Eleven months ago, I booked my first appointment with my old family doctor for my first pre-natal appointment. A couple of days ago, I went into a fertility clinic to have a sonohysterogram done.
I’ve had to sit to wait for quite a few appointments and tests; every time my stomach is in a giant knot. But as I sat waiting to get this test done, I started thinking about my first appointment. I was just as nervous, but for so many different reasons. I didn’t know what to expect – what kind of questions she’d ask me or what tests I’d have to get done or what future appointments might look like. When I finally got into the room and sat with the doctor, it was very straight-forward, matter of fact, and to the point. She asked me routine questions, took my weight, and gave me instructions to decide if I wanted a mid-wife or ob-gyn. I left her feeling a little deflated and not at all prepared for what was to come. (Probably why I eventually left her care; I was a textbook case to her, never a patient.)
Now I’m sitting in a new clinic about to do a test that I’ve never done before, and I find myself just as nervous and unsure about what’s about to happen – or to that point, what the results will mean.
They were conveyor-belting patients. I was put into the dressing room to undress, one of the nurses came to give me the low-down about the test, and then I waited some more. Before one of the technicians brought me into the room, I heard the same nurse bring another woman to get undressed and then go to yet another woman to give her the same spiel she gave me: a doctor would be in the room to put a small catheter inside for the purposes of filling the uterus with saline so that they could see the shape of it as well as both Fallopian tubes; she said it would feel like a sharp pain as the uterus expanded, and after the test was done there would some spotting. Eventually a technician brought me into the room and then I waited another little while for the doctor to be finished with the patient before me.
The doctor came in with the technician as well as the technician who performed the test I’d done previously. Odd. She put the speculum inside and opened me up quite wide. She cleaned it up a bit and stuck the catheter inside. Uncomfortable, but not that different from a pap test maybe. They talked me through what they were doing, and as she started to fill me with the saline I could feel the gradual pain of my uterus expanding. It was such an odd feeling (something I’d describe as similar to when you put a lobster in cool water so that it doesn’t really realize that the water is getting hotter and hotter…not that I know how a lobster feels). I could feel the pain, but it started as such a mild discomfort that I was completely thrown off when it started to really, really hurt. Still, I could manage it. That is…until they started to fill the tubes and stick the probe in places no one has every been before. It wasn’t so much when she filled the tubes with the saline, but when the technician was pushing the probe around to get a good look that’s when it took me over the edge. (I’m convinced that the technician performing the test is still in training. I heard the other technician keep pointing out “there, over there, do you see that, keep it there” and she’d respond with “what, no, I don’t see it, oh that, I saw that.”) She just kept pushing and pushing; I cried; shamefully because of the pain. But the longer she probed and the more she pushed, it became so much more than the pain. There were no thoughts or words, just a whole culmination of emotion that brought me to that table and put me through that pain.
The team of people got to see what they needed to see and started to wrap up. The doctor got up first – her job done. She touched my arm gently, looked me in the eyes, and told me it went well and everything looks good. The technicians asked me to sit up and passed me some tissue to clean up. I tried to get up, but that kind of requires your lower abdomen and that was hurting me. “You can sit up now.” I told them I needed a minute, and when I got myself upright all the saline came pouring out of me, tinted with some blood. Fun.
I cleaned up as much as I could, grabbed my clothes. and waddled to the washroom – where I cried some more. I scared my sister who had driven me to the appointment. She thought I’d gotten bad news from the test results, and then she sighed a breath of relief and rolled her eyes a bit when I told her no it just hurt.
I think I broke down after that test because at this point the path ahead isn’t clear. Or maybe it is? God has been laying down crumbs of answers, I just have to put it all together to see what he’s trying to tell me.
I think he’s been telling me it hasn’t been the right time yet. I don’t need to pay for tests to tell me that anything might be wrong. He’s telling me that my body is fine – my uterus looks in good shape. He’s telling me that LG and I can handle these losses with his strength.
In his time.