep last night.  I can breathe without hearing fluid in my lungs.  I am able to walk around.  My Abdomen is not as big as it was before.  Don’t get me wrong it’s still enlarged and a bit sore but now I can walk around and eat. My bowels are back functioning.   Everything is back to normal.  My weight this morning is now 145.  I’m hoping it will drop back to the original weight before I started.  I’m back at work.  I can’t wait until I can start working out again and really get on with my life.

I have not heard back from NYU Fertility today.  One of the nurses said she would get back to me today after consulting Dr. Berkeley about my case.  I’m ok with that.  I know on Monday I’ll go in for my follow up bloodwork.  I can donate the leftover medication.

After that I can feel at peace about the future of my fertility.

 

 

March 13, 2013 Post Egg Retrieval Day 5

So this morning I set my alarm to get up and I was planning to go to work.  My Abdomen was still ginormous but smaller than yesterday.  I was feeling ok then I ate something and my stomach went back into a spasm.  My lungs felt a lil raspy but better than the last couple days.  So I decided to be safe to take a 3rd sick day.  Luckily my job is flexible and that I am able to take time off.  I took 2 senna tabs yesterday and I was finally able to make some movement down below.  But I still am not feeling right.  I took 2 senna tabs again this morning.

I laid in bed for another hour or so feeling really tired and exhausted.  I finally got up, meditated.  I noticed that my feet were cold and blue (lack of circulation).  I put on some socks.  I decided that I would try and see my acupuncturist today and made an appt.  In the meantime, I mustered enough strength to start cleaning up my apt and do laundry.  I ate some more food.

My acupuncturist said they took all my qi pronounced “chi”.  Wiki defines qi as “The ancient Chinese described it as “life force”. They believed qi permeated everything and linked their surroundings together. They likened it to the flow of energy around and through the body, forming a cohesive and functioning unit”.  She said she would try and bring some back for me.  It was a very relaxing treatment.  She said I look exhausted and the actual egg retrieval was energy draining.  They gave me meds to produce many eggs and then took them all which all drained my qi.  My circulation was bad (which was no surprise to me since I my feet were blue in the morning).  So she did some treatment to help bring it back.  She let me smell some aromatherapy oils and places the needles and some herb patches to my wrists and feet.  I laid down in bliss for a good 30 mins.  It was a really relaxing treatment and I felt much better when I woke up.  I told her about not having a real bowel movement, she advised an enema.  If I my abd doesn’t go again later I will probably just do one.

I have been feeling a little down lately.  I don’t know if its hormone withdrawal or just stuck at home for 5 days straight.  Either way I’m hoping that it will pass soon.

March 12, 2013 Day 4 Post Egg Retrieval day

So I am still experiencing a lot of symptoms of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.  My abdomen is huge.  It is bigger than yesterday.  I look like I am 5 months pregnant.  Needless to say I had to take off again today from work.  This morning I was feeling like I was much better.  I woke up and even thought I could get some housework done just take it easy and be ready to tackle the world tomorrow.  Then in the middle of my breakfast, I felt the huge pang of pain in the middle of my chest and it radiated down to my belly.

Throughout the night I was having problems sleeping.  I lay with my head elevated and went back and forth on my sides.   The skin on my abdomen feels like it is overly stretched.  I was feeling pain.  Every time I moved side to side I felt the skin in my abdomen move and stretch.  It was not a pleasant experience.  On top of all of this, I have not had a bowel Movement since Friday the day of the egg retrieval.

Anesthesia will slow down your bowels.  This is a known fact.  Add that I also was taking Ultram and that is a controlled substance.  It makes your bowels slow down even more.  I contemplated giving myself an enema (that would just wreck havoc on my abdomen) and I won’t know where the pain is coming from (from the OHSS or from the enema).  I called NYU fertility to find out if taking anything would be ok.  The nurse suggested that I take 2 senna tabs (a laxative) and to watch out if it worsens.  She suggested for me to come back if needed.

I weighed myself. I lost a pound which is good since then that means I’m peeing some of it out.   I took 1 pill of extra strength Tylenol for the pain.

Anyway I was researching on the internet OHSS and I came across this blog.

http://www.whitneyanderick.com/?p=852

Whitney describes what I have been experiencing perfectly.  I have cut and pasted the signs and symptoms below:

“Immediate Symptoms (Mild OHSS):

  • Hard to move
  • Abdominal discomfort / pain
  • Extreme bloating (what a cruel joke – I actually looked 4 months pregnant.)
  • Extreme gas-like, acidy, indigestion, heartburn type feeling
  • Weight gain (2-5 lbs.)
  • Frequent urination
  • Hard to stand up straight
  • Hard to lay on your side – too painful

Symptoms that came later (Moderate/Severe OHSS):

(*Note: Most of these are associated with difficulty breathing and fluid around diaphragm and some might be just me.)

  • Same as original symptoms
  • Trouble breathing – tightness in chest (sometimes I would unconsciously take a big breath or sigh and it was like I got half way and then it was curtailed – a weird feeling)
  • When lying down and trying sleep, I would feel tightness in my chest and then a little hitch like a jolt in my breathing (sort of like a hiccup, but not)  This was kind of scary.
  • Inability to sneeze and yawn
  • Painful to cough
  • Extreme pain to cry –  I cried for a few seconds and got the most awful pain in my chest, felt like I was suffocating and immediately started hyperventilating.  Very scary.
  • Painful to laugh – pain and tightness in chest (even with barely a chuckle)
  • Cramps in waves (up high above belly button) – most likely diaphragm cramping
  • Painful to lay down at all (due to fluid) / Inability to sleep – stay propped up and try to sleep on couch instead with lots of pillows
  • Nausea
  • Feeling light-headed / dizzy”

I have been having problems with breathing.  It’s scary and the pain has been intolerable at time.  I did feel a lot of pain this morning.  I have not eaten much all day.  I just want to go to the bathroom and have a restful night of sleep.

After all of this I still feel that this is worth it.  I know without a doubt that I have eggs in the bank and that I will have a baby in the future.

Will keep you posted tomorrow.

March 11, 2013 3rd day post egg retrieval

Last night I fell asleep again super early.  I have been experiencing a lot of discomfort and pain.  I took the Tylenol but decided to stop taking the Ultram.  I have been feeling quite nauseous and dizzy.  The pain was still a deep gnawing pain in my abdomen.

This morning, I expected to feel better.  However, to my surprise I felt much worse.  The pain had let up a bit but the nausea and dizziness had not.  I had to call in sick to work since I felt like I could easily pass out on the street walking.

I called NYU Fertility at the hotline that was provided and they asked me to come in.  I signed in and they drew blood and did another ultrasound.  My abdomen was hard and full of fluid.  This is a common side effect from Ovarian Hyperstimulation.  In addition, I have been having problems breathing.  I found it hard to catch my breath.

The nurse drew blood which included a Complete blood count, they checked my electrolytes.  She took a set of vital signs.  My temp was ok, my Oxygen saturation was at 100% and my blood pressure was slightly elevated.  She also took my weight.  I have gained 4 pounds since the egg retrieval and it is assumed that is all water weight.  That was one of the symptoms to watch out for more than 3 pounds gain in a 24 hour period.

They brought me to the examination room for another ultrasound.  I described my gnawing pain in my abdomen and that I was experiencing a lot of pain.  The fellow double checked my ovaries.  She said they are at 18 cm each.  (keep in mind normal size is 5-10 cm).  She also said that the Lupron trigger shot that I took on Wednesday last week prior to my egg retrieval put me at risk for over-stimulation.  She said they don’t tell many of the patient’s these side effects and that what I was feeling was normal.  She said that my lung sounds were diminished and that there was probably fluid in my lungs.  With OHSS, third spacing can occur.  Third spacing is essentially the fluid in your intravasacular space (in your arteries and veins) leaks out into your tissue.  Your body feels it’s hypovolemic (basically thinks you are dehydrated) and it makes you thirsty.  So you drink and your thirst cannot be satisfied and then the fluid keeps going out to the interstitial space (in the tissues).  It explains why my abdomen is so enlarged and I have been having problems breathing.  She said that this is all normal and she does not feel that I need to be hospitalized at this time.  If I went then they would be very aggressive in their treatment.  She said to give it 2 or 3 more days and my symptoms should subside.  In the meantime, to continue to take the Tylenol and the Ultram if I want to.

Later in the afternoon, I received a call from the fellow again with my lab results.  She said my Sodium was a bit low but that is normal and the BUN/Creatinine was a bit high but that is expected since my body feels it is Dehydrated.  My hematocrit and Hemoglobin was higher than normal but that is ok (also probably because my body thinks it is dehydrated).  I told her about my breathing and she said that to sleep propped up tonight.  I will need to come back in a week for follow up lab work to be done.

This morning I was so overwhelmed with pain and nausea.  I was crying.  I wish I knew what to expect.  My body is super sensitive.  Tonight before I go to sleep I am hoping that some of the pain will subside.  I am getting tired of just sleeping in bed.  The actual hormonal treatments were not that bad and the whole time I was feeling really positive about the experience.  After today I still feel that this was worth it.  I just scared since I had expected to be recovered 100% and back to work and living my life.  The fellow said that it could take me up to a week or 2 to fully recover.

I’ll keep you posted on any developments tomorrow.  Thanks for your support and listening.

What keeps me going is knowing I have 44 beautiful eggs and that my dream to be a mother is going to become a reality sometime in the future.