On Thursday I had a sonohysterogram (SHG), the very long and fancy way of saying I had an ultrasound with a bonus.  The ultrasound is a regular transvaginal ultrasound (which is a “treat” in and of itself).  The bonus was the catheter of saline they injected into my uterus while performing said transvaginal ultrasound.

Fun, right?  Don’t you just want to run right out and have one done for yourself?

I knew I had crossed a threshold when I arrived at the morning of the test and realized I had given next to no thought to two details.  First, Gabe was coming with me.  It’s one thing to have him with me at regular doctor’s appointments.  It’s an entirely different thing to have him at appointments where they are doing actual WORK down there! What was I thinking?  I have no clue!  Thankfully he stayed totally distracted and engrossed in some sort of electronic gaming device – either his Leapster or my iTouch.  I can’t remember which.

Second, it never even occurred to me to find out if it was going to hurt.  Several years ago I had a hysterosalpingogram (HSG).  This is a similar procedure, except instead of having an ultrasound you have an x-ray and instead of having saline solution injected into you, you have contrast dye injected which becomes visible during the x-ray.  It shows similar things but because of the contrast agent it also shows if your tubes are open.  The ultrasound can’t determine the health of the tubes.  If the tubes are blocked the HSG is often thought to be quite painful, and it is fairly standard operating procedure to take a heavy dose of anti-inflammatory medication before the procedure as well as an anti-anxiety medication if anxiety is a issue.  After all we’ve been through in the past nearly-five years, it didn’t even occur to me to find out if this was going to hurt.  Hence I took none of these drugs.  Thankfully there was only minimal discomfort and the pain pills weren’t necessary, but I knew I had crossed some sort of magic threshold when I realized that somewhere along the way I’ve gotten so used to bizarre fertility procedures that I don’t even prepare for them anymore!

Before the saline injection I had a very thorough transvaginal ultrasound and found it totally fascinating.  The contrast between what the uterus looks like pregnant and what the uterus looks like not pregnant interests me very much.  I asked the sonographer so many questions that I was sure I had annoyed her to no end!  I was especially interested in looking at the ovaries and counting the antral follicles.  Antral follicles are resting follicles at a certain stage of development and can be indicative of how much fertility a woman has remaining.   Typically, the more antral follicles, the better.  Without doing a close examination of the different planes of the ovaries you can’t be sure of how many antral follicles the ovaries contain.  However, it was quite easy for me to see 10-12 of them in one plane, which made me happy because last year I had 14, and 14 seems to be the cutoff for what is considered reasonable.  That I think I could see 10-12 made me feel pretty good because I’m sure a more detailed ovarian ultrasound would have revealed extra follicles in other planes.  Maybe my fertility hasn’t tanked during the last 12 months.  Maybe…

After the regular ultrasound the doctor joined us for the SHG.  Can I just say that I love my doctor?  He is so kind and so caring and so attentive and I’m thrilled to have him.  He is not the doctor who delivered Gabe.  I loved that doctor, too, and was heartbroken when he stopped delivering babies and just recently fully retired.  I was very worried about replacing him.  But my new doctor is equally as lovely and I couldn’t have asked for a better doctor-patient match.

I was having the SHG because of the fibroids we discovered when I was pregnant with Mara.  We wanted to be sure they played no role in her loss and be sure it was more advisable to leave them alone than it was to remove them.  The SHG confirmed both these things.  Once the fluid was injected it was very clear – even to me – that the fibroids were in no way impinging on the uterine lining.  They are also not overly large, and because I don’t have much pain related to them, the verdict is clear… they stay put. The doctor had no reservations about this recommendation and explained that doing otherwise would be more likely to create more problems than it solved.   The SHG also allowed us to visualize the uterine lining itself; having a D&C can cause some scarring of the endometrium, which can contribute to decreased fertility.  Thankfully, the lining showed no signs of scarring and looked healthy and even.  I felt extra assured at my choice of doctor – the fact that he was both gentle and conservative enough during the D&C to let me avoid any long-term damage was very affirming.

I felt good.  I have a clean bill of health and can go forward with confidence, at least in this area.  Next up?  Are we going to pull the trigger and actually do any treatment cycles?  I don’t know.  I figure we have at least 3 weeks before we have to make that decision, so I have a little more opportunity to procrastinate.

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  1. I did an HSG and a SHG in the same day! Like hours apart! It was not a fun day. I have never done the antral follicle scan, though. Glad to hear no more surgery for you right now!! Wishing you luck!

  2. I can hardly fathom that most women NEVER have a vaginal u/s in their life. I’ve had so many of them, including 3 SHGs. They can never find more than 10 antral follies for me….clearly problematic.

  3. I’m proud of you for bugging the sonographer. I bet you learned a lot. Glad to hear that all looks well in there.

  4. Did Maren really say that most women NEVER have a vaginal u/s??? Wow. I’ve had so many I can’t even count. Seriously, I don’t know where to even begin. Not to mention, when I’m actually pregnant I get a million/trillion with that special little wand.

    I’m so glad that they were able to find the appropriate amount of antral follicles and that there is no uterine scaring from the proceedure. That must be a relief!
    .-= Tracy´s last blog ..Happy birthday- Little Man! =-.

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