Having arranged the appointment with Shiny Private Clinic for me, the nurse said she’d send me all the details of ‘the procedure’ in an email. Duly, a few hours later, an email arrived. I printed out the consent form, checked the address in the email, made sure I’d remembered the ibuprofen and sanitary towels, drew myself a little map, and this morning plodded off to work in perfect serenity.

I lie. I was nervous as hell. Just, not about the location.

At the appointed time, therefore, I was in the wrong clinic, explaining myself to a bewildered receptionist who couldn’t find my name on the schedule. But wait! I was on the other clinic’s schedule! The other clinic? Yes! Just around the corner! So I sprinted back out into the drizzle, cussing these fancy-pants multi-location private fertility services and their expensive cupboards dotted all over the city centre like £1000-confetti.

It was fine. Bewildered Receptionist had called Correct Receptionist to let her know I was belting down the road, scarf flying out behind me like a banner, leaving a filthy blue contrail. Apart from the bit where she had to shout ‘push the door now. No, now! Now! Push!’ through the intercom at me while I pulled frantically. My nerves let me down.

Anyway, it being a tiny private clinic concentrating on egg retrieval and imaging, I was being handed my surgical gown and fluffy slippers within minutes of my solving the door riddle. And then a very sweet young nurse introduced me to a very sweet middle-aged doctor, and between them they introduced me to the first comfortable pair of stirrups I have ever wrestled with, and then I lay back and stared at the ceiling of the tiny room while they hoisted me five feet in the air and winched my delicates open with a speculum (I hate specula. Hate hate hate. Hate).

Doctor: Oh, is your period is just finishing, then?
Me: Well, it’s day 12 of this cycle, but I usually spot for about a week at the end of my period because I have adenomyosis.

*Pause, while they insert the catheter, inflate the little balloon that holds it in place (this does not hurt at all. I am astonished), and then remove the speculum and replace it with the dildo-cam (this is less comfortable). The doctor then turns the ultrasound screen so I can see it too. Imagine! Being allowed to behold my own innards!*

Doctor: And there’s your ovary…
Me: *silently, so as not to startle man who has three kinds of hardware up my personals* HOLY FUCK IT LOOKS LIKE A NORMAL OVARY! Ooh, look, you can see the lead follicle and everything. I give it a week to pop. Bets, anyone?

*Nurse presses plunger on syringe full of saline attached to catheter above-mentioned. Absolutely nothing happens*

Doctor: Hmm, I can’t get a clear image of the inside of your uterus. Do you have fibroids?
Me: *pointedly, see above* I have adenomyosis.
Doctor: Oh, yes. Well, I’m going to need to adjust all this to get a better view.

*Out comes the blood-streaked dildo-cam (ew), and the catheter, and rather a lot of fluid (nothing says ‘dignity’ like something dripping down the cheeks of your arse while medical professionals hunt out the wipes and the lube bottle). In goes the speculum again. Fiddle fiddle. Out with speculum, back in with dildo-cam, at a somewhat more uncomfortable angle. And another syringe-full of saline is squeezed up there. Again, nothing happens, though at least they can see where my uterine cavity should be, if I had one. They crack open a new bottle of saline and top up the syringe. For fuck’s sake*

Doctor: Oh, no, look, there it goes! I think the adenomyosis has made your uterus rather stiff. I can’t get the cavity to stretch open fully, but there’s no sign of adhesions or polyps. Are you alright?
Me: *surprisingly* yes!
Doctor: To check your fallopian tube is open, we use a foam, so it shows up on ultrasound.
Me: Foam?

*The foam is so white and high-contrast it practically sparkles on the ultrasound screen. It wooshes straight through my uterus and blossoms out the end of my fallopian tube in short order. We all stare at it.*

Doctor: Your tube looks perfect.
Me: Thank you.

And throughout, the Doctor and the Nurse kept telling me I was being very brave, and I felt like a total fraud because it really did not hurt. It was uncomfortable, and the speculum pinched, but pain? Nope. There was gore, though, me being me. I needed a fresh surgical gown to shuffle back to the changing rooms in.

And that was it. I paid them, they gave me a single hefty dose of Azithromycin (in case of chlamydia! which you don’t want forced up your passages!) and warned me not to have any alcohol after taking it (boo!), and then the Nurse sat me down in a corridor and carefully made sure I was feeling fine, not in pain, not feeling faint or sick or anything, before releasing me.

So I went and had lunch, took my Azithromycin, and went back to work for the rest of the afternoon. And that was that.

So, step two. We go back to Doctor Fourth Opinion, to do LIT. And then cry havoc and let slip the bunnies of fornication. And see where we’ve got to by the time I’m 38.


29 responses to “Sparklepants

  • bionicbrooklynite

    Hooray for clear tubes and sparkles! Did they venture any clinical significance to the stiff ute?

    I must admit, I rather enjoy the poshness of our baby factory.

  • Amy P

    Yay for clear tube! Even more yay for normal-looking Satsuma!

  • Bigzippy

    Very happy about the clear tube and normal looking Satsuma!

    I have endometriosis too, and my last HSG showed blocked tubes. I had a lap & dye and they removed some adhesions (I also have the POD pain, and it was your blog that made me aware of what it was and why, so thanks!), but I’m still unconvinced that my tubes are letting anything of worth through. I am considering getting another HSG/hycosy done…

    Sincerely hope Scorched Earth never comes to pass and Fuck It version is never necessary.

  • a

    Hurray for normal ovary and clear tubes! Do you think Doctor 4th opinion will be concerned about your inflexible uterus? Will that interfere? Have fun with the fornication…

  • kylie

    hee bunnies of fornication. I know the base quote (but not, embarrassingly the actual source).

    On the bravery- they are probably used to people who have never experienced the wonders of the HSG process or dildo cam before. I was surprised at how carefully the dildocam process was shown/explained to me when I had one through a hospital EPU.

  • L.

    And they say money doesn’t buy happiness!

    I am not knocking the NHS, I would kill for one myself (and I know you have gone private before, though maybe not for the scanning?), but it seems like there was a definite difference in the user-friendliness here.

    • Hairy Farmer Family

      Oh, there is! The NHS is beleaguered, and its staff are under-manned & ground down by the unrelenting grind of it all. It often shows. I went to visit my FIL following his hip replacement in a private hospital recently; I asked for directions to a vending machine but instead was placed in an armchair for prompt delivery of (proper! Cafetiere and everything!) coffee. AND biscuits. I do love the NHS, and what it represents, but, when the chips are down, it does make cherry-picking the best professional there is seem a sensible option. Being looked after to a delightful standard is awfully nice, too; it certainly beats pressing your buzzer for a drink and being scowled at. Sigh.

      • L.

        Good lord, I can’t imagine being brought coffee and sweets at a hospital. That does sound nice (actually, it would be nice here at home as well, *ahem* (significant glance at significant other)). But as you hint at, also, I think the atmosphere you describe could definitely affect not just one’s comfort but the outcome itself. Aside from the fact that private personnel are probably much less pressured or rushed, they probably communicate and listen better because of the atmosphere. In a really complicated case like May’s, with lots of backstory and history… that could make a real difference.

        (Would still take an NHS any day though! At least we’re making sloooooow progress….)

        Also, May, I’m sorry I didn’t say it more clearly before, but I’m so pleased for you that you had a basically very encouraging outcome to this visit.

  • Sheila

    Great news that the tube is still open – how do you feel about that? And about the “stiff” uterus (bit of an odd word for him to use I thought?)?

  • Mina

    Oh, the plan is in motion then! God I wish it works! Tons of good luck, May! Heaps of tons of good luck!

  • Womb For Improvement

    That all sounds startlingly encouraging. I too, like many others, are wondering about the significance or not of a stiff uterus…

  • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

    Er… yay? Certainly better than the alternatives. Cue up some LIT!

  • Twangy

    Good! Good! Tube is clear, ovary is healthy. Also how deadly cool to see your own ovary!

    (I think, anyway? (This is All So New and Modern, hence the slight uncertainty.))

    I hope the relief after the nerves is lovely. I love that bit, myself.

  • Dr Spouse

    Good all round I think – good that it’s all clear, and good that you have a definite plan. And good that it didn’t hurt.

  • Chickenpig

    I’m still trying to figure out how a uterus can be ‘stiff’. Yeah for clear tubes and a healthy ovary! I hope your uterus’s stiffness doesn’t cause any troubles.

  • L.

    Hello May, just thinking of you. Hope your blog still feels like a safe place and that life is good and you’re happy with your plan.

  • Sheila

    Three Sundays without a post – hope you’re ok and that all is well…..

    • Sheila

      I meant to also say that I hope there’s nothing to worry about as it’s unlike you to not post for so long…. Take care.

  • Emily Erin

    Also checking in to see if all is well; hope so!

  • Moira


    Hope that you are ok

    M x

  • kylie

    Hope you are ok- maybe so busy enjoying the snow(?) that there is no time to blog?

  • Illanare

    Hi, hope you are okay.

  • Melissia

    I am such a lurker, but still worry about the radio silence. I am hoping that you and H are well and enjoying a much deserved holiday. Take care.

  • Emily Erin

    May, are you okay? I hope that it’s all sunshine and rainbows over there and you’re just to busy prancing about to be bothered with your blog. Wishing that it’s good things distracting you.

  • Anonymous

    Hi May,

    I feel like such a nosy Parker, demanding to know your news, but I miss you too. I know I’m not alone. I hope everything but everything is exactly as it should be (and, needless to say, that some good outcomes come your way too).

    Best wishes,

    K x

  • Elissa

    Hey May,

    Delurking to say- Hope all is well and you had a fabulous Easter with lollypops and rainbows all around.


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