Blog #5: Hysterosalpingogram… say what?!

October 23, 2014

After my husband got the all clear, my gyno moved the focus back  to me… which of course instantly shifted my mindset back to I am the one with the problem preventing us from conceiving… and although he never said it, I knew my husband was thinking the same thing I was.  It was as if he started walking on eggshells around me, not wanting to say or do anything that might upset me… not wanting to talk about the what-ifs (he can be more level headed than me sometimes)… trying to act as though we didn’t have this dark cloud over us – just waiting for the storm to start…

I was pretty disappointed to find out that even with perfect hormone levels and ovulating every month on my own, there was still the possibility that something was wrong with my uterus and/or fallopian tubes.  (Dang! Now I wish the issue had been my hormones…)  So, the next step was to do an HSG procedure.  I had never heard of an HSG procedure before I had to have one myself.  I found out that a Hysterosalpingogram, or HSG, is actually an X-ray test that would look at the inside of my uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them.  During the HSG, a radiographic contrast dye would be injected into my uterus through my cervix.  The uterine cavity fills with dye and if the fallopian tubes are open, dye fills the tubes and spills into the abdominal cavity.  Pictures are taken as the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes.  The pictures can show problems such as an injury or abnormal structure of the uterus or fallopian tubes, or a blockage that would prevent an egg moving through a fallopian tube to the uterus. A blockage also could prevent sperm from moving into a fallopian tube and joining (fertilizing) an egg.  An HSG could also find problems on the inside of the uterus that prevent a fertilized egg from attaching (implanting) to the uterine wall or other problems in the uterus, such as an abnormal shape or structure, an injury, polyps, fibroids, adhesions, or a foreign object in the uterus.  Sounds like fun, right?! Not!  … Not only did it not sound like fun… but it opened my eyes to the MANY things that could be wrong with me… there were multiple things that the doctor would be looking at that could give us an answer as to why we had not yet conceived.

October 23 – day of procedure:  That morning, I remember thinking that we would finally know what was wrong… we would finally be told what had been preventing us from conceiving… have a reason and something to (hopefully) fix!  I didn’t have any doubt that I was the cause of our issues… and I was ready to hear just exactly what was the cause.  I was praying so hard that the issue would be one that we could work with, that we would be told we could still conceive and I could carry our child… I was praying that the news we got was treatable/fixable/common… At this point, I was well past the point of praying that something wasn’t wrong.

My husband and I got to the hospital at 7:30 a.m. (My husband had to go with me as I was told I wouldn’t be able to drive afterward – although I’m sure he would have gone if that wasn’t the case) I hate hospitals.  Really hate.  I hate the smell, the wall colors, the atmosphere… everything. Just writing about this is giving me anxiety thinking about being in a hospital.  So, sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting to have a procedure that I was fairly certain would be painful and that would result in us finding out how serious my problems were… was torturous. My mind was racing and I was already imagining how I would tell my husband once the procedure was over what was wrong with me.  As we were sitting there, I said “I’m just so anxious to find out what’s wrong, finally.” and he said “You think we’ll find out right away?  Like today?” and I replied, “Yes. They’ll know after they look at and review the x-rays…” His face then went white as a ghost.  I guess I apparently hadn’t done a good job communicating to him what today would be like…  We sat in silence, holding hands, me worrying about the pain of the procedure as well as the outcome, and I can only imagine what was going through my husbands mind in that waiting room…

When the nurse (finally) called my name, she took me to the x-ray room that the procedure would be in.  It was very different than any other x-ray room I had been in before… it was a very big room, extremely spacious… The table under the x-ray machine looked more like a bed, a high bed… which took me a minute to put together why it was high… And the x-ray machine above it had a screen on it, so I guess my doctor would be able to see the dye immediately… The nurse asked me if I was pregnant – “No… I took a test yesterday and today just to be sure, as you all instructed…” She then pointed me towards a door, handing me a hospital gown, and asked me to use the restroom and change.  I was now seeing a theme… the bathroom was gigantic, way bigger than it needed to be… I got the feeling that I was getting VIP treatment because the women who came to these rooms received hard news… maybe a big bathroom and spacious room would soften the blow when given the news, preventing us women in those rooms from feeling claustrophobic when all baby hope comes crashing down… (It’s weird the place my mind wandered to in these situations…).

I put on my hospital gown, taking deep slow breaths, actually thinking of and preparing myself for the worst.  I opened the door and the nurse pointed to a step stool, if I needed to use that to get on the x-ray table/bed.  I sat there and we chatted.  She was nice.  Not overly friendly or upbeat, which I appreciated.  She then told me she was going to make sure all was prepared for my doctor, who will be here any minute, and that I could just relax on the table.  Relax?! Gosh if only I could… I was certain I was completely incapable of relaxing when she left the room.  I hate hospitals, and now I’m sitting alone in a huge cold room, in a hospital gown, with my feet dangling off the side, looking at the machines and the tools already laid out for my doctor.  My head started spinning, my eyes started hurting, and I started seeing black spots… I was completely freaking myself out and about to pass out… Oh my gosh this can’t be happening – I gripped the table with my hands – I could not fall off of this table… deep breaths, close your eyes, deep breaths, think of something else, deep breaths… when I wasn’t feeling better I laid down, put my hands on my chest, closed my eyes and kept taking deep breaths.  The nurse must’ve been watching because she came in as soon as I laid down and seemed alarmed, “Are you ok??” – “Yea, I think I am. I thought I was going to pass out – I started getting really dizzy – so I laid down and I think it’s helping.” – “Oh yea… women usually pass out after the procedure, not before.  So I’ll watch you closely after.” Oh great!!! I am such a baby – here I am about to pass out after just looking at the tools laid out for my doctor to do the procedure… it hasn’t even STARTED yet!!!  The nurse continued, “Dr. X is a little late because she got called upstairs to deliver a baby.  She’ll be down here right after that!  Shouldn’t be much longer…” I was immediately envious of the woman I didn’t know that my doctor had to see before me, the woman who would soon be holding her child. What I would give to be upstairs pushing, then down here reminding myself to breathe…

When my doctor came in she wasted no time.  (This is one of the things I like best about her!) She apologized for being late, and then asked me how I was… told me that “This is probably going to hurt and I’m really sorry, but I’ll do it as fast as I can.  Can you move closer to the edge for me…”  And then… as I was moving my toosh closer to the edge to make her job a little easier, the frickin’ table started moving – higher!  She was using a remote to move it even higher… Get that better view I guess – haha!… All I could think was, is this for real?! She told me she was about to start and what happened next was nowhere close to what I was expecting.  The pain was beyond excruciating… I actually screamed the “F!!!!” word… then immediately apologized and my doctor said, “It’s okay… I’m so sorry… you do what you need to do, if you need to yell that’s fine… I know this isn’t pleasant…” and I said “Is it done?” – “No, just a couple more” What the F?!?!?!? A couple more?!?!?  … my body was screaming at me, no – things are supposed to be moving THIS way, things are meant to move the other way…. The third time was the worst.  All I could think was, this is hurting me so bad – so my tubes must be completely blocked!! They have to be!! After the third “injection” she asked how I was… I said… “Okay… what’s wrong with me? Do you know?” – “Your tubes and uterus look perfect, no blockage… nothing wrong!” – “Nothing??”  – “Yea… now be sure to have a lot of intercourse the next two months – sometimes this procedure can heighten the chance of conception!!” – “Umm okay…. is there a next step?”  – “Everything looks great with you, with him… it will happen!  Keep using those ovulation predictors.  But, I’m going to start you on clomid – just to see if that might help out.  Happy everything looked great! Have a good day!” And she was gone.  I didn’t understand… here I had been completely ready to accept what was wrong with my body, but nothing was… Confusion and frustration washed over me… I had been praying for answers today, and had gotten none.

The nurse helped me off the table after she moved it back down, and made sure I wasn’t going to faint.  I changed, got my purse, and headed to the waiting room… I must’ve looked pretty awful, because when I turned the corner I saw my husband look up and all color in his face was gone once he saw me, and he looked scared.  I slowly walked over to him and he said, “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”…. I looked at him with, I’m sure, disbelief in my eyes and said “Everything looked perfect. My tubes and uterus are fine. There’s nothing wrong. I’m so confused…”  My husband looked so relieved and held my hand tight as we walked out of the waiting room, but I just hadn’t gotten to that point quite yet… I wasn’t relieved… I was still wanting answers… Why aren’t we pregnant?…

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