In November 2015 I finally met with my OB to discuss my luteal phase spotting (spotting/bleeding between ovulation and your period). I came into the appointment ready to have to defend myself from being told to “just relax,” and “this is normal.” To my surprise, the nurse and OB listened to my concerns and actually began to develop a plan to move forward.
First, she wanted to do an ultrasound to check my ovaries and follicles. She also wanted to see if I had any cysts on my ovaries and if so, how large they were.
Then, she requested I have my blood drawn 7 days past ovulation to check my progesterone levels. Progesterone is the hormone that drives your reproductive system from ovulation until menstration. Progesterone should be at it’s peak at 7 days past ovulation.
After the progesterone draw, she requested my husband do a semen analysis (boy was he thrilled to hear that news! HA!) and an HSG for me.
I was filled with so many emotions leaving this appointment.
1. Hell yeah! I will finally get some answers!
2. Holy crap, this means we are having fertility problems.
3. How much is this going to cost? What if I can’t afford this?
4. This is real. What if we can’t ever have kids. Ever.
I held myself together through the progesterone drawn (which came back normal) and ultrasound (also normal) but the week before the HSG I became progressively more anxious, bitchy, hysterical and weepy. I mean, for the first time during this journey I completely broke down crying one night. I was inconsolable. My husband was at a loss. He had never seen me in this state.
Ole Doc had ordered me to do an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) though, and I pushed onward. An HSG is a more invasive test in which a radiologist inserts a catheter through your cervix, into your uterus and then injects dye which will fill your uterus, tubes, and spill into your abdominal cavity. While this is happening, the radiologist will take pictures of the dye moving through your body. This procedure is used to check to see if your tubes are clear from blockages. They also see the shape of your uterine cavity and can assess whether there are any abnormalities preventing pregnancy.
Also, it hurts like a motherfucker.
Imagine laying on a table, catheter shoved up your hoo-ha, x-Ray over your belly, and then horrible period like cramping takes over for a few minutes while someone takes pictures of your insides. I held the nurses hand and cried. I’m sure she thought I was a cry-baby, but I was so thankful for her support in that moment. I just needed that reassurance. Things were going to be okay.
Alas. My pipes were clean and no abnormalities were found. Good news! Sort of? I mean, if all my tests were normal, then why the heck am I having so much bleeding and not being able to get knocked up?
After the HSG, my husband and I decided it was time to talk to our families about the roller coaster we were on in hopes of gaining some emotional support (and receiving less comments asking about when we would start procreating, but I’ll save that for another post).
So far, I had been the one up to bat. I had been the one standing alone to do the uncomfortable testing. Now it was my hubby’s turn and he was less than thrilled. I remember him saying, “I don’t want to have to do that.” As I sharply replied, “Well I didn’t want to have a CATHETER SHOVED UP MY VAGINA AND DYE PUSHED THROUGH MY TUBES EITHER! SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!” Needless to say, his complaining stopped there.
We both knew the semen analysis was going to be awkward. We were given a specimen cup with instructions to abstain from sex for 3 days prior and not use a condom or lube while collecting the sample. After an awkward attempt, the sample was collected. It needed to be to the hospital lab and processed within the next hour! Talk about pressure.
We live about 30 minutes away from the hospital. So as soon as the sample was collected I jumped in my car, specimen cup full of jizz under my armpit (to keep perfect temperature) and raced to the hospital. Little did I realize, I forgot the script that needed to go with it. I brought it to the lab, only to be told that they wouldn’t process it without the correct order. Again, I lost my shit. I began crying and I remember yelling at the lab tech, “This is embarrassing enough! Why can’t you just process it and worry about the paperwork later!” Fortunately, the OB sent an emergency script over ASAP. Phew.
About a week later we learned that my husband has remarkable sperm quality and my OB was impressed with his numbers. Yay! (Except, WHY THE FUCK CAN’T WE GET PREGNANT?)
As glad I was to hear that we were ‘normal’ I was also just as devastated. What did that mean? How can we get fixed if there is nothing to fix? So many questions kept circling my mind. Doctor lady did have one recommondation though, to begin taking progesterone after ovulation (regardless of my normal levels) to help eleviate or eliminate altogether the luteal phase spotting I was having.
Next stop, crazy train.