At 23 years old I laid flat with my back against a cold procedure table,my legs spread wide open and my feet up in the air only supported by two stirrups as if I was about to give birth. Picture the scenes you see in movies lol. As I stared up at the bright florescent lights all I could do was stay calm and breath. I could hear the doctor unwrapping the sterilized utensils in preparation for the procedure. It was a calm yet anxious environment, the room was cold and all I had on was a hospital gown. There was a large x-ray machine suspended above my head and a 40 inch display screen in front of me. The technician tried to make small talk to help comfort me since I was alone. She said “I cannot say this procedure is easy, I have had some women scream and some take it like a champ”. This added doubt in my already nervous mind. Will I be able to go through with this? Is this really necessary? I was about to do something that would give me the answers to what I had been wondering for years now. Why can’t I get pregnant?
Purpose of the HSG:
After actively TTC for a couple months and no success I decided to see a fertility doctor. The first test she said I needed to receive was the HSG (hysterosalpingogram) because of my history of the appendectomy that left the scar tissue in my abdomen (read previous blog) my fertility doctor believed that the chances of my fallopian tubes being blocked was high. The fallopian tubes have to be open and clear to be able to carry the egg to the uterus where it meets the sperm and creates the embryo. This is pregnancy 101 and the basics have to be functioning properly in order for everything to work out and for me to become pregnant. I felt like i was learning so much information. Who knew it takes all these factors to be in line for someone to get pregnant. I was nervous to find out because there was a chance my fallopian tube could be clear and then I would have what is called unexplained infertility. The doctor said unexplained infertility is exactly what it sounds like and there is no plan for treatment. She said if this comes back clear we will start you on a fertility medication called clomid to help you conceive. I was not interested in taking any medications especially clomid because I read some unfavorable reviews of side effects that women experienced while taking it. So I called and scheduled the procedure in hopes of finding out if my tube was actually blocked.
HSG: No Pain no baby
During the HSG test liquid containing iodine is injected into your cervix and spills through your fallopian tubes inside your uterus. The x-ray machine is used simultaneously to watch as this occurs inside your body. If the fallopian tube is blocked then you will not see any liquid spilling from the end of the tube. It was pretty simple to understand but I wish I could say the same for how it felt. It was very painful like it was literally one of the worst pains I had ever felt in my life (similar to contractions which I didn’t know then). It was over fairly quickly I would say it took all of 10 minutes but it did not feel that way while it was happening. The technician who performed the procedure was very sweet and I remember her talking to me the whole time encouraging me and saying I was doing great. I could see the screen as she started to inject the liquid I watched as it filled my uterus and both fallopian tubes, it slowly began to spill out my left fallopian tube. I started screaming from the pain loudly and she said we are almost finished hang in there we just have to get the liquid to come out the right tube. I began to sweat and scream slightly from the aching pain intensifying in my abdomen. I could see the fallopian tube fill up but the liquid never spilled out. I had a blockage it was very clear and I could see it myself on the screen.
Results and treatment plan:
A couple days later I went back to meet with my fertility doctor we went over my results and discussed a plan moving forward. As I already knew from seeing the x-ray screen during the HSG my right fallopian tube was blocked. She said the good news is you only need one fallopian tube to get pregnant and some women have had luck with the procedure opening their tubes as she tried to brighten the mood. Meaning I could leave it how it is and take my chance with trying to conceive with one tube blocked. The other option she gave me was to have a laparoscopic surgery to remove the blockage. I had already had two too many surgeries in my life so I was not a fan of this option at the time. She informed me of some complications with surgery that could potentially create more scar tissue around my fallopian tube or worst I could lose the whole fallopian tube. I wasn’t ready to give her an answer at this time. I was leaning towards surgery but I just felt there maybe other options out there that wouldn’t require such an invasive procedure. I told her I would get back to her and make my decision in a couple months on whether or not I would pursue the surgery. This was a major life decision for me and I needed to do my own research and find the best option for me.
I encourage women to see a fertility doctor to find out your exact cause of infertility. It is important to know what your are treating before you begin any holistic remedies.