Sh*t Just Got Real
Ladies, (and the ever-elusive gentlemen), we have a verdict.
The jury was out for a good, long while, but within 45 minutes, the final decision was finally made.
BOTH of my tubes are completely blocked.
There is a weight on that sentence that has been rolling around on my tongue for a while. But before I get into that, let me break down how I got this long-awaited answer. Things started with an HSG test.
My appointment was at 9am, and I was actually taken back sometime around 9:30. After undressing from the waist down, I was led to the x-ray room by a very nice nurse named Tammy. Prior to getting things started, Tammy had me sit down so that we could discuss each thing that was going to take place.
First, she asked if I’d taken any pain relievers prior to coming to the appointment, which I hadn’t. She then double-checked to make sure that they had been recommended by my doctor. They had. I have a pretty high pain threshold in my opinion, and couldn’t see how two tylenol an hour beforehand were going to make much difference, so I didn’t take any. After those preliminaries, it was time to break down the procedure itself.
My doctor, Doctor C., would be called down to the room to insert a catheter, Tammy would remain at my head to keep me calm and explain what was happening, and a radiologist would be called in to perform the x-ray itself. Through the catheter, my doctor would use a syringe to push dye directly into my uterus, while the radiologist simultaneously photographed the process with the x-ray machine. Done correctly and without complication, we all would be able to see the dye travel through my uterus and tubes by way of the monitor placed beside the exam table. She asked if I had any questions. I didn’t. Then it was time to sit on the table and wait for the doc.
My doctor came down, as explained, asked me if I was comfortable, and went over the details again. Then it was time for the catheter. Okay, now I have a pretty high pain threshold, like I said, but this was very uncomfortable for me. It didn’t “hurt”, but it was extremely jolting. There is a precise feeling of someone pushing or pulling on a tender part of your skin, but it feels somewhat worse because it’s internal. I was pretty cool I think, but according to Tammy, I was definitely tensing up, so she sat beside me and talked me through a few calming breaths. I stared up at the arm of the x-ray machine, where there was a sticker that read: “7/2”. I focused on that sticker because it is actually my wedding anniversary. I found this, combined with the “breathing exercises” to be maddeningly ironic, considering the situation, but I shook it off.
Once the catheter was fully in, I couldn’t feel any other discomfort. I forgot it was there actually. In about three minutes, the radiologist was there and turning on the machine. Tammy moved the monitor closer so that I could see. Lights, cameras, action!
Only, there was no action. LOL
I watched the screen, I felt Doctor C. push the syringe harder, and none of us saw a damn thing. My lady bits basically flipped us all the bird. I remember vividly that there was one moment when Doctor C. said, “I really can’t push any more. I think they’re both blocked.”
And that’s when shit got real.
I don’t know. The picture in my head was of the dye showing up brightly on that monitor, and of my leaving there with a new script for Clomid. I fully intended on beating this thing with the most minimally invasive procedures as possible.
Instead, she walked to the head of the bed and told me flat-out that I would need to call the RE, and that the most viable option for me would have to be IVF. She put a hand on my shoulder and said, “You did what you said that you wanted to do. You went as far as WE could. This test, was that last thing that WE could do. Now, you go further. Call the doctor I told you about. She’s a great person, who is very honest and personable. This is fixable.”
And I don’t really remember much after that. I mean, it isn’t that this wasn’t frustrating or painful before. It was. But somehow this felt more devastating. There’s something very definitive about the moment you’re told that this thing you didn’t want to do, this path you were avoiding, is the ONLY way to your goal.
Bring me the slippers of the Wicked Witch of The West!
I do remember some things.
I remember getting dressed.
I remember telling my mom, who was in the waiting room.
I remember her taking me to breakfast, and asking gentle questions about what to do next, and sitting there for almost two hours.
I remember her taking me shopping.
I remember holding on to my facade for hours.
I remember watching every mother I encountered, even when I told myself not to.
Mostly, I remember feeling really confused and shitty.
I also remember feeling like I “had” to be positive.
I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want anyone “worried”, “concerned”, “feeling sorry for”, or “uncomfortable about” me.
So I just shut it off.
I was about to think of the finances. But I shut that off.
I was about to think of the frustration. But I shut that off too.
I just, completed the day.
Fill in the bubbles completely on this standardized test. If you don’t know the answer, after using your study and test-taking skills, make your very best educated guess.
And that’s what I did.
And that’s what I’m still doing.
There’s a plan in here. I always have one. But at the moment, it’s tightly buried beneath my anger and frustration. I’ll pull it out in a bit. But at the moment, I’m frantically filling in these blank test bubbles.
Regina Townsend is the primary author and founder of TheBrokenBrownEgg. A librarian and writer, Regina’s mission is to make people aware and active about the unique concerns of reproductive health in the minority community.