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The day my Instead Cup failed me… twice



Warning: In this post I will discuss periods and all the yucky details that go with them.

Last year I discovered Instead Cups. Despite the daunting size and the way it crinkled when squeezed, I adored them. Instead Cups gave me 12 blissful hours of comfortable and secure period protection. Or so I thought. It turns out that Instead Cups are great for light flow days and spotting. They are not so great for massive deluges.

Sunday was CD 1 and with it came the most intense period I have had in YEARS. Seriously. I don’t have periods on my own. Birth control periods are more like a two day period sneeze. Periods after my IUIs were always bizarrely light. The period after my IVF egg retrieval was pretty minimal because we had not been working to grow a perfect lining, just a couple dozen eggs*. My first FET resulted in a BFP and then lead to a miscarriage and D&C where they sucked out all the contents of my little uterus resulting in another two-day sneezer period 10 weeks later.

This cycle, the one following a failed FET with a rock-star lining, has been crazy! And it is still going. Today is CD 5 and I’m still bleeding, albeit not a ton. No worries, I thought, I have plenty of Instead Cups to save the day. So Monday morning I popped one in and then finished getting ready for my day. While applying mascara I sneezed, smearing the black goop on my nose and… holy hell what is that feeling?

Spilling the contents of my Instead Cup into my pretty new panties that I had forgotten to protect with a liner. So. Deeply. Disturbing.

I readjusted my “drip tray” (my nickname for the cups) and finished getting ready. Then I drove 90 minutes to Louisville for a video shoot. I stopped before getting to my destination to grab a cup of coffee and use the restroom – things were feeling urgent. The coffee shop was super cute and had a one-person-at-a-time restroom that was positioned smack in front of the counter so everyone saw who entered and exited the bathroom.

I went to remove the drip tray and thought to myself, “Self, don’t drop this mother fucker in the public toilet.” As I pulled it spilled all over my hand and I recoiled in horror and *plunk* dropped the damn thing into the toilet. Fuck.

I cleaned my hand up and then stood over the toilet to assess the damage. I could try flushing it… but that would run a serious risk of clogging the one potty and everyone would know who the culprit was. I couldn’t just leave it there but that is disgusting and while I might be messy, I’m not disgusting. I had to pull it out. Of a public toilet.

Have I mentioned that I have some germ issues?

Luckily this bathroom offered actual paper towels instead of just a hand dryer. Armed with a HUGE wad of brown paper towels I held my breath and fished the damn drip tray out. Then I washed. Obsessively. I stared at the fresh Instead Cup and decided it was time to part ways, at least for this epic cycle. Hello old friend OB. I trust you to protect me and my panties and, for the love of God, don’t ever send me diving into a public toilet.

* For new readers: I did not do a fresh cycle due to my risk of OHSS. Instead we used an egg donor protocol, harvested 27 eggs, grew and froze 6 blastocysts and then I did FETs.



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  1. 35life #
    September 27, 2012

    Oh you poor thing! Periods after failed cycles are the worst. I would imagine FET’s are similar. I had the worst periods of my life immediately following an IVF – ruined so many articles of clothing, my car seat, I even thought I ruined my friend’s brand new sofa! Sounds like you’ve gotten over the hump of it though. Wishing lighter days for you!

  2. Angel286 #
    September 27, 2012

    Holy Moly.. that sucks.. having to fish in a public toilet is downright tragedy..
    Hope you had no nightmares…

  3. Jen #
    September 27, 2012

    Good Lord. That sounds pretty terrible. I have never heard of these cups you speak of, but I don’t think I’ll be looking into them anytime soon…

  4. September 27, 2012

    Prior to my surgery I used to have horrendous periods- like 5 super tampons in an hour periods. Since my surgery my periods have been more normal and I like the IDEA of Instead Cups, but I don’t know that I could actually use them….

    • September 27, 2012

      Typically I love them. This cycle… not so much. They are super scary looking when you first open the package and think “That is going where?” but once you get it in you don’t even feel it. I highly recommend for the days you are not bleeding like a stuck pig 🙂

  5. Vanessa #
    September 27, 2012

    Have you ever tried the Diva Cup?? It’s made of silicone and has a harder cup part, but is still pretty bendy. I’ve NEVER had it leak, even when it’s totally full on my Day 1. Worth a shot, maybe. Also, hilarious story about digging around in a public toilet… I once dropped a very expensive pair of sunglasses down into one of those hole-in-the-ground systems in Africa. Did NOT go digging for those. 🙂

  6. September 27, 2012

    Omg. That sucks. Have you looked into Diva cups? I just read about Insteads and Divas seem a little easier to me. I haven’t made a mess since my first cycle with it.

  7. September 27, 2012

    I’ve never actually used the Softcups for my period. I use them when were are TTC to keep all of the sperm in there and give them a fighting chance, but I was planning on trying them for next period. After reading this, I will make sure I remember a back up liner!

  8. September 27, 2012

    I will second (or third) the recommendation for the Diva Cup. It was literally life changing for me. The cleaning might be a no-go for you, but it’s worth a shot! What a crappy day- ruining new panties and digging in a public toilet? Poor thing!

  9. September 27, 2012

    Thanks for posting this, Belle! (Though I am sorry you had an awful experience.) I’ve been thinking about Instead Cups for a loooong time and just can’t seem to bite the bullet. However, I think I would be a perfect candidate with my super light periods. I’m doing it! Thanks!

  10. September 27, 2012

    Ugh, how annoying! you were brave not to leave it there. But this is why I’m afraid to try any kind of those, although I have heard good things about some of the brands like the DIva cup.

  11. jak #
    September 27, 2012

    funniest. story. ever.

    good luck with the new cup!

  12. Shelley #
    September 27, 2012

    So last week I bent over in the bathroom stall at work to pet my dog and my hair fell in the toilet! A couple of inches at the bottom of the front part was dripping wet. I was almost traumatized but I forced myself into denial about the whole thing.

  13. September 28, 2012

    I eventually gave up on Instead for just this reason 😦 I’m sorry you had a crappy morning.

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