First things first, let’s chat about the semen analysis. Basically, there are two options with this one. One can release the swimmers in a cup at home and hold it under their armpit for the duration of the drive to the facility (only if you live within 30 minutes). Or, you can get intimate in the bathroom at the office, and, like a runner handing off a baton, pass it, hand-over-fist, through a secret window for analysis. Easy peasy, though probably a little embarrassing to give an orgasm to a random stranger. I won’t go into detail about which method the hubby went for, but he got the job done, and that’s all that matters.
As for the HSG, or hysterosalpingogram, I was prepared for the worst. I swear, every woman I spoke with who went through the procedure had a story worse than the last. I had it in my head that it was going to be incredibly painful, and I was going to be strung up in bed for two days or so afterwards. To my pleasant surprise, this wasn’t the case for me. It was certainly uncomfortable, but not painful like I was expecting it to be. The procedure was also a lot quicker than I expected. I spent more time filling out paperwork and waiting than anything else. The procedure consists of shooting radiographic contrast, or dye, through the vagina, cervix, and (if they are not blocked) fallopian tubes. X-ray pictures are taken as the dye is slowly inserted to check for blockages, polyps, tumors, scar tissue, etc. In the radiology room with me was my doctor, an x-ray tech, and an x-ray tech student. I am all for having students in the room during these types of procedures (how else are they going to learn?), but I am extremely grateful my doctor was there to calm me down from all the questions she was asking. For example:
Student: “Is it ok that she’s still shedding a little?”
Tech (to me): “Do you still have your period?”
Me: “I thought it stopped yesterday. Is that ok? Is that bad? Should I reschedule?”
Doctor: “It’s totally fine, you can relax.”
Student: “Is this normal?” (I can’t see what she is pointing at on the screen.)
Me: “Is what normal? Is everything ok?”
Doctor: (Pointedly to the student and tech) “Everything is fine, we will be done in the next two minutes.”
Student: Whispering questions somewhat loudly to the tech, as I clench up.
Doctor: (Puts her hand on my knee) “Please. Try to relax – almost done.”
And then, it was done. Everyone exited the room and I headed to clean myself up. I took my time in the bathroom, as I assumed I would leak for a while. I strapped on a pad, just in case, and off I went. Until…I was stopped dead in my tracks. As I was walking down the hallway, the liquid started pouring out again. You know when there’s something embarrassing going on in your body, and if you just acted normal about it no one else would know? Well…I wasn’t so tactful to remember that. Instead, my instincts told me to frantically grab my crotch, flail my other arm at the wall, and start desperately searching around for a bathroom. Finally I found one, and gained my wits back. What goes up, must come down, right? I made it to the car, spread out some just-in-case napkins over the seat, and drove home with a smile on my face – not just at the memory of the scene I must have caused in the crowded hospital, but because we were finally about to get some answers. Which leads me to the next chapter in our series: Infertility – Our Struggle Part VIII: Our Diagnosis.