“Non-Invasive” = completely subjective.

Oh mercy.

So this week, I had what was called a hysterosalpingogram. For brevity’s sake, we’ll call it an HSG for the duration of this post, and in referencing it in the future.

My new doctor, bless her, decided that this test should be done before putting me through any other “invasive” testing, and before giving me any more intense hormonal drugs. She thought the test should’ve been done last year, LONG before I started taking the crazy stuff. When she suggested the test be done, she explained that it involved iodine dye being pushed through your fallopian tubes and into your uterus and while x-rays were taken to ensure that there are no blockages, polyps, cysts, or scarring up in there, and that we should know if something really big was going on beyond just my hormonal issues.

This seemed easy enough to me. “I’ll have my better half there with me”, I thought, “and there’s nothing I can’t do if he’s holding my hand! This is just something that needs to be done.”

I was nervous. I was anxious. I was scared that something terrible would show up on the HSG that would prove me to be completely infertile. I was afraid.

We showed up, got registered at the hospital, and I got one of those awesome bracelets that reminded me of being at the Pumpkin Festival as a kid, and getting one of the unlimited ride things. How unfortunate.

When the nurse came to get me for the procedure, I grabbed my husband’s hand, signaling for him to join me.

“Um, I’m sorry honey, but he can’t come with you.”

Exqueeze me? Baking Powder?

“There’s a risk of radiation exposure, so he’ll have to wait here for you.”

Eeks. I walk back, and she sits me down with a piece of paper; a special consent form, signing my life away.

“Now, huuuuunney, lemme tell you somethin’ it doesn’t say on the paper, okaaaay? This is *REALLY* gowhnna hurt, baby. You’re gunna get some SEVERE cramps afterwards. Doctors seem to avoid telling people that ahead of time. So I just want you to know, it hurts. It’s not us making a mistake….. it just hurts.”


Oh, and to top it off, she handed me THIS:

Whoa whoa. What is this trainwreck?!

“You’re gonna NEED this afterwards. Trust me. It’s gonna be gushin’ down there.”

This thing was the size of Shaq’s hand. Seriously?

“And go ahead and strip from the waist down, sweetie. Here’s a gown.”

Ah ha! Time to pull out all the stops. I had brought my lucky socks, just to throw them off. I’m prepared! I’m unstoppable! I’m immune to these tiny pains!

(They look like this….)

So, here I am, with my awesome lime greenies, sitting on the edge of the cold, surgical table, which I’ve noticed is severely lacking in any type of stirrups.

“Sorry, sweetie. We ain’t got the money for stirrups, since we only do this procedure about 5 or 6 times a month. You’re just gonna have ta scoot that little fanny up to the edge, and grip on for dear life with those little feet.”


At this point, a male Radiologist comes in, who is visibly uncomfortable. “Okay, let’s do this. I’m going to dilate your cervix using a balloon, then insert a catheter up there. Then I’m going to push some dye up there, and you’ll be able to see the dye going through your uterus and tubes on that little monitor. Any questions?”

Wait, what? Balloon? Catheter? Dilate my CERVIX?! I’m not giving BIRTH, here! Where’s the door, and get me OUT OF HERE!!!!

“Um, okay.”

“Did your doctor prescribe you any sedatives or pain killers? Most doctors do that, and tell you to take them a couple hours ahead of time.”

Frowny face. “No, sir.”

“Okay! Well, let’s just get this over with, then.”

What commenced was what I can only describe as 10 minutes of the worst cramping I can possibly imagine. I wish I would’ve bothered to Google other women’s feelings on this procedure, because if I had, I would’ve read something like this: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071227193941AAZ6an1.

(My favorite quote on that page? “I would rather give birth 20 times than go through that again.”)

Fortunately, the results of the HSG test came back normal, and my Fallopian Tubes are cleared, and my uterus is correctly shaped and healthy. Quite unfortunately, the test itself was a nightmare. Let’s just say that the Radiologist was no OB/GYN. Let’s just say that he made a lot of mistakes, was uncomfortable the whole time, and kept apologizing. And let’s also say that the nurses kept adding their own anecdotes the whole time, making me see red, and feel murderous the whole time.

“You aren’t going to faint on me, are ‘ya, sweetie?”

“Well MY friend had this done, and two months later, she was PREGNANT! Isn’t that AMAZING?!”


Once the test was done, it literally took me 15 minutes to get my pants back on. I was doubled over in crampy pain that I almost can’t even describe in words. I’ve had some particularly bad cramps before, but this felt like I was having my innards pulled out. To make matters worse, the whole time I was trying to put my clothes back on, the nurses kept knocking on the door, saying such encouraging things as “Alright, sweetie. We have another procedure comin’ in here soon!” and “Do you need us to come in there and help you?”

Oh the rage-y, stab-y, murder-y things that were going through my head at this moment.

I managed to get dressed, and when I did, the nurses told me that I could wait by the front desk for a cd of the x-rays taken during this procedure. As I walked into the waiting room, I have my better half the look I can only assume I would give him if I’d robbed a bank and needed to case the joint for the quickest exit. He picked up on it pretty quickly, and went and got the car for me.

The second I got into the car, I started sobbing like I was at a Beatles concert in the 50’s. I felt violated, furious, and had pain that was radiating from my middle. I felt every bump as we drove home.

Everything changed as soon as I got into a hot bath. I took an anxiety pill, four ibuprofen, and explained what had happened to my husband, who looked on in horror. As I sat in that scalding bath, the pain became more bearable, and I started to laugh about some of the things that happened, and I felt the murderous rage melt away.

I couldn’t help but smile. In my mind, I just kept chanting, “My test came back normal… My test came back normal…. MY TEST CAME BACK NORMAL!!!”

The next 24 hours were chock full of pretty major cramping, but it was pain that I could somewhat deal with, and was expecting. And after talking to my OB/GYN, we’re cleared for the new process she’s set up for us, which includes Progesterone pills and Clomid. I’m cool with these, and I’m also going to start charting.

Whew. Thank heavens I have an awesome husband, supportive family, and friends who can laugh with me about this stuff. It’s all part of the journey, and if anyone can learn to drink half a bottle of NyQuil before this procedure from this post, my work here is done! (Kidding….. sorta.)

3 thoughts on ““Non-Invasive” = completely subjective.

  1. Hi. I found your blog just in time because I have to get an HSG sometime in the next two weeks. Yikes. But I’ll definitely keep the Nyquil suggestion in mind. I’m sorry this was such an awful experience for you, but it’s nice that you’re able to write about it in a humorous way! I’m glad everything’s clear and you’re all set for the next step. Good luck with charting!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Daryl!

    I encourage you to take what I’ve said as an individual case, not necessarily what it feels like for everyone!

    NyQuil? Totally a joke. But I would recommend talking to the MD who ordered the HSG about taking some pain killers or a sedative ahead of time, since that’s what my Radiologist said MD’s typically advise.

    Best of luck to ‘ya, and sending good baby vibes your way!

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