Ok ladies and gents, I will preface this by saying that if you don’t feel like knowing the details of my reproductive system, you should skip this post. Ok? You were warned.
Here’s the play-by-play of how my HSG (hysterosalpingogram) went. I arrived at Boston IVF a bundle of nerves. My obsessive Googling habits had opened my eyes to many, many personal accounts of what the HSG test was like for some other lucky women. Although they varied widely, most reported pain/discomfort during the procedure, and cramps and spotting/leaking for the next few days. Sounds like fun, right?
I went into the exam room and took off my clothes from the waist down, covering myself daintily in a scratchy paper drape. The x-ray machine was positioned over my pelvis as I laid down on my back. The doc (who was not my doctor, actually, but was available when I could come in, and I heard he was the best at HSG’s) told me to bend my knees and put my feet on the table. Thank goodness for no stirrups, eh? He inserted the speculum and, from what I could tell, began to feed a little tube into my cervix. He kept saying, “You’ll feel a little cramping” or “This should feel like pressure”. I felt a little tugging and poking, but nothing painful. I mentally patted myself on the back for being so brave. I can do this, I told myself, as I concentrated on my yoga breathing. Then he says, “I’m going to inject the dye now, so you’ll feel a little burning. Just breathe.”. My stomach muscles tightened and I squeezed my eyes shut in preparation. All of a sudden I felt it. This was not burning. Not cramping. This felt like someone had just lit a blowtorch inside my abdomen and was holding against my stomach muscles. It took my breath away. It was hot and cold at the same time, and felt like it was growing like a ballooon inside me. I thought my whole stomach might burst with this weird, intense pain. The doc kept asking me if I was ok, and I could barely squeak out, “Mmm Hmmm”. The nurse told me to hold her hand and squeeze it. I almost took her fingers off.
And then, as quickly as it had begun, it ended. The doc pulled out the tube, released the speculum, and it was over. No more pain, no more cramping, no more burning. He had me turn over and took another x-ray. He gave me a minute to catch my breath and we went over my reults. NOT MY X-RAY BELOW, JUST AN EXAMPLE!
Voila! He said my tubes looked open. The left one didn’t “spill” as quickly as the right one (they are supposed to “fill and spill”: fill up with dye and spill out into your stomach), which doesn’t mean it was blocked, but the doc prescribed an antibiotic just to ensure I don’t get an infection following the procedure.
I didn’t feel any cramping/discomfort/leakage/spotting following the procedure, except I had the lovely pleasure of wearing a hospital-grade diaper maxi pad that was about 4″ thick during a long car ride up to Maine for a wedding this weekend. Awesome.
So, there you have it. My HSG experience. Although it was pretty painful for me, it only lasted about 7 minutes. I can do anything for 7 minutes… especially if it brings me one step closer to having a baby!