I had the HSG done yesterday. For those of you who have not experienced this procedure, this is how it works. Basically, it’s an x-ray with contrast. They inject the dye into your uterus via your vagina and take x-rays at intervals in order to see how the dye disburses and make sure there are no blockages.
Knowing how the procedure works and having the procedure done are two completely different things.
There were some things that were obvious; getting undressed from the waist down for example. They (kindly) gave me 2 hospital gowns so I could put them on so they overlapped, and took Rob and I to a big procedure room with an x-ray machine. Thankfully, they were able to schedule me with a female radiologist because even the idea of having a male perform the procedure started to trigger panic attacks. Unfortunately, the radiologist had given birth prematurely and they were trying to get the baby to go home that day, so she wasn’t available. The hospital ended up getting a female doctor who normally performs mammograms to perform the HSG, so it all worked out. The nurse and doctor explained the procedure while they prepped, and since I had read up about how an HSG works there weren’t a lot of surprises, but there definitely were a few.
Surprise #1- The Speculum
I have had pelvic exams, so I am no stranger to a speculum, but I have NEVER had one cranked so wide. Do you remember the first time you used a tampon? How it felt like you were trying to shove a cucumber up your nose, but much further south? Yeah, same basic idea. It was like being saddle sore but oh so much worse. I’ve heard of the pear of anguish before but I totally never got it until yesterday. That would be some effective torture.
Surprise #2- Iodine
It makes sense if you think about it, but I had never thought about it so it came as a complete shock to me when the tech told me they would have to sterilize me–to use her words–inside and out. She took what looked like one of those foam paintbrushes you get at craft stores and dipped it in an iodine solution–fairly common for sterilization. She then proceeded to scrub me down. Inside and out. Such. A weird. Feeling. Have you ever had a throat culture done to see if you have strep? Yup, felt just like that. So. Weird.
Surprise #3- The Balloon
In order to get the catheter to stay in the uterus while they inject the dye, they inflate a tiny little balloon to essentially fill the uterus and hold the catheter in place. So while you have your girlie parts on the spreader, you also have a balloon inflating inside your girlie parts. Think menstrual cramps squared.
Surprise #4- Oh the pain!
Everything I read and everyone I talked to said that the procedure would hurt, but I so underestimated it. It was really similar to the cramps and pain when we were losing Jamie, which, of course, was not something I wanted to ever feel again. I had to keep reminding myself that this was just a test and we were not losing another baby.
Surprise #5- Leaking
I saw them prepare the dye, but for some reason it did not sink in that the dye would have to come out some how. As soon as I stood up after the test I felt it start to run down my leg. Again, not a fun feeling. A week before we lost Jamie I had that happen with blood and it is a very frightening sensation. I think that was the hardest part for me. I had to force myself to look down to see that it wasn’t blood running down my leg, but it was still a very traumatizing to feel that again.
Overall, the test went really well. I didn’t have a panic attack (yay) and even though Rob had to sit in the corner during the actual test he was at least in the room which a big comfort. Preliminary readings suggest that my anatomy is normal, but we will find out for sure Friday at my girlie doctor appointment to monitor follicle growth. The nurse mentioned (and I had read) that many couples who haven’t been able to conceive get pregnant soon after having an HSG done. Apparently forcing the dye through the area helps open the pathways, thereby making it easier for the sperm to reach the egg. If this procedure does end up being responsible for us conceiving then it will have totally been worth the pain. And even if we don’t get pregnant right away, this is at least the first step in the right direction.
Like I said, Friday I go in for an ultrasound and we will see if we have the proper number of eggs growing. If you are reading this, Rob and I would greatly appreciate prayers. If you have gone through this before, I’d love to hear from you! Please comment 🙂