8/15/13

The consult

John and I had our first (technically second- the first was two years ago right before we changed courses to adopt Arie) fertility consult this morning.  Allow me to introduce you to our fertility specialist:


Okay so that is actually Stephen Colbert, but our doctor looks JUST LIKE HIM. Also as a sense of humor like him, which is like exactly what you need in the room when you're talking about such things as periods and sperm and all related awkwardness.

So Dr. Stephen Colbert encouraged us once again by reiterating that we do not have male factor infertility which is a huge blessing because that's the kind that is typically hardest to treat. Everything seems normal on my end, but- exact quote here- Dr. Colbert does not want to be "snookered by my ovaries" so he is ordering a whole slew of tests for me.

Working diagnosis: snookering ovaries.  I gots 'em.

In September I will start a battery of tests to measure hormone levels and look for such sneakily snookering problems as cysts or tube blockage. The one I'm looking forward to the most is called an HSG which involves- according to my instruction sheet- a speculum, iodine dye, an x-ray, "the position of a pelvic exam,"and "a small catheter passed through the cervix."

Oh hell.

I'm also supposed to let them know if I'm allergic to shellfish. So maybe they're thinking about taking me to dinner afterward?

;-)

The other tests are an ultrasound and blood work which I'm sure will be much easier. Right?
Super clear operating instructions. Super clear. 
I've heard a few things about these tests- mostly the HSG- and some of them have been rather TERRIFYING so I am just going to say upfront, if you had a bad or painful experience with yours DO NOT TELL ME ABOUT IT. Mine is going to be awesome and easy and comparable to a spa trip. I will come back and tell you all about it. Unless it sucks in which case I will lie to save the rest of you infertile worriers out there.

At the end of our consult we were feeling a little overwhelmed with our (my) list of tests and instructions and when-and-where to get them, but then Dr. Colbert smiled as he shook my hand and looked right into my eyes saying, "Let's get you that baby."

Deep breath.

Yes.

Let's.

xo

49 comments:

  1. Oh Jillian, first I am sorry that you have to do this. No one should, but I do know it'll be ok.
    I think the worst part of the HSG was waiting for me. The pain is like period cramping, nothing too terrible or unfamiliar for the average woman.
    Waiting for the Radiologist to come in was the worst part...you know the part where you lay there and think about the outcome.
    It's honestly not that bad. I went into it thinking of it as positive because it is: it's a step forward.
    Sending good thoughts your way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Katie! I am PROFESSIONAL at waiting as I've done a lot of it in my life so hopefully I will breeze through it! ;-) I love hearing that it is not that bad- gives me peace. Thank you!

      Delete
  2. Jillian - sometimes, when I read your blog I feel so incredibly sad. It seems so unfair. But then I realize you have an amazing story. No, make that amazing STORIES, and no matter how many children you have, and no matter by which means, you have the gift of telling them in such beautiful terms of how much you love them, and how hard you fought for them, and you LIVE and BREATHE the grace of God through these stories, and are such a blessing to all who read/hear/live this with you. God Bless you on this incredible/scary/exhilarating journey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Heather. That is exactly how I look at my life. The stories God is reading me into... I cherish those so deeply. It is my goal to honor them and your remarks are such an encouragement to me. Thank you, sincerely. Thank you.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous8/15/2013

    HSG is not that bad (not that great, but it will be ok) it is a good step forward, and is over quickly. :) Remember to breathe and take a couple of tylenol on the way to the doc's office prior to the HSG.

    Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will not forget the tylenol ;-) Thanks!

      Delete
  4. I just had my HSG a few weeks ago and it was a breeze. The worst part is the waiting, for sure, but the exam itself is very quick and easy. I didn't have to wait for a radiologist as Katie did - my fertility doctor did the exam and read me her interpretation as the exam progressed. The cramping afterwards isn't bad at all, or at least nothing terribly out of the normal. The other tests they've done so far only included a ton of vials of blood being drawn (something like 11 to date?), but again, pretty quick and painless. I hope your tests and results come quickly and are reassuring! Good luck and God Bless!

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So reassuring! THank you for sharing your experience!

      Delete
  5. Anonymous8/15/2013

    I have been following your blog for quite a while now. I started following when we were thinking of adopting. (Just as both me and my brother were!) in the end we figured out we just cannot financially swing it. Then I see that you are doing the fertility work up! (we have been through all that, now we are on to donor sperm, as it is male factor infertility we are dealing with) Anywho, my point is I have done the HSG, and it is nothing to worry about!!!!!! breathe easy, its a little pressure and a little bit uncomfortable, but as your fertility process goes further we lose that shame in our bodies, and the embarrassment of having people look EVERYWHERE!! LOL just as you had to open your whole personal lives and financial life, etc to the adoption people, now it is your body. it gets easier and good luck to you! I look forward to following the rest of your journey :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally!! I feel like every inch of my life and body will have been examined by the time we are done growing our family. I hated it at first, but after a while I have come to appreciate how open it has made me... and how much it has taught me about inner peace. Thank you for your comment and for joining me on my journey!

      Delete
  6. Just found your blog and am excited to follow along! I am in the process to adopt and also doing fertility treatments while waiting (we'll see what happens first I guess, but I am really hoping for adoption!)

    You're right, male factor infertility is tough to treat. We will be using donor sperm.

    good luck with the HSG, I had one done, it only hurts for a few seconds :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome! Thank you for following my journey! I am hoping both your adoption and fertility treatments are successful and I know God will bless you which ever one comes first! Adoption is pretty amazin though... ;-) Thanks for the well wishes and good luck to you as well!

      Delete
  7. I've had an HSG, too. Don't stress about it! Just another step on the way to baby #2. :) As it turned out for me, my plumbing was all fine, it was hormones that were a problem. Unfixable by modern medicine, but probably could have been taken care of with treatment from a good naturopath. Good luck with everything! You and your hubby are in this together, and don't you ever forget that it is not your trouble alone, but the both of you are in it together. And God is with you, and will be with you, every step of the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing how a naturopath can help in ways that the best of modern medicine can't! Thank you for your words about God's presence and the HSG reassurance. I'm taking it to heart.

      Delete
  8. I've been there and totally expected it to be awfully painful after everything I'd heard. Really it wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be. And it gives you a lot of information- and can even help with certain types of problems. So definitely a good first step. I think my husband has worked with the doctor you're seeing (my husband is a OB/GYN) and so have many of my friends- he's great. I'm glad that you're being so open about what you guys are experiencing. I found the experiences of others to be so helpful as we have worked through our own struggles with this. I enjoy reading your blog, and wish you peace in this journey, and a very soon positive outcome. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So cool! Yes I've heard awesome things about this doctor and feel totally confidant about my care in his hands. :-) Thank you for sharing your good experience with the HSG. Fingers crossed I have the same!

      Delete
  9. Hi Jillian! I see I'm not the first to post a reply!:) I totally feel for you in your situation, I have been, and still am, in a similar situation as yours - and I know the overwhelming feeling of anticipating the tests and such. I would say, don't worry about the tests and results, just relax and take it one step at a time. And remember not to do anything until you're ready. It's your choice and yours alone! :)

    And as far as the tests - I was scared of each of the tests you mentioned (bloodwork, ultrasound, HSG...). BUT - I realised I did not need to be worried about any of them at all. (Although of course it IS natural to be scared or worried, but you just need to remind yourself that they are not as bad as you might make them out to be in your mind.)
    From my experience, the bloodwork was not so bad (they do take a lot of blood, more than you might think they would - but, your body is in the business of making more blood for you to make up for it;). You might feel a little weak for the rest of the day - or you might not feel any different at all. The Ultrasound was a little more surprising to me, seeing as they place the wand up in there :/. But it is no different than a pelvic exam, but less invasive because they just place the wand and look at the screen for the rest of the time. No pain, just a kinda weird pressure.
    (Forgive me for the descriptions, I hope you'll just be put at ease to know what to expect:)
    And, finally the HSG is not much different than an ultrasound, they're just using an x-ray instead and putting some fluid into the uterus to see it on the ultrasound. It's actually very cool to see the fluid going toward your tubes, and very informative to know what's going on in there - that normally the drs. can't see! (So, ask to see the screen if you're able!) I did have a little bit of pain, but just tell the tech's that so that they know, and they can slow it down so it doesn't hurt. (the dye pouring through is what hurts, just because the uterus is so sensitive to touch. And they can slow down the flow of dye going through.) I took some advil before the test - but I didn't have any cramping after the test was done at all. I just felt a little tired the rest of the day, just because they had been doing stuff down there... it can just make you tired!
    God bless you and give you peace during this season - I'm right there with you!
    -Ashley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for all the details! It helps to know how to prepare! I will ask to see the screen; looking forward to that part of it :-) God bless you on the same journey!

      Delete
  10. What a perfect thing to say when wrapping up an appointment like that! He sounds like a keeper of a doctor. :) Hopeful for you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. That sounds like you have a great RE! :-) I had the HSG and it wasn't that bad. Definitely take tylenol ahead of time (no ibuprofen when you're TTC because it thins your uterus lining), know it will be uncomfortable, and be sure to get a ride home and have a low key day the rest of the day. :-) It wasn't PAINFUL, it was just uncomfortable way to spend a day, but you'll be FINE! Lots of luck your way! That's such a blessing to not have male factor. That's what we're dealing with and yes, you're right. IT's definitely hard (seemingly impossible) to treat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can deal with uncomfortable. Thanks for sharing your experience! My heart goes out to you dealing with MFI; hoping you can overcome the impossible.

      Delete
  12. First of all, I'm sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed after you appointment and nervous for your HSG. But I also enjoyed reading this post because I'm pretty sure this is where we are headed as well. And I am TERRIFIED for an HSG. I look forward to hearing all about how it went and that you get good results.

    Plus, your humour while writing this cracked me up. You are awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Humour is such a great way to cope with having things stuck up your hoo-ha! ;-) I hope I can come back and report a good experience to encourage you as you anticipate yours! And really... hopefully we both just get pregnant like... tomorrow and skip the whole thing. We can dream right??

      Delete
    2. I am in agreement. I would love for us to both get pregnant tomorrow and skip the whole thing. And yes, humour is the best way to deal with things being stuck up your hoo-ha. :P

      Delete
  13. Crying and laughing ALL AT THE same time. AND in public. I love you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES!! Exactly what I was going for. Love you :-)

      Delete
  14. Dont worry about the HSG, Jill! From my snookering ovaries to yours, it doesn't hurt and is over within seconds!
    While I had it done I thought to myself "the pain of child birth will be way worse and this procedure will only help me to get to the worst pain ever"!
    I love your blog, everything about it!!!!! If you ever have time I would love to hear your insight on the topic of young couples adopting/seeking IF treatment and always being told to "relax" because they still have so much time....how do you feel about it? As a 27 year old I am having a hart time when people tell me that I shouldn't worry because I am still young...and Id love to have a good thing to say and you always say things so well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I love that way of thinking about the pain! I am going to take that with me to my appointment. Thanks! And I will do some thinking on that phrase because I agree- I hate it when ppl say that! First of all, telling me to relax does not help. At all. It makes me more stressed. And second of all, 27 is not young in the fertility world! It is actually close to a woman's peak fertility (28). So it isn't even true that we have "lots of time." Blerg. I'll try think of more to say about it :-)

      Delete
    2. I am also 27 and struggle with the comments related to age. It isn't helpful or encouraging to be told to relax, be patience or trust that it will happen.

      Delete
    3. Alicia- I'm even younger than you (25) and currently going through IF treatment. My typical response is "you wouldn't tell someone with diabetes to 'just relax' and not worry about their insulin, would you?"

      A lot of people don't get that there are SERIOUS medical consequences that can come by ignoring signs of infertility- such as endo, hyperplasia (which can lead to cancer) and possible underlying PID.

      Delete
    4. I am almost 33 now, started TTC at 24, all the tests possible, some of the procedures (IUIs, no IVF), huge long-term lifestyle changes and in-depth work with naturopath, nutrition, acupuncture, chiro, yoga, etc. and only answer is unexplained infertility-- no bios yet but two coming home from Haiti soon and still trying. All to say-- 27 is most certainly not too young to care a lot and start searching for answers. I still haven't found them for me and 35 is a big, scary number coming up fast! It was depressing sometimes reading most of the IF books out there because they tend to be geared at women 35+ who waited, not reassuring when you're in your mid-20s and want to have multiple children!

      Delete
  15. Hi Jillian, I haven't read all the comments on this post yet. But I wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. I loved reading about your adoption journey and feel so honored that you have chosen to share your treatment journey so openly. I remember our first consult like it was yesterday. The nerves, the fears and the hopes. The hope that there would be an answer to our problems and the fear that the findings might be to great to overcome. It has been more than a year since that first appointment and the nerves, fears and hopes are still there. This journey isn't easy but I pray it will be worth it. My HSG experience was pretty terrible, so I won't share it. The good news is if your experience mirrors mine it is over quickly and makes all the tests that come after easy as pie. Best of Luck!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just saying...if you have a sonohistogram(?) and they fill you up with water DO NOT jump up afterwards after the nurse leaves, make a HUGE puddle on the floor and try to clean it up with a full box of kleenex before she gets back. It doesn't work and is very embarrassing...funny later though :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Jillian, I have a ton of respect for you as you step back into fertility treatments. As a waiting momma (in the process of adopting from India), I really can't picture going through treatments again. We went through the roller coaster of fertility doctors, drugs, and procedures for 7 years before God changed our course and pointed us toward India.

    As for the HSG...I didn't really think it was that bad. It was however a little awkward when, at the beginning of the test, my doctor informs me that his med students will be observing as 8 of them walk through the door. "Is that ok?" Sure...why not? You bring popcorn. I'll sell tickets! :) Funny, now!

    Praying blessings, peace, and strength over you as you continue towards baby #2.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I just had my HSG yesterday- though mine was with the new doctor in the big city whose face is plastered on billboards along the highway. She was FANTASTIC!

    And honestly, I won't say it was a piece of cake, but I've had worse period cramps. The worst part was the fact that the radiology tech was a male (in the other room) so I would just randomly have this loud male voice telling me to pop my hips up or oblique myself away from the doorway.

    I was back to work less than an hour after it was done with no problem.

    I took 4 ibuprofen and 2 tylenol about 45 minutes before the procedure and I was good to go

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous8/16/2013

    I've had an HSG. It's not comfortable, but some ibuprofen will get you through. I'd take the meds BEFORE the procedure. It only takes about 5 minutes for them to inject the dye (worst part) and then you're done. Just try to breathe and relax. Good luck! Here's to clear and good functioning tubes!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. THe HSG isn't too terrible (though I was very anxious beforehand!!) and it was actually pretty cool to see the screen and to see the dye moving through, I was pretty fascinated by that. Will be praying for you!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Stephanie8/16/2013

    Hey, Jill...I thought of you often yesterday. The HSG is not bad at all. Quite honestly, whenever I had a painful moment physically, I closed my eyes tight and imagined myself holding my baby. I imagined gazing into every detail of her face and holding her tiny body against mine, and the pain never seemed to matter much after that. Truly, in hard moments, vividly imagine the end goal of your newborn, and you'll be amazed at what you can endure and for how long. Soon enough, the procedures and instructions will become a part of daily life/thought and will seem a bit less overwhelming. Never hesitate to call one of Dr. Colbert's nurses; some of them probably could still recognize my voice over the phone! No one should ever tell you not to worry...obviously, they have never had to go through fertility treatments...but, Dr. Colbert once told me that the typical age of someone he sees for the first time is early to mid 30's when we were considering our seventh round at age 35. I get your concern, though. Big hugs to you, Jill...I have this gut feeling that beautiful things are in store for you. God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous8/17/2013

    Infertile worriers - or infertile warriors? I think you are infertile warriors! (Who worry some too - but focus on the fight to emerge victorious with a baby in your arms!) Best wishes to you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous8/17/2013

    can I just say I was really moved by the sheer bravery, optimism, and tenacity you displayed in this post? You have a fantastic attitude. Your ability to face such troubles with humor as well as grace astounds me.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous8/18/2013

    I was terrified of the HSG. I took Ibuprofen and a xanex beforehand. It was SIMPLE and PAINLESS. I felt slight pressure for less than one minute and it was over. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  25. HSG was awkward (but really it all is right) and that is all. No more to tell for me. Just awkward. Getting an X-ray while something is up your who-ha. End of story. You will do great.
    FYI- there is some bleeding afterward. No one told me that and I got a little freaked. TMI probably but I think it is best to know that before so you are not crying in the bathroom afterwards telling your hubs that your ovaries might be perforated..... I am so glad I didn't over-react :).

    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Jillian -

    I've had both an HSG and sonohystogram. Neither one was much of anything to write home about discomfort-wise, so I think you'll be a-ok. The HSG was over before I knew it.

    Based solely on my experience however, I would encourage you to ask Stephen about why an HSG over the sonohystogram (water and u/s). At the time of the HSG, they told me all was well but then 18 mos later apparently I had some issues with my tubes. So either the HSG was wrong or I reacted to the dye and so *maybe* it caused some of the inflammation/problems I now have (I have some underlying autoimmune stuff going on and it wouldn't surprise me).

    I just wish I had known enough at the time to ask about the differences between the two tests because I feel like the sonohystogram gives better overall information (patentcy of tubes, shape of uterine cavity, presence of fibroids etc) without the risk of reaction to a radioactive dye.

    Either way though, it'll be nice to know what's going on in your pelvis! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous8/20/2013

    You can do it! Mine luckily didn't hurt a bit. It felt like a regular Pap smear.

    We haven't met but I think of you and your journey as I'm going through mine. When people tell me to "just relax" or "just adopt" I seriously am speechless. Seems like you could say, "yeah...tried that...." To both of those lovely pieces of advice!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've had nearly every procedure in the book since we were lead to do IVF..twice. I will say that for the record, I think people who write everything on the internet about how traumatizing and terrifying procedures were are the ones who either like to make things 100X worse than they actually are OR maybe are just super ultra hypersensitive to pain. Although I wouldn't say I loved every minute, they were virtually painless with a bit of discomfort. After all, you're having fluid going places they typically don't in that sort of way, but it goes by SO fast. Even with the injections and being knocked out for egg retrieval and beyond, so many people said how they couldn't get out of bed for days, and blah blah blah. I was literally walking around Target after both retrievals- no joke. You can do it! I thought the HCG was one of the easier procedures I had endured. Mind over matter!

    ReplyDelete
  29. HSG does NOT hurt!!!! Not one bit. As a matter of fact while I was on the table (TMI) I asked the doctor to tell me when he was going to get started so I could brace myself. Instead, he & the nurse both giggled because they said I was already done!
    I'm thinking Dr. Colbert won't let it hurt either.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Jillian!

    I really appreciate hearing your story and the willingness with which you share candid details.

    A couple points that I am not sure others have made:

    1. I totally dug the HSG. Yup, it isn't the most comfy thing ever. But, here's the cool thing: YOU CAN TOTALLY SEE THE INSIDE OF YOUR UTERUS! Yes, it is super rad. I was just stoked to watch the dye go into my uterus and see that little thing and then see it go down the fallopian tubes and spill into my abdominal cavity. It reminded me of the miracle of it all, that eggs come out of our ovaries and swim through the empty abdominal cavity before getting sucked up into the fallopian tubes. It was really science at its very best, like if Bill Nye was an RE. : )

    2. There was a study completed (and you'll see lots of posts on the internets) about a theory that the rate of conception increases immediately following an HSG. They talk about it being an iodine based dye vs. non-iodine, but that might be beside the point. I, personally (and anecdotally!) think there is something to it. I got my battery of tests (bloodwork, saline, hsg, monitored cycle, teeniest bit of injectable hormone, and an IUI) and was pregnant on the first try. I was 35; my chances of conception were, to quote my RE, "about 15% per cycle." I put my faith in the power of "moving things from those that are to those that should be" and William is now 5.5 months old. It doesn't always happen that quickly, but I want to give you the knowledge that it can.

    You can do it!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Jillian!

    I really appreciate hearing your story and the willingness with which you share candid details.

    A couple points that I am not sure others have made:

    1. I totally dug the HSG. Yup, it isn't the most comfy thing ever. But, here's the cool thing: YOU CAN TOTALLY SEE THE INSIDE OF YOUR UTERUS! Yes, it is super rad. I was just stoked to watch the dye go into my uterus and see that little thing and then see it go down the fallopian tubes and spill into my abdominal cavity. It reminded me of the miracle of it all, that eggs come out of our ovaries and swim through the empty abdominal cavity before getting sucked up into the fallopian tubes. It was really science at its very best, like if Bill Nye was an RE. : )

    2. There was a study completed (and you'll see lots of posts on the internets) about a theory that the rate of conception increases immediately following an HSG. They talk about it being an iodine based dye vs. non-iodine, but that might be beside the point. I, personally (and anecdotally!) think there is something to it. I got my battery of tests (bloodwork, saline, hsg, monitored cycle, teeniest bit of injectable hormone, and an IUI) and was pregnant on the first try. I was 35; my chances of conception were, to quote my RE, "about 15% per cycle." I put my faith in the power of "moving things from those that are to those that should be" and William is now 5.5 months old. It doesn't always happen that quickly, but I want to give you the knowledge that it can.

    You can do it!

    ReplyDelete

I love reading your comments! Those left on posts older than 2 days will require moderation.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...