It’s time for the latest instalment of Sammi’s journey. Written in her typical humorous style, I’m delighted to bring you her account of the HSG test which manages to combine her disappointment at not getting high, knicker folding and the coolest Consultant know to (wo)man!
Over to you, Sammi!
In my last update, I spoke about how A and I decided to have my fallopian tubes checked before starting fertility drugs. I am a great believer in positive thinking and I know that any doubt as to whether my tubes were blocked would niggle me. My little niggles become big niggles, and I felt we should begin our clomid journey with the most positive attitude we could muster. So it was decided, we were going private for the hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to check my tubes.
Despite being certain that I wanted the HSG, I was very apprehensive about it. I think my anxieties stemmed from when I had a copper coil fitted; the experience of having it pushed through my cervix was really awful. It was very painful and I felt hot and faint and started seeing black spots, it was not something I ever wished to repeat! The HSG is a similar procedure whereby a catheter is inserted through the cervix, at the end of the catheter a small balloon is inflated to ‘plug’ the cervix and then the uterus is filled with a special dye that shows up under x-ray. The x-ray images are views on a monitor and if the dye can be seen travelling through the fallopian tubes and spilling out into the abdominal cavity, it can be concluded the tubes are open. If no dye is visible exiting the ends of the fallopian tubes, it is assumed there is a blockage somewhere.
Due to being very anxious about the procedure, my GP suggested I take diazepam about an hour beforehand. I was quite excited to feel relaxed, mellow and dozy without a care in the world. Well I didn’t. I still felt panicked sat in the waiting room, my heart was thudding in my chest, and my knee was doing the non-stop jiggling it tends to do when I am nervously waiting, but I also felt like I could really do with a nap! I was very sleepy, kept yawning, and had to concentrate hard to sign the consent form. I have never taken any sort of recreational drug before, and I was actually looking forward to feeling ‘out of it.’ I was disappointed with my lack of tripping.
I was called in bang on time, I left A in the waiting room as he wasn’t allowed in the treatment room because of the x-ray. The nurse ushered me along a corridor and showed me to a changing room. Inside the changing room was a hospital gown, a white dressing gown and some white slippers. I was told to take all my clothes off and put the hospital gown on, I could keep my bra on if I wished and just to leave all my belongings there as the corridor was secure. The nurse drew the curtain and I got changed. I always feel a bit conscious about what to do with my knickers and tights at this point, I don’t want to just scrunch them up like I would at home before putting them in the laundry bin, so I folded them up really neatly and left them on the bench.
The nurse came back to collect me and took me through to the adjoining room where I was greeted by my jolly consultant and another nurse. I got on the bed, lay down and was covered with a sheet of sterile paper. Being a gynaecologist, the consultant was really blasé about the fact I was knicker-less and legs akimbo, he carried on smiling and chatting whilst tucking another sheet of paper under my bare bottom. I spied the speculum on the instruments table, it was a big metal one, just like when I had my coil fitted, not a small plastic one they have used for examinations previously. The consultant was being as gentle as he could, but still had to wiggle the speculum around a bit until my cervix appeared nicely in central view. Then he announced it was to clamp my cervix, this is where is started going downhill at the coil fitting, the clamp on my cervix nips then makes me feel very, very odd. The feeling was exactly the same, nippy and odd. I started to feel faint and get fidgety but was aware I couldn’t move an inch because of the number of metal instruments up my foof and I didn’t want to cause any internal damage! Instead I started flapping my arms and trying to fan myself. Then came the catheter, this was the bit I was really dreading, the most painful bit from last time. The feeling of hard, scratchy plastic pushing through your tiny cervical opening is not pleasant, it is a sharp, twisting, achey pain from somewhere inside you’re not used to feeling. By this point my arms were flapping like the clappers and I starting to cry a little as I didn’t think I could get through it.
The nurses were lovely and one held each hand telling me to squeeze as hard as I needed, they told me that everything is in situ now, the balloon was inflated and that is the worst bit done. The consultant explained he was going to start injected the dye into my uterus and asked if I wanted to watch the screen. I said ‘no thank you, I’m just going to carry on breathing.’ Big breath in, slow breath out… as the dye filled by uterus it felt like an unrelenting period-type cramp. I carried on deep breathing for a few more seconds until the consultant said ‘there we go, lovely!.’ He could see the dye flowing through my fallopian tubes and into my abdominal cavity. He released the cervical clamp, removed the catheter and finally the speculum. The relief to have that speculum out was amazing, I can only imagine the relief when you’ve pushed a baby out!
As what goes up, must come down, one nurse handed me a sanitary pad and told me to put it between my legs as I sat up to catch any dye on its decent. The nurse told me to stay sitting on the bed for a minute or two, just to check I wasn’t feeling faint before standing up. I sat on the side of the bed, bare feet dangling, naked bottom poking out behind, sanitary pad clutched at my nethers and the consultant starts pulling off his gloves for a chat. He begins to explain what is what on the x-ray images on the screen. Whilst this was fascinating, I couldn’t help thinking how I am in possibly THE most undignified situation (apart from childbirth) and he isn’t batting an eyelid!
Overall, despite being unpleasant, the HSG was quick and simple. My fallopian tubes are open and now flushed through which has been known in some cases to give a little fertility boost, fingers crossed I get one of those!
Unfortunately we’ve just got the one post today as by the time you read this I’ll be about to embark on my first ever ski lesson. Wish me luck! Otherwise it’s business as usual on the blog today with posts each day.