When Your Ovaries Touch, an IVF Story


Image Source: Aela Mass
Image Source: Aela Mass

After three years, multiple IVF cycles, a devastating miscarriage, and countless setbacks … Aela’s road to motherhood has been anything but easy. Follow her story on Babble and don’t miss the latest chapter in her journey below.


Just over two years ago, I suffered from Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) after a fully medicated IVF cycle. I didn’t even know I had it until my fertility center said I did. Usually, there are symptoms that go along with this IVF-specific side effect. But I had none.

Fast forward to now. My mild case of OHSS from this IVF cycle includes its own awful symptoms, even though this case is less severe than my last. I blame my age, though there’s zero evidence that has anything to do with it.

For the most part, this cycle has been a breeze. My medications have been easy to take and I’ve suffered from very little side effects. For those of you who have been through this before: I started out on 150 of Follistim and 75 Menopur. Rocked that for two days, then upped the Follistim to 200 and remained on the 75 of Menopur. Day 8, we entered Cetrotide into the mix and kept the rest the same, took Lupron as my trigger shot on Day 14, and injected Pregnyl right after the egg retrieval.

And the cycle progressed really well.

My ovaries were responding well, my follicles continued to grow as they should, and my blood work numbers were spot-on. Aside from a few mild headaches and some bruising on my belly at the injection sites, I felt great.

Until I didn’t.

I was surprised how quickly the bloating and discomfort came on. At the last appointment before my egg retrieval, I was so uncomfortable with the transvaginal ultrasound. I’ve never been bothered by them before, but it’s no wonder this time was different! The image showed that my two ovaries, the one on the left and the one on the right, were actually touching each other. They each were so full of large follicles that they grew so big and “met in the middle.” It was wild to see.

I was assured that my ultrasound tech had seen this before, and that immediately quelled my fears. We all know what the female anatomy looks like, right? Kind of like a ram’s head. The uterus is the face, and the horns are the Fallopian tubes, with the ovaries at the far ends of each. To think that those far ends were so swollen that they grew to touch each other blew my mind.

Three days later, there was so much pressure in my lower abdomen that I avoided sitting on my bottom and instead sat on my left hip and leg for the 2 and 1/2 hour trip to the fertility center the day of my egg retrieval. The discomfort left me miserable. I constantly felt as though I had to fart, but I couldn’t do so without pain. My appetite waned as there didn’t feel like there was any room for food.

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get these eggs sucked out of me.

The retrieval was successful, better than I could have hoped for and better than any of my previous cycles, which surprised me because I’m older now and over 35 (unlike my last IVF cycle). I think a lot of the success had to do with the fact that this new fertility center had records from which to work. My last fertility center was working with a blank slate, and since IVF cycles are so specific to each individual, it was sort of like they were working in the dark. But they were able to help build a solid history for me, which helped this cycle go more smoothly, I’m sure of it.

Going into the retrieval, I was told I had 21 follicles that were the “right size.” They got 13 eggs out of me that day, more than have ever been retrieved from me in the past. That number definitely helps explain how my ovaries could have been touching just days before: My ovaries were WORKING. We found out the next day that 12 were fertilized into embryos, and later that eight of them were high quality and able to freeze for future cycles.

My symptoms are practically gone now, but it took a solid three days for the pressure to subside. I was glad for it, too, because I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all for the embryo transfer.

Now we just wait to see if our beautiful little embaby (graded a fabulous 5AA; yes, I’m already a proud mom!) will make itself cozy in my uterus for the next nine months.

Waiting — the hardest part of all.

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