Crazy week and the HSG

My wife just got a promotion at work!  She has deserved this for so long and I am so proud of her. When we talk about the expense of making and raising a child, promotions feel really good. Now if only I could win some grants that account for researcher wage…

Without minimizing the awesomeness of her promotion, I still want the option to be on the table for her to quit and look for another job that actually offers work-life balance. With commute she is often out of the house 13 hours a day, and now with her new title, I’m sure she will feel even less able to say no to these kinds of work pressures. My hope is that, when she has a baby to come home to, the draw to spend time with family will override the pressure to excel at work without too much of a guilty aftermath. Nothing but time will tell.

In other news, my grandmother is not long for this world. I have been with my family for most of this week, but she is no longer conscious and my mother and her siblings wanted to be alone with her, so I came home in time for my HSG appointment. I am so thankful that I came out to my grandmother and that she got to know my wife. It is too bad she won’t get to meet her great grand child, but she has about 20 of those from my cousins already.

And on to the HSG…

I took a Tylenol 3 before we got to the ultrasound place. It definitely kicked in because I started to get loopy in the car. If I had just been on two advils like they had initially recommended, it would have been a lot worse.

My wife was able to come in the room with me, along with a radiologist, an intern, the gynecologist, and the ultrasound technician. The latter four were crowded around the end of the table with a full view of my lady bits, which were illuminated by a bright light just to strip me of any remaining dignity. The gynecologist was the one inserting the catheter into my cervix, and she sucked… I was told this would be a quick procedure – 2 minutes and then it would be over. After 10 minutes of pushing on the catheter and making a bloody mess (seriously, there was even blood on the floor), the radiologist finally asked her to take it out and start over again. Apparently I have a very long and curved cervix, and she couldn’t get the catheter all the way through it to get the saline solution into my uterus. They had to use a tenaculum to clamp my cervix in place. The radiologist was trying to make me feel better by joking that the word “tenaculum” actually means little pincher. No kidding… While she was messing around down there the team of professionals talked amongst themselves. I heard “it’s too narrow” and “the liquid isn’t going through”, and of course I started to panic that they were talking about my fallopian tubes. It wasn’t until it was all over that I realized they were talking about my cervix.

So this procedure did not go smoothly for me, but even so, the pain was not quite as bad as the worst menstrual cramps I have ever had. When I was a teenager I had such bad cramps that I begged to be taken to the hospital for some real pain killers. I would be curled up in fetal position crying and sweating and cursing my reproductive system. The HSG test was nowhere near this bad – but if I hadn’t been on T3s, I think it would have been worse. It felt uncomfortable and creepy having a tube moving around inside my cervix, and my cervix fought back against the inflating balloon on the end of the catheter. It definitely cramped. But my wife was an amazing coach, reminding me to breath, and promising that we’d be in the car on our way home really soon.

So what did they find? The radiologist said everything looked fine! I didn’t see a full report (they will be sending a full report to my fertility specialist), but he said the tubes are open and the uterus looks good. The gynecologist who was in charge of the catheter, however, left us with some unsettling information… everyone else had left the room but her, and she stopped on her way out to ask if we were doing intrauterine insemination. When we said maybe, she said “yeah… that might not work”. I think she was just upset with herself for not being able to navigate my cervix and was blaming it on my body. I have heard of others who have had IUI or IVF with long, curved cervixes. But none the less, it has left us feeling a tad bit concerned.

3 thoughts on “Crazy week and the HSG”

  1. My wife has a really curved cervix (the RE said it was “kinked”) plus she has a tilted uterus. She did IUI with no problems, other than some discomfort when they inserted the catheter for the IUI. One thing that helped her, also, is that our RE defaults to use a rigid catheter and he switched her to a flexible one which went in much easier and she said it was much less painful to deal with. So IUI can work with a curvy/kinked cervix. 🙂

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  2. Congrats to your wife on the new promotion! I got a promotion too right before our boys were born and there is no way in hell that they are keeping me here before or after my 8:30-5…i commute in and out of NYC and i swear, there are days, where I can’t get home fast enough…And don’t worry too much about what the dr said…if the could get it in for the HSG, they can get the catheter in for an IUI…it has an opening, right?! Then they better get it together and figure it out!

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