Tag: ultrasound

Our secondary infertility story: Part 2 – HSG.

This post was written in October 2015 (about 15 months into our efforts to conceive) while everything was still fresh in my mind. I’m trying to publish the stories that I would have liked to read at the time. These stories haven’t been told by me until now, because it was a sensitive subject that was hard to talk about and I thought it best to wait until it wasn’t so raw. 

You can catch up on part 1 here

I’m quickly learning that sometimes it’s the anticipation of a fertility related procedure that is the worst part. So far I have had an ultrasound (yes – that includes the type where they stick a wand up your hoo ha to get a closer look at things) and today I had an HSG (a procedure where they push dye through your fallopian tubes to check for blockages and stuff – yes – that involves a complete lack of dignity in the hoo ha area too).

I have found both experiences to be very nerve wracking. Waiting to undergo these things was one big mindfuck, to be really blunt with you.

There are two elements to help you lose sleep at night:

  1. Not knowing how you’re going to cope with the physical procedure – it’s quite *ahem* personal and you hope that things won’t hurt or cause you pain or put you at risk of infection (I am a bit sensitive about that because it was an infection that caused me to go into labour some issues when I was heavily pregnant with the Little Mister). You’ve never had some of these things done before, so the unknown can always be daunting.
  2. Not knowing how you’re going to feel emotionally – before, during, after – depending on what the experience is like and what the experts find while they’re exploring/testing. Will the staff you deal with be friendly and have a good bedside manner? Will they explain things to you in a way you understand? Will they make you feel comfortable at such a vulnerable time? What if you get bad news? Is that at least an answer (after spending over a year not knowing what the hell is going on and why you’re not pregnant)? Is no bad news good news? Even if you still have no idea why you can’t conceive?

Today as I was lying there on a big table with my feet up in stirrups, feeling the air on my private parts, I felt all kinds of nervous. The lovely radiology nurse was so good at talking to me – making conversation, showing empathy. I was able to ask questions about the kind of pain I would be dealing with (if any). Nurse people, you are all AMAZING. While I did have a midwife (after a C-section, PUPPP rash, an infection, blood tests out the wazoo and several drips etc) make a stupid comment at me after I had the Little Mister, “Gee, you don’t like pain do you?” I have decided that she was just being a thoughtless cow and it’s OK to cope with the anticipation of something you’ve never had done which might be invasive or hurty in whichever way you need to. For me, asking about the pain level or when I’ll feel the discomfort – having the nurse, phlebotomist or doctor tell me in detail what’s going to happen and what I might feel at each stage is how I cope. It stops me from having an anxiety attack about it all. It helps me to relax. If it helps you too, then do it. If someone doesn’t honour the process you’re going through and how vulnerable you are in that moment, they are in the wrong job. It’s not a reflection on you.

If the nurse hadn’t told me the pain/cramping/discomfort might only last 30 seconds to a minute, I would have freaked out thinking the procedure took longer (it’s not like I’d had it done before). If she hadn’t explained in detail (with warmth and empathy) the process I might have just kept thinking the worst about the words on the consent/information form I’d signed – ‘injecting’, catheter, cramps, ‘side effects’…etc.

I am honestly so overwhelmingly grateful for the people who have been so good to me in this process. The kindness and caring of the staff has been second to none and I admire them so much for bringing that to their work.

In the end, everything happened exactly how the nurse described it might. When it was over in a flash, I was just relieved it wasn’t worse. I was given my dignity back and looked after well.

In both my ultrasound and my HSG, things have come up as seeming to be normal*. Which is great from a structural point of view, but mystifying from a ‘why can’t we conceive?’ point of view!

I am just relieved that I will not have to do any more blood tests or have any more strangers exploring in my private parts for a little while.

I know that it will take a couple of days at least to process everything that’s happened so far. I find that on the day I’m a bit mentally numb, glad I survived a procedure, a little bit weepy, but it doesn’t all sink in for a while as the busyness of getting back to real life kicks in. I just hug the Little Mister and keep on going until I get a moment to myself. Then I let myself bawl, journal it out, use my wonderful support networks. Plan for whatever comes next.

I don’t have my follow up appointment with my doctor until mid-late November. About three weeks from now. I am hoping that he can take all my information gathered from my tests and give us a real direction to head in. I am nervous but excited to actually get started.

*while they didn’t technically see anything wrong, in hindsight I have looked at the X-ray and wondered if the fact that the dye seeped out slower through one of my fallopian tubes could be a factor in my secondary infertility.