My Not So Happy New Year

Good news: we didn’t have to cut our vacation short.

Bad news: a pregnant doctor found a big cyst on my left ovary.  The cycle is canceled, again.

My period came at 5:45pm on December 30th.  My clinic counts full flow after 4pm as cycle day one the next day.  I was totally relieved as we could stay on vacation as planned.  No frantically driving back to the city for that short ultrasound.  I was teasing myself for the little trust I had in God for His timing.  I didn’t know that my trust would be tested again very soon.

What a way to start the New Year, right?  Getting a baseline ultrasound for our new cycle on New Year’s Day, the cycle that we would finally transfer and have a chance at pregnancy.  Sounds like a great new beginning right?  Soon, that sense of a fresh start was crushed by the news.  Delivered by a pregnant doctor nonetheless.  She walked in with a glow on her face and her hands resting on her bump.  Like Maddie said, Who glows???  Maybe it’s a California thing, because all the pregnant ladies around her just look tired.  But yes, Pregnant Doctor was glowing.  I didn’t much mind her.  I just wanted to get the scan done to know that we were good to go with this cycle.  I kept my fingers crossed and whispered “No cysts”.

Then there it was.  Huge round dark circle on the screen, measuring about 25mm.

I know the drill.  I knew the cycle would be canceled.  This sense of unfairness overcame me and my heart again.  I was sad, disappointed, and hurt.  But on my face, I probably looked composed and calm.  I was not calm at all.  I was trying so very hard to hold myself together.  We discussed calmly about the next steps.  I asked if it was an estrogen producing cyst.  She suggested blood work to check the estrogen level, although later on at home I realized that the level wouldn’t accurately reflect the estrogen level since I had been taking Estradiol for priming.  I got poked anyways.  And estrogen did come back at the 800 level.  Very high.   I was instructed to connect with my RE’s care team the next day.

On the car ride home, I was extremely quiet.  All I wanted to do was to cry.  But I didn’t cry in the car.  Bob wasn’t feeling much better.  At first he said that it was okay that we just wait for the next month.  Then he said that he didn’t want to transfer in February because of the bad memories from our transfer and chemical pregnancy last year in February.  He wanted to just do a freeze all cycle again in February and try to transfer in March.  I almost lost it there but I kept my mouth shut.  Both of us were in extremely bad mood, very hurt and angry.

I was so angry at God.  I was so angry at the world, at the unfairness of it all, at the waiting, the pain and suffering that we have had to endure.  Then I felt guilty for being angry at God.  I vacillated between guilt and anger all day.  Tears kept coming down when I was cutting vegetables.  Bob told me to just rest instead of cooking.  He didn’t understand that at that moment, I just wanted to be left alone and let my emotions and tears out while doing something productive.  So he left me alone to read in bed upstairs.  When I was done cooking, I went upstairs, squeezed next to him and rested with my eyes closed.  With his body behind mine, and his hand moving up and down on my back, I curled up like a fetus and just let myself cry the best cry I could have.

Will all the tears be worth it in the end?

This delay had hit me harder than any other delays.  I have been so ready for a transfer since November.  Our wonky 42-day failed cycle in November pushed our December cycle into the time of the two week lab closure that made it impossible for retrieval and transfer.  We celebrated the rest that we had during the holiday season and tried to make the most of it.  We were so hopeful for finally moving forward and believed that this new year would bring the long-awaited transfer.

What a way to start our new year.

Needless to say, a severe headache consumed the second half of my day.  It took a really long time to go away.

I kept my eyes tightly shut this morning and did not want to wake up.   I was praying and talking to God about how disappointed I was in my body and in His timing.  I didn’t like His timing a bit.  My head knowledge tells me that God’s timing is the best.  But my heart was rebellious.  I was chatting with Maddie about it.  And I was saying that Elisha is probably the best person to talk me out of this nonsense that I was feeling.  How do we talk to God and pray to Him when we feel that He is so so far away?  When we don’t feel His love and that He has my best interest in His mind?  It’s such a struggle to stay faithful, positive, and trusting in God’s plan and timing.  I don’t know how others do it.

My prayer is that my trust in God and His plan will be strengthened.  I realize how fragile my faith and trust is.  Asking for God’s peace and strength is an everyday occurrence.  I’ll pick myself up again soon.  I just need to allow myself some grace and some time to get over the hurtful feeling.

My dear friend Jane made me laugh for the first time yesterday.  When I told her about the cyst, she said: “Cyst name suggestions: Agatha or Muriel”.  I burst out laughing.  The last thing that I had in my mind was to name my cyst, although this has been my tradition to name my cysts to make them go away.  It helps to have friends who would take care of that for you.  I love that she always gives me two choices.

Muriel it is.

Good bye Muriel.  I don’t want to see you next month.


So… Our cycle is cancelled.

I have maintained a very positive attitude in the last couple of days.  My dear coworker asked me what I would like the outcome to be for today’s baseline appointment.  I said, I don’t care how many follicles we have; I’ll be happy as long as we don’t have a cyst.

Well, guess what?  A big one was found on the the left side.

I should’ve known.  That seems to be my pattern.  Whenever I spot for a long period of time in the beginning of a cycle, there is always a cyst the following cycle.  It happened last month.  I spotted for ten days and ovulation was late.

UCSF is very different from Dr. E’s boutique clinic.  You don’t get to see the same person every time. You don’t get to see your own doctor.  We arrived and paid for our cycle.  Then we waited for 35 minutes before we got called back.  I was anxious about the time because I needed to get back to my work to see my last client of the day.  The nurse did not introduce herself.  She called my name.  I got up.  She then said, Let’s go.  I don’t know.  She wasn’t rude.  But she wasn’t the friendliest.  In the exam room, she told me to undress from the waist down and left.  I was thinking… what if this is my first ever cycle?  It would have been the most impersonal experience ever.  After a couple of minutes, this doctor came in.  She said her name so fast that I didn’t catch it.  I figure I probably won’t see much of her, so it’s okay.   She measured my lining, which was 5.6.  Then she asked, Did you know that you have a fibroid?  She measured that too.  She proceeded to the right ovary.  It had two follicles.  Then the left ovary.  She discovered this big cyst.  She asked if this is something that I’ve always had.  I explained that I have it once in a while.  At that point, my heart sank and I knew that we’d cancel this cycle.  Every single time there was a cyst, my cycle got cancelled.  It happened twice already.  I mean… it always gets resolved so I am not worried about it not going away.

Nevertheless, I am very disappointed.  I have had great momentum going into this cycle.  I was really ready to move on.  And now… the cycle came to a screeching halt.  The doctor saw another small follicle on the left and couldn’t proceed with the scan because of the view being blocked by the evil cyst.

I actually almost cried there.  But I held my tear back.  The doctor went to talk to the doctor of the week (instead of my own RE) and said that if it’s not a persistent cyst, then we’ll cancel the cycle.  I wasn’t surprised… but it was still disappointing to hear.  She then said that she’ll confirm with Dr. No Nonsense and give me a call.

I went back to work disappointed.  But I had to put on my game face because I still had a client.  Bob was sweet.  He was saying all the right things when we walked back to my work.  But I still felt like crying.  At 5pm, the doctor who did the scan called and confirmed with Dr. No Nonsense of the cycle cancellation.  No surprise there.

Elisha is such a sweet heart.  This is what she wrote to me when she found out:

“I know how disappointed and discouraged you must feel because I have had several cycles cancelled in the past.  But the one thing I have learned since that time is to verbally say, ‘I don’t understand, but I trust you God.’  Just keep affirming your trust in Him and those thoughts of fear, doubt, worry, and discouragement will slowly fade away as you are reminding yourself that He is in control and can see the bigger picture. ”

Thanks girl!

And what does it all have to do with Ursula?  Well, the brilliant Jane Allen asked what I was going to name my cyst this time… since every time I named my cyst, it seemed to go away.  She suggested Ursula because it’s a dreadful name.  I think it’s very fitting!  Whatever her name is, I just want her to go away and not ever come back…

Instead of telling myself not to be disappointed, I am going to experience it and then let it go.  But yeah… we’re going to go back to old fashioned way of making a baby this time.

(Thanks everyone for your well wishes.  We’ll try again next month.)

A Season of Waiting, Again

For those who have been following me for a little while, you may remember Rekka?  That was the name my friend M gave to the cyst that stalled our first ever IVF cycle.  Rekka was finally dead the following month.  Well, I think Rekka either reincarnated or has sent her cousin, the party pooper.  At my baseline ultrasound bright and early at 7:40am, Dr. E discovered one follicle on the right side.  She said it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other follicles on that side.  They could be hiding.  When she ventured to the left side, this big follicular cyst appeared on the screen.  So yeah.  Either Rekka decided to come back after being gone for six months, or her cousin showed up as her representative.  M, should we give the cyst another name???

Anyhow, unlike two months ago when I really didn’t want to try another cycle, this month I am very ready for one.  But God has His own timing.  With this cyst, we cannot proceed with another IVF cycle this month.  The medication is going to make the cyst bigger and bigger.  Similar to last time, I will not go on any birth control pills as we do not want to risk overly suppressing my ovaries.  It doesn’t really matter how ready I am mentally and physically this cycle, my ovaries are not cooperating.

I was a little bummed this morning.  It was a very long morning.  I gave up fitness bootcamp and left at 6:30am for my 7:40am appointment.  I got there at 7:26am.  Dr. E and I discussed about the cyst and our plans.  I still have an option of transferring my frozen in January or do a fresh cycle.  We are still going to think about that a little more.  When I left the clinic, I chatted with Bob on the phone and went over all that had happened.  I checked on Google Maps that going back to work would take almost 1.5 hours.  Lovely.  So I headed over to Starb.ucks, got myself a cup of grande hazelnut latte, and braved myself through the traffic.  While I was driving, my phone rang.  I looked at the phone number that I didn’t recognize and didn’t pick up.  It turned out to be the place where I had ordered Bob his Christmas present over the weekend.  Apparently the item that I ordered was out of stock and my order was officially canceled.  Even lovelier.  When I finally got into work at 9:45am, it was supposed to be the beginning of my work day but I felt like I had been in a battle physically and emotionally for several hours already.

Things aren’t actually that bad.  I mean, instead of starting injections or oral medication tonight, I am not going anywhere near any syringes.  Sticking myself with a needle is not the most pleasant thing so I am spared of that this month.  I contacted the store to re-order something else and got the lady to honor the discount that I got for the cancelled order.  At least Bob will get his Christmas present.  Bob and I had been talking about taking a trip somewhere during the last two weeks of the year as I have those two weeks off and he gets to work remotely from anywhere.  However, we had been holding off our plans for a trip because we didn’t know how this cycle would turn out.  Since the cyst is making us wait, we jumped at that opportunity and booked three nights at a bed and breakfast about three hours away.  We had gone to this place twice, once for our mini-honeymoon (those nights after our wedding… our official honeymoon in Hawaii has yet to be booked) and another time for a couple of nights after my abdominal myomectomy two years ago.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were still rooms available for those nights we want to go.  So we will be spending December 23rd, 24th, and 25th in a small scenic town facing the ocean.  Instead of being poked and prodded by a cam at my RE’s office, I will be having freshly cooked hot breakfast delivered to our room at 9am each morning.  If we went ahead with this cycle, then we would never have a chance to go away for Christmas.

I know I’d much rather get a cycle going.  But when I can’t, I got to find the silver lining, right?  Instead of a cycle, Bob and I get to have some down time for just the two of us.  I think that ain’t too bad.  God has a way of allowing us time to rest.