February 2017

No Excuses

A Hycosy (hystero-salpingo contrast sonography) is a procedure whereby your fallopian tubes are filled with dye to check for any blockages that could be causing your infertility. Sounds simple enough however, in truth the procedure itself was a bit more “formal” that I had been expecting. I am the first to admit that I have a very low pain threshold, however, I was certainly not prepared for what was to come.

As every wife, girlfriend, partner or other family member of someone who works offshore knows, the chances of them being sent away when you have a party, wedding, christening, holiday or other special event is extremely high. I am fortunate that Dave does not work a rota anymore and is predominantly office based with just a trip offshore every now and then, however of course the law of sod dictated that he went away the day before my procedure. So it was Nurse Gray to the rescue!

Being a retired nurse my mum actually enjoys anything medical so jumped at the chance to accompany me. Even better for her was having to get rigged out in theatre greens while I struggled with the ever-puzzling hospital gowns with the ties at the back leaving your bum hanging out (can someone please go on Dragon’s Den with a new invention for these?)

Needless to say the whole ‘legs up in the stirrups’ never makes for a comfortable experience but I bit my lip and tried really hard to think of a nice beach somewhere, blue skies, cocktail in hand.

I was warned before the procedure that there would be no pain medication given however was advised to take 2 paracetamol and 2 ibuprofen before arriving that morning. I’m not someone who suffers from bad periods but was told it would just feel like a really bad period cramp.

My first tube was pumped without much issue; a little bit of discomfort but nothing major. The second tube was pumped and quite a bit more pain but still nothing that caused me too much concern.

I should mention at this point that I am nothing like my mum in terms of bravery. She is the hardiest person I know and never had much sympathy for us kids if we were ill when we were little. Her answer to everything was “just run around for a while and you’ll be fine!” Despite her no nonsense attitude for her own family she was an extremely caring and much loved nurse who brought happiness and relief to many of her patients over the years. Christmas time was always full of wine, cakes, sweeties and flowers for her ever-growing fan club!

However I was still trying to put on a braver face than I would have if Dave had been with me who knows only too well what a little wimp I am.

The doctor stopped to reveal that it seemed there was a blockage in one of my tubes so she was going to try and flush it with water to see if that would unblock it. That’s when I screamed. And cried. And yanked my legs closed!

I didn’t think water would have that effect but the pain was unbearable. Thankfully they stopped, realizing the problem and I got dressed, silently cursing the doctor who didn’t seem impressed that I had interrupted her procedure. (More about her later!)

The doctor came to see us afterwards and revealed that it looked very much like a blocked tube but she couldn’t be 100%. She said this is a common problem with woman who are experiencing infertility so it seemed likely. She suggested IVF treatment. The doctor we had met at our first appointment told us the NHS waiting list for IVF was 6-8 months, which we thought was pretty reasonable, however now this woman was telling me it was 10-12 months. I was crushed.

It was then that I decided I really didn’t like this doctor. She was very blunt and spoke to you as though you were just an annoyance in her day. I’m aware that as a fertility doctor the only people she meets are people who can’t have babies so it’s second nature for her, however, I’ve never been through anything like this before and I would have appreciated a bit more empathy. She also told me very curtly that I needed to lose weight. Great!

Now I’m very much aware myself that since meeting Dave I have not exactly stayed as the “I’m a size 10 and I can eat anything I want” figure. We both love our food, love take-aways and eating out and of course it’s taken its toll on both our waistlines. But part of me always says it’s because we’re happy and content and there’s more to life than dieting!

However where IVF is concerned the dreaded BMI chart is King and I was measuring on the wrong side of the scale. Now fair play, I’m not a size 10 anymore but I’m hardly a buddha.  However at 5 foot 1 and boobs that must weigh at least a stone each (which I actually tried to put on a scale and weigh one night at a friends house after copious amounts of alcohol; remember that Gemma and Mark?!?!), I was told I wasn’t allowed on the NHS list until I lost some weight.

To be fair the cut off point for IVF is a BMI of 30 and I was showing 31 so it wasn’t a huge difference, however I might add that I was weighed AFTER the Hycosy procedure when I was full of dye and water, AND that I suffer from pretty bad IBS, but hey I’m not here to make excuses…. But the doctor was still a cow.

I was told to lose some weight and come back when I had done so and they would put me on the list. Cue more waiting and more blaming myself. I didn’t think I could feel much worse. Oh wait, I could. As we were leaving the clinic here was a brand new bundle of joy going home with his new mummy and daddy for the first time. The location of the fertility clinic is an added torture to the whole experience being situated right next to the maternity ward. I guess it makes sense as the theme to them both is “babies”, but it certainly doesn’t help.

When mum and I were alone in the car the tears came and I don’t think they stopped the whole day. It was a beautiful sunny day so I spent the afternoon at mum and dads sitting with them in the back garden feeling like a failure, silently cursing the doctor and longing for Dave.

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2 thoughts on “No Excuses”

  1. Rach, I just wanted to say, you’re no woose! I endured years of fertility treatment and loads of painful procedures ( i have a 3 times used C Section cut for 3 major surgeries to clear adhesions) and I have to tell you, the Hycosy was the most painful thing out of anything I went through. 25 years on and I can remember it vividly…! Chin up both of you 💙 love Kim x

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  2. Yep, I remember that procedure. Afterwards the techs asked if the dr had warned me to take painkillers. Nope. Not at all. It was the worst exam ever. I was moaning throughout it because like with you, they were trying to force the dye through the blocked tube but couldn’t. I hope I never have to go through it again!

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