Welp. There is no eloquent way to put this: two men stared deep into my cervix earlier this week, and neither one of them was my husband. “They’re doctors, they focus on science, this isn’t weird.” Stop it, yes it is weird! It was just one procedure – fine, I’ll allow it. But I’m not about to go searching for Mr. Right to perform all my future pap smears. I mean, why would a man want to pick a career where he stares into vaginas all day?? Never mind, I know why…but why on a not-pervy level? I guess I should quit my bitching and just be happy that there are so many men AND women who are willing to spend their days staring up cootchies, because otherwise I would be having an even more difficult time with this whole getting-pregnant thing. “Sorry that you’re having trouble conceiving, but looking up your skirt makes us squirm!” Having a male doctor was just another new experience, and I love new experiences! Just kidding, I have anxiety and anything out of my normal routine makes me frantic and overheated.
I will admit, I appreciated it when main Doctor Dude was explaining to Sideline Male Doctor that he thought one thing was less painful than the other and he stated, “Well, I don’t have a cervix, but it’s what I hear.” Damn straight you don’t! I didn’t need him for anything more than a dye injection, but I can’t imagine talking about cycles or discharge with a stranger man. There’s just something relatable about a female doctor (you know, because we got the same bits), but maybe I’m the only weirdo who feels that way.
Regardless of the gender of my doctor, I found out that my tubes are (still) open. Now, can we all agree that I never have to do this again?! I didn’t want to have to experience both of these procedures, but now that I have, I might as well help guide you a little if you’re torn between the two (even though, like me, you’ll probably be assigned a procedure and not given an option).
SHG/SIS (the saline one):
– Significantly more expensive (according to my doctor’s cheat sheet of costs)
– Use of saline and ultrasound to see if the solution goes through your tubes
– It’s ‘cleaner’. I experienced less spotting and I think that might be due to the fact that saline is, well, saline
– The ‘cleaning’ process was a q-tip on my cervix, which is uncomfortable but…(see below)
– For the procedure itself, I just kind of laid there and breathed deeply and then it was done
HSG (the dye one):
– May not be able to have done at your OBGYN’s office (just my experience – my OBGYN could only perform the SHG, and I had to go to the hospital to have the HSG done)
– Dye and an X-Ray machine do the work this time
– Was told that this one can “tell you more”, and was especially better for checking out tubes post-ectopics, but everything just looked like confusing blobs to me
– I experienced A LOT more bleeding with my HSG, but I have no idea if that’s because they did it later than they technically should be (CD13!) or if it’s just another exciting way that my uterus is rebelling
– Apparently my cervix has gotten very dirty over the past few months, because my doctor told me that he was just going to put some soap on it to clean it off….THREE TIMES. By the third time I wanted to scream, “OKAY! ENOUGH! IT’S CLEAN!!!!” It’s strange and scratchy and I am just not a cervix-cleaning fan, apparently.
– My tubes decided to play hide and go seek, so my doctor asked me to move over onto both my sides as some point so they could get a better angle. So here I am, tube and needle going through my cervix, uncomfortable dye being shot through me, and I’m writhing around on the table trying to get my tubes to make an appearance. It’s as glamorous as it sounds.
You probably haven’t had an IUI without experiencing one of these tests, but either way I should establish: they all feel the same to me. Sure, there’s A LOT more liquid involved with an HSG when compared to an IUI (unless your man has like, monster sperm), but I’m fairly certain it’s all the same thing: tube entered into cervix/uterus, needle with dye or sperm entered through tube, and then the actual injection being the most uncomfortable part (GOD does it feel bizarre). I’m not even pregnant yet, but I’m really starting to feel like giving birth isn’t going to be THAT bad. That being said, I would recommend not having an IUI done the same month as whatever procedure you go through. The procedures aren’t super time consuming, but they do leave you crampy and, in my case, with residual anxiety for the rest of the month. I couldn’t imagine going through a tube flushing and then my doctor saying, “Okay, now in a few days we’ll start your ultrasounds and about five days later we’ll nose around in your uterus again.” Like hell you will! I’m feeling…optimistic is never the right word, but simply good about having this month off. I know it was a forced break, but after getting scrubbed out, twice, I just want to be left alone. And even though it’s only been two months (and one cyst) on Clomid – I like working with my own hormones instead of being like, “I hope this pills that makes me sweaty helps me get pregnant!”
I was provided with print outs of my X-rays (and thank you, I know that my hip bones look skinny – I’ve been working on my summer bod), so I FINALLY have something worth putting up on my fridge!
“Oh you have your ultrasound on your fridge? Well I have proof that my tubes are open in these pictures! …and I bet you know yours are too, because you were able to get pregnant, but I’m sure you didn’t have to go through two extremely uncomfortable tests to find that out! Wait, I feel like I’m losing here…” Today, everyone’s celebrating as mothers or moms-to-be, and I’m stuck with a picture that looks like it belongs on Untold Stories Of The ER (“You won’t BELIEVE what we found in this woman’s uterus!”). Let’s hope that the double flush does the trick, and next year I’ll be asking a three-month-old to make me breakfast in bed.