Fertility Testing, Valium, and the Worst Pain Ever

Jk and I had our first day of fertility testing last Monday, the day before Valentine’s Day (how romantic, I know). We were both scheduled for exams and decided to do them separately to save time. Jk was taken down the hall while I was given a pelvic ultrasound with our doctor and nurse. I’ll spare you the details of the exam, but I do want to say that the staff made me feel very comfortable. During the procedure, I was able to see a monitor showing exactly what the doctor was seeing. I couldn’t make out what was what, so I spent a lot of the time focusing on taking deep breaths and staring at a half burned-out light on the ceiling. The exam took less than 10 minutes and the doctor mentioned that his initial impression was that everything was functioning properly. The possibility of endometriosis couldn’t be entirely ruled out, but he didn’t see any signs of it at first glance! This was presented as good news, to which I was equally surprised and relieved.
After my ultrasound, I went to another room with the nurse to get my blood drawn. I have always been over-the-top afraid of needles. In fact, I have a distinct memory of clinging to a chair in the lobby of a doctor’s office as a child, wailing and bawling my eyes out, refusing to get up and get my blood drawn! #SorryNotSorry, Mom! ...Not much has changed since then, except for the fact that I now bawl on the inside! Luckily, Jk met up with me just as I was sitting down for my tests. My husband is the goofiest, best person to have around whenever I am anxious. He held my hand and made me nervous-laugh throughout the entire process.
By the end of the appointment, we were told that the results of our exams should be processed by the next Monday (today), when I would take an HSG. Which brings me to… today, day 2 of testing!

I was warned that the HSG exam would be the worst and most difficult part of the entire testing process. Basically, an HSG is an x-ray test looking at the uterus and fallopian tubes to make sure there are no blockages. During the procedure, the doctor inserts a balloon catheter to expand the uterus and injects dye into the tubes. I read and heard stories about how painful the procedure could be and was not looking forward to it. When the nurse offered to write a prescription for Valium to calm my anxieties for the exam, I was all for it! 

However, somehow during the week, details about pharmacy hours slipped my mind and I realized that I had forgotten to fill my prescription for Valium. The pharmacy we intended to use was closed for the weekend and holiday and it seemed there was no way to get the medicine before my appointment. On Saturday afternoon, I emailed our doctor in a complete panic, asking if there was any way to change the pharmacy. I waited and continued to check my email, but wasn’t sure if he would check his messages on the weekend. Finally, on Sunday morning, our nurse called, saying our doctor had gotten ahold of her and she was able to transfer the prescription to a 24-hour Walgreens! What a miracle! With our ox in the mire, we picked up my one single Valium pill on Sunday afternoon.

During the night, I woke up several times, worried and scared of the pain that might come in the morning. Luckily, we chose the very first appointment of the day in order the get the procedure done and over with. Feeling antsy, we arrived a little early and waited in the lobby until the office opened. Right away, the receptionist offered me ibuprofen and here’s how the conversation went. Receptionist: “I can give you up to 4 ibuprofen. How many would you like?” Me: “I will take everything you can give me.”
I was actually shaking. I took all 4 pills, my one Valium, and I tried to let Jk’s goofy jokes distract me. Finally, we were taken to the procedure room, where Jk waited with me until the actual exam began (radiation dangers, etc.). Long story short, it was worse and better than what I expected. The doctor calmly talked me through the procedure as it went, but I felt moments of such sharp and intense pain that I couldn’t make much sense of anything. It hurt more than I could have expected, but I was relieved that the whole process took less than 5 minutes. I sat up as Jk came in the room and I felt wobbly as I attempted to get dressed.
My experience with HSG was bad, but not entirely terrible. The procedure itself was distressing but I didn’t experience the horrible post-cramping I had heard about. I felt slightly woozy and light-headed as we drove to our friends’ house, where I laid on their couch and they made us cinnamon pull-aparts. Today was both physically and emotionally exhausting, but I am happy to report that it was the last of the initial fertility tests! We should be meeting with our doctor again shortly to go over the results and formulate a plan for what comes next.
This process has not been the most fun thing of my life, but I've been told that it will be worth it. When I’m feeling alone or forgotten or in the most pain of my life, I try to remember why I’m doing this… Why I work extra hours to make up for doctor’s appointments in the middle of the day; why I weep and pray and fast every month, begging for the same thing; why I pour my heart out into a blog I’m not sure will amount to anything… It’s because some day, we will have a family. We will get pregnant or we will adopt or some other miracle will happen that will make us parents. My patient, wonderful husband will be a dad. And he will tell dad jokes and play guitar and sing to a little tiny baby. And me… I will be a mom. I will hold the most precious baby and I will help him or her feel like the most important human being there ever was. I will channel all of Heavenly Father’s love into this tiny human being and I will never give up. These are my dreams. And I know it will be hard, but I will remember that I have already survived hard things.

"...All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." - D&C 122:7


  1. so sweet! you guys are going to be the best parents!

  2. You explained things so well, Ariel. Thanks for sharing this experience with all of us. You are so brave (I know the fear of needles and pain you talked about - I'm the same way.) Look at the fears you are willing to face to have your righteous dream come true. You will be blessed for that whether now or later. Bless you wonderful Ariel!


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