Our baby journey: The next steps and HSG

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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.

HSG prodecure

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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31 Comments
  1. monica

    been through that enire process also. The HSG test, I hit the roof it was so painful. I think it all depends in the Dr preforming the “surgery”. I tried for 3 years with Intra-uterine with no luck. Went to another Dr who told me that I have only 1 fallopian tube so I was approved for IVF. Took on the first try. Of course there’s a chance of multiples and I had welcomed my twin boys Dec 6 2010 and I’m done. While they are a handful at times I got siblings all in one shot and I’m extremely happy. I will send positive thought your way. Good luck.

  2. Linda

    Reading your post today brought me to tears because I can identify with your fertility struggles. I conceived my daughter very easily 3 1/2 years ago and when my husband were ready for our second child after my daughter turned 1, we realized it wasn’t going to be so easy. I stopped nursing at that point and my period never returned. After countless tests, doctors and tears shed, we realized this time last year we would need fertility treatment to get pregnant again. For some unknown reason, my hormone levels never went back to normal after my first pregnancy and the stress of wanting to give my first baby a sibling was not making it any easier on my body. In January I started my hormone treatment, but I was still scared it wouldn’t ever happen for me again. I am happy to say that I got pregnant in May and we are eagerly waiting the arrival of our 2nd daughter in 2 months. Like you, I am young (27) and people think this a problem that impacts couples who are older. I never thought I would experience secondary infertility. I feel so blessed this year and I will keep you and your husband in my prayers as your baby journey continues.

  3. Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking

    You’re handling this so well Lindsay. It must be really emotionally draining at times, but it sounds like you’re taking things as they come and trying to stay level-headed. I really admire that! Just as much as I admire you for sharing these personal details with your readers on your blog. It takes a strong lady to do that! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and an extra special birthday on Christmas!

  4. Cori

    I just wanted to let you know you aren’t alone. Hubby and I had secondary infertility issues. Which is harder to diagnose since we were able to get preggers on our own once. When we tried for our second we weren’t able to get pregnant or stay pregnant. We went through all the testing and decided to try IUI. The month we were supposed to start I was late and got a + test only to miscarry again. We decided to take a break and ended up pregnant with our daughter. I think it was from the HSG test.
    It’s a difficult thing to face but in the end I think hubby and I have a stronger marriage. It also allowed me to be a better friend to my BFF when her and her husband weren’t able to get pregnant on their own. They are now expecting twins in March.
    I agree we don’t talk about miscarriages and fertility issues enough. I think if we did people wouldn’t feel like it was taboo. I hope you and your husband decide what is best for your family and have peace with your decision. Happy holidays!

  5. Lynne

    Wow, you are going through so much. Thank you for sharing. I hope and pray all works out for you and you get your bundle of joy. Trust me, it will all be so worth it.

  6. Lori Smith

    Bless you heart, hope it happens for you, soon. I was told I by three doctors that I wouldn’t be able to conceive or carry any babies. I was only nineteen at the time. They were wrong. I had my first daughter at 21 and my second at 36. Granted, they are nearly sixteen years apart, but both pregnancies were normal and my daughters are wonderful. As a matter of fact, my teenager is a genius!
    So, never give up hope and I expect you’ll have a pleasant surprise, soon.
    Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  7. Lisa

    I commend you for your honesty and transparency! I am a Grandma who never had trouble conceiving my two kids but I have known a handful of people who have really struggled. I’ve witnessed them battle frustration, sadness, shame, embarrassment. The first two emotions are to be expected, but I feel the second two are because people don’t realize how common this is. So, kudos to you for putting it out there for the world to see and thus, understand.
    God bless you and your hubs and you’ll be on my prayer list in the months to come.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12