Monday, June 27, 2011

{all this for a baby part 2}

After the vaginal ultrasound from hell, I figured the worst of it was probably over.

Looking back, I laugh at myself for thinking that.

If I could go back in time a few months, I'd council my past self and say something along the lines of, "Oh ye stupid one. This is just the beginning!" and then I'd laugh some evil laugh"Bwah hahahahahaha!!!" I'd also remind myself to drug up before the HSG test.

HSG is short for Hysterosalpingogram, or to the layman, a test that is painful, invasive, and is really expensive and most insurance don't cover. I had scheduled it on a Friday so I could take half of the day off work thinking I'd be in and out of the hospital in no time and I'd start an early weekend. However, my weekend plans were altered a bit when my doctor told me what I could expect of the test. "Some women think it's the worst pain of their lives, and some just think it feels like bad cramps."

Oh, so that's it, huh? I'll either keel over in pain or I'll think it was nothing. How does one prepare themselves for the worst pain of their lives? If it was only as bad as cramps, I knew I could easily handle it, as I've had some pretty bad ones in my life. (You know the kind that knock you over and the only position that makes life somewhat bearable is the fetal position, but it's awkward because you're trying to hold a hot water bottle to your lower abdomen? Yeah, I'm familiar.)
But just in case it was painful, my doctor gave me a prescription for a valium (yup. just one) to help take the edge off & he also told me to take 800mg of ib profin before the procedure. Because you're not supposed to drive while taking Valium, my mom offered to drive me and offer moral support.

When I got to the hospital, I checked in & immediately swallowed my Valium. It didn't take long to kick in and I suddenly felt very, very relaxed. I wasn't nervous at all and suddenly everything was very funny to me. I wanted to laugh at everything and yet there wasn't anything that was particularly hilarious. Weird reaction, right? Then about 5 minutes before the procedure, I realized I had forgot my ib profin. Crap. I quickly rummaged through my purse and all I found was Excedrin Migraine. I figured that Excedrin does an excellent job and soothing my aching head, so why wouldn't it sooth my aching nether region too, so popped a couple of those hoping it would help numb the pain in time.

Next thing I knew, I was called back into the radiology room. Once again I had to undress, but this time there was a bathroom that locked, so I knew there wouldn't be any surprises. (Remember the Hispanic nurse in part 1? There was no "Oh hello!!" this time thank goodness!) The nurse gave me a hospital gown that actually covered everything quite well (no paper towel "blanket")! I tied some oddly placed ties as best as I could so my buns weren't showing and climbed up on the exam table.

As I waited in the room, the nurse explained what would happen & showed me all the tools they'd be using. On the one hand it was nice to be prepared, but on the other hand, all I could think about was the size of the speculum. I'm sure I cocked my head to the side and thought "Hmm..I don't remember it looking quite so big..." because the nurse glanced at it, then back at me, and said, "Oh, that's just what the doctor uses to see inside you." Duh. When the doctor came in, I knew the drill. Lay back, scoot down, and place my feet in the stirrups. And even though I was somewhat mentally prepared, it never gets less awkward having your vajay inches from a strangers face.

The next thing I heard was, "Okay, so I'm just going to insert this speculum and open it so I can get a good look at your cervix..." - That's when the real fun began.

I knew it would be painful, but having someone prob around trying to find the opening of your cervix hurts like a mutha! I immediately tensed up, arched my back, and had a death grip on the sides of the exam table. I think I even yelped a little. This was when I really wished I had remembered the ib profin and cursed the Excederin for not working.

"Just try to relax." I laughed a little when he told me this. That's like telling someone who is deathly afraid of heights to not be afraid while you're standing on top of the Sears Tower. I did my best, but it wasn't until he finally got where he needed to be and closed the speculum a little that the pain was bearable. The rest was a breeze. He inserted the catheter into my uterus & fed it into my cervix. I couldn't even feel that. Then he told me he was going to pump up the balloon in the catheter, which helps push the dye through the cervix and falopian tubes. This part was uncomfortable, but bearable. The next several minutes, the doctor proceeded to take pictures of my innards while occasionally re-adjusting my position...get on your side...get on your other side...get on your back again...I had to bear this a bit longer than usual because he couldn't get my right tube to drain. They had a little screen pulled up so I could see what he was doing and while the dye filled my left tube, the right was blocked.

Before I knew it, the test was over & everything was taken out. The doctor had tried to unblock my right tube, but to no avail. He told me that surgery was an option to open the tube, but because I have one good side, I probably wouldn't have to go that route.

So, I have one good tube and one not so good tube. 50/50. Now we see what happens. I'm sure the worst isn't over. I know there'll be more drugs, more procedures, & probably more waiting, but I'm hoping it'll all be worth it! Giving birth should be a breeze after this, right?


Jessica said...

It sounds like you had a better experience than I did! Least fun procedure ever(in my opinion)...I think I may have asked the dr if he was serious each time he asked me to turn and told the nurse she was lucky if she never had to endure an HSG!

I wish you didn't have to go through this (as someone who has) and sorry to hear about your blocked tube...dealing with IF is not easy, but you are not alone. There's a great big online IF community out there to lend lots of support if you need it.

Shayner and Ern said...

Oh Shann.... *hugs*
The things woman go through are TERRIBLE!!! Things like that are so awkward.

I love ya!!!

BECKY said...

best wishes shan!

Breezy said...

OH Shan.. I will keep you in my thoughts. It seems that most every test a woman has to have is either painful or humiliating.. or both. I am sorry you have had to go through all of this.
Hang in there!

pollydove said...

I am so sorry you have to go through all of this! If these procedures help (and I really hope they do), it will certainly seem like a breeze to give birth now. xo

Lindzee said...

I'm sorry your HSG test sucked so badly. If it makes you feel any better, it is possible to get pregnant with only one functioning tube. We somehow managed it with 1/10 of one tube and no fertility treatments, so it can happen! My best advice to anyone going through infertility struggles and treatments is to keep your sense of humor about the situation. :) Good luck!

The Author said...

Well this gave me the shivers. I don't understand why they don't knock you out for it. I mean, I realize he was moving you around from side to side, but when I got my uterus blown up and they put a camera in there they put me under. He said I still talked the whole time until they told me to shut up, so I am sure I could have followed directions to move, but I didn't feel anything nor do I remember it.

Big hugs to you. To me answers are worth it. Can't wait to hear part 3.

Lap of Luxury said...

You captured the hsg exam so perfectly. I cringed with memories of my own experience as I read your. I was diagnosed with PCOS in December. I had the hsg not long after. I wish you all the luck with everything!

Melody's Voice: The Prognosis

.jimaie.marie. said...

Oh man, I hate that you're having to go through these uncomfortable tests!! I swear that men could never survive the crap we are forced to endure as women. I mean, really, does it get ANY more awkward than pulling down your pants, spreading your legs and scooting your business right down into the face of a stranger so that they can probe around in there?! I really don't think it does.
I'm going to be praying for you guys and your journey to parenthood- my friend Amber, who went through similar issues, was able to have 3 children with one fallopian tube so keep your faith <3

Outofmymind said...

When I have had all those tests I always imagined me viciously pushing a probe the size of my arm through his private tool and telling him, with a huge evil grin, to relax and it will all be over with soon, all the while I take forever on him!!!

The Marquardt Family said...

I did the same procedure about 3 years ago. I dont get why they dont KNOCK US OUT!!! come on!!! Glad you were able to get a few more answers... It will help... promise... Try to keep your head up. xoxo

cathycan said...

Very well said, you funny girl!! I am cheering for you!
What lovely, caring commenters!
It helps to hear their stories, doesn't it? soo many infertility probs!! what's the deal!! and what patient, brave women!

Laura said...

Yikes, Shan. Seriously. That sounds so awful. All these hard things you are going through are likely miserable and so trying, but you will come out of this an amazingly even stronger woman, ready to take on anything that comes your way!

The Laidlaws said...

Oh are SUCH a good sport about all this! me and pain (ehem- discomfort) do not go hand in hand! I pray that all of this hell is worth it in the end. YOU DESERVE THE BEST MY FRIEND! xoxo

Claudine said...

just found your blog and I share your condition. I have PCOS, but didn't discover it until I was in menopause - it's a pretty recent diagnosis in the medical world. I had large cysts on my ovaries and surgery left me with only one functioning ovary. On top of that they found I have a clotting disorder that causes miscarriages. We have one son, and discovering now why we were not able to have more, tells us he was pretty much a miracle. PCOS is caused by a hormone imbalance, make sure someone is trying to correct that and not just treating your symptoms. Wish I'd found out much earlier about the clotting disorder - after many miscarriages and painful procedures - but we are grateful for our son!

b3hd said...

Lovely. I get to do my HSG the day before we leave for a cruise. Thinking I'm going to reschedule that. IF is the worst in so many crazy ways. Over the holiday weekend, I of course hit day 1 (when my clinic wanted me to call and schedule for my hsg). I call on day 5 (first day they're open after having a good old time) and the receptionist is all "this is why we tell you to call on Day 1". There was no humor in my voice when I said "unfortunately, unlike ya'll, IF doesn't take the holidays off." I pay ya'll way too much out of pocket for you to get snippy with me is what I WANTED to say to her.

Sigh. Good commenter suggestion to keep the humor through this all.

Really glad you decided to share.


Chelsea said...

Very good version of your story, and I am sorry it was so crappy. My HSG was NOT FUN either. I think the worst part is that my doctor told me it isn't a big deal and is pretty routine. If I had been a little more prepared it would have made it easier! hah. Also, the doctor doing it had to start over completely and re-insert the catheter THREE times. THREE. There were issues apparently. But now I am pregnant and hoping that delivery is easier beause of all of this. And trust me, once you are pregnant, and I hope that happens soon for you, it will all be worth it. Good luck getting through all of this in the meantime. My heart goes out to you.

Bernadette @ b3hd said...

Not that this is now the infertility forum of the web, but since I get follow up comments via email - amen (again) to you sharing your story.

And true to Chelsea's comment. It is so wrong when techs and docs are misleading. Especially in this vulnerable time. My sweet as can be tech was all "so, I've never seen cramping get all that bad and this is what you will see and we'll be done in 3 minutes".

The plus is that I actually DIDN'T cramp. At all. Or I was expecting something so bad that I completely missed it. All negatives from there. 17 minutes, two catheters, four minutes of watching them eye each other with that old "oh...too bad her tubes are blocked" look on their faces...

The worse.
I guess I can be thankful I don't have a prostate.


Miriam Ika Marshall said...

the part you did not think was painful was the worst for me.. I was ready to kick my Dr (although he was very nice) right where it counted and tell him to stay calm and take some deep breaths!!! i can say that was the worst test i have had.. the pain killers i was given after helped a ton, because it caused some crazy cramping.. man, good times (sarcasm)... what we go through to become moms.... keep your head up girl!! you are in our thoughts and prayers!! and as always i am here to chat when you need it!!!