Yesterday was quite a day. Ever since Sam and I began the infertility journey back in September I have been absolutely dreading the Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). I think it may as well be renamed Hysteriasalpingogram as I had definitely driven myself towards a state of hysteria thinking about it. As someone who, very thankfully, has had little experience of Doctors and hospitals bar the odd trip for a bad cold and pap smears I let my mind go into overdrive about it. In order to try and calm down a bit, I googled to try and find stories of women who had a pain free and comfortable experience, and tried to convince myself that I too would have one of those.
I arrived at the clinic. Whilst waiting to go in the nurse made me put a label around my wrist with all my details on it. Oh dear, this is actually serious. I was taken through to a ward which I was not expecting. I had to put on one of those very flattering gowns which makes you naked at the back, fluffy socks and a very fetching blue hair net. Then I lay on the bed and waited. Whilst I was lying there trying to keep calm, everything just felt a bit surreal. I’m not sick, why am I on a ward? A nurse came through and talked me through the procedure. She informed me they would put in a speculum into my vagina, clean the cervix and then insert a catheter. OMG. A catheter! I asked her why on earth I need a catheter, do they think I am going to pee everywhere during the procedure?! It turns out a catheter isn’t just something they use when you are stuck in bed and can’t go to the loo, it just refers to a type of tube. Phew! So they will insert the catheter into my vagina up to my uterus. Then will insert special dye through the catheter which allows my uterus and fallopian tubes to be seen clearly on an x-ray. This will indicate if there are any blockages.
I walked through to the operating room (wearing a blanket to prevent everyone getting a view of my backside). I lay down and they strapped my legs into padded stirrups. Dr K came in which put me at ease a little. I thought I was going to be feel really embarrassed about having a man do the procedure but actually I really didn’t care. Any vanity or apprehension on that part is completely out the window. The speculum went in okay, just like a smear test. Then he started trying to put the catheter in. This went on for what seemed like forever. It wasn’t exactly painful it was just extremely uncomfortable. I was doing really deep breathing…in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Dr K then asked if I had emptied my bladder before the procedure, which I hadn’t, but I had done several nervous pee’s before I left my house so it probably was pretty empty. He said the procedure is best done when you have full bladder, something which, rather annoyingly, no one had informed me of. He said he was going to give it another try but if he couldn’t get it in then we would have to wait and let my bladder fill up. I was pretty stressed out by this point, feeling frightened and vulnerable. They did an ultrasound on top of my groin whilst he was pushing the catheter in. I just felt so much physical pressure in and on me. It was at that point tears began to roll down my cheeks. I didn’t make a noise, but one of the nurse in the room asked me if I wanted to hold her hand which I grabbed immediately. Holding her hand is absolutely what got me through it and I feel extremely grateful that she did that for me. It turns out my uterus is tilted (completely normal Dr K says) so that’s why it was difficult to get the catheter in. Once it was in he put in the dye which instantenously brought on period-like cramping. The x-rays were take taken and I could see everything on screen. This latter half of the procedure was over and done with extremely quickly, it felt like less than a minute. Dr K told me straightaway that everything was clear. I felt overwhelmed with relief. Everything was removed from my body and the pain subsided, although I still had some tears coming. I got to put on some lovely hospital knickers and a pad and waddle back through to the ward where I was given the all clear and told I could go home.