hope

2 Jul

When I went to the dr last fall, she told me that we could just start clomid.  But I was an emotional mess and not ready to take the next step.  So I went on the pill instead, to give myself a much-needed emotional break.

 

So I was shocked when I went back a week ago and was told that before we start anything, I need blood work done again (my last tests were run back in 2010, and she wanted to check to make sure nothing’s changed).  And I needed to have an HSG dye test.  I assumed I’d have it in-office, perhaps with the nice x-ray techs who did my external and internal ultrasounds.  But no–this would be done in the hospital, as an out-patient procedure.  Putting it in the hospital immediately upped my anxiety factor.  I thought it was strange when the secretary told me she’d have to call me back with an appointment, then called and told me when it was rather than asking me when was good.  But it was fine.  Tuesday morning, 8 am.  The nurse told me to take 800 mg of ibuprofin beforehand, eat a light breakfast and take my antibiotics (the test can cause infection so this is a precaution).  Great.  How bad does it hurt?  Oh it doesn’t really hurt, it’s just uncomfortable.  More like moderate period cramps.  I should know by now that doctors like to sugar coat things…

 

I talked to a friend of ours who went through all of this and actually referred us to this new doctor, and she said that her experience with hsg was actually extremely painful.  However, she knew another person who’d said it was not bad.  I guess just like anything else, everyone’s body is different, and apparently some people who’ve already had babies find it hurts less.  So it might hurt, or it might not, or it might be like period cramps.  Awesome.

 

Anyway, we got to the hospital super early.  It was 7:30.  The lady checked me in, gave me a patient bracelet and we sat down to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  It was almost 8:15 before they called me back.  I was nervous and pacing to the bathroom and back, trying to read but I couldn’t focus, trying not to stare at all of the people filing in for appointments (all old people–we were the youngest ones in there by about 20 years at least).  I almost lost my shit when they called a woman back who was scheduled for something at 10, but came in at 8.  WTF.  I’m sure they were waiting for my doctor, though.

 

SO they called me back and the nurse was like, oh no he stays out here (Eric).  I was like, he can’t come and hold my hand.  I almost lost my shit again–I’d told myself (and he’d told me) that he would be there with me.  She said we’d ask the doctor (apparently a lot of men get freaked out and woozie), then walked me back and had me get into a gown and get up on the big table.  When I came out of the bathroom, Eric was in the little booth to “protect” him from the radiation (apparently there’s a red line in there that you have to stand behind because it’s magical and stops the radiation haha Eric thought it was hilarious).  I had wanted him to hold my hand, but knowing he was right there behind me was the next best thing.

 

So I get up on the table, and there are no stirrups, thank god.  I hate stirrups.  So basically, the procedure is that they put in the speculum, open you up, insert a catheter up into your cervix, then inject dye while x-raying to see if there is “spillage” into the fallopian tubes.  If there’s not, that means you have blockage and, as my doctor succinctly put it, it’s pointless to give clomid.

 

When I mentioned what the nurse had said about some men feeling woozie, Eric said it looked like a torture chamber, with all of the weird tools on the table and the iodine, which looked like blood (there was some of that, too). 

 

So my doctor was doing her thing and I just about jumped off the table, but I reminded myself that everything I’d read online (not much bc I knew there were so many different experiences and so many women make a big deal out of things that aren’t a big deal) said it can hurt like hell when the dye is inserted but only for a couple of minutes, and then it’s pretty much over.  So there’s a lot of searing pain for a minute or so, then it’s just really uncomfortable–painful, but not like the searing pain a minute ago, though.  I take some deep breaths.  I’m going to be fine.

 

The radiologist came in, and she said, are you ready?  Am I ready for what?  She tells me she still has to inject the dye.  I say are you kidding?  I thought it was over.  Nervous laughter all around.  Just do it.  The radiologist asked me to put my arms over my head, so I grabbed the edges of the pillow.  And thought they were tearing my shit out of me. 

 

I resisted the urge to read too much about this procedure beforehand, because I know that people can be drama queens.  But holy shit.  Some women say this test actually hurt worse than delivering a baby.  All I could think when it was over and I was laying there, reduced to tears was, if this is what childbirth is like, drug the fucking shit out of me.  [side note: i don’t want drugs bc i’m terrified of not being able to walk out or around or do anything.]

 

So I am practically off the table from the pain, and there is no relief.  No matter how I move, it hurts.  I know I should be staying still, but I can’t.  It is like they set my insides on fire, and I squirm, trying to get it to stop hurting.  The radiologist and my doctor are talking quietly as they look at the monitor and ask me to roll to my left side.  I do and they are talking about how there is sudden spillage.  Hooray.  But I roll flat, then a little to the right, then flat again, and they don’t see spillage on the other side.  And now I am crying not just because it hurts but because I know what that means–no spillage means no fallopian tube opening means no baby unless you go through IVF.

 

My doctor is patting my leg, apologizing, telling me we’re almost done.  I think they must have injected extra dye, because apparently if they do it a few times, they can “blow your shit open” (my friend’s description of the process–she had it done before and said it hurt, too).  I think it probably hurt worse because things were maybe partially blocked, so the dye had nowhere to go but that’s just my musings. 

 

So the radiologist goes back to Eric’s little booth where there are more monitors and shit, the doctor and nurse are explaining where to find the stuff I need to clean myself up and get dressed again.  Doctor tells me that she’ll call me later with results and what our treatment options are, given the fact that it looks like my right side is blocked.  Which only reduces me further to tears.

 

I get dressed.  The nurse was amazing.  Eric and I leave.  I am a mess.  I have been crying since 8:30 am off and on, mostly on. I am cramping, sometimes intensely.  Apparently this is normal for the rest of the day today.

 

I wish I could stop crying, but I can’t.  I just feel like this is it–it’s official.  We are undergoing fertility treatments, and that is a really emotional thing.  According to what I’ve now read, this is a particularly emotional test for many women because it is the first real test in fertility treatments, and therefore painful both physically and emotionally. 

 

So I am sitting on the couch, curled up a bit to help ease the cramps, thinking about what is going to happen next, where we go from here, playing dr. google (i know, a horrible idea).  Then about 15 minutes ago, the doctor calls to tell me she has good news.  She and the radiologist looked at my results again and they are pretty sure both sides are open.  She is waiting for me to have my blood work and then we will proceed.  In the meantime, “have lots of sex this month” she tells me.  Apparently there is a slight uptick in fertility in some women right after this test (they aren’t sure why–i was reading about it and they think because they blow your shit open and also because the iodine might do something to your ovaries).  “Maybe you’ll get pregnant on your own this month,” she says cheerfully. 

 

And I laugh through the tears, thank her and hang up, filled with hope again.  This is the cycle that we’re getting back on–the hope that things will work, then the painful realization that it didn’t, then the hope again.  The roller coaster of infertility.  We’ll see what happens.  As our friend Oliver says, you can only be disappointed if you have expectations.  Alas…I have expectations.  And hope.  Here we go.

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One Response to “hope”

  1. shawyant July 4, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    I had my second HSG done last month and feel your pain. Your experience sounds very much like mine (http://grabbingsunshine.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/hsg-sis-dc-not-a-story-about-the-alphabet/). My first HSG was an awful experience and afterwards I took a break from thinking about my infertility. During that break, I conceived my son. So have hope, good things will come from this experience. I know its hard to believe. My second HSG was much better than the first, a 180 degree difference! So just breathe and do whatever you need to move forward. Go as fast or as slow as you want when making decisions and trust your instinct. I started writing a blog to document my continued journey through infertility since its sometimes so hard to express my feelings about it to my friends and family. ❤

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