I recently did an egg retrieval surgery at NUH and am posting my experience because noone had actually given me a blow by blow breakdown of what exactly happens ! I hope the below is helpful for anyone doing this procedure at NUH.
Please note that your doctor may have a different protocol for you so don’t be surprised if your medication is different. Just always ask why - you have to advocate for yourself and understand why you are prescribed certain medications.
How I prepared for the Egg Retrieval (outside of NUH advice and process)
I have hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s) and also used to have many cysts popping up in my ovaries. So I sought additional advice / treatment from (1) my endocrinologist - at Raffles Hospital, who prescribed me with meds to keep my thyroid levels at a good level; (2) my nutritionist (who is also a naturopath) who helped me work out an ideal diet plus vitamin regime which would address both my Hashimoto’s and Endometriosis; (3) TCM / Massage- I stopped taking TCM powdered concoctions, just went for acupuncture and massages to relax and alleviate pain/anxiety (no massages on tummy area for the cycle of egg retrieval). I also took some red date/longan/ginger tea regularly to keep myself warm.
My husband too prepared by taking vitamins with COQ10 in them.
Together, we started a routine to wake up early, exercise, go for weekly date nights etc.
Step 1 : Call NUH on Day 1 of period + go for appointment with husband
Step 2: Take Noresthisterone from Day 18 of cycle. My doc prescribed me 10 days but it could be 10 to 14 days. I was told this is more for scheduling . Side effects :- mood swings, very low points, cried a lot.
Step 3 : See gynae once finished the tablets. CHR will schedule this when you see them on Step 1.
Step 4 : period comes 3 days after tablets stopped. Note that this is different for every woman. My period this time was painful...excruciating cramps and I basically had to bed rest for 2 days. Drank chicken soup and it helped give me strength.
Step 5 : Injections, Gynae Appointments, CHR appointment
(a) Start taking stimulating injections from Day 2 of this new cycle.
(b) To stimulate ovaries for more follicles my gynae prescribed Gonal F. This Injection is in the evening between 7 to 9pm. We timed it right after dinner and for the first few days I did feel quite exhausted - dont know if because of period or because of injection. I took this injections until Day 11.
(c) From Day 7 of the cycle, my gynae added Cetrotide to prevent early ovulation. This is taken before 12 noon daily and I took it from Day 7 to Day 12.
(d) On Day 12, my doctor prescribed the final jab to be taken 36 hours before egg retrieval. I forgot the name of this but I know I didnt take HCG.
Gynae Appointments and CHR
I had a few gynae appointments and each one was followed by an appointment at CHR. Gynae monitors follicles. At CHR, they take blood test and top up the injections. Also took the covid test there.
These appointments were on (1) day after I stop Noresthisterone, (2) Day 6 of cycle (3) day 10 of cycle and (4) day 12 of cycle. Egg Retrieval on Day 14 - no appointment with gynae or CHR on this date.
CHR Nurses are superstars, rest assured - I feel sometimes they are the fertility superstars.
Step 6 - Egg Retrieval Surgery
Came to NUH at 7.30am, ward 2A. Registration is super fast. My husband gave sperm from 8 to 815am, came back and they called me in at 8.30am. Changed into robe, go toilet, go into OT, spoke to anesthesiologist who briefed me on what they were gonna do. They put in the IV thingy, and i had to wear shower cap, foot cover...walked into the OT, doc comes in says hello....they put smth in drip, Im out. Woke up at 950am. At 1030am Im in the ward. Hurts and I wish I brought my laptop so I could watch netflix. At 2.30pm nurse takes me to toilet but I faint cos the pee hurts. Im resting in my bed, a doctor comes to say hello and check my body and then clears me for eating. Only can eat at around 2.45pm.
Step 7 : Recovery
NUH prescribed me antibiotics and paracetemol to take for recovery. First two days were difficult and I required complete bed rest. The hardest part was going to pee - I felt like my insides were dropping as I passed urine. Just had to hold up my pelvic area with my hands as I pee.
After that, I am tired, but functioning well. I recommend taking at least 4 to 5 days of the hospitalization leave and just let your body, mind and soul rest. The most emotional part is Step 8 when you get calls from the embryologist re the progress of embryos.
Step 8: Embryo Development
The wonderful embryologist at NUH would call every day from the day after surgery to tell us how many embryos fertilised, quality of embryo and what is the next step.
Good luck to every one of you doing Egg Retrieval!