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!