The Indignity of IVF

I have now become accustomed to having my legs in stirrups. Not that they’ve become comfortable there, mind. Instead over the past year they have become increasingly less so.

From 5 years of doing yearly smears (very important ladies), I thought I had it down. It didn’t bother me so much and I no longer felt embarrassed or awkward, I was almost at a point where I could tell my body to relax during the whole ordeal.

Nowadays the thought of a smear test for me is more akin to a spa treatment. They pale in comparison to IVF procedures.

Disclaimer: If you are squeamish, easily offended or my Father, you might not want to read on. (knowing my father this will probably ensure he does… can’t say I didn’t warn you!)

And here is a picture of Tank looking majestic in the woods (complete with dribble trail) as there’s nothing that’s going to get me taking pictures in the doctor’s chair!

So long as the only people still here are those not easily offended and probably not related to me, I’ll continue.

My husband still doesn’t quite understand why I would prefer to go through these things alone. When it comes to my recent SIS procedure for example, the best comparison I could come up with was whether he would want me in the room as he bent over, had his bum hole clamped open, and examined by up to 4 people whilst they squirted stuff up it…. yeah boys… that.

I know there are some very well-meaning blokes out there (my husband is certainly one of them) that try to put themselves in our shoes but I’m just not sure they can totally understand and therefore sympathise with the indignity of it all.

And that’s not even touching on the physical discomfort. Anyone believing the notes when they advise paracetamol an hour before to elevate ‘slight period style cramps’…? Take something stronger.

It’s basically all not exactly what one would call glamorous. It’s simply something you don’t want your husband to witness, much the same as you wouldn’t want him in the toilet with you.

The recent procedure in question, an SIS, was to look at my uterus/womb. A catheter (a thin, tiny, but totally still feelable (the liars) plastic tube) is passed through your cervix (a place where things are very much meant to come out rather than go in) and saline solution (water) is squirted in to open up your uterus. This lets the Doctors get a good old look at the lining and surface area, they’re checking for abnormalities, polyps, cysts, that sort of thing. It’s basically God damn uncomfortable and feels like that stretch you get when you push a muscle too far but deep in your belly which you have zero control over.

That all took a good 20 minutes, with a total of 4 people in the room. Two randoms that I agreed could be present as they wanted to learn the scan machine and two Doctors. I’m at the point now where my insides feel like a free for all and hell, why not, the more the merrier right? I hoped having more people around might also keep my mind off things but looking back I think the extras were almost as uncomfortable as me, they weren’t exactly chatty.

During all this, the Doctors noticed a ‘shadow’ – great. At first they discussed if they could actually see the shadow, then they zoomed in on it, then they thought it was air (?!), then they decided there was certainly ‘something there’ all this umming ahhing whilst I was trying my hardest to contain a serious fight and flight urge. I don’t think any Doctors wanted to be kicked in the face that day…

I had taken a panty liner with me in case of leaks afterwards thinking I was pretty prepared. But that paled in comparison when a puppy pee mat was placed under my feet as I stood up from the bed and some sort of 90’s bumper nappy pad was handed over that my knickers didn’t have the breadth of fabric to accommodate.

And after all that I am still not too sure where I stand. The doctor seems conflicted about whether to do anything about this small ‘something’ and I await a follow-up appointment to find out more. It would seem the round we intended to start at the end of November is no more and a Hysteroscopy is needed to progress… at least they put you to sleep for that one!



  1. Lisa
    November 28, 2018 / 7:51 am

    You might not think you are, but you are very brave. Sharing your experience must be helping other women too xx

  2. Marlene
    November 28, 2018 / 7:12 pm

    4 people blimming! So brave to share this story. I can relate. So thank you for sharing this I feel a bit less alone. X

    • November 28, 2018 / 7:19 pm

      There are so many of us out there xx

  3. Fran B
    December 9, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    Love your wit & humour! Had my first HSG last week & was bloody painful. Half wish I did kick the doctor – by accident obviously 🙄 as what a stupid comment to reference it’s like a bad period pain… More like having someone stab your insides!

    • December 13, 2018 / 6:32 pm

      Its so painful doesn’t help that half of these doctors are men and have never known what a period pain even feels like when they choose their descriptions! x

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