I have mentioned in previous posts that I was using hypnosis and subliminal message tracks to help deal with anxiety around some medical procedures. Well, the one I’ve had done recently that was pretty rough for me was a hysterosalpingogram, commonly just called HSG. I had this test done because my daughter and I have decided that we’d like to try to add a sibling to our family.
I have a history of trauma so getting any kind of procedure involving a speculum, such as a pap smear, is anxiety-producing for me. I seek out female gynecologists, have to go slow through pap smears, and sometimes have had to request a smaller speculum due to extreme muscle tension.
The HSG is a special real-time x-ray that is done at a radiology office to test whether a woman’s fallopian tubes are open. It starts off with an x-ray of the pelvic region. The radiologist then places a speculum. A catheter is then inserted through the cervix and a special dye is injected into the uterus. The radiologist and patient can then watch on a screen visible to both for the dye to flow out through the fallopian tubes. No dye spilling out of the fallopian tubes indicates that the tubes are blocked. In the event of blocked tubes, the doctor said that the only remedy is surgery to unblock the tubes or to use IVF for pregnancy.
I attempted the test…
Unfortunately, for this test there is only one size speculum available because it comes in a kit. The thing almost looked big enough for some livestock, definitely larger than most that I had seen at an OB/GYN! Strike one for me. Secondly, there are only male doctors at the hospital radiology unit that does this procedure. Strike two for me. Third, the radiologist acted like I knew what was going on and maybe like I was livestock; he didn’t warn me about what was going to happen or talk much. Strike three for me; I’m out! And that was with me having taken 800 mg ibuprofen and 2.5 mg Valium (a pretty small dose) 1 hour before the appointment.
When the nurse tells you that they’ll use a “brown soap” (Betadine, basically), and then the radiologist comes in and just basically stabs at your most sensitive area with what amounts to a long Q-tip without even a “by your leave,” you know it’s not going to be pretty. Um, not happening. Seeing how close I was to totally freaking out, the radiologist valiantly decided to do no more harm and stopped the procedure. Unfortunately, that meant another month on birth control pills (to keep the uterine lining thin for the pretty picture), and another month added to the whole process of getting to IUI.
So I ordered three recordings of a custom subliminal message track (musical selections: Dream, Waves, Silent) and a custom medical hypnosis CD. The doctor also prescribed some medicine for me–Percocet and Ativan. The reproductive endocrinologist’s (RE) office also managed to schedule me with a semi-retired radiologist who apparently managed to do the procedure for all the patients who couldn’t tolerate the other radiologists.
So prescription in-hand, I set about the task of both psyching myself up and calming myself down. I took the day off work, got my dad and his wife to drive us, and took the Percocet and first Ativan about 1 hour and 10 minutes before my scheduled appointment time. I took the second Ativan about .5 hours later because I didn’t feel anything. Luckily, my appointment started a little late because I didn’t even start to feel the affects of the medications until almost 1.5 hours after taking the first dose! Adrenaline is a powerful thing (yes, I’ve also had dentist appointments where I could not get numb partly because of adrenaline)!
This radiologist had decades of experience and talked his way through the entire procedure. He told me exactly what he was about to do just before he did it so I didn’t have any surprises, he started over again when I asked him to, and he let me breathe when I needed it. Dye spilled out of the right fallopian tube beautifully, followed by a slightly slower spill from the left one, as well as showing that I had no polyps or anything that might interfere with implantation. Huzzah!
The next step in my baby-making saga will be a water ultrasound next week. It was described to me by the reproductive endocrinologist as “similar to the HSG, but not as uncomfortable.” Great. :-/