Well, folks, today is a big day for your old pal Super Woman: I'm having a "hysterosalpingogram," or HSG, test today in an effort to try to pinpoint the reason or reasons why Super Man and I have failed to conceive a second time.
For those of you who, like me, had no idea what the hell this was the first time I heard it, please, read on. For those of you who've been there and done that before, feel free to skip ahead.
The HSG test is done by injecting a liquid contrast dye into my uterus by way of the cervix (that ought to feel good, much like my endometrial biopsy), and then monitoring the dye by x-ray as it moves through my uterus, into my fallopian tubes, and - hopefully - "spills" out the ends of the tubes. This "spillage," as they call it, will indicate that there are no blockages in either of my tubes, which means that when my eggs are released from my ovaries, they're able to make safe passage down my tubes and into the uterus, thus improving my odds of conceiving. If there is NO spillage on one or both sides, however, that means that something (such as scar tissue) is blocking my tubes, thus making it less likely (if not impossible) that I'd conceive. The dye will also show the radiologist if I have any other abnormalities in my uterus, like fibroids, that might be preventing conception.
Interestingly enough, there have been many cases (some of which I've heard first-hand from family and friends) where after having this test, a woman who had previously struggled to conceive due to blocked tubes is pregnant within a month or two. The theory is that even if there is a minor blockage, the pressure from the contrast dye can actually clear that out enough to allow an egg to pass. Here's hoping I'm in that group!
So, why did I say "that which does not kill me" in the title of this post? Well, despite the fact that this test is generally VERY safe and there's less than a 1% risk of complications (including infections), there's an added little, teensy-tiny catch for me.
I'm allergic to shellfish. Specifically, allergists believe that it's the iodine in shellfish that people such as myself are allergic to. And, unfortunately, the liquid contrast used in the HSG contains a small amount of iodine.
Now when I say I'm allergic, I mean I'm ALLERGIC: My allergist believes based on the strength and quickness of my reaction to shellfish allergen during skin allergy testing that I'd likely have an anaphylactic reaction if I were ever to eat shellfish again. And an anaphylactic reaction can be very BAD: It's when your throat swells and closes up and you can't breathe or get oxygen. And that happens pretty quickly for someone with a severe allergy. That's why they recommend that people with severe allergies carry an Epi-Pen (epinephrine in a portable shot). Which I don't right now, but have in the past when I was traveling out of the country.
So, what are they going to do to keep me safe today? They've been pre-medicating me since midnight, with 50mg of Prednisone (an oral steroid) every six hours up until my appointment at 1pm today, and with my last dose of prednisone at Noon I must also take 50mg of Benadryl.
The theory is that they will suppress my allergic response to iodine before my body is exposed to it so that it's all uneventful and okay during and after the procedure. If they're wrong about this (and, hey, let's hope they're not!), they will also have epinephrine on-hand to inject me with to stop any allergic reaction.
My Super Mom thinks I'm insane for putting myself at risk like this just to have another child.
Who knows? Maybe she's right.
But she also got pregnant not just once but THREE times by merely LOOKING at my dad. Or so she says. I have my doubts.
Being the great Super Mom that she is, she's coming to town to take me to the appointment, and staying an extra day or two just in case. With Super Man having such a crazy week at work, I'm grateful that she can be here!
Cross your fingers that I don't have any issues with the dye today, and that everything looks good! Oh, and let's not forget the prayers for a pregnancy announcement in the next month or two, either. That's what all this is for, after all!