The Curse of the Cyst

We have been benched again (!) by an ovarian cyst as a result of the stims. This news has formed the third leg in the Trifecta of Bad News these past few weeks. The other two legs of the Trifecta are 1) we had a negative beta last week and 2) this would have been my due week for the baby that I miscarried in April. So, not only do I have no baby, I have no pregnancy and very little chance of getting pregnant this month! Hence, the Trifecta.

I thought at first I was just really sad, but then I realized that I’m also angry that we again had an overresponse that resulted in a cyst. This is the second time in three months that we have been benched and it’s getting a tad tiresome. This assumes that the months that we are doing stims and IUI that our chances are much higher than months where we are on our own. It also assumes that there is no chance that I could get pregnant on one of these benched months. I haven’t found much literature on the effect of cysts in getting pregnant (although I haven’t exactly looked very far).

If this trend continues (and of course, we don’t get pregnant), we will essentially be having only half the chances in a year that we would otherwise. I may be only 31, but time is still not on our side, not to mention that we have been at this for almost two and a half years and have one pregnancy and one miscarriage to show for it. (But, the personal growth and development from all the pain: priceless.)

I’m actually tempted to just go back to Clomid, which Dr. Uterus labeled a ‘nasty little drug’. Nasty it may be, but it also may not have the same overstimulation problem as the Menopur I’ve been using, not to mention that it is infinitely cheaper. Oh, and no poking. Would we still do an IUI with just Clomid? Part of the reason we chose to use the injectibles was that it increased our chances of getting pregnant faster, which has always been my main goal. I wish Dr. Uterus used email so I could just email him my question rather than having to go schedule an appointment, sit with all of the pregnant ladies, and then look at his ads for success (“He made it so easy!”). Wow is that demoralizing.

Sweetie also had the bad luck to be sent out of town this week so I don’t even get a snuggle for my trouble. He also expressed his growing frustration with the benching and declared that he’s impatient with the process, not me. That didn’t really make me feel better, it just made me feel even more powerless. I can’t exactly speed things up. As usual I decided to let the cyst resolve on its own rather than go on BCPs or doing some hormone intervention. That’s worked in the past so I see no reason to start messing with things even more.

My furry children are aloof as usual and have been squirreling themselves into piles of fur on warm surfaces such as my polar fleece and blankets. I suspect they are beginning their winter hibernation. I may just follow their lead. They are smart beasties, after all.

The Whole Sordid Story, Part II

Dr. Uterus is a firm believer in using all available methods at his disposal to essentially get a girl knocked up. When I met with him after my surgery and learned that Sweetie’s count was still too low to make natural conception likely, he said that intrauterine insemination (IUI) with stims was our best bet. And, he wasn’t going to use some rinky-dink drugs. No, sir. He wanted to go straight to injectibles.

And so, I moved to turkey basting. I had no problem with the plan. I wanted to get pregnant as quickly as possible and this was the best way to maximize my chances, short of IVF. Once I got my second period after my surgery, I began my first IUI cycle.

Of course, the first step was learning how to give myself injections. I realized that I actually did finally have use for the term “meniscus” and I was immediately transported back to Chemistry lab in high school. I agonized over getting every last drop of medicine into the syringe and making sure I used the smaller guage needle, not the mixing needle for the final poke. I carefully monitored every twinge and made sure to follow the directions entirely.

I don’t remember how many eggs I ultimately produced because I really had no idea what was going on. I went to all of my sonogram appointments and had a hard time making out individual egg follicles from the blobs I saw on the screen. I also didn’t know what the numbers meant – a 15, a 16.5, a 14. It was all Greek to me. I just had my instructions for medicine and I followed them. I took the HCG trigger and about 12 hours later it felt as if my ovaries and fallopian tubes were on fire.

I finally made it to the insemination day. Sweetie accompanied me to the appointment and for the very first time I had ever been a “lady doctor” there was someone other than the nurse and the doctor in the room as I had my feet in the stirrups . It made me even more nervous and so I was already unable to relax. Relaxation, of course, is key when you have a piece of metal shoved up your snatch so, it was just a little uncomfortable. Afterwards, we went and had lunch, although I really just wanted to get back to work and try to have a normal day.

In the end, that cycle and the next cyle didn’t work. By January 2007, I was really getting down. I knew that I needed to get some professional mental help, but I wanted to find someone who dealt with infertility. I was able to find someone who immediately began to help me understand some basic truths: we have no control over what happens to us. Being a control freak with obsessive compulsive disorder, this didn’t sit well with me, although I knew that it was true.

We were also benched that month for the very first time since starting on injectibles which at first I was incredibly bummed about, but then realized that I needed a break. I continued to meet with my mental health professional and tried to focus on other things. In February 2007, we were back in business and the most amazing thing happened: I got pregnant. Dr. Uterus finally knocked me up. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world (aside from the nausea, mood swings, and general crankiness).

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. After we got back from vacation on what was supposed to my 11-week check up, Dr. Uterus determined that the baby had died at around 9 weeks 2 days. I was by myself at that appointment. We figured that there really was no reason for Sweetie to go with me since it was just going to be a routine thing. I was numb until I left the exam room and it just swept over me. I made a beeline for the bathroom and bawled. I managed to drive myself home and Sweetie came home shortly thereafter. We were absolutely devasted. We had worked so hard to conceive this child and it was loved so much already. To have it taken away so suddenly was just awful.

I had a D & C a few days later and we elected to have chromosomal analysis done on the “products of conception” (their term, not mine). It turned out that the baby had a monosomy, meaning it had a deficient number of chromosomes. Approximately 4% of fetuses with this abnormality make it to live birth and are then determined to have Turner’s Syndrome. Ours was one of the 96% that did not make it.

What bothered me a great deal in those first few weeks was that I had really thought I had made it through the rough patch. We had heard the heartbeat (twice!) and it was so nice and strong. That sound was just amazing. All of the statistics I had read convinced me that once the heartbeat is heard and its strong, you are doing pretty well. I felt cheated and robbed.

It’s been six months since my miscarriage and I still hurt. I also feel as if we are even farther from our goal, not closer. I can get pregnant, but I just can’t carry to term. I know the reality is that this could have happened to anyone and wasn’t necessarily a problem with either of us. But, still, it’s hard not to blame yourself.

We have since done two IUI cycles, both of them negative. Right now, I’m so tired of the rollercoaster, although I have no doubt that it is not near what IVF would be like. We still want to have kids of our own and it doesn’t look as if we have any major obstacles in our way. It is just the daily grind that is so debilitating, so wearing down on me. When, when will it be our turn?