Tuesday, October 9, 2012

HSG Test, a.k.a. The Alien Abduction

Thank you all so much for your prayers on October 4th for my HSG test!!

Question: How did it go?
Answer: Ouch, but good.

HSG stands for hysterosalpingogram. Seeing as how I had to copy and paste that, you can see why everyone prefers to abbreviate it. It's basically an x-ray, coupled with injecting x-ray visible dye to see the shape of the uterus and to check if the fallopian tubes are blocked or open. Thankfully, mine were were open. Praise God!

But as for the "how do they do that"...well, that's more akin to an alien abduction movie. So not that I recommend getting one of these tests for fun, but if you ever have to have one, or are simply curious, here's what my experience was.

First surprise is that these tests are done in radiology (unless you're at a fertility clinic where perhaps they have equipment specifically for this procedure). Then I changed into the toga-gown. Very fashionable. I think it's what they use for women getting a mammogram. Like this:


But mine was blue. So there you go.

Anyway, then they took me into the x-ray room, and I waited there for Dr. H. to arrive. At this point Michael and my mom were allowed to come in and put on their lead aprons. Then I had to lay down on the metal table. Thankfully, the nurse working that room was wonderful. She laid a blanket on the metal table so it wasn't as cold. She also gave me two rolled up rags to squeeze in case I needed to. Oh boy, how handy those came in!

After Dr. H. gathered all the tools she would need, the alien prodding began. Speculum, a.k.a. bird beak. Then I have no idea what tools were used, because I was focused on squeezing every single fiber out of those rolled up rags, and staring at the square-shaped air vent in the ceiling. You know the ones that have concentric squares of smaller and smaller sizes as you move towards the center?

But from reading, I believe Dr. H. did something to hold onto the cervix to allow her to insert a catheter into it. On the other end of the catheter was a syringe with x-ray visible dye. The first time she tried to inject the dye, it wouldn't inject, so she had to re-insert or maybe insert the catheter even farther to allow the dye to be injected. Like I said, I was not aware of anything at that point, just those concentric squares and squeezing those rags. An actual alien could have walked into the room and did a song and dance number and I doubt I would have noticed. In fact at some point, the radiologist was all of a sudden at my side, operating the x-ray machine to take images of my pelvic region as the dye was injected. Being male, normally I'm very shy and paranoid about being modest and ensuring I'm all covered, but by this point I was just wanting. it. to. end. (Plus I knew Michael had my back, lol.)

Apparently whenever the cervix is tampered with, immediate cramping can be triggered. Now obviously I do not know this from experience, but I'm guessing that what I felt was similar to early stages of labor, except that it wasn't letting up until she removed everything. Hence squeezing those rags. Oh and breathing. Slow deep breaths to try to force myself to relax despite the pain. The nurse had wonderful bedside manner, and kept checking on me and rubbing my shoulder and asking if I was okay. Her name was Mary. I love you, Mary!

The procedure part lasted about 10 minutes for me since she had to re-insert the catheter. It probably would have been a bit shorter otherwise. But once she removed everything, I felt much better, with only mild cramping and a feeling of being light-headed. So I remained lying down while Dr. H. showed me the x-ray image and reassured me that everything looked great, both tubes are open.

Sorry I don't have a picture of my uterus, but here's an example of what a "normal" HSG test looks like:


Michael and my mom said it was really neat to watch the x-ray images form a flipbook like video of the dye filling the uterus and going through the tubes and then exiting the tubes in a spiral cloud.

Dr. H. said that having this test can "flush out" my tubes, which can increase our fertility chances this month and told us "don't skip this month". ;)

If I do not get pregnant this month, then next month we plan to begin using a fertility drug.

Thank you again for your prayers and sweet messages on the 4th! Please continue to pray that we would be patient for God's timing, and that He would guide us to the best decision about what steps to take next. Thank you!

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