Our baby journey: The next steps and HSG

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday! I know our day was full of family and food and lots of football and relaxation. I’m thankful for so many things, it’s hard to even name them all, but at the top of my list right now is my loving and supportive husband. He was especially supportive this week.

I’ve written a few times about our struggles with miscarriage and fertility (see my previous post Miscarriage and Trying to Conceive) and this week (Wednesday), we took our next step. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying – this stuff is not talked about enough. It’s hard stuff to go through it, so it’s not always easy for people to talk about it, but I’m hoping to have an open conversation on my blog as I go through the process and learn. I want to share it with you.

According to our doctor, the first three things that are checked when a couple has had trouble conceiving are 1. that you (the woman) are ovulating 2. that the man’s sperm are up to par 3. that your tubes are open and the uterus is not misshapen or anything that would be a problem.

Number one is pretty easy to figure out – if you use an ovulation kit and get a positive test for ovulation, you are ovulating. We’ve been using the Clearblue Advance Digital Ovulation test since April and fortunately I ovulate regularly and at the same time very month. My cycle is very regular.

Number two isn’t hard either. Collect the sperm, test it. The hubs got a solid result.

Number three is a little more involved and it’s called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Try saying that fast. I still can’t even pronounce it. Basically it’s an x-ray where they put an iodine-based dye through your uterus and fallopian tubes, watch what happens while taking x-rays and then are able to see if there’s anything wrong. The test has to be done between day 8 and day 11 of your cycle, because of the end of menstruation and because day 12 can be the beginning of ovulation.

On the way to the hospital Wednesday morning for the HSG, the hubs was pretty cute. He’d been worried about how everything would go and if it’d be painful for me or not, so he told me he’d googled. After reading up on it, he was pretty sure I’d be ok, but was still concerned. It was especially cute/funny because once I got into my room and the nurse came in, once of the first things she asked was if I’d googled and knew what to expect. I said, “No, but he did!” and pointed at him. 🙂 Rather than google though, I usually ask a good friend that went through it. First-hand info just seems better to me. I’m really thankful to be able to ask her and talk about it.

The procedure itself normally take about 10 minutes, but we got delayed. My doctor neglected to inform me of one detail. You aren’t supposed to have unprotected sex from the time your new cycle starts to when you have the procedure. Because of the radiation, they want to be 100% sure you aren’t pregnant. Maybe that should’ve occurred to me, but it didn’t. And since my doctor didn’t mention it, we were delayed by having to do a blood test. So keep that in mind if you ever have an HSG.

Looking down at Lindsay's feet in blue hospital socks

Once that was done, they did the procedure. The first thing they did was insert the duck bill (as I like to call it) and clean my cervix, which sounds awful but I couldn’t even really feel it. Then a catheter with a little balloon thing attached to the end of it was inserted. They blow that balloon up a bit and insert the dye. Then they watch and take pictures.

Pretty much immediately afterwards, I was shown the x-rays. I could see the dye going into the uterus and through the fallopian tubes, so everything was fine. I passed.

Some women experience pain with the procedure, some don’t. For me, while it was uncomfortable, it wasn’t much different from a yearly pap smear. It takes a little longer and the duck bill is lit up like a Christmas tree, but other than that, it was fine. I did have some cramping here and there afterwards though, kind of like period cramps. My doctor told me to take ibuprofen before the procedure, which I did, so it wasn’t bad. There can also be a risk of getting an infection afterwards from the dye I think, so I’m on an antibiotic just in case.

And that’s pretty much it. For me, it was pretty breezy.

One thing they told me at the beginning of everything is that apparently a number of people end up getting pregnant after the procedure. Often there is some blockage that is removed or something that is fixed after the test and it helps people get pregnant.

I’m going to level with you – I know multiple people who that wasn’t the case for and not one that it helped, so realistically I’m not expecting anything. I’ve been pregnant before, so theoretically my tubes were open and it made no difference. But we’ll see.

At this point, we know that all three things have been check off our list and everything is fine. I believe the next step, should we chose to take it, would be moving on to a fertility clinic and exploring our options with IUI (which I like to call the turkey baster) and IVF. At the moment, it seems we are going to wait a couple more months and see what happens before making the decision to do anything else. I know from others’ experience that it doesn’t get any easier and it only gets more expensive, so we aren’t going to make the decision to move forward lightly. For now, we wait.

And enjoy the holidays. Yay for Christmas! I’ll be 30 – crazy! And yes, my birthday is on Christmas Day. The actual day. 🙂

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    1. Lindsay

      Unfortunately, we have not been able to conceive. Since writing this post, we have tried acupuncture but nothing else.

  1. Jo

    Thank-you for your blog post that I accidentally stumbled on researching HSG tests! (Yes I was) it is nice to hear honest answers I don’t know anyone who has had it done (that taboo subject). I’ve got my fingers crossed that they fit me in tomorrow or the next day! Good luck for your journey!

    1. Lindsay

      Hi Jo! I’m glad you found the post. There’s definitely not a lot of talk about these things, so I like to talk them and hope it helps someone. 🙂 I hope the HSG went well!

  2. Veronika Dalton

    Best of luck to you! I’m going in for some testing as well. I’ll probably need some progesterone shots for our next baby.

  3. Katie B.

    I am so glad you are writing about this! My husband and I are in our eleventh cycle of trying for our second baby. Our first (a girl) was a “surprise!” – very much a surprise, especially because I have been told since I was 16 that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant (due to endometriosis). After our daughter was born, I started having complications and ended up having one of my ovaries removed. Anyway, “trying” started out fun, but now it’s emotionally draining and exhausting. Since we have not yet met with our doctor for any sort of testing, I have not really written much about our experience. So thank you for writing as you are experiencing… it is so helpful! I hope you have happy news in your near future!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      I’m so sorry you are having trouble too – it’s awful. I’m glad the posts are helpful though. I hope things work out for you soon!

  4. J.nelly

    Glad to hear that the tests so far have gone well. You are loved my friend.
    And P.S.- totally love the ‘duck bill’ nickname….so perfect.

  5. Tina

    I wish you all the luck in the world and hope to hear that you’re expecting very soon! Have a Merry Christmas!!!

  6. Renee@Two+in+the+Kitchen

    I am praying for you Lindsay that everything works out for you! And it’s so crazy that your B-day is Christmas Day. That is SO cool!! Happy 30th! 🙂

  7. Gena

    Thank you for sharing your experience. My husband and I are pretty much in the same boat, except for our ages (me-38, him-41) and I have not been pregnant before (I’m so sorry about your miscarriage). We’ve been trying since April-ish, I’m ovulating, his sperm are good, so if my cycle comes this month – I will be getting the HSG done next.
    I pray things work out for you guys.

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Thank you Gena. I’m so sorry you are experiencing it as well. It’s a tough and emotional process. If you end up getting the HSG done, I hope it goes well. If you have any questions I might be able to answer, feel free to shoot me an email. I pray that things work out for you all as well.

      1. Gena

        Thank you for the response Lindsay. I appreciate your offer to answer questions. I am sitting around waiting for my period to show up -it’s so irregular I’ve been waiting for a week and keep getting negative results on HPTs. At least right now I can look forward to the HSG and hopefully getting answers if I do start my period. I pray God blesses us with a baby and you as well.

      2. Gena

        I hope you had a great birthday and Christmas!

        Had my hsg last week and it was horrible. It was a pain in my abdominal that I can’t begin to explain. It was so bad it made me reconsider getting pregnant. But then my husband reminded me that there are drugs are available to ease some labor pain.
        I think the male dr that performed the hsg had a bad bedside manner. He kept talking and I didn’t know if I was supposed to do something or not. When I started crying from the pain, the nurse did give me tissues, but I would have expected her to try to comfort me more. My results ended up being veneous intravasation. Which seems to mean the dye went into my veins…not sure how my tubes are.
        My hsg cramping started about 5 hours after the procedure. Then I started getting the chills, but no fever. The next day I called my gyno and they wanted me to come in. She ended up sending me to the ER for blood work and a cat scan. They found nothing other than the dye still in me and it went into my veins. I continued cramping for 2 days and the dye made its way out. It was uncomfortable, but my husband and I managed some frisky time while I was ovulating. Tomorrow I followup with my gyno to discuss the hsg, clomid, and some balloon ultrasound.

        I hope you guys are doing well.

      3. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

        I’m so sorry you had such a horrible experience! 🙁 That sounds awful! I definitely think the doctor can make a difference and I’m sorry yours wasn’t great. I hope your follow up went well and that you’re able to make some headway in moving forward. It’s such a process, isn’t it?

  8. Dorothy+@+Crazy+for+Crust

    Sending lots of love Lindsay! While it’s a relief to know nothing is “wrong”, I know that actually opens up a whole host of other questions. I wish I could just give you a hug!! I’m here if you need me. xoxo

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      You are so right, Dorothy. If nothing’s wrong, then why is nothing happening. Thanks girl!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29