(I wrote this back in November when we started the infertility process and testing. The HSG is a test that most women will have done when they start treatment with a fertility specialist.)
The dreaded HSG test. The test where they stick a catheter through your cervix, shoot dye through it, and take x-rays of your uterus and tubes to see if there are any blockages. It was day 10 of my cycle. I did my due diligence before the procedure and read some blogs on what to expect. The reviews varied. Some said “it wasn’t so bad, just uncomfortable”. Others said “it was so painful the person should be anesthetized”. I found there to be more reviews of it being painful than not, which just terrified me.
I spoke to my friend about hers and she advised that it was in fact painful. Not so painful that you scream out in pain but painful enough that she teared up. But the silver lining was it was quick. She said about 5 seconds and it was over. I latched on to that. I knew I could handle the pain if I knew it was temporary and short.
So of course two days before the test, they needed a pregnancy test, confirming I’m not pregnant. (Clearly, I am not that is why I am having this unpleasant test in the first place!) Of course that meant blood work. Why can’t they just use an over the counter pregnancy test?! What is the point of having this technology if we just ignore it and need blood anyways?! Oh well, I went and had my blood work done for the second time in my life. I am a pro at this now. No anxiety what-so-ever, so there is one good thing that came out of this whole infertility crap. Obviously, I was not pregnant.
I had my test on a Monday morning. I wanted it done first thing in the morning or else I would’ve fixated on the upcoming pain all day. We went in bright and early at 8:00am. I was out by 8:20am. How painful was it? I’m not going to lie, it hurt. The beginning was just uncomfortable like a normal PAP smear. Once they inserted the catheter and the balloon to hold it in place that was when the pain set in. It was like a really bad menstrual cramp. I didn’t cry or scream out but I did say “OW” a lot. It hurt and I felt it in my lower back which was the most painful. But it was fairly quick 10-15 seconds and it subsided. After the pain portion, I was done with everything in another minute or two. Bottom line, it wasn’t excruciating pain but enough that I don’t want to have to do that again!
The doctor showed us the screen and said all was clear. You could see the dye had passed through both of my tubes and out the other end. She didn’t see any fibroids or major blockages. Good news.
However, later in the day my phone rang. It was my doctor. As soon as I answered the phone, I knew something was wrong. Her tone was serious and sympathetic. We were waiting for my husband’s results, so I thought something was wrong with him. I also thought they messed up the test and I would have to do it again. I was wrong on both counts. She told me that upon further review of the photos with the radiologist, when they zoomed in on my fallopian tube, they did find some tubal scarring. It wasn’t enough to block the tube because the dye clearly passed through. She told me that we should continue on the protocol we were on right now but if I wasn’t pregnant in 3 months on this plan, we would need to revisit the scarring.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it all. I have no idea if she said she saw scarring on one or both of my tubes and I have no idea what would’ve caused this scarring. I should’ve asked those questions during the phone call but my mind was blank. I didn’t know what to think of the information she was telling me. I did some research and apparently tubal scarring can be caused by STDS or infection. I have never had an STD. The doctors tested to see if I was ever exposed to any during my initial appointment and those came back negative. I have never had any surgery on those parts so I have no idea what would’ve caused this scarring.
My husband got his results back and he is a-ok. So now the question is, is this tubal scarring what is causing us not to get pregnant? Is the scarring blocking too much of my tube that the eggs can’t get through but dye can? I have no idea. That is my fear. I read up on how to correct tubal scarring issues and it looks as if surgery may be required. It also came up that IVF was a better option for couples with tubal scarring. Both of these options are terrifying to me. Surgery is just scary. Period. The cost and success rates of IVF scare me as well. To spend $12,500 on a 50% chance of being able to have a child, is a huge gamble, both financially and emotionally, that I don’t think I can handle.
Now we just have to wait and see. Maybe I will be one of the lucky few who get pregnant after having the HSG done.
(Flash forward to 5 months later, obviously this was not the case.)