*** WARNING ***
The following post contains situations of a gynaecological nature and may not be suitable for some readers (Dad). So if you (Dad) are, uncomfortable with non-graphic, vague and completely unscientific descriptions of procedures that pertain to non-specific sections of the female anatomy – this post is not for you. (DAD!)
For everyone else, I apologize in advance.
Two posts in two days! You’re so welcome. Actually, I’m just still sick and going bonkers. I took Nyquill at midnight and woke up at 5:30 ready to stare at the wall until the clinic opens but then remembered: that’s right, I can get my blog-on.
In light of yesterday’s post I decided to share the most interesting and disturbing thing I’ve learned about the baby process so far;
I have zero reason to feel shy about my body ever again. And I say this because in the past few months I’ve had more people all up in my downstairs grill that I’m starting to think I should be charging them.
I’ll start at the near beginning.
So, once a year everyone is supposed to go for their complete physical. (It actually might be two years and I’m just being punished for shits and giggles but whatever) For women, depending on your age and medical history this usually includes blood work, a breast exam and a full cavity search.
For men, I have no idea what it entails because I’m a girl. But compared to what we go through I imagine their exam to be something along the lines of a pat on the back, an offer for free viagra samples and a brief, “hypothetical” discussion about hair plugs.
Because along with the blood work and uncomfortable breast groping, that full cavity search for ladies includes THE PAP.
I miss the 90’s not because I enjoyed my teens (I really didn’t) but because back in those days the only stirrups I was familiar with were pants. And I wore them religiously.
But now “stirrups” is synonymous with “torture” and “extreme embarrassment” in my vocabulary.
I am painfully shy about my body. Overwhelmingly, painfully shy and I would shower in the dark if I wasn’t terrified of injuring myself and having to explain to the paramedics. Yes, I have negative body image issues but aside from that I was raised in a household where “down there” was considered a clinical term. So dropping my pants in front of a stranger? Not bloody likey unless I’m intoxicated enough a) not to care or b) that you look like a young Johnny Depp. (Totally different blog post, remind me later)
Anyhow, I was so traumatized by that entire part of the checkup process that I managed to avoid one for 8 years.
That was unwise.
Fast forward to last year when my biological clock started ticking like Big Ben and I decided that if I want to have kids in the future I should probably make sure that all of my plumbing works. My doctor gave me an appointment slip that read “Well Woman” and sent me for blood work. Mistakingly, I thought that was her way of describing my overall health and figured I was a-okay. (Spoiler alert: don’t freak out, I’m okay now and “well woman” was just sneaky code for THAT exam. You know the one.)
Long story kind of condensed, I was sent for something called an HSG. Don’t ask me what it stands for because if I can’t pronounce it then I can’t remember it and I’d spell it wrong anyway. But what happens is this:
1) Take off your clothes and put on the surgical gowns that never fit properly, including the socks
2) Make friends with the assistant. Prepare her in advance for the fact that your embarrassment default mode is to tell really inappropriate jokes while you’re spread eagle
3) get on the “bed”
4) place your feet in the stirrups
5) scootch closer to the end
6) scootch some more
7) start with the inappropriateness
8) allow assistant to pry your knees apart
9) warn her about the fact they won’t STAY that way, despite what people may have believed in high school
10) embrace your new and liberating sense of exhibitionism
11) meet the radiologist that arrives to do the procedure
12) apologize for not shaving… your… legs.
13) allow him to separate your knees again
14) try to relax (ha. Ha ha. Hahahahaha. Ha…ha)
15) contemplate how someone with a medical degree doesn’t know the difference between a “little pinch” and “am I bleeding?” on the universal pain scale.
16) stay still and think about anything OTHER than the radioactive dye that is being injected into your baby oven while you “clamshell” pose with an X-Ray machine pressing your thighs wider than they’re meant to go.
17) Pray. Just because. It can’t hurt and you really need all the help you can get.
18) exchange email addresses with the assistant because she thinks you’re fun
19) promise yourself you’ll never email her to hang out because she has been all up in your yumyum and you’re pretty sure she is silently comparing you to others
20) get dressed and do the uncomfortable walk of stirrup shame out to your car
** bonus ** Have a cigarette. You totally earned it.
In theory the procedure isn’t supposed to hurt at all if your fallopian tubes are all fine and dandy but mine hurt like hell. (And I pregamed before I got there because I knew they weren’t going to give me any kind of sedation or painkillers)
My tubes were blocked. Partially obstructed on the left, completely obstructed on the right. Dammit.
There are all kinds of reasons for blockages. Scar tissue, cysts, tartar buildup (that’s a complete lie, just seeing if you’re still awake – this post is never ending!). But a blocked tube must be UNBLOCKED in order to make a baby happen. So I was booked for a tubal cannulation.
Please allow me to take this moment to make a wish for more WOMEN reproductive specialists. Because when they brought me into the OR, the only woman in the room was my awesome nurse Karen and she officially brought the total of Random Strangers Visiting my Deep South to: 7. That’s seven people, in two months. Six weeks, actually. I’d never felt more… open?
I will say this, the entire team at UBC Hosptial that worked on me? Phenomenal.
My anesthetist was a rock star and cued up an ALL NSYNC playlist when he heard I was a fan. He lost a few brownie points trying to assure me that the pain wouldn’t be so bad. “Just like mild cramping,” REALLY? Was that what it felt like when HE had it done??
The surgeon was super fantastic and really dug my understanding of the procedure. Shockingly no one else had ever made the “pipe cleaner” comparison before. They’re good for more than just arts and crafts, peeps!
And, aside from lying to me about the whole conscious sedation thing “just like at the dentist or being roofied, you won’t remember a thing” it was a complete success. 45 painful minutes and mildly drugged operating room karaoke later, I was officially ready to go forth and copopulate! I KNOW, right?!
So in conclusion, the moral of my ridiculously long post is this: make sure you keep up with regular vehicle maintenance. Don’t avoid your tune ups, ladies. No matter what. Otherwise you run the risk of finding yourself spread eagle in stirrups, naked, surrounded by strangers while you sing Music of My Heart.
All of the parts.
“Whatever you want to try it’s all good with me…” ~ NSYNC (because, duh)