Friday, November 11, 2005

Long time since I was here.

I'm a pretty useless blogger, aren't I? It's ages since I posted here, and it feels like a fair bit's happened.

I'm probably too tired to update it now (and I'm trying to watch the telly!) but in summary, Mrs T was really upset when her period started last month, and I - being a man - didn't really notice and therefore we didn't talk about it. When we finally did, she said that when it started she felt she never wanted to make love again. I guess the cycle of build-up and disappointment is beginning to get heavier.

Thankfully we have made love since. A fertile time was approaching and we had to consciously decide to make love "because we both want too," rather than with any thought of pregnancy. We then went on do it every night for a while, so I guess it worked, but I'll admit some worries about next time she's due. I must be ready for whatever emotions are flung up this month. Of course I hope the emotions will be good ones.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"It'll be you next!"

It's funny how people say things. I was out without Mrs T last week with a group of friends who I've known for just over a year. One of them is expecting her third child within the next three weeks, and I happened to be sitting next to her during the meal. (We are the youngest two in this mixed group.) I was chatting about how things were going and how ready she and her husband felt and all the other small-talk one makes with a soon-to-be-mum, and at some point in the conversation she dropped in the line, "Well, it'll be you next". I smirked and raised my eyebrows as I tend to do when people speculate about whether we're planning a family; none of this group knows our secret. A few years ago my reaction would have been genuine. Now it is rehearsed. I smirked outwardly but grinned inwardly. Little do they know, I thought.

But it got me thinking: why do people say things like this? It could be so very insensitive. Imagine if I had burst into tears with "we've been trying for years". That would have surprised her!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Week 23?

I've spent some time recently reading blogs of other people hoping to conceive in similar circumstances. Well, I say similar - in fact they're mostly very different. There are some heartbreaking stories out there of still births and babies born who survived only minutes. They're very different from our story because to get that far through pregnancy, and to have to go through birth as well, it seems that you've already bonded with the child and see him or her as a person. Certainly in most of the blogs I've read recently (all, incidentally, written by the mothers concerned - although one has contributions from the father) talk of the child by name and some mention a funeral service of some sort. That really is a million miles from our experience. Mrs T miscarried at only 6 or 7 weeks and we feel we lost an embryo rather than a baby. It was a life - a human life - but not one which either of us felt we needed to grieve over. I'm sure many miscarriages that early happen without the woman ever knowing she was pregnant.

Another theme that crops up in the blogs I've been reading is that of thinking about how old the lost child would be now, and what he or she might be like. I'd not thought about before, but I just looked up our dates and see that Mrs T would be about 23 weeks pregnant now - about half way through - had things not gone wrong. According to the book we started reading that means that the foetus would be about 20cm long ("from head to bum"). It's not something I want to dwell on, and Mrs T certainly hasn't mentioned thinking about it. No - as far as I'm concerned, our first pregnancy failed. It's behind us and we can, to some extent, forget about it.

This may, of course, be very much a male perspective.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pregnant colleague

I mentioned earlier that Mrs T has a colleague who's pregnant at the moment. Mrs T was one of only a few at school who knew, but today a letter has gone out to all the parents to let them know about staff changes when she goes on maternity leave. I guess everyone will be congratulation her and wishing her well. I'd thought Mrs T was okay about M's pregnancy but she mentioned today that she was finding it really hard. Of course she won't tell M about our situation. I just hope I can be strong enough to support Mrs T when she's feeling down about the whole thing.

She surprised me a couple of week ago by letting me know that she has told one friend about the miscarriage. I'm not sure how much she told her, but she does live over three and a half thousand miles away so it didn't matter too much. The surprising thing is that she is coming to visit us in a couple of weeks time. It'll be interesting to see whether we talk about it much.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

IVF on the NHS ?

Just back from the hospital. It was good to talk to the consultant and I was quite satisfied with his review of the events of June.

  • Mrs T was definitely pregnant.
  • Mrs T was bleeding and in pain.
  • The sonographer (a senior sonographer) couldn't see an embryo.

Given these facts, the only option was to assume an ectopic pregnancy and investigate accordingly. When you look at the records of women who have died following an ectopic pregnancy there's always been delays in treatment. He was satisfied that, given the circumstances, the laparoscopy was the only appropriate course of action.

And then he surprised us.

His main aim of our meeting was to consider the question, "where do we go from here?". We've demonstrated that we can get pregnant unassisted, and we could of course continue trying to conceive naturally - which was in our minds exactly what we'd planned. After all, if you've read the earlier entries in this blog you'll remember that we did have a couple of cycles of fertility treatment (Intra Uterine Insemination - IUI) and that we felt uncomfortable with the amount of medical intervention so withdrew from it. However, he recommended that we move on to IVF - "now that you can get funding for it on the NHS". You certainly couldn't in our area when we were first seeing him.

We'd not thought about IVF at all since withdrawing from IUI, but he persuaded us to let him write the letter of referral to our nearest NHS IVF clinic, which serves as an application for funding. It won't come through for a few months, and even then we could put on hold if we're still uncomfortable with it, but it does get us in the system, gives us time to talk, think and pray about it, and - if we go for it - will save us about £5,500. (Of course, we weren't actually planning to spend that anyway, so it's a slightly misleading factor.)

In the meantime, we'll still try to get pregnant. Then we won't have to decide about IVF.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Not pregnant - and relieved

Tonight Mrs T said she was relieved that she wasn't pregnant. I guess it still feels quite early after loosing the last one. And she's still recovering from the operation, too; despite being back at work and seeming in good health, she could always be stronger. Tomorrow we see our consultant. I do hope he's able to tell us something.

Day One again

I knew my hopes of a 'false negative' were rather ambitious: Mrs T started her period this morning. That means we'e back at Day One of her cycle and ready to start again.

"Am I or aren't I?" had been taking up too much of her mind for the last few days, so it was good to hear her say that she'd not thought about it much yesterday. Of course she'd taken the First Response test which had at least answered the question, but in a general sense we don't want this to be the one think which occupies all out thoughts. A baby would be great, and we would consider it a blessing from God, but we want to trust that His plan for us is the right one and if it doesn't involve children then we'll want to know what it does involve instead. For the time being, we'll continue to hope that it does.

A friend from church is popping round for a drink this evening, and will want to pray with us. We'll not be sharing this story with her. There are other things to pray about. As we're going to see the consultant tomorrow we might have a chat with one of the few friends who does now about this and ask them to pray.

As for me, I'm home sick today - my first day off sick for about four years. I started with a very upset stomach on Sunday and my system hasn't been right since. Today is a day for staying at home, resting, and eating nothing.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Hoping for a "false negative"

Mrs T said last night that she really wants to be pregnant, but that the thought of it scares her. After last time, who can blame her?

Not knowing either way proved to be too much for her today and she went out and bought a First Response home testing kit. (These are supposed to be able to tell you up to four days before your period is due, unlike most of the kits which only work once you're late.) It was with disappointment that she told me the result was a negative. I find my emotion is more sadness than disappointment, but her fear means that the hope of pregnancy is, for now, tainted so she couldn't honestly say she was sad to get the result.

If the test is right (the chances are, of course, that it is, but the books tell us that although a false positive result is impossible, a false negative result can and does happen) then Mrs T's body gets another month to continue healing from the operation. As I said in my last entry, we're finally going to see our consultant on Thursday to get a post-operative review to see if we can work out just what happened back in June.

I find myself concerned that we may get drawn into a long cycle of hope, disappointment, hope, disappointment if we're not careful. Much healthier to simply trust God that his plan - and his timing - is right. I pray that we will be able to return to that state of trust and relaxation: to let the thought of actually becoming pregnant become a joy to look forward to rather than a goal to be achieved.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Progress! I rang the hospital myself and made a bit of a fuss. (On an answering machine, of course.) Our consultant's secretary has just rung me back and come up with an appointment for next Thursday. Perhaps we’ll finally get a clue as to what happened back in June...

(By next Thursday we might also know whether Mrs T is pregnant again.)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Starting again

It feels like an age since I posted here, and I see that it has been about six weeks.

Mrs T's recovery from her operation is pretty much complete. We've had a busy summer and she's now back at work and ready to receive her new class of children.

Needless to say, we didn't get pregnant over the summer. The doctors had advised that we wait a while before trying again, but we did make love a few times despite this. (Circumstances meant that our lovemaking never coincided with Mrs T's most fertile times, which was probably a good thing.)

We've seen the new babies in the family quite a few times and they are very special. We love them dearly and still maintain that it's much easier to do so with family not knowing we were pregnant back in June. But there have been a few emotional times. One of Mrs T's friends and colleagues - her closest friend on the staff - has just let us know that she's pregnant. Mrs T got quite upset at the thought that the two of them could so nearly have been sharing the experience.

On the medical front, we're quite upset that the promised appointment with the specialist has still not materialised. Mrs T has now phoned the clinic about sixteen times. It's quite possible that our consultant won't be able to tell us anything about what happened that day in hospital - but we must have the opportunity to find out. I suggested that she should phone every single day. She hasn't; perhaps I'll take it upon myself to do so.

As I type, we are in the middle of what should be Mrs T's most fertile period this month. (In which case you might wonder why I'm typing this rather than having sex right now. I think her being fast asleep is a good enough reason!) let me just assure you we'll not let the moment pass!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Normality returns.

Well, whatever counts for normality, anyway. Specifically I mean that Mrs T and her Mum seem to be talking again and we had the weekly email update for the first time in a few weeks. Mrs T phoned on Monday evening and spoke to her Dad, then again on Tuesday and spoke with her Mum for quite some time. Apparently the conversation started as if nothing had happened, but Mrs T did bring up some of what we've been feeling and they spoke seriously about things. On that Wednesday, following the operation, the silence from us (well, me) allowed Mrs T's Mum to convince herself that Mrs T must have died and that I hadn't plucked up the courage or energy to let them know. No wonder they were getting anxious.

Mrs T and her Mum have spoken again since, and as I said above the family newsletter arrived today, which suggests things are back on track. At some stage I'm going to have to speak to them myself, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

New Baby!

There's a new baby in the family! Everyone's healthy, and we popped down in the evening to visit the hospital. It was great to see them looking so happy through their tiredness. (Labour was over 24 hours...)

On route home we spoke a bit about whether we'd felt at all awkward visiting such a new baby so soon after a failed pregnancy. I'm pleased to say neither of us felt especially emotional about the situation. Mrs T also mentioned that the visit confirmed to her the rightness of not having told our family about the miscarriage - or indeed the pregnancy. I quite agree: knowing what we've just been through would have made it awkward for them in their joy.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hurt relationships

I note that it's a week since I last posted here. As with my attempts at keeping a diary over the years, my initial enthusiasm soon wears off. I'm going to try keeping this up - at least a weekly entry - as I think it's been a useful tool for me.

Mrs T continues to recover, physically, from the operation. The Laparotomy scar is healing well and her energy levels are - slowly - improving. We went out to a local town for a couple of hours this afternoon where they hold a free music festival each year. It was a lovely warm day and we enjoyed some great music and fairly decent food before pottering round the market to stock up on fruit for our juicer (cherries! Yum!) and finding our way home. An excellent afternoon, but still very tiring for Mrs T.

Of concern at the moment is our relationship with Mrs T's parents. (See "bad son-in-law" for the background to this.) We've had llittle communication: no phone calls, and Mrs T's emails have been unanswered. She did speak to her Mum last Thursday, but came away with the impression that her Mum "couldn't wait to get off the phone". Mrs T has drafted a possible letter to her folks, but neither of us is really sure how best to deal with this. We feel that we hurt them deeply by asking them not to come down following the operation and then aggravated this by my lack of communication the next day. Mrs T's letter talks of us both being in a state of shock for several days, but having our reasons for wanting to deal with this on our own. We're not posting the letter just yet, and I think, after chatting about it on a few occasions, that Mrs T is now going to try phoning over the weekend to see how things feel.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

All clear!

Saturday evening, and I'm just taking a quick break from watching Live 8 to update you all. (Note the vain assumption that there might be someone reading this.)

We went to the hospital yesterday for our first follow-up appointment. First to the pathology lab to take yet another blood sample for analysis. It's quite common to wait ages there once you've 'booked in', but Mrs T was lucky and was seen very quickly. We then had an appointment at the ultra-sound room. I think we were both quite nervous; it was in that very room that things had turned into an emergency ten days earlier. The Radiographer (or is it radiologist?) tried to be gentle because of Mrs T's scar, but Mrs T was clearly uncomfortable. The scan was once again unclear, and she explained that because Mrs T has a "retrovert uterus" (ie, it slopes away deeper into the abdomen than usual) an external scan will always be unclear. After the previous experience, however, Mrs T did not allow her to do an internal scan. After all, the blood test might well show all we need to know. We waited to see the doctor...

After a while in the waiting area (surrounded by couples having - presumably - routine pregnancy scans, he called us in. He'd picked up the blood results, and could very positively confirm that the pregnancy hormone had dropped right back down to a normal level. I guess for most couples who had been pregnant two weeks previously that would be very sad news. For us it was confirmation that there was no ectopic pregnancy still hiding away somewhere and therefore came as an "all clear".

Somewhere in the last few days Mrs T had indicated that she thought it might be "quite some time" before she'd feel like wanting to try again. (Understandable, I guess.) I was really pleased though that yesterday, as we walked, slowly, along the High Street, after picking up yet another DVD to while away the hours at home, she said something along the lines of "I'd love to think we'll be pregnant again soon". I smiled.

I think it's time to go, now. It sounds like The Who are on stage.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

First outing

Mrs T certainly seems to be on the road to recovery (cliche alert!) after a few days lazing at home watching DVDs and sleeping. Meals are staying with her now - which is always preferable to either of the alternatives. It was nice to have a visit from our pastor, who chatted with us about all sorts, although it made a busy day for me as I had to pop home from work to wash Mrs T's hair ready to receive visitors, and I then wanted to get back while he was still at home so left work early. Again.

We then tired Mrs T out: she was due at a meeting to discuss the next aspect of her university course and decided she did feel strong enough to go. She's not up to driving yet, so I acted as chauffeur but the layout of the university is such that she had quite a walk from the front entrance to the education department. By the time we got home she was ready to sleep - and we'd not had dinner yet.

We treated ourselves to a fancy juicer this week, so I've been experimenting and we're both enjoying super-healthy juices. mango and kiwi tonight was excellent. (Last night I did carrot, apple, ginger and chilli which was great - although I overdid the chilli a touch!) It's quite a palaver cleaning it out after use, but the results are excellent so I hope we'll keep it up. Mrs T had a browse through the recipe book this evening and has made a list of interesting fruits for me to add to the shopping list tomorrow.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Thanks for comments

I was surprised and pleased to see that I’d had a couple of comments left on this blog after yesterday’s entry. I hadn’t really imagined anyone reading this! Both were wishing us well. One well-wisher was keen to advise that we should tell people what we’ve been through, and it got me thinking about the reasons we’re keeping our secret. One reason involves two other members of my family: one has just had a baby (gorgeous!), and another is due any day. We want them to be able to celebrate properly; to know we’ve just lost one could make things awkward. Certainly we’d feel less comfortable around them knowing they knew. The bigger reason is that once people know we’re trying, as each month passes family and friends will always wonder if we’ve been successful or failed yet again. That seems to me to create an extra ‘external’ pressure where none in necessary.

We went back to the hospital this afternoon to have the staples removed from Mrs T's scar. The nurse had a good look at the healing scar and seemed confident that the surgeon had done a really good job and the scar will be barely visible once it’s fully healed. We’ll wait and see.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Home at last

It's good to be typing this knowing that Mrs T is sitting downstairs rather than stuck in a hospital bed. She rang at about half past eight this morning to say she was dressed and her bags were packed. She needed me to pick her up, and for her discharge papers to be signed and then she could leave.

It's still not 100% clear what has happened with the last blood tests. The first test was inconclusive, and we never heard the results of the next one. But she was determined to come home for a bath and to recuperate in more comfortable surroundings, so here we are. Got to pop back in tomorrow to have the stitches out (actually they're more like staples) and then back next Friday for a follow-up scan (and yet another blood test). After that we'll get an appointment with Mr B in a couple of weeks to review the whole palaver and, I guess, look at future fertility (which we're assured will not have been affected by the events of this week).

Posts here may get a little less frequent for a while now. I'll record the follow-up visits and notable parts of Mrs T's recovery (she's signed off work for four weeks initially), but I imagine things will quieten down after that. Until the next time, of course...

(Incidentally, I did get a hefty chunk of my essay done yesterday, and am about to start of the next section.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Morning call

It was lovely this morning to start the day with a call from Mrs T from hospital. Following yesterday's morphine shot, she'd had a much better night's sleep and was breathing much more deeply and relaxedly (is that a word?). We still need to hear Mr B's assessment of yesterday's blood tests before knowing whether she'll be coming home today. As she might be, I must check round the house to ensure it's a welcoming sight - but I'm not doing anything until I've completed at least the first section of my essay!

Thursday, June 23, 2005


I'll not add much tonight - some of my posts have turned into essays, which I never intended. (And which reminds me there is an essay I really should be working on.)

Definitely seen some improvement today: Mrs T was still uncomfortable, but relaxed a lot this evening after a shot of Morphine. I gave her a hair wash this afternoon and she felt a lot more comfortable for that, too. Apparently the doctors this morning suggested at one stage that she could possibly come home today, but a little later Mr B (our fertility consultant) came around and was a little concerned about something. He's taken some more blood to run further tests for the pregnancy hormones. As they'd seen nothing on the scan or in the operation (which was a 'Mini Laparotomy', incidentally), and Mrs T has been bleeding ever since, we'd taken on board that she was certainly no longer pregnant. He seems to be concerned that there's a remote possibility that there could still be an embryo somewhere. Perhaps on the outside of the uterus - which is another form of ectopic pregancy. If the blood tests show the hormones are still being produced then I have no idea what he'll want to do about it. The hope is that they've continued to drop.

Rang the folks again but didn't tell them about any possible complications: just that I'm expecting she'll be able to come home tomorrow.


Phew. I've just spoken to Mrs T's mum; she seems to have calmed down somewhat.

Not that I had anything much to tell her; I'd spoken to the ward briefly and confirmed that Mrs T had slept okay and seemed fine. I'll try to get some jobs done around the house this morning to anticipate her return (which I'm hoping will be tomorrow). It'd be nice to have that shelf up at last... (Of course I'm really supposed to be working on an essay, but I couldn't care a jot about that.)

As for emotions, it's early days yet - but I did find myself looking at pushchairs again last night!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bad son-in-law

Another emotional day, for different reasons.

I started the day exhausted after the roller-coaster of yesterday and the lack of sleep last night. I popped in to the hospital briefly to deliver some belongings that Mrs T had asked for (having phoned the ward first to ask special permission to visit out of hours), then came home to try to do some things around the house before I returned for the afternoon. Visiting time is two o'clock until eight, and I'm aiming to be by her side as long as I'm allowed.

Did you notice what was missing from my morning? I didn't phone Mrs T's Mum and Dad after my morning visit. Big mistake. (Of which more later.)

The really important news is that Mrs T is recovering okay from her operation. By this afternoon she was able to get herself in and out of bed (with a little assistance) and walk herself to the loo whenever the need arose. She also had a hot meal this evening which didn't make her too nauseous. I spent the whole afternoon by her bedside - just reading, chatting, watching the telly. Passing the time, really. We also had our first proper emotional chat about what had happened. She's surprised that she doesn't feel too emotional about the miscarraige. I'm surprised how much it has affected me. We overheard one of the other patients on the ward say to her visitors "I've had this scan today" as she showed them the picture. I immediately welled up with tears and became quite choked. Losing a pregnancy really brings home the fact that, yes, I do want us to keep trying and I'm glad to have had that realisation. Thankfully, Mrs T is keen to continue as well.

I'm also torn up inside about the fact that I can't really talk to others about it. Mrs T is settled on the idea of keeping it a secret and sticking with the 'Ovarian Cyst' story. I'm going to find it hard. (We had an email from one of Mrs T's colleagues today saying that she had one removed in her twenties, so 'knows what [Mrs T] is going through'.)

I alluded to my 'big mistake' earlier. At some point in the afternoon, one of Mrs T's brothers rang the ward to speak to me. He said "I guess you've not been picking up your messages" and said he thought I really ought to call her Mum and Dad as they were keen for some news. I filled him in on some of the news, and said I'd ring when I got a chance. 'Good man', I thought; 'thanks for the reminder. Next time I leave the bedside I'll pop outside and make some calls'. Well, at about six o'clock, when she was eating her hot meal, I took the opportunity. Turned on my mobile: very angry message on voice mail. "I can't believe you've not had a chance all day to call us. I've left two messages at home and this my last message." She was seething. And with good reason. She'd expected me to ring in the morning, and she'd spent most of the day getting more and more anxious by the sound of it. I called immediately and got their answerphone. (To be honest, I was quite glad to get the answerphone as I'm not sure what sort of response I would have got if I'd spoken to them in person.) I have to confess I was quite brusque in my message. (I was angry at her anger - unjustifiably so, I now acknowlege.) I apologised for keeping them waiting, explained that I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my wife as she'd said she felt stronger when I was there. The important news, I went on to explain, was that Mrs T was recovering well. I then rather rudely finished be saying "as soon as I've left this message I'm turning my phone back off so I can go back into the hospital. I'll ring you when I get home at about 8:15." It wasn't till I got home at 8:15 that I realised just how upset her Mum had been getting. The messages on our answerphone are worth quoting in full:

13:04 - Hi, it's Mum. I'd be grateful for news as soon as you find time. If not leave a message with the ward number and I'll ring the hospital.

15:26 - It's a very good job we're not relying on you for news, isn't it. What on earth do you think you're playing at? Thanks- not to you we've found out how [Mrs T] is. I know you went to see her this morning: you could have- you know there's someone in this house all the time. We desperately needed to know how she was. Don't bother contacting us - we'll find out from our more reliable source.

It sounded venomous - but in truth it was desperately anxious. I phoned straight away. Dad answered and I asked if he thought Mum was up to speaking to me. He thought it best that I spoke to him. She would want to tear me apart, apparently. I passed on the news of the day (or, at least, the edited version) and gave him the ward's direct phone number so they didn't feel they had to rely on me for news. None the less, I've made a list for tomorrow morning and the first two things on it are 'phone hospital' and 'phone in-laws'.

Lessons for today:
(1) I want us to pregnant and to have a baby.
(2) Will I ever learn?

What next?

'Tis the middle of the night and I've not been able to sleep. (Having said that, I've not got anything else done either. I could have done the washing up, the ironing, fixed the shelf, tidied the garage- oh, and worked on the essay I'm supposed to be doing this week.) My mind is spinning and numb at the same time. I did manage to feed the cats and watch a few moments of telly. I had a bath. (At nearly two o'clock!)

Not sure how comfortable I am with the story we've made up to keep up the pretence. Well, not the story itself - the motives for its use. I told Mum and Mum, and Mrs T's employer, about the supposed Ovarian Cyst but they all asked questions I couldn't easily answer (especially her Mum). I'm wondering why we don't just let people know. After all, telling people about a pregnancy doesn't reveal the secret that we've been trying all this time; it could just as easily have been an accidental pregnancy.

One thing I have done is go round the house and make sure that all the books and leaflets and hospital notes about pregnancy have been gathered up so they're not all over the house when Mrs T comes home. Do I hide them away in a drawer? Will she want to try again soon? (The doctor advised against trying straight away and told us to use contreception for a couple of months to give her body time to recover from the surgery - and indeed the pregnancy.)

I really am tired now: my eyes are drifting off and struggling to focus. Perhaps I'll have another go at sleeping...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


This has been a day I wouldn't want to go through again.

We did go to the doctor. No appointments were available (little surprise) so we had to go along at ten o'clock and get an emergency consultation. The GP (not her own) listened to Mrs T's description of her symptoms and suggested that it may not be a concern, but it would be worth arranging an early scan just in case. He rang the hospital to see how soon they could fit her in, expecting the next couple of days if we were lucky, and was told they had a slot available - amazingly - at 10:40. He made her drink a load of water (from his coffee mug!) to fill her bladder and we went straight away.

The external scan didn't show anything. To have a better look, the radiologist needed to use a probe to do an internal scan (first asking Mrs T to empty her specially-filled bladder...). She was very thorough, and took a long time studying the screen and taking loads of measurements before confirming that she couldn't see the embryo in the womb. There was, however, a lot of fluid and she observed some other things that I can't remember, but which meant that she couldn't rule out an ectopic pregnancy. That's very serious, and the only way to confirm it is through surgery. As she was talking about needing to refer Mrs T to theatre to have a look inside, she went very pale (Mrs T, not the radiologist) and started to shiver. She nearly fainted and we quickly got her back onto the bed as the room started filling up with people. It was incredible - at one point I looked around and there were seven or eight medical staff busily attending to Mrs T's needs. A doctor was quickly (and a bit clumsily) inserting a canula to insert a fluid to keep her hydrated; the consulant (Mr B, the same consultant who'd seen us through all our treatment a couple of years back including the IUI cycles) was asking questions, advising the others, checking all that was happening; one nurse was paging to check a ward was available; another arranging space in theatre; some fetching blood pressure moniters, bandages, syringes and so on; others doing... well, I don't know what they were doing but it was great to see the NHS in action. A whole team of specialists were on hand ready at a moment's notice in what they'd quickly decided was an emergency situation.

The emergency? The doctor's suspicion was a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Women die as a result of those, so they had to get Mrs T into theatre straight away to confirm that suspicion, remove it if necessary and potentially remove the fallopian tube, too. (Which would of course have a major influence on future fertility.) We signed the consent form and away she was wheeled. I was taken up the ward to await news.

I rang a couple of very close friends (Our church minister, who's the only person who knows we've been trying, and another friend who we'd considered telling once) and they both came to sit with me while we waited. I had to fill the friend in on the whole story, but I'm glad I did as she's a great caring friend whom we can trust with our big secret (which at time of writing we're still planning to keep secret). It was also nice to have the opportunity to chat about other things while we waited. Our minister was still with me when news came that Mrs T was out of the recovery suite and on her way up to the ward.

What was going through my head all that time of waiting? Well, worry of course. Sadness too. Worry because Mrs T was at risk (the doctor had put on the consent form, in the 'reason for operation' panel, "save life"). Sadness, because whetever the outcome the result was certainly that Mrs T was no longer pregnant. (The tears well up as I type that line.)

The first news that came (while we were still waiting) was good: things weren't as bad as they'd thought they might have been. (Interesting tenses in that sentence!) That was all we heard though, which was not much to go on. It was much later that we managed to speak to one of the doctors who'd been present in theatre. She brought the obligatory "good news and bad news". Good news - and this really was good news - there had been no ectopic pregnancy. Although the signs had been pointing in that direction (and obviously quite strongly judging by the emergency procedures which sprang into action) the scan can never be conclusive. No ectopic pregnancy meant no need to remove any bits, so the whole system of ovaries, tubes and uterus remains intact and there'll be no increased risk for future pregnancies. The bad news is two-fold: firstly the fact that to confirm the good news they'd had to go through with the operation in the first place, which is pretty major surgery and will leave Mrs T with a ceasarean-type scar. Secondly, her bleeding and extreme sickness had been the beginning of a miscarriage. Apparently the enlargening of the cervix does often create bad abdominal pains - much like labour pains - and nausea.

I've now made a few phone calls: to Mrs T's employer to explain that she won't be in for a couple of weeks (though it will probably be more than that) and to both our Mums. As I said earlier, we're still keeping it a secret, so the story we're using is that she had to have an Ovarian Cyst removed. The doctor gave us that idea - apparently it fits with the emergency admission and the type of incision (and therefore scar).

So that's been my day. Told you it wasn't a good one.

Monday, June 20, 2005


It's funny how your emotions can come as a surprise. Although I'd got quite excited about trying for a baby and thinking about the possibility (which seemed vague at the time) of becoming a dad, a big part of me was still treating it as a game. Another big part of me still didn't want our attempts to work. (My secret silent prayer was frequently "God, it's up to you whether we have children or not - but I'd really rather we didn't, thanks".)

But when Mrs T told me her test was positive I couldn't wipe the grin off my face.

It's quite surprised me how much that feeling has stayed with me. I know it's only ten days since the day the grinning started, but I have become consumed with thoughts about pregnancy, birth, parenthood, and all sorts. I've been really looking forward to telling people, and trying to think of clever ways of doing so. (Though it's far to soon for that yet; we'll keep up the pretense for now.)

And now, this evening, another emotion kicks in. I mentioned earlier that Mrs T had a bit of a bleed today. Kaz tells us that one in four pregnant women bleed at some point, and it's not necessarily a sign of a problem. But in the same paragraph she tells us that bleeding is usually the first sign you get of a miscarriage. I have been worried sick since Mrs T mentioned it this evening. She's staying off work tomorrow, and has asked me to stay home, too, as she doesn't want to be home alone if there's anything wrong. I hope I'll not have to take her to the doctor, but at this early stage we have to be prepared for anything.

First worries

Mrs T has been pretty nauseous over the first week or so since we found out, and today had to come home from work as she felt she might collapse. (In fact, a colleague drove her home and I had to walk up to the school to collect the car.) The books (we've already started to read a lot*) tell us she's likely to be feel sick for the first 13 weeks; if she carries on like this we'll have a hard job keeping it a secret.) More serious is a little bleeding today. Again, the books assure us that most women bleed a little during pregnancy - but they also say to contact the doctor straight away just in case. She didn't, but has promised to do so tomorrow if it's not stopped.

I'll post more on how we found out - and what's happened since - later, but I'm supposed to be doing the hoovering so I'd better get on.

(*Mainly "The Rough Guide to Pregnancy" by Kaz Cooke.)

Friday, June 17, 2005

The big secret

So, what was I alluding to in my last post? Well how's this for some shocking news: Mrs T is pregnant. Why shocking? Because everyone who knows us knows we don't want children. Or at least, that's what we've led them to believe. The story is usually something along the lines that when we got married (eleven years ago) we wanted kids but after a couple of years we'd changed our minds and decided definitely 'not now' and quite possibly 'not ever'.

Our friends and family are quite used to us. We look after others' kids occasionally and always go to visit new babies as soon as we can. We've even organised a few children's parties over the years. But everyone knows we don't want our own. However... for the last four years or so we've been keeping a secret, and it's been getting bigger and bigger.

First, we stopped using any contraception. Risky for a couple who didn't want kids? Indeed. But it was a test of faith. I was still pretty sure I didn't want kids, but Mrs T was beginning to wonder about the possibility. I tell people I trust God to do what's right. Did I live that out? Not really. So, here's the deal, God: I'll trust you to choose whether we have kids or not. No more contraception; let's see if anything happens.

Nothing happened.

For nigh on three years.

By then, we'd even been checking calendars and looking at ovulation times. Let's face it, we were now trying for a baby. I'm not sure how much I acknowleged that to myself, but let's be honest here; I was playing a pretty active role in the process. We went to the doctor to see why nothing was happening. (Does this still sound like the actions of a couple who don't want children?) Tests showed medical factors on both sides were not in our favour. We followed the doctor's advice - me onto vitamin E, pretty much off alcohol (never did drink a lot anyway), and off my unicycle. (Yes, really.) Mrs T: more involved tests and further treatment.

Still nothing.

Then the biggie: preparation for IUI treatment (not as far down the line as IVF, but heading that way). Spent a tidy sum on fertility treatment, did two cycles of IUI - still nothing.

We had to consider our options. We could continue along this path of trying, with medical assistance, to conceive. We were becoming increasingly uncomfortable about too much medical intervention. What we'd done so far already felt like 'playing God' and, as the start of this exercise was - in part - a test of our faith in God, it just didn't feel right. We stopped.

All this time, we were still keeping up appearances: we are the couple who love children, and are great with them (so people say) but wouldn't want our own. We went back to being aware of Mrs T's 'best times', ate more healthily, and had plenty of sex. (Such a chore!)

And where are we now? About two years further on - and about six weeks pregnant. We've still told no-one. I think they're all in for a surprise.


I set up this page a couple of years ago but had never done anything with it. Now, at last, something is going on that I might be inclined to witter on about so I've resurrected it and will create my first 'proper' entry shortly - where all will be revealed!