My HSG Test and Lies the Internet Told Me

June 4, 2012

We’ve finally made it through all of our testing- yay! I had my HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) test today – the biggest and baddest of fertility tests and, well, I passed.

The Test

Typically you have to wait until you get your period, then call and schedule the appointment, but since I haven’t had one of those in a while, I had the luxury of scheduling the test at my leisure. My clinic only performs HSGs on Mondays in the afternoons, and all of the REs in the practice alternate weeks of performing the tests so because I love my doctor so much, I nabbed the first available appointment with him, which happened to be today at 1:30.

I arrived at the clinic about a 1/2 hour before my appointment time to fill out some paperwork and give a urine sample. They gave me a fancy little hospital bracelet and had me pay the fee for the test (ouch!). I was only a little nervous up until this point – but the longer I waited, the more I became terrified about the immense amount of pain I was about to go through – according to the internet, that is.

It seemed they were running a bit late, as more and more women began to show up for their tests (5 in all) – and all I kept thinking was, “oh, God, please let me be first. I don’t think I can wait for all these women to go before me. My heart  is going to jump out of my chest at any second.” and “What, are we all going to stand around in a circle and hold hands for this test?!” Luckily, around 2:45 they called me, and only me, back for the test.

The nurse asked me if I would mind if the doctor was accompanied by a resident for the procedure to observe and because I tend to make bad jokes when I’m nervous, I told her “the more the merrier!” At least she laughed, even if it was out of pity. She brought me in a tiny little room alongside the testing room and gave me a blanket to cover my bottom half and some booties for my feet and asked me to place all of my belongings in a bag. Once I was wrapped in my blanket and ready to go, I wandered into the testing room where the doc, resident and a couple of nurses were getting ready for the test. They had me lie down on a fancy floaty table and put a pillow under my lower back and feet up.

(Warning: I go into the details of the test now, so if you’d rather not know – skip to the results.)

The doc began the test and, at first, I didn’t feel a thing. Literally, it was less painful than a pap smear. Then he announced that he has to switch techniques because apparently my cervix is wide (?) and he was going to have to use a balloon (eek!) to seal the catheter in place so the dye doesn’t leak out and can go in the proper direction for us to get photos of my uterus and tubes. Now, when he got the balloon in there and started to inflate it, that’s when I started to cramp. It hurt a good bit, but not nearly as much as I had anticipated and certainly not unbearable. I would compare it too the worst day on your period. It only lasted about a minute or two and the test was done. I was still cramping throughout the rest of the day, but as more time passed, it got better and better.

My advice to anyone getting ready for this test is to not listen to the internet (with the exception of me, of course). I freaked myself out more reading the HSG horror stories I found on Google and it really wasn’t worth the stress. Everyone is different and every experience with the test will be too.

The Results

It was pretty incredible to see the results right there on the screen as the test was happening. With each picture the doc took, you could see more and more dye filling up my uterus and winding through my fallopian tubes and eventually spilling out into my abdominal cavity. Here’s what it looked like:

And here’s the Cliff Notes version:

Completely, 100% clear from any blockages!

This is good news – because, well, there isn’t anything blocking the sperm from getting to the egg. Then again, it doesn’t really answer anything either, since we still don’t know why we’re not getting pregnant. At this point, we’re considered to be experiencing “unexplained infertility.”

Now we have an appointment on July 11th to meet with the doctor again to figure out what the next step will be. In the meantime, we’re still saving and raising money for whatever tests, medications and procedures are coming our way in the next couple of months.

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