Posts Tagged ‘ob-gyns’

The Truth About an HSG (according to me)

What do a catheter, a clamp, and a balloon have in common?  If you said they are medieval torture devices to determine whether your Fallopian tubes are open, you are correct!

I’ve seen a lot of posts lately about the sometimes dread HSG, also known as a hysterosalpingogram.  Kinda has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  Hystersalpingogram.  Who wouldn’t want one of those? 

I actually had mine last June.  I remember being only slightly nervous about it.  I had heard that the procedure might feel like having menstrual cramps and was advised to pop a Midol or two before the procedure. 

I am a very literal person.  If you tell me to expect menstrual cramps and to take a Midol, I am going to expect menstrual cramps and take a Midol.  This is my downfall.

Like I said, I was only slightly nervous and my ob-gyn actually seemed more afraid for me than I was for myself.  I attributed this to her being a super-nice person who was genuinely concerned for my well-being.  After I was on the table in the you-know-what-position, she put the speculum in which really didn’t bother me.  Then came the catheter (or was it the clamp?).  Getting it in was something of a challenge.  It definitely felt like it didn’t belong there, but it was only slightly uncomfortable.  After some maneuvering, she asked me to cough.  I thought to myself,  Why in the world does she want me to cough?  They are not x-raying my lungs.  I would later find out that the doctor wants you to cough because she has to put a clamp on your cervix!  A clamp!!! On your cervix!!!  Do not try this at home! 

Anyway, It seemed like my abdomen was getting more bloated.  Guess this is where the balloon comes in.  By this stage, I wasn’t paying attention as well to what she was saying because I was a bit more uncomfortable, but was not in any kind of real pain.   Finally, she told me that we were getting ready to inject the dye.   

And injected the dye she did and just like she promised I started to feel mild cramps.  And then more cramps, slightly more intense.  Then more cramps, the type that made me wince a bit.  

Then sheer agony!  Just like that!

Even several months later, I cannot find the words to describe what it felt like to have that dye flow through my tubes.  I can only describe it as searing.  It was so bad during the procedure, I involuntarily pulled my knees to my chest (the same thing I did when I was younger when I had cramps) to alleviate the pain.   Apparently, this is a big no-no when they are trying to x-ray your tubes and uterus but I just couldn’t help myself.  Ok, and sometimes I like to be difficult.

Then came the unthinkable thought.  The unforgivable thought. 

It went something like this:  “If this is what childbirth feels like, you can count me out.” 

Of course I don’t mean this now, but for me to have a thought like that gives you an idea of what I must have felt like.

When it was all over, I honestly thought I would be floating up near the ceiling looking down on my battered body, but I was not. 

In all fairness, the pain probably lasted about 30 seconds tops.  Afterwards, I was in no pain.  I just felt like I had started my period and spotted for a few days.  My tubes were clear, though the doctor said that the dye didn’t flow through my left (or was it right?) ovary at first.  However, it did flow freely when they turned me over to my left side. 

I know you are thinking that all of this sounds awful, but did you know that most women have little to no pain at all. I hate these women.   I was just one of those women who should have taken some hydrocodeine or gotten a morphine drip.  

I worry though.  Am I really ok?  I had some major pain so how could something not be wrong?  But, at the same time I don’t think I could ever go through that test again.  Not without being knocked out or drugged up.

I can’t conclude this without being positive so here is some helpful advice:

1.  Bring dark clothing.  I was bleeding-bleeding afterwards and was never so happy to see my dark capris sitting on the bathroom counter.  However, I was not thrilled to see my thong underwear sitting beside it.  Sticking an enormous pad in a thong is not a natural experience, believe me.  Don’t even think about a tampon.  You don’t want anything going back up there for a while!

2. Bring someone with you.  Don’t worry.  They stay in the waiting room.  Trust me, you probably don’t want someone watching the whole thing anyway.  If they do wish to watch, rethink your relationship.

3. Have lots of sex–but not the day after, or the day after that, or the day after that (don’t worry, it will be the LAST thing on your mind).  Your chances for pregnancy increase slightly after the procedure is done.  I didn’t get pregnant but I always have to do things the hard way which explains why I’m still not pregnant.

4.  Don’t curl up into the fetal position during your procedure no matter how badly you want to.  Kick the radiologist instead.  He’s a man and doesn’t have to go through this.

5.  Remember–when your ob-gyn says take a Midol this is really a secret code for pop a Zanax.  You won’t be sorry.

Shiny Happy Pap Smears

It’s that time of year again : the dreaded pap smear!  Make me spread myself in stirrups, feel up my boobs, scrape me in a place I can’t see–that doesn’t bother me.  Make me walk in a roomful of pregnant fertiles–my heart travels to my throat and my stomach drops!

Even if I can bribe someone to walk me in blindfolded, I will still be feeling a host of emotions when I go.  It was at last year’s annual exam, that I spoke to my ob/gyn about my difficulties getting pregnant.   Well fast-forward one year and many ultrasounds later and I’m empty-handed and brokenhearted.  Guess what I’m going to be thinking about during my pelvic examination? Let’s hope that my river-crying breakdown/screaming fit with my husband/pets, let it-all-out while driving in heavy traffic episode of the month doesn’t correlate with this appointment.

As much as I don’t want to make this appointment, part of me actually wants to visit my ob-gyn again.  Why?  Read below:

1)  My ob-gyn is friendly and empathetic.  She makes conversation while she’s fondling my boobs, which certainly makes the situation less awkward for both of us.

2) The receptionist smiles (even if it is a fake grin) and says hello.

3) Everything is so shiny, bright, and white. (kind of like a negative pregnancy test–just kidding)

4) The examination room is  girly and cozy.  There are pictures of cool shoes like wedge sandals on the wall and photos of bubbly, happy, blonde babies.  The stirrups even have warm footies (usually in purple or hot pink) on them and you get a full-length cloth gown to cover up. 

Do you see why I’m sold?

Here is a breakdown of my RE’s office:

1) The receptionist (to her credit is polite and friendly), but I feel taken aback every time she slams that glass window shut after I hand her my paperwork.

2) Nurse Stiletto (more on her in another post) is super-organized and knowledgeable, but yet, she is still Nurse Stiletto (sigh)

3) Mr. RE is a nice-enough fellow, knows his stuff, and I sincerely believe does not want to merely take my money.  He answers my questions, but sometimes I need a little more support than just a pat on the back on the way out.  (Yes, he really pats my back.  I guess this is his way of being comforting?) 

4)  The examination room is, well, private, but seems a little dark and yellow.  Instead of a full-length gown, patients are given this half paper-towel gown to cover themselves from the waist down.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have waddled frantically from the bathroom to the exam area, paper clutched around waist, hoping against hope that I make  it to the exam table before the RE walks in.  I mean, he sees my vagina.  Can’t I at least keep the image of my butt sacred?!

I am ready for the shiny and the bright–permanently!  I want girly at all my doctor visits!  I want a transvaginal ultrasound where I see a baby in my uterus!   I want one of those beautiful, blonde babies in the photographs on the wall (ok, maybe not those, per se; they are the ob-gyn’s children and it wouldn’t be nice to kidnap them).  I just want happy.  Is that so wrong?