The time had come to schedule the HSG test. I was instructed to call the infertility department at Kaiser on the first day of my next cycle. If it hadn’t come by May 1st, I was to call and get medication to induce it. Luckily it came on it’s own because I can’t imagine what inducing something like that would feel like. So the call was made and the appointment was set for just a week later. It seemed rather quick to me, but I was ready for it to happen. This is the test I had been so desperately wanting as I thought it may be the answer to all of my questions and quite possibly the solution.
A long list of instructions were given to me over the phone, what to do and what not to do both before and the day of the procedure. The nurse did a quick overview of of what I should expect during the HSG procedure. I have to say, for something I had hoped for, for so long I was extremely nervous and scared for what was to come. In typical Angie fashion I spent the next few days doing a copious amount of research to get an idea of what other people had experienced. I came to understand that the experience was much different for some than others, so in the end I really didn’t know what to expect, but I figured it wouldn’t be pleasant.
Fast forward to the day of the procedure… After checking in with the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) to pay for the HSG, which was an additional $275, we made our way to the Hospital to check in. My nerves at this point were through the roof as I had managed to psych myself out despite trying to stay calm. The wait was short and before you know it I was called into the back where the procedure would take place. Jon, unfortunately could not come back with me but we had prepared for this, so away I went, alone.
The nurses who took me back were extremely nice! They proceeded to walk me through what would happen, allowed me to ask any questions that I had and handed me a gown to change into. After what seemed like an eternity another nurse called me into the procedure room where I met with the OBGYN and the procedure began. She explained the procedure as she was doing it, which I have to admit was helpful. I appreciated knowing what to expect.
The first step was inserting the catheter, as it happened I braced myself for the pain I had heard about during my online research. From what I read and saw in videos this was supposed to be the most uncomfortable part. To my surprise there was no pain and I was super relieved.
Next was injecting the dye, which she explained usually only needed to be done once or twice to get the results. As she began I clinched, I was immediately hit with the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life. The nurse stood by trying to comfort me as I laid there in pain. The OBGYN excused herself and went to meet with the radiologist to see what could be seen on the x-ray. To my dismay she re-entered the room saying that more dye would need to be injected. Okay, only one more time I told myself as braced myself for the second injection. This time the pain was even more severe than the first time, to the point where I eventually I had to tell her to stop, which thankfully she did. Again, she left the room to consult with the radiologist and when she returned, she explained that although they could see my uterus there was no sign of my Fallopian Tubes, meaning the dye had not made it in or through the them. She proceeded to tell me that for the third time dye would need to be injected and with each passing time the pain and pressure became more and more intense. I just couldn’t take it any longer, the air literally escaped from my lungs and I could not breath. I was crying in pain and had to tell her to stop once again.
The pain is so hard to explain in words, I have never experienced anything like this in my life before this day. I consider myself a person with a pretty high pain tolerance. I have broken a bone before, gotten tattoos on my feet, dealt with chronic stomach pain almost my entire life, and got shot by a bb gun and had the lodged pellet removed (long story) to name a few. Bottom line – I’ve been through some stuff.
I sensed the OBGYN’s frustration with me growing, I really wished I could be stronger. It was at this point I was told that I needed to make a decision as to whether I wanted to continue with further injections, at least 1 or 2 more she said. The idea was to try and get the dye to pass through my Fallopian Tubes, so that they could see them. I was torn between trying to decide whether to put myself through more excruciating pain to potentially fix the blocked tubes or stop the pain, but potentially lose our chance of having a baby. The Radiologist called the OBGYN in before I had a chance to make a decision and called off the procedure, saying that further injections would not help, that the dye was going into the veins, whatever that meant. I asked if I had a choice to continue, hoping that I could try again but she said no. There I laid, defeated. I think she could sense that I was beating myself up about it, as she made it a point to say that I didn’t give up too early, that proceeding wouldn’t have made a difference. Before she left the room she explained that I needed to make an appointment with the RE to go over the results and then my options. So the procedure was over, it was done. I got up, got dressed and began the long walk down the hall to the waiting room to reunite with Jon.
I spent the rest of the day struggling to cope and feeling an immense amount of grief and regret. None of my thinking was rational at this point, I was broken, I figured my Fallopian Tubes were blocked, which meant that we could not conceive a baby on our own. I became overcome with guilt that I was not strong enough to endure more and that this caused me my chance at being a Mommy, that because of my selfishness, my weakness, I would not be able to give my Husband the amazing gift of being a Father. I questioned myself, what had I done? what hadn’t I done?
And so the long wait began… it would be a week before our appointment to see the RE, to go over the final results and our corresponding options.
xoxo – angie
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