First, let me start by saying I have a super low pain tolerance. (I once cried taking off a Bioré® pore strip.) So you can imagine my anxiety level as I read through one horrific HSG experience after another. “Worst pain of my life.” “I’d rather go through child birth again.” And my personal favorite; “I would rather gnaw my own arm off than have the procedure repeated.” What?!? I knew I should stop reading, but I couldn’t. I was obsessed. I HAD to know what to expect. So I spent the next month working myself up into an anxious frenzy. And when the test day finally arrived, you better believe I was a nervous wreck.
My appointment was scheduled for 8:00am on CD9. Since they recommended I take 2 Tylenol and my antibiotic 2 hours prior to the procedure, I woke up at 6:00am and, of course, couldn’t fall back asleep. So what do you think I did? That’s right … I took this wonderful opportunity to read some more dreadful experiences. (WHY do I do this to myself?) We arrived early with our completed paperwork and proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait. Finally a nurse came and led me back into a radiology room full of large daunting equipment and tables covered with terrifying instruments. I must have looked horrified (I was) because the nurse joked, “It’s not as bad as it looks, honey!” Laughing, she whisked me past the equipment, handed me a cloth gown, and motioned for me to change in the attached bathroom.
When I walked back into the radiology room I was relieved to see my OB/GYN had arrived. I instantly felt more comfortable and was ready to get the procedure over with! He had me lay flat on my back on the exam table while he positioned the x-ray machine over my abdomen. Since my procedure was done at a hospital instead of at a fertility clinic, the exam table didn’t have stirrups so I had to balance on the end of the very cold table. Not much fun, but on the plus side, it was a good leg workout! Once I was finally situated (and the radiologist arrived) he started the procedure.
My OB/GYN knew I was nervous, so he made a point to explain every step as he went. First, he performed a quick pelvic exam and then inserted the speculum. This felt like a normal annual exam, however, since the speculum was sterile it was absolutely FREEZING! Then he cleaned my cervix with some ridiculously cold solution and began inserting the catheter. Apparently I have a very tight cervix, so it was several minutes before he was able to get the catheter in place. Luckily, I only experienced minor discomfort from the whole ordeal. Now … it was time for the dreaded dye. While I was bracing myself for the “worst pain of my life,” the nurse came over and took my hand. As I glanced up to give her an appreciative smile, the doctor said “All done!” WHAT?!? Really? I felt absolutely nothing. I was beyond relieved.
So that was it! My fallopian tubes were all clear and my doctor said my uterus looked great. (Did it though? I was skeptical…) So, now what? Since most women have a higher success rate conceiving the three months following the HSG, I agreed to keep trying naturally for three more months. My doctor seemed confident I was going to get pregnant very soon, which made me extremely happy! He also casually mentioned that since my tubes were clear I probably wouldn’t have to go through IVF. More excellent news! So we said our goodbyes and I headed to the bathroom to change.
As I was changing I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was odd about the shape of my uterus. It just didn’t look like all the “normal” HSG ultrasounds I had seen online. (And I had seen hundreds.) In a few short minutes I managed to convince myself that I had a “t-shaped” uterus. So on my way out, I detoured over to the monitor to get one more look at my x-ray. As I’m studying my uterus like a crazy person, the nurse walked over and asked if I had any questions. I had so many questions, but I settled on “Can I take a picture of my x-ray?” The nurse gave me a baffled look, but said “Sure! Would you like us to print you a copy?” (Um … yes, please!) So, I picked up my picture and headed home to obsess over my
perfectly normal “t-shaped” uterus. (Again, WHY do I do this to myself?)
Following the exam I didn’t experience any cramping or heavy bleeding, just some minor spotting for a few hours and that was it! So, if you are reading this in preparation for an HSG exam, please know that not all experiences are horrific! I genuinely feel bad for all the women you experienced such intense pain and I’m truly thankful for the positive experience I had. I can honestly say that the only “bad” part for me was the cost. It was, by far, the most expensive 10 minutes of my life. I have included a cost breakdown so you can get an idea of what to expect if your insurance doesn’t cover ANYTHING.
$650.00 Pre-Payment to OB/GYN (Required before they would even schedule the procedure)
$750.53 Hospital Bill (The actual bill was $833.93, but we received 10% off for paying in full)
$35.11 Radiologist Bill
$13.62 Laboratory Bill (Required pregnancy test prior to the procedure)
$8.54 Doxycycline Prescription (Antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections)
Feel free to message me with any questions. I would love to hear from you!
Read more about my TTC Journey here.