Archives for posts with tag: HSG

HSG – Cycle day 7 – Duration: about 5 minutes

My appointment for the HSG was scheduled for Cycle Day 7. All of the procedures are done on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00, so I booked off my afternoon.

My doctor put the fear of God into me about this particular test, telling me that he had some patients’ husbands come in saying, “How could you do that to my wife?”.


I looked up HSG online, which is a total rookie mistake, but I was still curious about other peoples’ experiences with it. Pain worse than labor, most painful experience ever, blah blah blah. My doctor gave me a bottle of 2 painkillers, telling me to take them a half hour before the procedure.

He had explained to me that the procedure involved injecting iodine into the uterus through a catheter. The dye then disperses through the uterus, into the fallopian tubes, and stops at the ovaries (ideally). It tests for tube blockages and problems in the uterus. From what I read online, the procedure can be incredibly painful for women who have blockages.

As the date for the appointment got closer, I could feel my anxiety level rising. I was really worried about the pain, but also about the news I could be receiving. A blocked fallopian tube isn’t the end of the world, but it certainly adds complications, and I wasn’t clear about what the prognosis was for that discovery.

I had a mini cry-fest the night before, and poor J started feeling really bad about not taking the afternoon off to come with me. I tried explaining that, while I love him and love having him around, I really wasn’t reacting to his absence. I was just really effing scared.

My mum decided she would come down to Toronto for the afternoon to take me to the appointment, which I think make Jon feel even worse about his absence. For 2 nights before my appointment, I had nightmares about forgetting the painkillers, so freaked out when I realized mid-way through my subway ride on the day of the procedure that I had, in fact, forgotten the painkillers.

The short story here is that my husband is kind of a hero, and brought the pills to my work before I left for the appointment. Hooray! I survived the morning, without spazzing too much with anxiety about the afternoon, and made it to the appointment.

It was a nail-biting wait in the first hospital waiting room. I arrived about 15 minutes early, so my mum and I sat in silence as we watched the little TV that had in there. I was glad for the distraction, but my mind was racing about what was about to take place. I jumped about a foot out of my seat when the nurse came and called my name. I was led to an x-ray room where he asked for my name and birthdate, then led me to another room where I was told to take off everything from the waist down and put on a robe.

There is nothing more attractive than a woman in a robe with knee socks and big winter boots, let me assure you. I waited in another waiting room hoping my bum wasn’t poking out of my robe for just a few minutes until I was called and led to the room.

The doctor performing the procedure that day was not my doctor, but one I recognized from the fertility clinic. He introduced himself, and asked me to lie on the bed. It was like a huge plastic board that was controlled by someone in a room. Above it was a circular thing that was the x-rayer, I guess.

I am clearly not a doctor.

Once on the table, the doctor asked for it to be raised, and he told me he would be inserting the speculum, and it might be a little cold. It was at this point that I started counting.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10…

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10…

Over and over and over again while taking big deep breaths but trying not to look like I was taking big deep breaths. Once the speculum was in, he stopped telling me what he was doing, so I started to feel anxious again, but kept counting and breathing. Then he told me I may feel some pressure, so I figured the catheter was in, and the iodine would be flowing soon. I looked over on the screen to watch the big show, and was relieved not to feel the pressure I was warned about, as well as to see the iodine flowing as it should be.

The doctor then said, “All done”, and told me everything looked good, no blockages. He then lowered the bed, and I asked when I would feel the pain. He said if there was going to be any pain, I would have felt it already.

Huge sigh of relief from me.

I experienced some mild-moderate cramping for about an hour or so after the procedure, but certainly nothing like full-blown Cycle Day 1 cramps. They were mild enough that my mum and I enjoyed the rest of our afternoon.

I have to admit that upon return to the waiting room where my mum had been during all this time, I had a little cry as well. The night before, I had watched the Kristen Bell clip from Ellen where she loses it over the sloth. She explained that unless she’s between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, she’s crying. I can totally relate to this, and after the procedure turned out to be positive (both in terms of pain level and results), I was at a 10.

I don’t know what this post would sound like had I had a blockage. Very different, I assume, but I’m so thankful that it turned out the way it did.

-Regular unblocked Van.

Here’s how our first appointment went:

Appointment 1 – Cycle day 30 – Duration: about 2 hours

The appointment started with a pelvic ultrasound (scanner goes on the belly), which required a full bladder. After a trip to the toilet to empty my bladder (“Make sure you get everything out”, said the technician. Uh…what?), next came the transvaginal ultrasound. The camera is shaped like a wand, which is covered with a condom, and then the technician takes images of your uterus and ovaries while it’s inside you. It’s mildly uncomfortable, but no big deal at all.

After those procedures, we waited to speak with the doctor. Covering the walls of the waiting room were photographs of babies and thank you letters to the various doctors at the clinic. While I’m sure the idea behind it was to provide patients with a sense of hope (“See? These people all had problems, too, and now they’ve got babies!”), it seemed like an especially awful kind of hell to have to sit there with a reminder of what my body was incapable of producing.

I should mention I was on the verge of tears for most of this portion of the appointment. The ultrasound technician asked if I was alright, which is a question that, for some reason, often brings me to tears, but I managed to keep it together. I was really nervous about crying in front of the doctor, so I tried to avoid looking at any of those frigging baby pictures. At this point, we still didn’t know if it was physically possible for us to have kids. Stress rate=high. Babies everywhere=not helping aforementioned stress rate.

The doctor started off by asking me a whole pile of questions about my periods (long and painful, but predictable), my family (awesome and healthy, but a history of painful periods), past pregnancies (none)

and then a whole bunch of questions about hair.

Have I ever had to wax, receive electrolysis or laser hair removal on my face, around my nipples, abdomen, toes…

What is happening? The only time I’ve thought about body hair is when I noticed my husband lacks any hair on his arms. I am not a hairy person. I have no facial hair (in fact, I barely have eyebrows), and I think it’s safe to say my boobs have been hairless my whole life.

Where in the hell did those questions come from? I didn’t expect them, and I feel like I was pretty prepared for what we would be discussing.

Our doctor told us that as we answer questions, he flags answers that he thinks might be clues for why we’re suffering (a very suitable word) from primary infertility.

After all the hair questions, it was my husband’s turn. He had significantly fewer questions to answer than I did, but it was nice to relax for a little bit.

When we were done giving our answers, the doctor explained that this process is sort of like a guessing game where he rules out possibilities for why things aren’t happening as they should be. He showed us the images from the ultrasounds, saying that my ovaries were well-stocked with what seemed like good quality eggs. I do not have ovarian cancer (which I was a little more than slightly paranoid about), and I had ovulated from the left this month (I knew it–I always feel it on the left). He suspected my diagnosis would be either PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or endometriosis. The doctor kept referring to the Bearded Lady in relation to PCOS, and that I would likely disagree with his diagnosis if I read about it on the internet.

(Fast forward to us returning home and me investigating PCOS–doctor was right. I have like zero symptoms of this spectrum disorder).

Anyway, we came up with a plan and decided we would continue to try naturally while doing “cycle monitoring”, which would require me to come for semi-regular blood work and ultrasounds throughout my cycle to see what’s going on. The doctor discussed Clomid briefly as another course of action if the case for PCOS was strengthened.

We were sent off to get blood work done, and I was told to call the clinic on day 1 of my period to book an appointment for an HSG test (hysterosalpingogram), which are done between day 5 and day 10 of your cycle. The doctor warned me some people experienced severe pain during this test, so I was hoping it wouldn’t be necessary.

We left the appointment feeling positive and like we were finally getting somewhere. We still needed to get sperm tested for good swimmers and fallopian tubes tested for blockages, but we were on our way to finding answers, and hopefully, a solution.

Our doctor is incredibly positive and as a result, so am I. Maybe something is actually going to happen now.

-Hairless Regular Van.