Chalk another one up to our list of Things That Haven’t Happened in the Timing We Expected While Trying to Have Kids.
After the first ultrasound on Monday, when I found out about that pesky cyst, I figured my next appointment would be pretty critical in determining how and if we proceed with IVF. The little freak-out on Monday turned out to be beneficial in that it prepared me for the unwelcome possibility of needing to cancel the cycle. The ultrasound yesterday showed the cyst was getting bigger, and, more importantly, that the other follicles weren’t.
My kind and efficient doctor, whose job I certainly don’t envy, had me come into her office so she could explain the sitch in thorough detail, which I will try to summarize succinctly (a tall order, for me). First, she said the cyst could be more endometriosis that built up since my laparoscopy last year. It shouldn’t be a problem unless it causes a lot of pain, and that type of thing hasn’t been shown to affect the outcome of IVF. Of greater concern was the fact that the other follicles weren’t growing much yet. She could have increased the dosage of meds and kept me on them longer, but lengthening the prototypical cycle by a few days has been shown in studies to decrease IVF pregnancy rates. So she wanted us to know our options: We could proceed with the cycle until the meds finally started taking effect or we could cut our losses, cancel the cycle, and try again, hopefully soon.
Her best guess as to why the follies weren’t getting much action is because of the birth control pills she prescribed for me the month before. It’s pretty standard protocol to do at least one cycle of BC before IVF; it helps many women regulate their body functions, but for others, it can delay follicular growth, according to the doc. It shouldn’t be surprising I’d fall into the latter category, considering how sensitive my body is to any sort of hormonal changes. Case in point: I’ve had to buy a heck of a lot more Proactiv ever since I went off BC 2+ years ago.
Fortunately, my blood test showed my estrogen level was going up, so the medicine was working, just taking longer than expected. We don’t know for sure if the meds would work any faster in a month or more, after the BC has worked its way out of my system, but considering how well I’ve responded to less powerful fertility drugs in the past, it does seem like there would be better odds.
While the doc said she would support us if we wanted to proceed or not, Colin and I didn’t need much time to discuss our decision. Obviously, we want to do what will lead to the best chance for success, and, though it sucks to have to wait another month or longer, that’s what we need to do.
The need to cancel after going through five days of shots is frustrating and disappointing. We had worked out the October IVF schedule logistically and prepared for it emotionally, and now we have to start over again, who knows when. Even if it’s only a month later, that’s one more month of not being pregnant and not knowing when/if/how we’ll have kids. Another month for others to make pregnancy announcements and us to feel happy and yet left out.
That’s the downside. But God has really helped me believe He’s got a purpose for this delay, just like He’s got a purpose for all of our struggles in trying to expand our family. And He’s pointed out a few plus sides to this change of plans:
- It’s better for my work schedule.
- The doctor knows more info about how my body responds to the meds.
- Colin has gained experience giving me shots.
- We won’t be finding out if we’re pregnant right before our first meeting of the couples infertility support group we’re helping launch at church.
- We only wasted a couple hundred bucks on the meds instead of thousands on doing the whole procedure with decreased chances for a successful outcome.
- I’ve got more time to blog.
As my mom put it, this canceled cycle is just a blip, a temporary interruption in our path to parenthood, nothing insurmountable or impossible to overcome. We still face a lot of uncertainty, and are praying that we will be able to try again in November and not have to wait until after the holidays. I’m not a great waiter, so the best thing I can do at this point is to remind myself of verses like Psalm 62:5-6: “My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken.”
I also need to think of some fun things to do to pass the time and keep me from worrying about when we can do the next cycle. For example, this Saturday, I’ll be going shopping with a friend. We won’t be dropping $10K this month, so why not pick up a new pair of shoes?