So, here's a brief recap of yesterday's appointment with Dr. Owlish / Einstein / Penmanship (those are the nicknames in the running, because he's kind and smart, wears glasses, attended Albert Einstein University, and has remarkably good handwriting; I'll use all three intermittently in this post, and you can vote in the sidebar poll if you'd like). We suggested the idea of IVF/ICSI with fertilizing 6-8 eggs; Dr. Owlish agreed that it was a reasonable compromise, but he said the success rates that way would be no better than IUI with injectables. He suggested we do a few IUIs before we use up the last two IVF cycles covered by our insurance. We asked about donor embryos; Dr. Einstein said their clinic does do that and it could be a good option for us down the road. I asked about having my progesterone re-tested; Dr. Penmanship offered to just give me a prescription for suppositories just in case we did actually conceive this pre-treatment cycle. We determined to go ahead with an injectable IUI, which meant I would need an HSG.
And that brings us to today. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. The HSG that I assumed would be routine was anything but. First, Dr. Owlish was running about an hour late - no big deal, I had brought a book, and I have a flexible schedule since I work from home. Then, the procedure hurt. A lot. I think I have a fairly high pain tolerance, but these cramps took my breath away. (I had taken Advil, but I had done so an hour before my scheduled appointment time.) Worst, the HSG showed blockage in my right tube. Dr. Einstein injected the fluid medium three times (triple the cramping!) and had me shift around a lot (tilting from side to side with a speculum and catheter inside you is far from pleasant) to get a clear view of the obstruction. After it was all done, Dr. Penmanship explained all the X-ray images and laid out the implications of the blocked tube. It certainly explains our infertility and lack of success at treatments; according to Dr. Owlish, the tube has probably filled with toxic fluid that leaks into my uterus and poisons any embryos that make it there. The cause of the blockage is unclear (Dr. Einstein suggested pelvic infection due to STDs, but I explained how that was impossible as I wasn't sexually active until marriage). I will need to have a laparoscopy to determine the extent of the damage; they may just need to remove some scar tissue, but it's possible that the whole tube will have to be taken out. For now, we have instructions to avoid conceiving this cycle, and then when my next cycle begins I'll go on birth control to keep everything quiet for the surgery. IUIs are no longer a viable option for us, but we'll have to wait for the laparoscopy results in order to know what comes next.
Yesterday, I felt so happy with our plan. Today, that plan became untenable. I have been in tears off and on ever since the HSG finished. I am frightened of surgery (and of infection - Dr. Penmanship prescribed antibiotics saying that the fluid from the HSG could cause a "life-threatening" infection in the blocked tube!). I'm tempted to be angry at my previous clinic, that didn't do this test and sent us through a course of wasted treatments as a result. I grieve for the embryos we created that, little did we know, faced a certain death sentence in my toxic womb. I feel a sense of injustice - if, as Dr. Owlish implied, STDs are the main cause of blocked tubes, why do I have a blockage when I abstained until marriage? I'm worried that it will be necessary to remove my tube, thus dooming any future reproductive efforts. I am full of doubt that God could heal me; healing of a hormonal problem seemed so much more realistic that healing of a structural problem. I feel weary; our hope of having children has been deferred AGAIN, and my heart is sick of it.