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.

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