The Sad Story of Cycle Sixteen

As I sure you may have guessed from the title of this post, I am not pregnant.

Things started out normally. I had my scan on day two. Took my medication. Had 2-3 eggs that would mature and release. Robert had excellent sperm. We did two IUIs – one with 68mm sperm, one with 44mm. And we started our two week wait. It didn’t take long for things to go south.

The Monday after my second IUI I felt like I was coming down with a cold. My nose started running, did that thing where all your snot runs down the back of your throat and makes it super sore. I thought it was just a cold and went on with things as usual. By Wednesday I was so congested I couldn’t breathe through my nose or taste anything. My teeth started to hurt. On Thursday, my lower left jaw hurt so bad that I couldn’t chew anything on that side of my mouth and was starting to swell a little bit. Friday morning I went to see the doctor.

The doctor started me on some antibiotics (Augmentin) and advised me to take some tylenol for the pain I was having in my teeth. By 3:00 Friday afternoon, the pain was almost unbearable. Robert had called the doctor’s office to let them know, and when the office called me back all I was told was that my doctor had left for the day, they wouldn’t prescribe painkillers over the phone and I would just need to deal with it until the antibiotic started working. I was very upset, as by this point I could hardly open my mouth and eating soup caused so much pain that I could barely manage it.

I took a vicodin I had left over from a crown being done last year. Don’t worry, vicodin is pregnancy safe.

About 8:00 Friday night, I decided I was going to try to sleep it off and hope that I felt better in the morning. Within about an hour of lying down I simply couldn’t tolerate the pain anymore and ended up holding my face and rocking back and forth crying in the bathroom. Robert decided that we were heading to the emergency room.

After waiting, in great pain, for about 90 minutes in the ER we saw the doctor. He looked at my swollen jaw, asked some questions and decided I likely had a tooth abscess. He debated doing a CAT scan, but since we weren’t sure if I was pregnant or not, he indicated he’d treat an abscess the same either way regardless and we opted not to do the scan. I was provided some Vicodin, given a prescription for more, told to keep taking the antibiotics and sent on my way with a list of free/low cost dentists in the event that I didn’t have one (despite my indicating I did, indeed, have one).

The Vicodin numbed that pain enough for me to sleep…for about three hours. At which point I woke up in pain again. I got up and used the bathroom, felt lightheaded and immediately started sweating when I got back to the bed. I laid in bed and watched the clock for the next three hours until I could take more vicodin for the pain. About 5:30 am I took two more tablets, and slept for another three hours. I woke up, again, in pain and went to use the bathroom with the same lightheaded feeling from the effort of walking from the bed to the bathroom.

This time, I looked in the mirror on my way back to bed. To my shock, the swelling in my left jaw had tripled and spread half way across my face towards my right jaw, including my neck. I looked like I had gained 100 pounds overnight – or that I had been given a fat suit like they use in the movies. I went and woke Robert up, and we immediately went back to the ER calling the dentist’s emergency line along the way.

We got to the ER about 9:30 am and this time I was given a bed right away (apparently, I’d hit a lull in activity). I saw the doctor within 30 minutes, and we explained the situation. Well, mostly Robert did as by this time I couldn’t really open my mouth, it was incredibly painful to swallow and I was having a hard time talking. The doctor asked why we were back in the ER and when we explained how much the swelling had increased in roughly 9 hours and that we’d had three doses of the Augmentin, he ordered the CAT scan.

The CAT scan showed that there wasn’t an abscess, but that there was severe infection coming from the last molar of my lower left jaw (the tooth that had been hurting since Wednesday – an oddness given that it had a root canal almost a decade ago). The doctor advised me that I was going to be admitted to the hospital, I was quickly started on IV antibiotics and given morphine for the pain.

While I was waiting to be admitted, Robert went outside and got in touch with the dentist who indicated that we had done the right thing going to the emergency room – as that would have been what he had us do – and that we should keep him informed as things progressed. Robert spoke with the dentist a few times that day, and the dentist went into the office to review my file. He also called me Saturday evening to see how I was doing and let me know to call him as soon as I was released so we could figure out was going on.

48 hours, IV fluids and 8 rounds of IV antibiotics later I was finally able to eat solid foods again, provided that it was in small enough bites, and was released. I left the hospital about noon on Monday with a 7 day dose of clyndimyacin, strict instructions to finish the antibiotics and an order to see my dentist within 24 hours.

I went to the dentist 2:30 Monday afternoon. He asked me “did the doctor tell you how serious your condition was?”, “um, no”, “well, if you had swollen much more you could have cut off your trachea – if the swelling started to go the other way it would have cause swelling in your brain. You had a life threatening condition”. I am actually rather glad that I was not told this while I was in the hospital as it probably would have freaked me right the fuck out. My swelling had probably reduced by 50% at this point. The dentist did an exam and assured me that there was nothing that anyone could have done to have prevented the infection (a statement also made by the doctor in the hospital) – apparently sometimes these things just happen. Bacteria can apparently just reside dormant in a tooth that has had work done, or a root canal can fail, and some random event will trigger it. It can’t be predicted or even known that it will occur. Who knows how long my body has been trying to fight this infection without my knowing it.


The dentist personally called the endodontist to see if he could get me in that day, and we went over to see him. He took and xray and pointed out the infection where the tooth and jaw meet, and where the bone was starting to fail in my jaw. He told me “I don’t say this lightly, and you know I mean it since this is how I make my money, but we’ve got to get this tooth out”. Assured that I can get an implant once the jaw heals (about a year), he sent me over to an oral surgeon.

I met with the oral surgeon on the following day. I contacted the fertility clinic to see if I was far enough along for a blood test to determine if sedation was an option. They were really great – indicating that I wasn’t, but that they were okay with the sedation. They worked with the oral surgeon for a treatment plan – letting him know what was okay and what wasn’t, going under the assumption I was pregnant since we simply didn’t know. Since I couldn’t open my mouth wide enough for the surgery, it was tentatively scheduled for Friday and I was given some things to do to try to get the swelling to go down and the range of motion on my jaw back.

I was able to open my mouth almost its full extent on Friday and the surgery went as scheduled, with the sedation. My tooth is healing well, and I’m able to eat just about anything. I required a few small doses of vicodin the day of the surgery, but was fine after that. Right now I sorely miss my tooth, and am leaning towards having the implant down (at great cost to us, I’m sure), but we will wait and see how I’m feeling about it come a year from now.

Saturday, against my better judgment, I took a pregnancy test. I pretty much expected it to be negative. There is just no way I would hold a pregnancy through the trauma I just went through. I knew that this was true. But the confirmation of the test was still upsetting after what started out as such a great IUI cycle. Even though I know it was probably for the best this cycle, and if I’d ended up pregnant I would have spent nine months questioning the effects of the past week and a half, I was still upset and had a good cry about it. Actually, I was downright down. I feel like this is never going to happen and the universe is against me. I mean I can’t catch a fucking break any which way I try and it’s frustrating as all hell. I go between wanting to keep going at this because SCIENCE is on my side here and waivering because it’s so damned hard to get that negative every month and ride the roller coaster of emotions that come with it. I’m just so fucking sick and tired of feeling disappointed and like I’m living my life around something I can’t make happen. Every decision I make has a reflection of the future we are trying to procure for ourselves.

I finished my antibiotics yesterday. The swelling in my face is gone and I look like myself again, albeit with some acne – either as a result of lying in a hospital bed for two days or the plethora of drugs that have gone through my system. I need to take some me time to go an have my eyebrows done, because they are getting out of control and I’m growing selfconscious about it. Well, that and being off the birth control has seen an increase in hair growth on my face and makes me feel a bit…I dunno. I’m sure it’s 1000 times more noticeable to me than anyone else, but it’s definitely a hit to the ol’ self esteem. Apparently it’s a side effect of the PCOS that I didn’t really notice because I’d been on birth control for the past 18 years. I’m not a vain person, but sometimes you just want to feel beautiful and that’s hard when, well, you don’t.

Anyhow, my period started today. So it’s on to cycle 17. I guess that means it’s time to get back in line for the roller coaster. Maybe this time I’ll enjoy the ride, but I doubt it.


One thought on “The Sad Story of Cycle Sixteen

  1. I was so freaked out during this whole ordeal worrying that you were going to be okay. (I appreciated that you kept posting updates on Twitter though – your dedication to social media is to be commended, so usually I knew what was going on and could be relieved when they admitted you and started getting you IV antibiotics etc.)

    Still, it makes sense that you’re feeling discouraged and sad. And yeah, the PCOS hair sucks. :\ It’s like adding insult to injury. I am really self-conscious about mine too and sorry to hear that you are getting that now (when you least should have to deal with it). For what it’s worth, though, you are always beautiful although I know it’s hard to always feel that way. At the end of this cycle, I’m just glad YOU are okay. There’s only one you.

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