* In this post I will be discussing my journey with our fertility specialist. I may be going into detail of things done during the appointment, so please be aware that very little will be filtered. If you are not comfortable reading this about me, or my life, in this context please stop reading now. Also, please note, I am only discussing what I have experienced. This does not mean your journey will be the same, nor should you make any medical decisions based on what I have experienced or decide to do. I hope in some way, me sharing my journey helps you during yours. Xo
So today finally arrived and I really wouldn’t be fair to you if I tried to sugar coat it. It sucked. The whole thing, and the pain meds they recommended I take an hour prior to the appointment didn’t do anything. Ok, let me back up a bit and start from the beginning…
I got a call from my RE’s office yesterday with results from the genetic screening of our second miscarriage. I’ll be doing a separate post on that, which you can find here (once I’ve written it). During this conversation we confirmed my appointment for today’s sonohysterogram (aka a water ultrasound)and to my surprise our trial transfer for our IVF cycle as well. We were finally moving forward in this process and I couldn’t have been more excited!
I’m not sure the best way to discuss this afternoons appointment, so here’s a rundown in the form of bullet points. I’m going to discuss the basics for those who are here looking for information regarding their own upcoming appointment for a Sonohysterogram.
- We arrived at the clinic and waited only a few minutes before being called back into the procedure room, where I was asked to undress from the waist down and cover myself with a blanket. I was told the procedure would take less than 20 minutes total. You do not need a full bladder for this, and will be asked to use the ladies room before you undress if you haven’t already.
- The doctor and two nurses arrived only a few moments later and quickly got started. I was told that we would be doing the trial transfer first, and that is was a fairly quick procedure.
- They have you lay down on the exam table, just like during your yearly exam, although you will be laying on an absorbent pad. There was also one of the floor at the end of the table.
- After using the standard forceps, the doctor cleaned the area with a special soap on a long cotton swab, which felt a little like getting a Pap smear. Next, he inserted the catheter into my uterus.
- Once the catheter was in place, the forceps were removed and the transvaginal ultrasound was inserted.
- While the doctor had the catheter in place, a nurse slowly injected saline solution while the doctor took measurements and notes from the ultrasound.
- I am not exactly sure what happened, but something went wrong and they had to do the entire process an additional two times. From my understanding, this is not normal.
- Once the trial transfer was complete the doctor gave me a few moments to relax before starting the Sonohysterogram.
- Once the Sonohysterogram was complete, my doctor discussed what he saw and afterwards the nurse gave me some supplies to clean up, a pad to wear home, and two heat pads to use for the cramping.
- I was advised to take it easy the rest of the day, to not submerge myself in water for 48 hours (no baths or swimming), that light spotting is normal, and that the cramping should subside after a day or so.
- In total, I was in the procedure room for 46 minutes. This included the here trial transfers, the Sonohysterogram, discussing my results with the doctor and undressing/redressing.
So what did they find:
- It seems after my two pregnancies my uterus repositioned itself and now is severely tilted. This may have been part of the trouble with the trial transfer and why it had to be done three times.
- In the Sonohysterogram, the doctor found areas which were of concern. While he couldn’t say for sure, but thought it could be scar tissue from my second loss.
- As a result of the unknown areas, my next step will be a hysteroscopy. This is an outpatient procedure where a camera is inserted into the uterus so the doctor can see the lining and any problem areas. If anything is found which needs to be removed or repaired, that procedure is done at the same time.
My thoughts, tips and little fyi’s:
- The first trial transfer felt like really bad menstrual cramps, the second and third trials were pretty painful and the sonohystogram had tears running down my cheeks. The forceps are as uncomfortable as they normally are during a yearly exam, but that catheter was awful. My doctor described it as being “as thick as a piece of spaghetti” and let me tell you- you feel it and it isn’t pleasant. Throughout my research I read many women talk about this being uncomfortable but barable. I do not feel I was mentally prepared for the pain I felt at all. Was my level of pain “normal”? Will yours be just as bad? Who knows. All I know is that by the time we got to the sonohysterogram the nurse had to remind me to breathe.
- Here’s why: At one point, the nurse removed the catheter but neglected to deflate the balloon end. All I remember was hearing the doctor say “that wasn’t good” and then the nurse was asked to step aside while the second nurse in the room took over. No sh*t that wasn’t good! It was awful. It was at this point the doctor gave me a few minutes to rest before he reinserted the catheter for the next procedure. The good news is that I didn’t feel it this time because of the slight stretching caused by the inflated balloon being pulled out. The bad news was that the saline for the sonohysterogram was not staying inside my uterus as well as it should have.
- When laying down, don’t have your skirt around your waist (if you wear a skirt). There is no way of knowing where the saline solution will go and the pad they have under you isn’t all that great.
- It got hot in the room rather quickly. At first I thought it was my nerves, but when I asked to take off my shirt (I had a tank top on underneath) one of the nurses said she was fairly warm as well. I dressed in comfy layers expecting to be cold, but it was not needed.
- I was glad to have a ride home and to have been wearing yoga pants instead of jeans. If it was warmer weather, I would have worn a maxi skirt, because the yoga pants were a bit tight around my sore midsection but it wasn’t awful.
- Once we were given the news of needing a follow up procedure I became upset. Instead of allowing myself the opportunity to be emotional I spent several minutes trying to talk myself back into a calm state. As a result, I have no idea what the doctor was saying to me during this time. If I could do it over, i would have asked for a moment to collect myself before talking with the RE.
- Everyone says this, I’ve read it at least a hundred times. I still didn’t listen. Don’t get too focused on your IVF timeline. Walking into my appointment today I was expecting to start our first round with my next menstrual cycle. While the news of something being wrong was upsetting, the part I have been having the hardest time dealing with is how this will be pushing out start date back at least another month if not longer. How could I have avoided this? If I had listened to the wise words of many women before me who all said about the same thing: “Your schedule is not written in stone, it can always change- even be canceled unexpectedly.” So, if you’re like me you will probably ignore this piece of advice and already be marking the calendar of the important dates throughout your IVF cycle, but try not to. Or at the very least write them down in pencil, reminding yourself that they could all change. This need to be my new mantra “Nothing is written in stone”.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions. I didn’t go into this planning on being able to talk to my doctor during the procedure, but there were several opportunities when he was waiting on the nurse to do something where I was able to ask a few things.
Well ladies, there you have it. I have read many others who have very straight forward procedures with minimal pain, and I do hope that you do not have an experience like me.
Until next time,