IVF Cycle Part Three: Post-Retrieval Recovery

So, let's talk post egg retrieval and recovery. This topic is SO incredibly important and needs to be talked about and taken seriously. You've just had a major procedure and it's so totally important that you give your body time to heal. 
Egg retrieval impacts you in every way possible- emotionally, mentally, and physically. I highly encourage you to treat your mental and emotional recovery as you would with your physical recovery. There's a lot to process in this time and I want to take a step further to say that everything you're feeling in this time is VALID. I know it's intimidating and scary, but you've got this and you're not alone!
I have some tips to share about how best to recover from egg retrieval, but I also want to remind you that I am not a doctor. The two main things that I highly encourage you to do would be: chat with your doctor and listen to your body. Talk to your clinic and see what they specifically tell you to do/not do. They work with this every day, it is their specialty so trust their opinion! But all of that being said- please make sure that you're listening to your body. If something doesn't feel right, call and talk to your doctor! This recovery time is not a time to start a new workout routine or to run a marathon. This time is set for you to rest and heal. Your body has been through so much up until this point (STIMS/retrieval) and it deserves a break. 
I choose to share my personal journey in hopes to prepare you for what's to come and to educate those who may not know about what egg retrieval is- let alone how to recover from it. I hope it serves you well and helps you through this time!
Now, let's dive in! The best way to recover from egg retrieval? Sit on the sofa with your new friend the heating pad and eat as much Chick-fil-A and chocolate chip cookies as you want! Okay, I promise that I actually have some good tips to help you navigate the week after egg retrieval, but the cookies do help!
First of all, get yourself a heating pad! Yes, we had egg retrieval in the hot dead of summer and every day was a scorcher, but you better believe that I didn't go anywhere without my heating pad! I had it cranked up to medium heat and left it on my super bloated belly all day long. Personally, I had some discomfort for an entire week after retrieval and again, it felt like harsh period cramps. However, I have heard of some women who have only had 2-3 days of discomfort. Obviously, this will differ from person to person. But the main goal here is to wake up every morning and take inventory on how you're feeling. Don't push yourself or overdo it! If you don't have a heating pad, I encourage you to check out our Beloved heating/cooling pack in The Warrior Shop. It's a sturdy pack that can be put in the freezer or microwave and will definitely provide comfort in this time. 
Second of all, if you don't already have one- get a scale! We had to go back to the fertility clinic four days post-retrieval to make sure my body was healing properly. But in that time, I had to weigh myself every morning and night to make sure that I wasn't gaining over a pound a day. If I was, we had to call the clinic right away because it could've been linked to ovarian hyperstimulation. This happens when you have an exaggerated response to the hormones and it causes your ovaries to swell and become painful. YIKES!
Third of all, MOVE! We took daily walks around the park and it was so incredibly helpful to just get up and move. I felt fatigued a lot throughout the day and didn't want to do a whole lot so the daily walk felt nice and it was something we definitely did to help get my body back to feeling normal.
Fourth, drink all of the water! I was so bloated. Like, I had a baby bump but with no baby, THAT bloated. And it was weird and uncomforable. So again- drinking water, walking, and wearing comfy clothes helped a lot with the bloating.
And finally, you know this: listen to YOUR body. This week is so weird because some women bounce back in a day or two and some women bounce back in a week. You have got to do what you need to do in order to get through this recovery period. The bloat and cramps were so weird for me and gave me little to no appetitie. The only thing I really wanted to eat that whole week were nuggets with fries or a cold deli sub. I didn't do that every day, but I definitely needed that when I was hungry and nothing else sounded good. So strange, I know. And really, the chocolate chip cookie was just a bonus thrown in the bag. Someone knew I was struggling and needed a special treat. So do what makes YOU feel comfortable and what you feel like helps you.
Before you leave the clinic from egg retrieval, I highly recommend that you or your spouse have a conversation with the nurse or doctor about the things that you should or should no do during recovery. Listen to their recommendations and take it into consideration, but definitely make sure that you listen to your body. 
If something feels off during your recovery, CONTACT YOUR CLINIC! I cannot stress that enough. Listen to the warning signs that your body gives. You'd rather be safe than sorry!
If you have a friend or family member that's about to go through egg retrieval and you want to show support, I would suggest making dinner for them the night of their procedure or setting up a meal train for the follow evenings. Check in on them regularly and ask if they need anything. Being present and available is the best support I could ever recommend.
I hope this has been helpful and as always, please feel free to reach out if you need a friend during this time!