This year we’ve lost three pregnancies – two naturally conceived guys lost between four and five weeks and an embryo from IVF at around five weeks. We’re not 100% sure what defeated our third guy. I’m adamant that it was parvovirus, which I caught the day after (the DAY AFTER, WTF!) we had our successful pregnancy test. I am still really devastated about that. It put me in bed for days with aches and a spectacular rash. But, given our other two losses, moving forward we want to be 100% sure I don’t have an implantation issue.
My gynaecologist had encouraged me to read a medical study earlier in the year. It reported that women with unexplained infertility, particularly endometriosis, experienced impressive implantation results after having an oil based solution”flushed” through their uterus and fallopian tubes. Because at that stage I’d been pregnant six times, and had carried three babies past nine weeks, we didn’t think that implantation was “our issue”. But, I had also had four surgeries, and following my most recent D&E my lining was completely destroyed. It took months and months to repair. Maybe I had some sort of scarring that was preventing implantation?
I’d tried an HSG once before. It was the single most painful experience of my life. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that (I had a c-section so I’m not sure if giving birth would be as painful!). It had transpired that there was a blockage right in my cervix, so the HSG had failed completely. I’d had surgery for Ashermans since then and hopefully, fingers crossed, there was no further issue. Needless to say though, I was really, really anxious about the pain factor.
I changed into my hospital gown and climbed up onto the doctors table. They have to insert a catheter right through your cervix. It’s entirely undignified (as is basically everything infertility related). Then they blow up a little balloon inside the cervix to hold the catheter and inject the solution. The first three or four times they tried to insert the catheter, it failed. It was beginning to feel a lot like groundhog day.
Then, the doctor suggested a different style of catheter, perhaps I had a curved cervix, she suggested. After a couple of tries, and feeling as though things were looking a bit futile, it suddenly worked. My uterus cramped something unbelievable. Aaaaahhhhhhh!!! The pain was awful. The doctor adjusted it slightly, and suddenly it was still working, but not painful. This might just work!
I didn’t get my hopes up too much, but focussed on each instruction. Suddenly, I was looking at the screen and the fluid was showing in my fallopian tubes and in my uterus. I wondered if that meant everything was alright.
After being told to shower and get dressed, I went and talked to the doctor. She said there was nothing she could see that meant I couldn’t conceive. I was so relieved. I shed a couple of tears. All of a sudden she opened up. She had second infertility as well. Her second child had been conceived through IVF. “People just don’t understand with secondary infertility, do they?” she said. We talked about the pain of secondary infertility, of colleagues asking you why you haven’t had a second child, of desperately wanting a sibling for your one child. She was so kind, and sincere when she said she hoped our turn was coming. It was a really special conversation.