HSG: TMI

It seems to me that an absurd number of women my age  are struggling with infertility. It also seems like there is a lot of bullshit information out there about it. Personally, I am dealing with something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is something like 1 in 10 women have but that literally zero women are talking about. I was diagnosed ten years ago so struggling to get pregnant isn’t a surprise for me but what is a surprise is the lack of honest information out there about what the infertility process is like.

With that in mind, I have decided to chronicle my journey here in my usual blunt and inappropriate way.

Be warned: this is going to be way over the line in the oversharing department!

Disclaimer : I’m not doing this because I want any sympathy. I do not. I’m dealing with this. I got this. If you want to send me prayers or any type of support please focus your efforts instead on children with cancer. In fact, if anyone feels the need to pray for me if they could just donate $5 to Camp Quality instead I would greatly appreciate it.

Also, I do not want your advice. I am seeing the top rated fertility specialist in Northeast Ohio. Unless you also have his degrees and years of experience do not tell me I need to “just relax”, or take a certain supplement, or try a certain position, or cut something out of my diet, or add something to my diet, or to trust in some divine plan, or what worked for you, or to consider adoption, etc…

What I would like is for you to focus on the humor and honesty I want to share about a shitty situation that lots of women experience but don’t want to talk about.

With ALL THAT being said…I wrote this after I particularly bad incident back in the fall:

HSG: TMI 

Ok ladies out there having trouble conceiving: I’m going to tell you the truth about the HSG because no one else will.

For those of you who are lucky enough not to know what an HSG is, it stands for Hysterosalpingogram and it’s when they check for blockages in your Fallopian tubes by injecting glow-in-the-dark dye into your uterine cavity. A really good explanation can be found here: http://www.advancedfertility.com/hsg.htm.

If you read the link above you’ll likely notice the word “cramping”. That is the understatement of the century.

If you sign up for this medieval torture practice the receptionist will probably tell you to take some Tylenol before coming in. I have two thought about this:

  1. She told me the same thing when I had a different test done a few years ago. This gave me the false sense of security that this procedure and the previous one were somehow on the same level on that pain scale with the faces on it.  

And…..

  1. I took some anyway. I’m not sure it made a difference. If it did…well…that’s just scary….

You may also notice the above link does NOT mention “bleeding all over the damn place.”

I’m a research junkie, especially when it comes to my fertility issues so I thought I had a good understanding of how this test was going to go down and even debated driving myself instead of having my husband take me because on paper it didn’t sound worse than an ultrasound.The internet lied.

While I didn’t get a good look at all the tools involved it started off no worse than a pap or ultrasound. I was uncomfortable but was carrying on a pleasant conversation with the fertility specialist doctor about how I went to the same high school as his kids and how his youngest son and I were once in the same school play…then that “cramping” started.

This “cramping” was the type of pain where you can’t control saying “Ow!” out loud. It hurt so bad I was shaking. I had my sunglasses in my hand above my head and I started tapping them on the table to keep myself from moving. I didn’t cry or swear but I know I was frantically telling them it hurt and the doctor asked if I had painful periods and I said that they were nothing like this. I was also very clear with the doctor and the nurse to keep doing whatever they needed to do because I did NOT want to do this again.

When we were done the doctor told the nurse I was bleeding a lot and she had to get me those old school pads that are like bricks.  I know the pain didn’t last long but I was shaken up for a while afterwards. 

Later when describing the feeling to my husband I explained it as “It felt like my uterus was fighting back.” Later that day I was feeling much better but still had cramps. They felt like period cramps not “uterus WWE Smackdown” cramps so we went to the drugstore and bought more Tylenol, a heating pad, and maxi pads….for the first time since I was a teenager…because blood or no, nothing was going in there for a while.

I texted a friend of mine  who had an HSG done a few years ago and asked her if she remembered it hurting and her response was “Oh yeah. I cried during mine!”

I had mild cramps and on-and-off spotting for the next 2-3 days.

 

At two later appointments with my regular OB/GYN he flat out admitted that they aren’t upfront about how much the HSG can hurt because they don’t want to freak patients out. Thanks…I guess? 

Now I am sure the the pain of an HSG is NOTHING compared to actually giving birth. I know anyone reading this who has gone through both is thinking “She ain’t felt nothin’ yet!” and they are right, however, my point is with childbirth people will be honest with you about the amount of pain you will experience but NONE of my reading about HSGs prepared me to think it would be that painful.

I want others to be aware!

So…let me be the one to tell you…it freaking HURTS!!!