Complication after IVF Retrieval –Part 1

When hard or challenging situations happen to you, you always wonder, “Why is this happening to me?” and you never believe that it would actually happen to you. I want to share what happened to me after our IVF retrieval this past Sunday in December 2012. Here’s the time line of events:


Sunday 11am-4pm

Retrieval finished by 11am and discharged home without complication. Hubby and I went home, had lite lunch and I took a nap because I was feeling tired. At 4pm, I awoke to some lower abdominal cramping, which I thought was normal because of the retrieval and took 750mg of Acetaminophen and went back to sleep. I did have one dose of Tylenol 975mg around 11am after retrieval.


Sunday 6pm – 11pm

Around 6pm, I did have the urge to empty my bladder so I got up out of my bed, sat up and slowly walked to the bathroom with my husband which is about 10-12 footsteps away. I was already feeling slightly dizzy. I sat on the toilet, emptied my bladder as well as had a bowel movement. I was in a lot of abdominal pain and was feeling very constipated. Later I learned this was due to the medications taken during the IVF cycle. I had never experienced constipation like this before. The need to strain was especially hard with the pain, and within a few minutes after sitting on the toilet, I started to feel extremely dizzy. After I finished my business, I stood up and felt so dizzy I needed to lower myself to the floor. In addition to feeling dizzy, I would sweat profusely and feel as if I was going to pass out. I literally saw stars. My husband said a few words to me and I could not even hear him. I called my husband to come pick me up and bring me back to the bed. I wasn’t sure what was happening and why I was dizzy. My first thought was I was reacting to the anesthesia or pain killer since that was the last thing I took by mouth. Within 10 minutes of laying down, my dizziness subsided. I thought this would be temporary so I drifted back for more sleep. At 8pm, I again needed to empty my bladder so I asked my husband to help me up. This time, I was dizzy within 15 seconds of sitting up and I was feeling worst. I actually had to lay back down to feel better first. My husband has an office chair with wheels and had to place me in the chair to wheel me to the bathroom. After emptying my bladder, I immediately asked my husband to place me back in the chair and hurry me back to the bed. I was very dizzy before reaching the bed. My husband told me later, I appeared as if I were having a seizure because I was shaking and my eyes were rolling up to the top of my head. After about 15 minutes and lying in the bed, I was no longer dizzy and felt better. I was no longer actively profusely sweating.  My husband and I were getting a little worried and even researched the side effects of the anesthesia and pain killer I had taken. When you look up medications, the side effects could be endless and all encompassing. I decided I was hungry and asked hubby to make dinner. I was able to eat a few bites of rice, fish and vegetables. As the night progressed, I was getting more and more worried and asked hubby to call the doctor on call. He called back within 15 minutes and got the details from hubby. He said he wanted to speak to the Attending physician who then called us. After going over the details of the day since we got home, he said the best thing to do was to go to the Emergency Room. I knew I couldn’t even walk to our car parked outside, so we needed to call an ambulance. My concern at this point, “Are the EMTs going to take me to the hospital I had my procedure in?” When you call 911 in NYC, they EMTs are not required to take you to the hospital of your choice. They can take you to the closest Emergency Room. Luckily, the EMTs were very understanding and took me to the hospital where I had my retrieval because it wouldn’t make sense to take me anywhere else.

The EMTs were great, they took me to my hospital after taking my vitals. I had never been in an ambulance before! It was kind of scary, dark and cold. Plus it was pouring outside on the way to the ER. What a day thus far! I was scared but feeling good that I was going to the hospital in case my condition turned worse. You don’t want anything to happen to you over night while sleeping.


Sunday 11pm – Monday 7am

Hubby and I must have arrived in the ER sometime after 11pm. After receiving report from the EMTs, a nurse came by to check my vitals and checked my blood sugar. She asked me what happened and we told her the events that led up to that point. The Attending physician was in touch with the ER and the covering physician was on his way to see me. I was quickly wheeled into one of the patient areas covered only by a curtain where a doctor came and drew my blood. This was necessary to evaluate my blood count. More doctors and nurses came to speak and ask us again to recall the events of the day and also my medical history. My covering doctor finally showed and spoke to us as well. He soon left perhaps an hour later. Tests were ordered and I was to stay in the ER. Around 2pm, I was taken for a sonogram. At this point, I couldn’t sit up without feeling extremely dizzy, had extreme abdominal cramping and started to feel pain on the tops of my shoulders. I had never been in so much pain in my entire life. I have a high pain threshold but even this was way beyond my breaking point. The doctors didn’t want to give me anything because they didn’t want to mask anything if another symptom arose. It was around 3pm at this point. I have not taken any pain meds since 4pm Sunday afternoon.

This is 11 hours later.

The sonogram was extremely hard for me. Moving from the ER bed to the exam table was horrendous. The worst was when the technician asked me to empty my bladder before doing the transvaginal  ultrasound after the external ultrasound. Between the pressure on my abdomen and the poking of the device was enough to almost make me pass out. I nearly did pass out when I experienced another dizzy episode when turning on my side to empty my bladder getting onto the bedpan. The profuse sweating and almost fainting sensation hit me again. It was so frightening. I can only imagine what my husband was going through watching me. Poor thing. He must be traumatized too after all this. My husband became my hands and helped me to undress, mobilize and clean me up. Finally, when the test was done, I was brought back to the ER, behind the famous curtain. It was at least 30 minutes after I had returned, still my nurse had not returned to connect me back to the monitors and my husband didn’t know how to connect me. He went to look for her but she was no where to be found. Despite my pain, I could still manage to think clearly and know this wasn’t good. If my blood pressure was to drop any lower, it could mean I was getting in serious trouble. Near 4 pm, another nurse came to draw more blood. I asked him if I could have an IV because I was feeling dehydrated. He said he would have to ask my nurse. I overheard him asking my nurse who then asked “Is she hypotensive?” I was pretty appauled because I wasn’t even connected to the monitors that measure my blood pressure! Close to 4am, my nurse did come to bring me a bag of saline to infuse and I asked her to please reconnect me to the monitors. Could you believe my disbelief?!!! By 6am, the infusion had finished and she came to take the finished bag away. I was in so much pain on my front torso, I didn’t bother saying anything to her. Sometime before 6am, another doctor came to draw more blood. They informed me and hubby, I had bled into my belly and would be admitted to the hospital.

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