On Day 1 of injections, I sat at the edge of my bed, teary and trembling, holding 50ccs of Menopur hormones. You never truly feel quite as single—and somehow empowered—as the day you have to stab yourself with a syringe full of hormones, knowing you're suddenly in charge of your whole future. It was powerful and it was terrifying. In an effort to stay positive I started a tradition: with every injection I set intentions for the qualities I hoped my kids would have, then blasted Florence and the Machines and danced like a 7 year old to distract myself from the burn and sting of the needle. I also started meditating twice a day. Those small traditions were what kept me sane.The schedule was grueling. I stabbed myself with various hormone injections every morning and night, and every 24 – 48 hours I had a 7 AM blood test and ultrasound at NYU. There's nothing like starting off your day in stirrups. I was advised not to date—I would have been a wreck under the hormones, and sex was strictly verboten—or have client outings. Drinking and smoking were off-limits for the duration as well. My estrogen count started at 61 and shot up to over 1,900 in just two weeks. By day 13, I was overwhelmed, crying in public and at work. My mother flew in to help. I've never felt more loved by her than when she, a former nurse, injected me with hormones and pulled me up by the hand, the two of us dancing wildly in my tiny living room.
Less than .025% of women who freeze their eggs end up with ovarian torsions. (Lucky me, finally reaching the 1% at something.)
The ER doctor (who, as fate would have it, was my high school crush, whom I hadn't seen in 13 years) explained I was spared from surgery because my ovary had "untwisted" on its own. But he was concerned that my swollen belly was too big. I had over 2 liters of fluid built up from the original surgery and it kept getting worse. We decided to drain the fluid, but no one explained how this was going to happen. I was wheeled to the NYU Fertility Center a few hours later, surrounded by seven women in a room, and put on stirrups. Dread washed over me at the sight of a needle the length and width of a shish kebab and a long plastic draining tube attached to a giant liter plastic bottle. "You're going through my belly, right?" I asked innocuously, almost sure this was a mistake. The nurses explained the needle would have to go in inter-vaginally. When I asked about morphine or anesthetic drugs they said they couldn't help.A girl my age with shaky hands inserted the needle over and over again as I clutched a nurse's hand with all my might and screamed out in pain so loudly they gave me a gauze for my mouth. I felt it all. The needle would pierce its way through me, and then she'd swivel it in a circle. I'd scream as the needle hit my insides. The image of my own blood and mixed with fluid filling up a full liter bottle was oddly comforting, and after 20 minutes of excruciating attempts to remove more fluid, I wailed one last time in total agony after the last stab failed to procure more fluid out of me. The women left, and I doubled over in fetal position, crying and wanting my mom more then than ever before.I barely made it through the first night. My best friend Alexandra slept over and told me that every 15 minutes until morning I'd awake drenched in a cold sweat, screaming for Percocet. I had to switch to Oxycodone the next day to manage the pain. She stayed with me that whole week, as I was physically unable to even roll out of bed on my own, much less standing up. Walking to the bathroom 16 feet away was a team effort and took a solid 10 minutes. Mandatory bed rest ensued as I was at high risk to have a repeat ovarian torsion: My ovaries were still the size of grapefruits. I couldn't leave my apartment for two weeks and wasn't allowed to workout for a month following the ER trip.Last weekend—a month later—I finally went to yoga, had a glass of wine on a first date, and wore my favorite dress. On my date, I nonchalantly explained that I'd frozen my eggs and was pleased to receive a progressive, supportive reply. While I'm still not back to the old me, I have a newfound appreciation for my body as a vessel for life, not just something to starve into a bikini.I'm often asked if I had known the risks, would I have still gone through with freezing my eggs. My answer is a whole-hearted "Hell yes." What happened to me was terrifying, but incredibly rare. For me, the benefits of egg freezing still far outweigh the small risk. I can live out my dreams, on my timeline – and that's priceless for me. After the ER I decided to share my story on social media so that another 28-year-old woman won't have to think she's crazy for planning her future before age 35. Dozens of young women have reached out to me for advice since, and I've finally been able to do the one thing no one could do for me: give an honest perspective about what freezing your eggs at 28 means, and what sometimes goes wrong.Follow Vicki Rox on Twitter.
The nurses explained the needle would have to go in inter-vaginally. When I asked about morphine or drugs, they said they couldn't help.