(Please note: I wrote this post on Thursday shortly after my procedure, so the timing may be out of whack a little. I’ve been so busy and not able to finish writing this, until tonight.)
Last night, just as we were settling down to sleep, I turned to Col and said,
“So, it looks like I’m not an alien, I have perfectly normal girl-bits.”
To which the reply came,
“Well, either that, or you’re an alien with perfectly normal girl-bits.”
I love my husband dearly, without him, this week would have been a lot more challenging than it was!
Y’know, we thought February our month, being late, getting inexplicably sick, the signs were there, but, as it turned out, it was just food poisoning. Not “morning” sickness.
I know I’ve not yet blogged about my birthday party last week, but I’m saving that for a rainy day pick-me-up. For now, let me tell you about my recent experience with my first stage of fertility testing.
My husband informed me yesterday over lunch, that I’m a goal-orientated person. Just like that, ‘well, you’re a goal orientated person, you’ll do whatever it takes, this is just the next step to getting what you want’. I can’t say I’ve ever given it much thought, but I guess he is kind of right, I kind of took it as a compliment. I figure out what the end-game is and what steps I need to hop along to get there, I line them up, one at a time and face them head on.
I guess I can thank my father for that, he always told me not to focus so much on the big picture, but rather, on the individual jigsaw pieces that build it up – without losing sight of the final goal.
“Break everything down in to manageable chunks,” he told me, take one at a time, and before long, you’re where you want to be.
On reflection, I actually apply it to a lot in my life, my weight loss, ‘one lb at a time’, for example, and I suppose, when I break it down, this is no different in a lot of respects. Means to an end, right?
This procedure has been on the cards for a while, the medical side of things was something I was prepared for. The procedure itself is-all over the interwebz, people sharing their experiences, I’ve had a few friends who have undergone the procedure, so I felt medically prepared as I could be.
Col had called up the hospital a couple weeks ago and got an almost exact, to the dollar, amount that we’d have to pay up front – which, thankfully came well under our flex card limit, so that was one less stress to worry about.
Financial – check.
Medical – check.
It all sounds so methodical, right?
Hard as you try, it just can’t stay that way, the emotional challenges of such a procedure? As I told my friend today, I made a home high atop a psycho branch for the week. Yes, I’m an emotional person, but I think even the most unemotional person you know, will have feelings about doing this procedure.
If your friend is having this done, please, be kind. It’s really not easy, emotionally.
For you, it may only be a medical test, a way of checking the fallopian tubes and uterus to make sure the plumbing works. The logical, medical, objective and impersonal way of looking at it, which, I swear, I’d love to have had, but when it’s you – it’s different. There is no being objective.
But for your friend, for me, it’s the first in a string of tests that my future hinges on.
Does not having kids make me less of a woman? Does it mean my life is incomplete somehow? Unfulfilled? I’m happy right now. I’m lucky in life and love and I’m happy – why does having a family have to be the sole thing defining me? Can’t I just be as awesome without children, if that is what lies ahead, or if that is what I happened to chose? These all may sound like crazy questions to you now, but trust me, crazy becomes just another part of the process…
A few friends in groups on Facebook have told me I’ve been quiet this week, I guess since our ‘near miss’ on Saturday, through the appointment being made and right through til it was over. I didn’t really tell many people, I didn’t publicize it on Facebook like I normally do and I really have not been OK, I haven’t been in the same zip code as OK.
Ask Col, he’ll tell you, maybe I’ll even ask him to write about things from his side of the coin some day… I’ve been up and down like a yo-yo, I’ve been upset and a total bag of emotions – but, as I told my friend Jo at lunch yesterday, I haven’t cried as much as I thought I would.
When I talk about it to people, I sound rational and logical, but inside, I’m anything but. Before bed each night this week, I’ve asked Col if he’ll still love me if I can’t have children – which, for many of you might sound totally ludicrous – and, I get that. I do. It sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud, I know my husband, I know him better than anyone, and I know he’d never leave me, especially over something that I have no control over.
But fear does strange things to a person, fear of being alone, fear of losing the one person who has faith in me when I don’t have faith in myself, fear of the unknown, fear of society being right – what if we do need children to make ourselves complete like everyone seems to shove down your throat at every given opportunity?
Fear is what made me ask my husband if he’ll still love me if I’m barren.
Fear is what made me clingy, insecure and unsure all week. Constantly seeking cuddles and reassurance from the one person who can give it to me.
Fear is what has made me shrink into myself this week ahead of the procedure.
What is something is wrong? What if nothing is wrong? What happens next?
What if I can’t have children? Will everyone see me as a the failed wife, and woman that I already feel like?
For you, it’s ‘just a test’.
For me? It’s a godforsaken test that I shouldn’t be having in the first place. I’m a woman, damnit! It’s my ‘duty’ to at least be able conceive children if, and when we want them. The mere fact that that is in question is embarrassing, dehumanising, effeminating (which is possibly a word that I just made up,) and humiliating. Perhaps it’s all in my head, no one else may think these things, not even Col – but it’s a way a lot of women feel during fertility treatment and it’s something that just cycles round in your head. Constantly. There’s no relief.
What actually happens during this procedure?
Well, what can I say? The staff and facilities at Methodist, Sugar Land were excellent, my treatment was second to none. Here’s what happened.
1. Register at the main desk, they take your ID, proof of insurance and doctors orders. Depending on your insurance, they may also take a payment from you for your procedure. You’ll get a wrist bracelet, just to remind you who you are, when you are born and what day it is.
2. Proceed down the corridor to the imaging desk, hand over paperwork and take a seat. I dunno about your facilities, but mine had coffee, water and snacks – husband was happily seated with my hot-pink kindle and I’d barely sat down, before my name was called.
3. Two very pleasant ladies walked me in to the changing area, they did not once behave like this was just another day in my life. For them, I know it’s a regular thing, they see hundreds of women a week like me, however, for me, it was my first time – and they did everything they could to help me out, they explained the procedure, the tools used and gave me not one, but two gowns to help ‘save’ my modesty, allowing me to stay fully clothed from the waist, up. I asked if I got to keep the $400 socks (the procedure cost me around $400) they laughed, said yes, they were a keep-sake of my time with them.
My $400 socks and my thank you card from Methodist, signed by all the people who interacted with me!
4. They lead me to the procedure room (in my two gowns and ludicrously expensive socks!) passing a bathroom – in case I wanted to pee (I did!) and they then talked me through the tray of tools that would be used.
Tray of instruments – minus the vials of dye!
– Speculum. Thing pap-smear, though this one was plastic and I was warned it’d make a lot of clicking noises.
– Catheter and balloon. This is threaded up through your uterus, the balloon is inflated to act like a ‘plug’ so no dye leaks out.
– Dye and injecting needle. The needle is used to shoot the dye (which looks like water) into the catheter, the dye shows up on the x-ray that they take and shows any ‘holes’ or any kinks in the chain.
The person who did my procedure was a guy, which for me, was just the final nail in my coffin of humiliation – which, again, I know, was probably my mind being way too harsh on myself, but you can’t help how you feel, your mind plays horrible tricks on you…
I can’t say the procedure was painful, but it was definitely not pleasant and I felt quite a lot of pressure. I was achy for a day or two after, totally and absolutely exhausted – but I feel like a lot of the exhaustion was a result of coming down from the anxiety,worry and apprehension of the procedure.
Things about the procedure to note:
Don’t go alone. This was a good tip from a friend. She’d said she had driven herself home and, in hindsight, probably shouldn’t have and I was really, really glad to have Col come with me. Mostly for emotional support, but also as my driver, I really didn’t fancy having to face the drive home after the procedure.
Medicate 1-2 hours before the procedure. Please note, I am not a doctor, I didn’t go to medical school, but, I was told by medical professionals and friends alike to take some ibuprofen ahead of time – to help with the cramping and pain. 400-800mg should do the trick. True to my form, I forgot to do this and had to have an emergency stop at CVS en route to the hospital, so even 45 minutes before the procedure helps!
Don’t plan anything for the rest of the day. Use your excess energy and anxiety over the procedure, to do all your errands before-hand, clean, tidy, or whatever you need to do. Cook a lasagne or something easy to reheat for the dinner, or even keep your weekly take-out/order-in for this night. Make life as easy as you possibly can on yourself.
I could talk about this all day, but for now, it’s bed time.
The guy who performed the test, informed me that it looked to be a ‘perfectly normal’ test, with no leaks, kinks or anything abnormal or out of the ordinary. He said that it all appeared normal…here’s how it appeared, not quite sure on the ‘normality’ of it! LOL!
The inner workings of Las…
I’m still not 100% (probably cause I’ve been busy as a bee!). The HSG seems to have been a beneficial diagnostic procedure for me. Though it certainly opened another box full of questions – what else, if anything, is ‘wrong?’ I kind of hoped they’d find something wrong, something small and easily fixable. Something tangible.
But I have a clean bill of medical health (so far), though still have many unanswered questions, I have a seriously supportive and positive husband and, I guess, more hope…so far there’s nothing to say that we cannot conceive. That’s all good news, and something to build on, right?
Like Col said to me on the morning of the procedure, as we were leaving the house…
‘Let’s go get some babies!’