Monday, June 13, 2011

When a Good Deed Goes Awry

Sometimes things don’t go quite as planned.

I had positive thoughts going into this egg donation.  I was excited for the couple that was going to bring new life into this world.  I was excited to do something I've never done before (I like to try everything once).  I know several people that have donated and I hadn't heard anything terribly scary.  These are all of the reasons I was taken by surprise when nothing went as smoothly as I imagined.

My eggs were retrieved last Saturday.  All 27 of them.  I felt great afterward.  That anesthesia is amazing.  It’s like a deliriously delicious nap. Heck, I would pay for that regularly if I could.  The pain and aggravation didn’t start until the following day.  I had cramping as expected and masked it with Vicodin and sleep.  I even went for a nice hike with Ang up at Torrey Pines.

Every day after that was progressively worse.  My pain level increased and spread throughout my body.  I was nauseous from dusk till dawn.  I could hardly eat and it was painful just to walk.  It hurt most to laugh and pee.  Oh, how I missed a peaceful pee.

I finally got into the clinic for a check-up and it turned out I had fluid in my abdominal cavity.  When the drugs stimulate the ovaries too much, the ovaries can suddenly become very swollen and fluid can leak into the belly and chest area.  This is called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

They hooked me up to an IV drip and after a bag of fluids I was sent home.

I spent the next day in the hospital.

8 hours.

I had a urine test, blood test, internal ultrasound, external ultrasound, chest x-ray, EKG, CT Scan and was given another IV bag of fluids. Why, you ask? Because I had horrible chest pains for well over 24 hours. This is all standard protocol for chest pain.  I can't wait to see that bill. 

All of those tests provided me with this tidbit of information: The fluid from my ovaries not only leaked in to my abdomen but it also traveled to my chest.  Luckily, the fluids were outside of my lungs, not in them. All of this fluid causes an inflammatory response because it isn't supposed to be there.  That response is why I felt so much pain.

I am not typing all of this because I want sympathy.  Trust me, I realize there are far worse things in life.  I just want to throw the risks out there and be candid about my experience in case anyone reading is considering being an egg donor.  I am certainly not advising against it, but it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with being a donor.  OHSS happens to up to 10% of women going through these types of treatments.  I happened to be that 1 in 10 and it was not pretty.

I can’t decide what was worse, the pain and nausea or the fact that I was bed ridden for days staring at the ceiling!  I was able to fly through a few books, which was nice, but every time I stared down at my big bloated belly all I wanted to do was move my body.  To run. To walk. To do jumping jacks.  Whatever!

Today, I feel fabulous!  In fact, I think I will try running.  Marathon training for Chicago starts NOW.  I couldn’t be more excited.  I have my plan printed and I’m ready to start checking off my runs each day.  That little check mark brings me a ridiculous amount of joy.  I know I’m not alone in this.


  1. Uggg! Sorry to hear this Kate. Thanks for putting the risks out there. Glad that you are feeling better and gearing up for marathon training!

  2. Oh Kate that stinks. I am glad that you are on the mend. Yay for Chicago training. We started last week. I am loving checking off the boxes.

  3. Wow this all sounds unpleasant and intense, I'm sorry to hear that it was such a terrible experience for you. But like you said, give everything at least one go in life.

    Yay for being able to hit the roads again!

  4. sorry to hear that things got a little complicated, but glad to hear you're doing ok now! is it already time for chicago training to start?! yikes! can't wait for that race and to meet you!

  5. Oy. I know people who have gone through IVF and this has happened to them. Did they tell you this could happen? Good for you for doing it! I thought about it when I was really young and never did it.

  6. Kate..I am so sorry you went through all of this pain and scary days. I am happy that you are all better. At the end maybe all this pain created a new life. I have said this before, I admire you for doing this. This is huge.
    happy training! I am with you on the checks!!!

  7. Oh wow, Kate. I'm so sorry you had such a painful experience. But at least you don't have to give birth to the baby, so you're still getting the better end of this deal. lol

    Not to get all up in your business or anything, but you mentioned the hospital bill... that made me wonder... does the egg recipient or the company y'all went through cover any of the cost of the procedure or its complications?

  8. Girl, this all sounds pretty serious, I am SO glad that you're feeling better. We don't get too many OB/GYN patients in our surgery/trauma ICU, so I'm not too familiar with your stuff, but it sounds like it was incredibly painful :(

    I am proud of you for being so adventurous to at least try this once. Most people can't say that they've risked so much of themselves to help others.

  9. I've heard that it is not necessarily pleasant to donate eggs. Which is why I was so amazed that you were doing it. It's not easy like donating sperm.

    Anyway, I hope it's all good from here!

  10. holy cow. what a crazy thing. you were down and out this week and i'm gonna be down and out next week. getting a boob job...yeah!!!! so now it's your turn to think of me on your runs. hope you are totally out of the woods with that little scare!! xx

  11. That is so scary! One of my stepdaughters has done egg donation 3 times (maybe 4) and hasn't really wanted to hear any of the downsides…she seemed to be largely into the money end of it :( It was scary asking her some questions and having her give us crazy looks. It is such an amazing gift to give, but it is important to know these possible pieces of the puzzle. Thanks so much for putting this out to the world. And I hope you are back your normal self soon :)

  12. oh, you poor thing! i was a nurse at an IVF clinic and saw this more times than i care to talk about, its misery! im sure they already told you this, but eat lots of protein, drink lots of will help reabsorb the fluid and just light activity, you will probably be sore for a while. weigh yourself everyday at the same time and measure your belly. if you see that youre gaining weight or girth, let the dr know. but you should be very proud of your ovaries....27 is an awesome number! your poor ovaries just didnt know when to quit! hope you feel better soon!

  13. Wow, that’s really not good, but I love the end of your post! Feeling great, ready to start marathon training…super!

  14. I love your honesty--thanks for sharing your experience with us. You are such a giving wonderful woman, how selfless of your to make such a huge sacrifice!

  15. I am so sorry that you had such a bad time of it. I am glad that you are healing now and are ready for marathon training. Good luck with the training! And yes, I love the check marks as well!

  16. How awful and scary that you had to go through that. But, yay that you're feeling better now.

  17. Very scary but I love your attitude about the whole thing. You make it seem like getting a cold or twisting an ankle. And I never heard any sort of regret whatsoever. Glad you're better.

  18. So cool to hear your experience and perspective on this. At some points in my infertility journey we considered using a egg donor but then ultimately realized that would not drastically improve our situation. How selfless of you to do that for another couple! Praying you are 100% here soon!

  19. Awful and scary! thank you for sharing this story and alerting others to the possibility of complications.

    Last year, I got that full service after reporting chest pains...and the receipt wasn't pretty. SOmehow I ended up not having to pay a dime though, by filing a financial hardship paper (showing I was living on loans). Maybe you could qualify?...

  20. wow...interesting to hear what can happen. I guess its the first and last time donating for you!. I hope they compensate you. Let us all know what happens

    Enjoy your have inspired me to dust off my trainers and hit the road.

  21. Sorry that you had such a bad reaction! I hope you're feeling back to normal now and that your training can resume. It was a really selfless thing that you did for a couple though.

  22. oh no! that sounds terrible! i know what you mean about times like that... all you want to go is get active but it is the last thing you can do! yeah for training to start though!

  23. I am SO sorry to read this - I've been down and out with bronchitis for a while now and it's amazing how we take our health for granted until we can't. I am so glad they caught this in time and that you seem to have recovered so very quickly - good stuff. GO for a run for me!

  24. I can't believe I missed this! SO sorry you were bed ridden that long! It sounds like you have bounced back and are attacking Chicago training with new zest.

    I'm excited to follow your journey!

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