About Me

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Hi. Welcome to my "taboo" blog. My name is Steph, and when I first started this, I was still in my thirties. In 2017, I switch decades! I am a Christian, so underlying everything I do and say is the Word of God, and the foundational truths I have learnt over the years. This doesn't mean I'm perfect - I am human. It just means I recognise I need God's help to live this life and try to live out His way, as best I can. So that's me in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog, I hope you draw strength, hope or encouragement from what you read.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Without A Bubba

I normally love the Christmas Day service, having gone every year since day dot! As a child I used to love picking out a new toy to take with me to show off when the Pastor called us all forward. As I became a teenager, I would still pick out a gift to take to show my friends, and would help my younger brothers pick out their special toy, then laugh with the rest of the congregation as the children adorably showcased their gifts. There have been so many cute Christmas services, as little girls proudly twirl in their princess dresses and little boys shoot the congregation with their new Nerf shooters! Children really do make Christmas Day special.

This becomes more obvious whenever I sit and watch the "You've Been Framed Christmas Special" with the focus being on the children - their antics, their unwrapping of presents etc, laughing hysterically at the little ones jumping into boxes as they discard the toy and the babies dropping in the Christmas Dinner.

But this year, as I watched the Christmas Special, with Hubby and his son, I began to ponder on the fact that had things been normal with our Journey for Bubba, we would have added a "Baby's First Christmas" bauble to our Christmas tree, and there would be a little one to coo over as we unwrapped our presents. As I watched the babies being filmed by their proud parents, I couldn't help but become saddened by what had not happened during 2012, and the decision I have to make regarding fertility drugs or surgery.

As my Gorgeous Stepson loves YBF, rather than turning the channel, I ended up leaving the room as the adorable images on the TV screen became too much to bear for my aching heart. If it hurt so much to watch strangers kids on the tele, how hard will it be to watch the children of my friends and Church family. Smiling through the broken-heart would have been too much, just a week after the results, so I made the decision to not go.

Did I make the right decision? The time allowed me to focus on the Christmas Dinner for my family, and to tend to Hubby who was ill. It allowed me to ficus my mind on the people around me I love and value, rather than on what I didn't have. It allowed me to concentrate on the day, instead of hankering on what is a difficult journey for Bubba. At the end of the day, after everyone had left, Hubby asked if it had been difficult for me with not having a baby yet, and I was able to say, in all honesty, it hadn't been difficult at all.

I praise God for what He has given to me - a wonderful, understanding and supportive Hubby and family, and the hope that whatever happens, He is in control of my present, and my future. As 2012 draws to a close, and as we look to 2013, I am holding onto my Lord to grant me favour, that one day, He will give me my heart's desire.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Results Day

This week has been a really difficult week on this journey. I had an appointment with the consultant on Monday, and found out - finally - the results of all the tests I have had. It was a difficult moment.

Hubby was with me as we made our way to the hospital. Other than what I had been told in part, we didn't know what to expect. I registered and we sat together in the waiting room, waiting for my name to be called. I have to be honest, as each minute ticked by, I was becoming more and more fidgety and more anxious at what he would tell me. What future prospects did I have, following all the investigations into my sub-fertility.

Finally, fifteen minutes later than my appointed time, my name was called. Hubby and I followed the voice into the consultation room and were greeted by a grinning consultant. Not the same one I had seen before, all those months previously, a different guy. But still a guy.

He advised me first of all what I already knew - that I had a blocked tube - but he didn't know what had blocked it. Then he told me something which totally broke my heart. "We know one tube is definitely blocked, this is usually an indication that there are problems with your other tube also. It looks clear on the x-ray, with the dye spillage looking normal, but there could be problems in your tube meaning it is not as clear as it should be.This also means you are at high risk of an ectopic pregnancy and we would need to scan you at six weeks - so as soon as you found out you were pregnant, we would need to book you in for a scan."

I had promised myself I wouldn't cry, but at that point, my world, my woman-hood, my future suddenly became unclear.

He went on, "Because your husband already has a son, I am afraid - according to the NHS rules, not my rules - you would not be eligible for help with IVF treatments. If money isn't an object, I would recommend referring you immediately for IVF treatment."

Hubby asked him, "How much would this cost?"


"IVF is not an option for us" I whispered, as I wiped tears from my eyes. Hubby and I had spoken about this in the past - not because of the cost, but for ethical reasons which I will go into another time, I had already made the decision IVF was not an option I could take."

"That's not fair my wife has to suffer because of my previous relationship" Hubby responded.

We sat in silence for a while, tears rolling down my face. Hubby took my hand and squeezed it.

The consultant broke the silence, "This is the hardest part of what I do. For whatever reason you two have met each other later in life, and now it feels as though you are being punished because of the rules of the NHS."

I don't believe for one moment God is punishing me. I don't know why this is the journey He has chosen for Hubby and I to walk on, but I believe He is with me every step of the way. God isn't a cruel God who will punish me. He forgives our sins, removing them as far as the east is from the west. We have all sinned, we all fall short of God's standards, but through Jesus, we find true forgiveness and a hope for our future. I silently disregarded what the consultant had said about this feeling like a punishment. It doesn't. It feels like a difficult season in my - our - life. 

"So what other options are open to us?" I asked the consultant.

"Well, I can add you to the waiting list, and I can perform an operation to go in and physically unblock your tubes. There will be four keyhole incisions made in your abdomen," he pointed to the four areas on my belly,"I would cut you here and then see exactly what your tubes look like and clear them as best I can. The success rate for my operations is that about 80% of the women who's tubes I operate on go on to conceive."

"What's the success rate then for a successful pregnancy?" I asked.

"About half that amount."

Again there was a heavy silence in the room as I processed this information.

"If you did want to avoid the surgery, if you were to say I really can't handle having an operation, then I would give you a course of fertility drugs, but could only prescribe them to you for six months."

"And what's the success rate of that?"

"That's really difficult to ascertain because we don't know the condition of your tubes, and because of your age, but again about 40% success for a full-term pregnancy."

We eventually left the room with this information heavy on our shoulders, and the decision weighing on my mind. As soon as I got home, I broke down and sobbed. There was no other reaction I could manage. I couldn't speak to anyone, I didn't reply to any of the texts I had received asking how it had gone. I just sobbed, with God. It isn't fair. It's not supposed to be like this. 

I've not yet made a decision - I don't know what I'm going to do. I just need to hear a Word from God to hold onto at this time. He is, after all, the Creator of life.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Follow-up Sub-Fertility Investigation - Ultrasound Scan

Following the HSG x-ray I had to endure a couple o, the doctor had heeded the advice of the radiologist for me to have an ultrasound scan in order to see in more detail the uterus and blocked tubes. So instead of receiving an appointment letter to see the consultant, I received a follow-up appointment to have an ultrasound.

The morning of the appointment, Hubby was working, so my Sis-in-Law came with me instead. We live close to each other, and she has been walking with me through this Journey For Bubba from the outset. She's such an encourager, and I am grateful the Lord has brought her into our family, through marrying one of my brothers.

My appointment wasn't until the afternoon, so we met for lunch in an attempt to "take my mind" off the impending appointment. Plus I needed to drink lots of fluid ready for the ultrasound. When we arrived, I had to go into the Mother and Children's department. A bit strange as I was neither a mother, nor had any children with me. I went to the Reception, signed in, then my Sis-In-Law and I took our seats among the pregnant women, and mother's with young babies. If I had been a weaker women! I think this is either an oversight on the part of the infertility department and consultants, or just really insensitive planning, because there was me, a woman undergoing investigations into why I was struggling to conceive sitting among lots of pregnant or new mums! Wow!

My name was called quite quickly, for which I was grateful, and my Sis-In-Law and I were led into a small ultrasound room. It was quite dim in the room, with a bed surrounded by a curtain in the main part of the room. At the head of the bed was a computer, monitor and the scanning equipment - including a long implement sitting innocently next to the monitor.

I was invited by the nurse to lay on the bed. She wanted to start with the external examination - this is the one like you see pregnant women in films having, where some (really cold) jelly is squeezed out of a tube onto your tummy, and an ultrasound camera is used to "see" your uterus. Obviously, in my case it is empty! I realised that the HSG x-ray had revealed there were some scarring or something on the uterus, which the nurse had been asked to investigate, as she mentioned this in her explanation of what she was doing. I hadn't been told this before - what causes the scarring??? Hopefully this new investigation would find out that as well as the reason for the blocked tube.

She spent quite bit of time moving the camera over my belly, pressing down on my full bladder, taking pictures of each area she was looking at. It didn't make any sense to me, I was just relieved when she was finished. She then said she would need to do an internal examination using the probe camera, and asked if that would be OK. Inside I was thinking I would rather not have to endure this undignified examination, but needing answers to what was going on, I consented. I was allowed to empty my bladder first though!! Phew!

When I returned to the consulting room, the nurse and my Sis-In-Law were patiently waiting for me. I was asked to remove the bottom half of what I was wearing and lay back down on the bed. Whenever I go to these kind of appointments, I always wear a long top over my jeans, for modesty sake! So Sis-In-Law could just turn around whilst I disrobed. I duly clambered back onto the bed in as dignified a manner as I could... you soon realise how how uncomfortable this is when you are butt-naked! Hahaha!

The nurse picked up the long implement which had been quietly and innocently sitting next to the monitor, waiting for its moment. Now was its moment. A condom is placed over it, in order to protect you from bugs, and then the camera is inserted. It is uncomfortable, but not as bad as the HSG x-ray had been. The nurse spent what felt like half an hour moving the probe camera around and taking pictures of what she could see. She asked me at one point if I had a history of endometriosis, but as I have never been investigated before, this is not something I could answer. Toward the end of her examination, she said that although there was scarring on the uterus, she couldn't see it was too bad to have caused me conception problems. I asked her if this would cause the blocked tubes, but she replied that she couldn't tell. She said that the ultrasound would only pick up if there is fluid inside the Fallopian tube, and there wasn't.

I guess this rules out that as one of the causes of the blocked tube in me. According to the research I had done (see my previous post on "what causes a blocked Fallopian tube"), fluid in the tube is one of the symptoms of PID. So that is ruled out in my case. I said in a previous post, I believe the cause of my problems is endometriosis, based on some of the symptoms I experience. It would seem, from the nurse's question, that this is becoming more and more likely the reason for my problem conceiving.

The examination ended, and I was given some tissues and wet wipes with which to clean myself up, which Sis-In-Law and the nurse vacated the room. Such a relief! The nurse then told me she would send her findings over to my consultant that day and hopefully he would call me for an appointment soon.

A week later, it turns out he hasn't called me in for a consultation to explain the results. He's sending me for another Day 2-5 Blood Test instead! More tests, even less answers. That the hardest thing about this process, waiting to find out what all of this has found and what it means. It's hard to move forward, or to know how to deal with what is happening when there is no concrete information from which to gain understanding from.

The other downside of this, is that since the intrusive investigations began, I've been experiencing a lot more internal cramp-like pain in the middle of the cycle. I'm not sure if this is the same for anyone else, but this my experience.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Causes a Blocked Fallopian Tube

After receiving the news a few weeks ago that one of my tubes is blocked, and having not yet received a follow-up consultation where I can find out more about the condition (a follow-up ultra-sound appointment though), I decided to find out more myself.

I'm so not medically minded, and sometimes looking for this kind of information can leave more questions than answers, but nevertheless, I need to know what is happening, and whether it can be "fixed".

One of the first things I discover is that a blocked tube is one of the biggest and most major causes of fertility problems in women. Lucky me! And it seems that there are a variety of types and causes! Again, lucky me! I obviously don't know what "type" of blockage I have, nor of the cause of it. The most likely, coupled with the other symptoms I have experienced (including excruciating pain at inappropriate times), is endometriosis, which is an inflammation of the inner lining of the uterus, where it forms outside of the uterus, eg on the tubes. Endometriosis accounts for around 30% of the infertility problems women suffer. But not every woman who has endometriosis will struggle to conceive (the figures I have found fluctuate between 30% and 50%).

If this is the cause of the blocked tube, then it is a relief to know only one is blocked. But will the second tube become blocked also??? The only way to "fix" the problem seems to be through surgery, or through IVF treatments (which isn't really an option for me, for reasons I will go into another time). Should I just rely on the other tube functioning properly or should I be considering surgery?? Does it really make a difference? Again there are conflicting views where some say the surgery makes a woman more fertile for a while after it, while others say it may not necessarily fix the problem. Mild cases of endometriosis can be treated for a year or so of fertility drug treatment.

Symptoms of endometriosis include: extremely painful period cramps, heavy periods, pain during intercourse,  pelvic pain outside of the monthly cycle, constipation and/or diarrhea, blood in urine, pain when going to the toilet and a family history of it (please excuse me if I don't go into any detail about my own symptoms!!).

The future certainly looks bright, doesn't it! At least, at the moment, I have one tube which is unblocked. Until I have been through the ultra-sound scan, I won't know what the blockage is, how badly it is blocked, or whether it can be fixed. I am just waiting in limbo, with the knowledge that for whatever reason, my body isn't working properly at the moment.

As I researched blocked Fallopian Tubes, I found there are other causes which may help to explain other women's difficulties (I say other women, because many of the symptoms I have been experiencing line up more with the above than what I am about to outline below).

The most common is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). This is a bacterial infection of the reproduction system, sometimes, though not always, caused by STD's. Other causes of PID include childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, IUD (an internal contraception) insertion, or even the HSG x-ray, such as the one I described on 25th October. The symptoms of a PID include: irregular periods, unusual discharge from the vagina, problems when going to the toilet, flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, lack of appetite etc...

The most common STDs which can cause blocked tubes, if left untreated are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea - information about these conditions is widely available on the net, but when not "caught and treated" in time, these "silent diseases" can cause infertility. I say silent because, as a recent NHS campaign to highlight these two STD's have been trying to encourage girls and young women to get checked out on a regular basis,symptoms are often non-existent. Saying that, some women have experienced some of the following symptoms of Chlamydia include: a yellowish discharge, painful or frequently going to the toilet, a burning or itchiness around the vagina area and abnormal bleeding. Some of the symptoms of Gonorrhea include: discharge burning sensation when going to the toilet, pelvic pain and bleeding in between periods.

Other causes of a blocked tube include a history of a uterine infection as a result of abortion or miscarriage, a history of a ruptures appendix, previous abdominal surgery, an ectopic pregnancy in the past, or other surgery involving the Fallopian tubes.

Now depending on the cause, will depend on the treatment, including fertility drugs, surgery or the flushing of liquid through the tubes. But the most important thing is, if you suffer anything which is abnormal, painful or unusual, it is so important you get it checked out, as with many of these things, the earlier they are caught, the easier it is to treat them and the less long-term damage they causes.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Being a Step-mum, While Trying To Conceive

A step-parent will never ever replace the place of a parent in a child's life or heart. Many of us don't even want to. But the relationship needs to be nurtured, as it isn't a natural parent-child relationship. Obviously, the younger the step-parent is brought into the life of a child, the easier it is for this happen, though this isn't always possible. This has been my experience with my Gorgeous Step-son, who I have known since he was three.

But I am finding, that as Hubby and I are TTC, there are times when I find it really hard to connect with them both. Hubby understands this, to an extent, and tries to draw me in, including me in what is happening throughout the weekend he is with us.

The natural relationship between a child and parent is a beautiful one. I see it so clearly in the way Hubby and my Gorgeous Step-son interact with each other. It's wonderful to observe. But painful too. Painful as I watch them and wonder if or when I will have the honour of experiencing that with my own child. There have been occasions recently when it is too much to bear, and I've had to take myself away from them, because the pain has been too great for me to enjoy our time together. When this happens, I try to find a way to make it up to my Gorgeous Step-son, as it is not his fault I am in this situation.

If you are a natural parent, and your wife or husband is a step-parent who isTTC, it is so important that you talk with each other and ensure the step-parent is included and supported in the change to your situation. I believe it is especially hard for a woman who is the outsider trying to conceive. The instinct to be a mother is there, but the opportunity really isn't there, because as I said at the outset, a step-parent never ever wants to replace the natural parent.

As we draw closer to Christmas, it is becoming a little more difficult this year. As I consider taking my Gorgeous Step-son out to purchase a present from him to his daddy, I am aware that this will be missing from my own life. The joy of a hand-made card or present, a drawing, or a specifically chosen gift are an expression of the bond between a child and his or her parent.

If you are in a step-parent situation, I would urge the natural parent to consider the feelings of the step-parent, and include the whole family at Christmas, with gifts or cards. Maybe you already do. Hubby hasn't quite grasped this, yet, as he never did that kind of thing with either of his step-parents - it hasn't dawned on him that I have a different kind of relationship with my Gorgeous Step-son than he did with his step-parents. He told me after my birthday, that he had thought about getting something from my Gorgeous Step-son to me, but hadn't "got around to it". If you don't get around to it, please don't tell your wife or husband you had thought about it, especially if she is TTC.

A thought needs more, it requires a corresponding action.

Especially as this may be the only link between your child and your wife or husband at being in a parent-child relationship. This may be the only opportunity your wife or husband has at being a "mum" or a "dad".

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I Believe You're My Healer

A few weeks ago, I was asked to sing the song "Healer" which Kari Jobe did a beautiful version of. It was at a women's conference following the testimony of a friend of mine who'd been healed from cancer after a visit from one of the Lord's servant during the night.

So right in the middle of the tests I've been having I sang, from my heart, with my hand on my belly, as if it was just me and Jesus:

"You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through the fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
Lord I trust in You

I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
Oh yes You are, yes You are Lord
I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need"

No matter what we face, we can be assured of Jesus's presence with us.
For hubby and I, knowing Jesus is right there walking us through our difficult journey, means we can say with confidence, "I trust in You Lord, You're all I need".

Saturday, October 27, 2012

An Animal Called "Grief"

Hubby and I were sat watching one of my favourite shows... How I met your mother. I don't know if you've ever seen it, but it's an American sitcom... a hilarious story-telling series as a man tells his children about the story of his journey from College to meeting their mother. We meet his friends, and follow their stories, as far as they occur with Ted's life-story. 

The episode we were watching was one I hadn't seen before (I'm one of those people who watches the repeats of previous series ready for the new series to start!), and was duly laughing when I should be laughing, and crying when I should be crying. It was a Christmas episode, and two of Ted's friends were a couple who had been apart for a while. Ted fell out with the girlfriend of his best mate, and ended up leaving the flat he shared with them to spend Christmas Eve dinner with his cousin and there children. A lovely family Christmas round the turkey. Before Ted and Lily make friends and he is invited home again to join them for their Christmas plans (so worth watching if you have never seen it). 

And then it hit me.

It winded me with the sheer velocity with which it hit me.

The news I had received four days before suddenly whacked me full in the stomach, from nowhere. Hubby looked at me and asked if I was OK, I suddenly leapt up from the sofa and tried to get to the bathroom before the tears came, but crumpled in a heap on the fluffy rug in front of the fire.

"What's wrong???" He asked, clearly concerned.

It took a while before the sobs stopped enough for me to answer him. "What if... *sob* What if I can't... *sob* what if I won'texperiencethat*sob* our ownfamilyChristmas" (the words seemed to flow into one word rather than one sentence).

I have never heard myself cry in the way I did that night, I am blessed in that I have never lost anyone close to me. But I have heard about people who literally collapse and wail with grief. The cries of anguish that night literally came from somewhere I had no control over. And as Hubby held me, praying for me, this feeling of grief of what may not happen slowly abated itself.

Grief is a strange animal.
The way it reared up from nowhere was quite shocking.
But the peace I felt after, was incredible.

I don't know what the future holds, and yet in spite of this, I know my Lord is giving me a deep, deep peace, which is surpassing my understanding, and is strengthening me for each day. The hardest part is waiting for an appointment to come through, so I can have some of the questions I am carrying answered by the consultant. Until then, I put my trust in the Lord because I know and can really feel He is near me. Closer to me than Hubby ever could be. Uplifting me and supporting me with His love and mercy. His unfailing promise to me that the plans He has for me are to give me a hope and a future. Regardless of what that means. He knows what He has in mind for my life. And for that, I am so thankful. 

I could not envisage handling this situation alone, while waiting for results, diagnoses and treatment, cure etc... of this "sub-fertility" journey I am on. Thank You Jesus for your presence with me, with us, on this road. Hold any woman who is also walking this road close to you Lord, for it is a hard climb, and there are many moments of hurting.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hysterosalpingography - AKA: HSG

It has taken me a while to come to terms with this particular aspect of the journey.

The X-Ray, known as Hysterosalpingography or HSG for short!

So it all started on the first day of the "new" cycle, when I had to call a number linking me directly to the radiology department at my local hospital in order to book an appointment between days 10 and 14 of my cycle.I actually couldn't get through, as it was late afternoon by the time I tried to call them, so I called the next day - day two of my cycle... time was ticking!! The lady I spoke with said she would need to check with the nurses to find out if there were any clear spaces in the appointments diary, and would get back to me after taking my details. She also told me... sorry advised me... that intercourse from now until I'd had the HSG. I had some important meetings that day, so nervously explained to my manager the situation and asked if I could be excused when the call came through... It's funny how often I checked my phone throughout those important discussions!

No call came through.

Day three arrived and again I waited anxiously to find out when I would be expected to attend. By lunch time I wondered if they'd forgotten and what the protocol was for calling back! And then I noticed a voicemail had been left on my phone. It was the hospital. They had an opening next week and would call me again to arrange the time for me to attend.

I did think it was a bit strange they had an opening but not the time - surely the opening included the time of the proposed appointment...?? I guess that's why I don't work in healthcare!

So... more waiting... more checking of my phone, into the weekend... If I hadn't heard after the weekend, I determined I would call them to find out what time I would be required. I'm uber-organised and like to plan ahead. I like to know what I am doing and what is expected of me well in time. Finally, on day seven, a letter arrived in the post from the Radiology department. My appointment had been arranged for 10:30am on what became known as day 11.

A couple of days before the appointment I had to pick up the prescription given to me by the consultant for some antibiotics. The antibiotics are to prevent infection from the x-ray procedure and needed to be taken two hours before I arrived for my appointment! The chemist had to order them, as they didn't have any stock, and for the sake of two tablets, I was hit with a huge NHS bill! There goes the Chinese take-away I had been planning for after the x-ray!! Lol! When they arrived, it turned out that the two different types of tablets ended up being a total of nine tablets to make up the prescribed  amount of 1000g each.

Then on day nine, I received a call from one of the radiology team, asking if I would mind changing my appointment time from 10:30am to 9am. Wahhh!! My day-off lie-in... disrupted!!! "Sure," I replied, "I may as well get it over with sooner rather than later." Oh man! Because I had to take the tablets two hours before  I was due at the hospital, that actually meant a 7am start! Lovely!

I don't think I slept much the night before. I don't like the unknown and tomorrow's procedure was a total unknown. All I had been able to do is read the information pages I had been given and do a Google-search to find out more about what a HSG was for, what they do etc....

So, when the alarm went off in the morning, I yawned my way down to the kitchen to have breakfast and the antibiotics. I don't normally have breakfast as soon as I wake up, so this with the combination of all the water made me feel really uncomfortable and nauseous. According to the paperwork, they needed me to arrive with a full bladder. This was so they could test to make sure I wasn't pregnant. No chance of that if we've not been able to... you know... before the x-ray. Have you ever needed the toilet so much you might be sick??? Yeah?? That was me!

Hubby had agreed to come with em, so we arrived at the hospital at around ten to nine - and realised there were two radiology departments on the map I had been sent. Neither of which was highlighted to be the one I needed to head for. One was the "Out-Patients Radiology Department" the other was the "Main Radiology Department". As I was an outpatient, I headed for there. There was no one in the reception area, but a little dinky bell with a sign saying "Ring for attention". So I did. A girl came out and I showed her my papers and asked if I was in the right area. She said she was new, and would need to check, so she disappeared, coming back about two minutes later to tell me I was in the wrong Department. She directed me to the Main Radiology Department and hubby and I made our way. I was now two minutes late for the appointment! I hate being late! So not cool!

I arrived at the second reception, and the lady who was there was on a call. When she finished, she took my details and invited Hubby and I to sit in the waiting area opposite her. Which we did. And waited.

A nurse came out and called my name. Hubby asked if I wanted him to come in or wait where he was. I asked him to come through, but the nurse told him he couldn't as there were other patients around. It wouldn't matter though as I was just going to have my sample checked. So I gave a last look to Hubby before walking through the double doors.

The nurse asked me to give her a sample, handed me the bottle and a wider dish to pee into, then showed me to the toilets. I duly did as I was told in private, and then emerged from the toilet to hand her my sample. She tested it to makes sure I wasn't pregnant. I wasn't (what a surprise!!).

The nurse then asked me to follow her to a cubicle where she explained what was to happen. I needed to take off my own clothes and dress in the attractive hospital gowns, complete with unattractive slit at the back. You get the picture! Yeuch!!! It was cold in there too!! Before I undressed, I went out to where Hubby was waiting to give him my rings and necklace. I told him I was about to go in and asked him to pray for me as I was quite anxious. He reassured me I would be OK but he would pray. Love that man!

After undressing, my clothes were placed in a plastic basket with a handle. It really resembled a supermarket shopping basket!! So the nurse made a joke with me about it when we were going into the x-ray room. I followed behind her like a lost puppy, silently praying Jesus would come now so I wouldn't have to go through with this. When we reached the x-ray room, I was introduced to the Radiologist and her female assistant. Phew! I was dreading a male being involved and relaxed a little. Not a lot though.

As the radiologist prepared the equipment, her assistant went through a checklist of stuff with me, including checking Hubby and I had refrained form intercourse, what date I'd started my last period, that I was between day 10 and 14 of this cycle. She explained the procedure, then asked me to sign the card to say I was happy to go ahead with the x-ray.

I then was invited to climb onto the bed in the middle of the room, complete with a pillow in the centre. "I need you to pop up on here, and we'll arrange you so your bottom is on the pillow." I tried to get settled into position as elegantly as I could muster. the gown was removed from under my bottom and the two ladies continued to prepare for the procedure.

Now... if you don't want to know all the graphic gory details, click away now!!

When they were ready, the gown was moved to my stomach area, and as with a smear test, ankles were brought together and knees maneuvered flat toward the bed... as far as I could - I'm not as flexible as I like to think I am!! Some large, white, disposable sheets were placed around my lower body to preserve my dignity as much as possible in that situation. The Radiologist explained she was about to insert a speculum, which will allow her to see where she is inserting the catheter. Before she did that she used an antiseptic cleaning wipe, apparently this helps to minimize the discomfort of the procedure  When she inserted the speculum, it was ice cold. Being the first patient of the day, clearly the thing had not been brought up to room temperature. This was really uncomfortable and added to the discomfort of tube being inside anyway! If you've ever had a cervical smear test, all of this so far will be akin to what you have experienced.

The catheter followed and was positioned, although the Radiologist did struggle a bit to insert this thin tube into the uterus. When she removed the speculum, the catheter popped out. I don't think it was supposed to do that! So the whole procedure was repeated. Painfully. But this time the Radiologist decided she would leave the speculum in place so as to ease the pain of removing it, and in case it caused the catheter came out again.

She then inserted the dye through the catheter into my uterus and took x-rays of the images being produced. When the dye went in, the cramps added to the pain of the speculum really wasn't pleasant. Then the speculum fell out, bringing the catheter with it. OH no!!! I hope they don't have to do it all again.

The Radiologist checked with her assistant that they had enough images, and upon checking affirmed they wouldn't need to try again. What a relief!

The white disposable sheets were removed so my legs could stretch out and the gown replaced to cover me again. Together they checked the images, while they blocked my view and encouraged me to relax.

Then the images were shown to me. The results of the HSG were given to me. Alone. While Hubby was sat in another room. I wished he'd been with me. To hold my hand. To wipe my tear at the bad news. One blocked fallopian tube and I am at high risk of ectopic pregnancy. She said she would be recommending that I be sent for an ultrasound to see in more detail the cause of the blockage.

I was helped up from the bed, offered a hot drink and led to the bathroom with a towel, a disposable sponge which became soapy when held under water and a sanitary towel to catch the dye when it fell out again.

In a daze, I went into the bathroom, cleaned myself up and changed into my own clothes. In a daze I sat down and obediently drank the hot water they had left for me. In a daze I wished Hubby was with me. In a daze I wondered what this meant. What had caused the tube to be blocked. Had it always been blocked? Had it become blocked? Can it be unblocked? In a daze I smiled back at the nurse when she smiled at me. In a daze I returned the cup to the nurse and asked if I could leave. In a daze I walked back through those double doors to where Hubby was waiting. In a daze I observed the row of men who were also waiting for their wives and girlfriends, and located Hubby. In a daze I took his hand as we left the hospital. When we sat in the car I told him what I had been told. He had questions, but we had no one to answer them. So in a daze we drove away.

For the rest of the day, and the following day, the pain from the procedure was quite intense. I curled up on the sofa with my hot water bottle till we had to go out. I think at one point the pain was so bad I just burst into tears and Hubby prayed for me.

It took four days before the news actually hit me.

It's taken longer for me to come to terms with it, as I wait for the consultant to send me details of my next appointment so we could have our questions answered. Until then I don't know why or what can be done.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Hilarious Parent Test Circulating!

I love reading women's magazines or the women's section of the paper... especially those "real life" stories by women like me, who experience the same stuff that I experience. It's always a blessing to know we are not alone in our experiences. You know what I mean???

But I had to laugh the other morning at a brilliant piece in the Daily Mail's Femail section. I was at work, browsing the online paper during my morning coffee and Jaffa Cake break, looking at the range of "women-related" articles on offer. One heading really caught my attention - "Think you are ready to have children? Hilarious new parent test taking mummy blogs by storm MIGHT just put you off..."

As Hubby and I are TTC, I thought I would have a quick read. But as I read through the various tests advised for women considering motherhood, it was all I could do to keep the coffee, delectably mixed with chocolate, sponge and orange jelly, from bursting out of my mouth and onto the screen in front of me, especially with colleagues present. It is hilarious...  let me feed you some of the suggestions offered, via Bianca London, from mums on what you can expect from a child. 

There are 14 sections with a varying number of test recommended for you to try. These are: Preparation (2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office), Knowledge, Nights (1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 4 - 6kg, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. 2.  At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep. 3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am. 4. Set the alarm for 3am.), Dressing Small Children, Cars, Going for a Walk (this was a particular hilarious "test" as I have experienced this with my nephews, numerous times, when they were small!!!), Conversations With Children (Repeat everything you say at least 5 times - my step son still does this at seven!), Grocery Shopping (the test involves the purchase of goats - if you know a farmer, you may prefer to borrow one - or a few - for a weekend!), Feeding a one year old (complete with airplane noises - why do we do that... and why does it work???), TV, Mess (eg 5. Drag randomly items from one room to another room and leave them there), Long trips with toddlers (are we nearly there yet???? My step-son has mastered this to such a fine art he can ask if we are half-way or nearly half way, and then when we are past half way, he starts asking if we are nearly there! Genius!!), Conversations and the final test, Getting Ready for Work (including the tips: 3. Take a cup of cream and put 1 cup of lemon juice in it, 4. Stir, 5. Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt).

So am I really ready for all this???

Maybe, when Bubba comes along, I can "train" him or her to behave differently from some of these other parent's children??? Ha! A child is a child - complete with his or her own thoughts, behaviours and ways of pushing the boundaries! No amount of preparation can really make you ready for the reality!!!

Anyway, if the comments accompanying the article are to be believed, it's not all this bad, and who knows - maybe one day, in the future, I can add some hilarious anecdotes of my own for other women who are considering motherhood or TTC!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fertility Envy??!

The other day, I was reading the Daily Mail online, and focused on the "Femail" section. As I scrolled through the various features, I came across an article on "fertility envy" (click on link to read article). This is basically a "condition" where women like me who are TTC, but are not YET successful, become an evil, obsessed, angry, green-eyed monster around others who have successfully conceived - particularly their friends or family. This made me think about my reactions to other people's news around getting pregnant. Do I suffer from this fertility envy??? Do I become some evil green-eyed monster around others who are a step ahead of me????

Recently, it seems as though everyone around me - well every random stranger - has just become, or is about to become a Grandma, or an aunty. Apart from all the celebrities who are tweeting about their pregnancies, and daily updates on what they are wearing to cover Bump, or to highlight Bump - ie the sudden urge to strip off and wear a bikini - I don't actually have any friends around me who are pregnant. Most of my close friends are single or already well-established mothers. So I don't have to "handle" (for want of a better word) being reminded of my failings as a woman at the moment.

The other day, I was at a conference and a woman who I don't really know came up to me and started to talk to me about how she wouldn't be able to attend a Women's Conference I was organising, because her daughter was coming to see her with the new baby. The next day another lady, who I had never spoken to, also came up to me and apologetically explained she couldn't make the Women's Conference because her sister had just had a baby and was coming to the UK to introduce the baby to the family.

I smiled, genuinely, at both these ladies. I didn't know them. I certainly didn't know the new mothers in their lives, so in that respect it was very easy to feel genuine excitement and joy at their news - I think I even clapped!! Lol!And I went so far as to hug the new Grandmother my congratulations! I didn't feel sad or disheartened at my own situation. In fact - it broadened my horizon as I thought of my own parents sharing the exciting news of their Grandchild through me. And I would love for my own Grandmother to be around long enough to meet Bubba - when he or she is released to me. The joy of a new life extends beyond Hubby and I.

And in the same way, the difficulties we face also extends beyond Hubby and I. A few years ago I found a random teddy bear hidden away in my mothers "grotto" (she loves Christmas so starts buying presents from Boxing Day!!!). When I asked her about it, she said she had bought it for my first child (I have three brothers - two of whom have children already and as far as I know, neither of them received this bear). That was a step of faith on her part, and I know that when Bubba arrives, she will derive as much pleasure in her new Grandchild (even though she has other gorgeous Grandchildren - I'm her only daughter); but at the moment, as we wait each month's cycle  she feels my pain as it reminds her of her own struggle to conceive (I took three years to come along - even though she was in her early twenties).

I love spending time with friends who have little ones, and love hearing some of their stories... I say some because when they start talking about the trials of labour, I know I definitely DO NOT suffer fertility envy!! I think it's good to hear what they say, and learn lessons from their experiences. Especially for those who were in the same situation as Hubby and I... as not everyone conceives straight away, and I am not the only woman who has to be investigated for conception problems.

I can't say I feel envious at others' joy. Sometimes I get annoyed with some of these celebrity pregnancies which are shoved in my face. It seems that when I want to read "News" I am offered "Gossip" instead. Do I really need to be told if someone is daring to wear a bikini to show off her Bubba Bump??? Do I need to observe whether the new mum-to-be is hiding her bump in a baggy jumper??? Do we really need the speculation of whether this Royal is carrying an heir because she holds her stomach, or that popstar is throwing up and putting on weight???

I wouldn't say this is fertility envy. I would say this is irritation at being smacked in the face every time I want to read the paper!!! I can't say this has ever made me consider or get upset about my own situation, though. These celebrities aren't personal to me - and are not in my life.

I wonder if it would be different if it was someone closer to me though. I think there has only been one time I have "struggled" with a friend's pregnancy news. When speaking to a friend who conceived with her Hubby with 1 month of deciding to try for a Baby, my heart dropped a beat, and my mind raced with thoughts of how unfair it all was, when I thought of how long it was taking me.

I hope I will always have enough of God's love and grace within me, that I can rejoice with any friend who is rejoicing. I would definitely NEVER want her to feel awkward around me just because of the journey I am on compared to hers - that's not what being friends is about. Even though there are times when it is hard to be on this journey - I still want to hear, and learn from, others who are ahead of me. When friends have become pregnant in the past, I've had the honour of walking through it with them. Hearing about their odd cravings, laughing at their "baby-brain" moments. The creation of a new life is such a beautiful thing to behold.

I can understand the raw pain for women who are TTC, and for whom life seems incomplete without Bubba. To be one among many family and friends who don't seem to have a problem can be really disheartening. As I have said before - this journey is a lonely road - more-so for us as women, I think, because at the end of the day, our bodies are designed for childbirth and if we can't fulfill that basic function, then our bodies are not working properly - at least that's how I have sometimes thought about my own body! I hope and pray that I never become so engrossed in my own difficulties in TTC that I am not able to rejoice when others rejoice. And I pray that I will never ever become so depressed about the situation, that I would push pregnant friends away from me. That would make ME even more alone.

I really don't know how I can walk this journey without the Lord's help. Because it is such a difficult, painful and lonely road. Without Him - it would be so much worse. Without the Lord upholding me, I probably would struggle with "Fertility Envy" and hide away from the rest of the female world... just in case.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Help for Christian Couples in London


I was led to reading a blog by a FB friend of mine about a course which is being created by HTB - the Church who launched fantastic courses such as "Alpha" and "The Marriage Course" now has something aimed at childless couples.

It starts on Monday 8th October, and if you live in the London area and can get to Holy Trinity Brompton, then I know that finding support from other couples will be such a huge benefit.

Course dates and topics:
8 October – Survival tips
15 October – Impact on couples
29 October – Adoption
12 November – Fertility treatment
19 November – Living fruitfully

Feeling alone in our journey of subfertility can add to the feelings we already feel though our childlessness, but knowing you are not alone as a Christian, finding some comfort in knowing other Christian women have the same questions and struggles - surely there is comfort in this. I only wish I lived in London - or that the course would travel around the Country

It is free - so I would urge you to go. Contact the organiser, check out this link: http://www.htb.org.uk/whats-on/courses/waiting-children and use this priceless opportunity to build a support network around you with like-minded believers on a similar path to yours.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Oversensitivity to Insensitivity

So I had to go for my "Day 21" blood test a couple of days ago. The nurse who was taking it was running a bit late - I hate having a needle stabbed into my arm, so the longer I have to sit there and wait, the more tense I feel and the more sweaty my palms get! 1 minute became 2... 2 minutes became 5... 5 minutes became 10, till finally my name was called. I was glad Hubby had been next to me in the waiting room, as he is a calming influence - even if he doesn't understand my fear of having a blood test!

I went in and took my place in the big black chair with the extra "comfy" rest which the patient can lay her arm on when having blood extracted from their veins!! I handed her one of the thousands of forms and "blood test bags" I had received from the consultant who had ordered all these investigative procedures. It had on it the reason for the blood test "Day 21 - subfertility" scrawled across the notes section.

"Right then, do you want to roll your sleeve up for me?" the nurse asked.

Errrr... "No not really!" I replied, with a nervous chuckle!

"Have you had a blood tests before? You don't faint or anything do you?" she quizzed.

"No - I just don't like them" I said, laughing.

"No, not many people do" she smiled. "The other day, I had a baby come in here - you know when they have to have their jabs, it's hard to inject this tiny little foot with a great big needle. I always feel bad because they cry so much."

OK wow! Thanks for that nurse. No I "don't know" about bringing in a baby for their jabs - I don't have one which is why "sub-fertility" has been scribbled on that page I just handed to you. WOW! Talk about insensitive!

I then had a check in my spirit. She wasn't being insensitive - she was being chatty and may even have had a tough time with a baby that morning. When she was typing up my notes after taking the sample, she may have felt bad about what she had talked about with me when she read and copied into the computer what the test was for.

I felt the Lord was challenging me on the frustration I had initially felt at the nurse's conversation. Was I really annoyed??? Isn't it natural for a baby to be afraid of a needle while I - a grown woman in my thirties - should be able to handle the "sharp prick" in my arm. She was putting things into perspective - not trying to belittle my subfertility.

I can't assume people are being insensitive about the situation I am currently in. As there is no outlet to talk about it publicly most people won't have a clue what I am going through, and it is only natural for them to talk about babies and children and the like. Most of the time I am fine about it - but once a month, around the PMT time, my added fears about waiting for my monthly cycle can cause me to view things through somewhat negative glasses.

Waiting is always the hardest bit - no matter what we are waiting for, it is difficult to be patient during that waiting period. Maybe it's just me, but I find myself becoming a little more over-sensitive about my desire for a child than at any other time.  I find myself more easily upset at things people say, more likely to burst into tears, more likely to stare at pictures of babies on supermarket billboards or in magazines - wondering what my own would be like, more likely to reflect on what is missing in my life at the moment, whenever I see a baby in a TV programme / film I am watching.

Waiting for the onset (or hopefully not) of the period can be excruciating. This is one of those times when learning to "Set your mind on things above, not on the things of the earth" (Colossians 3:2) help me to focus not on what is not happening in my body, but on what I can achieve with the help of the Lord.

This may be a difficult aspect of my life, but in other areas - the Lord is blessing me mightily.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Faith Gift

At the risk of sounding like a crazy woman (which Hubby thinks I am at the moment!!), I bought a faith gift for Bubba a few days ago.

A faith gift is basically a gift I have bought for Bubba, in the faith that one day he or she will receive it. A bit like a woman collects items in her bottom drawer before she gets married, I wanted to "collect" one item for Bubba. No woman has the guarantee she will get married, just like none of us has the guarantee we will fall pregnant and become Mumma. 

So why have I done this? The Bible tells me that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen (Hebrews 11:1). I am hoping to become Bubba's Mumma, so by purchasing this faith gift I am providing "substance" to the thing hoped for; I am acting in faith for what is not yet seen, that we will one day see, hold and cherish the reality. 

I'm not saying this is right for everyone. So please don't think you have to rush out and do the same. It is not a "formula" to make God do what I want Him to do, It is just something I wanted to do to say to Him, I have faith that You are God, and when you see fit, You will answer my prayer for Bubba to be born to us.

It's actually something I had been wrestling with for a while. I had considered buying a faith gift at the beginning of Summer, but didn't go through with it. Even when a friend suggested to me a couple of months ago, when we went shopping one day, that I buy something "in faith". But I still couldn't go through with it.

Whenever I went into a Baby Shop, or into the Baby section of a larger store, I always felt like a fraud. Like I had no right to be there. I felt as though the mums and pregnant mums-to-be were staring at me, because I had no right to be there! Silly I know! But that's how I felt!

But recently, I have experience a couple of things, answers to prayers through words which other people have spoken to me, and I wanted to act on what I believed the Lord has been confirming to me. So I bought the faith gift.

It obviously had to be unisex. It obviously had to be something which would be practical, not something which would "go off" or go "out of date" or "out of fashion" or a certain size, for obvious reasons. It couldn't be seasonal, because I don't know how old Bubba would be at the relevant season. It had to be something with longevity. So I looked at the sleeping pods. 

I did feel like a fraud going into Mama's and Papa's, even more when I had to enquire about the price of something I considered buying. But I felt the biggest fraud when I approached the till with my purchase. I didn't want the assistant to ask me any questions, or I would have to say it was for a friend! She didn't, so it was OK. 

But after I had bought it, I felt elated. I felt at peace. I didn't for one minute think, "What have you done you stupid woman!" No. The Lord sent His peace to me. 

Regardless of when Bubba arrives, even I have to endure the rest of the tests and stuff, I am standing in faith that the Lord has heard my prayers, and will bring Bubba for me to be Mumma to.

And so Bubba's faith gift is hidden away in my "bottom drawer" ready for him or her to take naps in.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

'Poem' based on Psalm 23

I was recently at a Women's retreat day for Christian Women who wanted to take out from their busy lives and spend it with the Lord. During the day, time was provided to be still before the Lord, to give Him time to minister and speak with us individually. This was something the Lord laid on my heart, which I believe is for the encouragement of others - as well as for me. 

So as you read, I pray you are blessed:

Oh Lord, You are my Shepherd,
You know me.
I'm learning - constantly learning - to recognise Your voice.
I shall not be in want.
You make me to lie down in green pastures
Where I find rest.
You lead me beside the still waters:
You are the River of Life;
As I drink from You,
You restore my soul.
Though I walk through difficult valleys,
Where it seems like death - not life -
is within my body... within my womb,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me.
Ever present - always beside me,
as You lead me beside You;
Beside the River of Living Water,
Your rod and Your staff will comfort me.
You comfort me,
So I may be a comfort to others.
You lead me, so I may encourage others.
You are with me, as You are with others also.
Surely goodness and mercy
Will follow me,
ALL the days of my life.
Surely I do - and shall -
dwell in the presence of my Lord.
Wherever I go - You are with me:
You will never leave me,
You will never forsake me,
You lead me through,
as I remain in You.
And I shall dwell in the House of the Lord.
I shall dwell in the place You are preparing.
When You return to receive Your Bride,
You shall gather me too.
To be with You;
by Your side;
to dwell with You;
to remain with You;
to be in Your presence...
... and ever
...... and ever

Always with You:
My Lord
My Saviour
My Shepherd

Monday, September 24, 2012

First Appointment at Fertility Clinic

I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived for my appointment. So it was very nervy! I was glad hubby had the day off work so he could attend the appointment with me - and it turns out it was necessary anyway! Our local hospital is very modern, so in order to book in for the appointment, I had to type in a reference number to a special booking-in computer. A quicker process - but very impersonal. It takes away the human contact element - a smile would have helped to make the experience a little less stressful.

So, we went in to the waiting room, and found a couple of chairs amongst other waiting couples.  Not all the women there looked as if they were undergoing the fertility stuff I was - there were some older women, as well as women waiting on their own. I like to people watch, so did wonder what some of them were here for, just as much as a younger couple who were sat opposite were wondering about Hubby n I... I overheard the young wife whispering something, to which her husband replied "I don't know, I can't see and I don't have x-ray vision!" Other than that - it was SILENT in the waiting room... I wanted to speak to Hubby, but felt pressured to "tow-the-line" and keep my thoughts to myself. I pulled out my phone and read the news, lOl!!!

Ten minutes after my appointment time, my name was called by one of the nurses who had been rushing backwards and forwards calling out the women in the waiting room. We were led to a small room which had a weighing chair, a blood pressure monitor and a desk - oh and a height measure against the wall. I was asked to sit in the chair so the nurse could read my weight (something I have not done myself for about three months!!), then she took my blood pressure and asked how tall I was (with or without heels????).

It's funny how this information is gathered but we aren't told the outcome of it - or if we are, how many of us actually understand what it all means!! Anyway, she said it was all fine and normal. Then she asked Hubby to sit in the chair. Neither of us had expected him to have to undergo anything, so he looked a bit confused. "She's not going to get pregnant on her own!" the nurse replied to his query. "What's it for?" Hubby asked. The nurse explained they take some information to check if we would be eligible for IVF, should the time come. Apparently for a woman to be eligible she has to have a BMI lower than 30 and a man has to be lower than 35. Hubby and I both fitted within this criteria.

On our way back to the waiting room, Hubby and I briefly discussed this element, and agreed IVF was not something we would want to consider. My reasons I will explain in a separate post another day.

We waited another fifteen minutes before we called to the Consultant's office. I followed the nurse in, and was greeted by a male Consultant, and a young female student, "Are you happy if we have the student in the room with us?" I was at the door of the room, with the young girl looking at me. "Sure" I replied. How can I say otherwise when she is right there!!! I think this should be asked before we are in the room, personally!!

In the room, Hubby and I were invited to sit down in two chairs against the wall, next to the Consultant's desk. He explained he was going to ask us some personal questions in order to work out what the next stage would be, and pulled out of "my" folder a pink form. The questions went along the lines of:

The Consultant then explained the tests he wanted me to have during the current cycle and at the beginning of the next cycle as there are specific tests which need to be done on specific days - one of the first examinations I had was an external check of my abdomen - as the Consultant wanted to check if he could feel any swelling from my uterus. There was none. The next test Hubby and I had together was a karyotype blood test, so we moved from the fertility clinic to the blood test area and waited a further 20 minutes before our number was called. A karyotype test basically takes a photograph of the chromosomes. It is used to identify and evaluate the size, shape and number of chromosomes in a sample of body cells, and to check whether either of us has any extra, missing or abnormal chromosome pieces which can either prevent a woman from conceiving - or if there are problems which can be passed onto Bubba - when he or she arrives. I think it is really interesting how they can take photographs of something which is so microscopically small and read the information from it!
  • When did I stop using contraception?
  • What had I been using?
  • How often we have intercourse?
  • Have I ever been pregnant before?
  • Have either of us had any STI's?
  • Does Hubby have problems with erections/ejaculation?
  • Do I have any pain during intercourse?
  • When did I last have smear?
  • How old Hubby's son is?
As you can see, nothing is left in "the bedroom", so to speak. Nothing is out-of-bounds. It caught Hubby off guard - well actually both of us - because we had both been under the impression I was the one being investigated as Hubby has a son already. Even more so, when they asked him to produce a sample to be tested at some point during my cycle! It was actually quite embarrassing to be asked all this in front of three strangers!!

A few days later, I had to have a triple swab, whereby they check the cervix by taking a sample of cells from inside the body to ensure there is nothing I have contracted or had in the past (not that I have, but they have to rule out everything which can cause problems with a woman conceiving) or if there are / have been any infections (such as TB or thrush). The swabs are taken from the neck of the cervix - which is the entrance to the womb, as well higher in the cervix.

Next will be a blood test on day 21 of my cycle to check progestrone, thyroid, LH (Luteinizing Hormone) and FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone) levels. A surge of LH actually triggers ovulation within a woman, while the FSH stops being produced after ovulation. So the tests are used to identify whether I am ovulating OK.

Following these tests, if I still haven't conceived by the time my next cycle begins, I will need to have a further blood test between days 2-5 to again test the LH and FSH levels - as one of the functions of FSH hormone is to tell the eggs when to be released; as well as Estradiol - high levels of this can indicate a cyst in one the ovaries or a low level of activity in the ovaries (where the eggs are stored and released from); and prolactin - which can interfere in the secretion of FSH or LH. Then a HSG (hysterosalpingogram) examination - which is an internal x-ray between days 10 - 14. when a dye will be inserted so the radiographer can check to see that the Fallopian tubes are open enough, and not blocked, in order to allow the egg to travel through.

All of these tests will be gathered together and at my next appointment with the consultant the results will be shared with Hubby and I. Until then, others will know the outcome as they discuss the contents of my "folder".

In the meantime though, if I am honest, I am praying and hoping I will not have to go through some of these tests - they sound really intrusive!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Word for the Husbands of Wives TTC

Last week I had been preparing some verses for something I was working on, when I "stumbled" across this:

Genesis 25:21 (NLT)

Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant

I sent it to Hubby in the hope he would be inspired and would pray for me... Whether he does or not is between him and the Lord (although he has done in the past when I have asked him to, but I wanted him to pray for me independently of my asking... if that makes sense!!!).

If you are the husband of a wife who is trying to conceive - you are as much in her journey as she is. Why not pray for her, and join your prayers with hers?

A Word from God For Your Own Journey

If you have read my previous post (if you haven't then you should, or this one won't make much sense!!!), and are in a similar position to me - in that you are trying to conceive, why not consider praying and asking the Lord to speak to you - or to speak to a friend on your behalf - about your desire for a child. If you are going to ask about a friend, it needs to be a genuine friend who is in a relationship with God. Someone who you can trust, who you know won't just tell you what you want to hear, but who will be able to be real with you about what God has said to them. 

I've had "words" spoken over me before, but as I didn't really know the person, or didn't really know where they were coming from in their walk with the Lord, I didn't really accept what they said. For example, someone told me toward the end of last year, that Bubba would be coming sooner than expected. I think the "word" came from their embarrassment at thinking I was pregnant because of the fat on my belly, rather than it being a genuine word from the Lord.

When it comes to prophecies, it is important we are able to test everything against the Word of God. I know my friend has a great relationship with the Lord. I know she has exercised her gift of prophecy in the past, and I know that - like me - she tends to have dreams from God. This is why I know I am able to accept the message she sent to me, and add it to what the Lord spoke to me through Hubby on that same day.

When we open ourselves to the Lord, He is more than willing to demonstrate His love for us and His desire to encourage us. Don't be afraid - let God gently lead you on this journey of faith and hope.

Godly Encouragement

I praise God for the Godly friends I have. Over the weekend, I received 2 pieces of encouraging words from Hubby and from a friend. After the frustrations I had felt with my body, the timing of both were perfect! Especially in light of this week's up-coming appointment!!!

Hubby and I were driving up the M1 and we were talking - or rather I was talking - about my fears for the appointment I have at the "in"fertility clinic. He listened, and then spoke, reminding me of the commitment I have with the Lord to do things His way and not my own! He asked if I had considered whether God had been holding off because of the other areas of my life which are taking off in a huge way - If I was pregnant or had a young baby, would I have been able to step into the opportunities God has recently opened up for me. That's not to say the two can't come together in the future, but right now, as this is all new to me, maybe the Lord is allowing me to step into this new-ness, and to get used to is before Bubba arrives.

What hubby had said had made a lot of sense to me (though I am aware it may not make sense here, because I don't want to give away too many details of my life, in case people are able to work out who I am!!! No point in not giving my name then!!), and he put a fresh insight into the delay.

On the same day, a friend had sent me a random text message. In it she had described a dream the Lord had given to her - and in the dream I had been about 7 months pregnant! A prophetic dream of what is to come!! She told me she believed the Lord wanted me to know He had heard my prayers and will answer them, giving me the desire of my heart - namely to hold Bubba in my arms when he/she is born!

I am so grateful to the Lord for giving me such hope and reassurance over the weekend. He knows how much I needed it!!!  

As my friend ended the text, she challenged me to exercise the faith God had given to me - for faith is the substance of things hoped for... and I hope for Bubba, so maybe I need to do something of substance to demonstrate my faith, in the word God has given to me concerning Bubba...  It may be months, it may be years (although I hope not!) but the Lord has promised Bubba will come. If I want to show how much I believe this, I think I do need to do something. I'm not sure what that would be. Maybe I should purchase something for Bubba's arrival!!

How exciting!!!! :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Me and My Body Fell Out!

I fell out with my body this month - if I could disown it, I would!! But alas, it is attached to me - well actually, I can live without it!!!

So last week, I had a couple of days where I felt incredibly nauseous - not like a normal "I've eaten too much", or "I've eaten something dodgy". There were a couple of days when I was at work and suddenly felt hot and couldn't stomach eating anything except some dry toast. In fact when one of my colleagues asked me if I fancied any chicken for lunch, my stomach lurched... I mean literally lurched! And in Church on the Sunday I thought I was going to have to walk out of the service and make my way calmly to the ladies!

So with this, my mind started to think "this might be the month"!!! I mean, it's a natural thought isn't it??? As nausea is one of the early symptoms.

But it was just my body playing cruel tricks on me. As I write, I am dosed up on "Feminax" and cuddle a hotty wotty botty to my abdomen! Cruel cruel body!
I've heard of women having phantom pregnancies, but never thought I would be one of those women. OK, so I didn't have a lot of symptoms, just felt a bit nauseous at the time of when I could have conceived. But there are occasions when a woman will have lots of "pregnancy" symptoms without being pregnant - even to the point of the stomach growing just as it does when she is really pregnant. It must be really hard to be in that position. Not only does a woman have the excitement of a pregnancy crushed in one moment when she realises it was false, but she has the frustration of another failed month (or more, in some cases the woman can be falsely pregnant for a while, even confusing doctors treating her) in her conception journey.

When we trust our conception journey to the Lord, we know that it will happen in His time. And if it doesn't, even when we don't know why, God does. I thank Him that I have not had one of those false pregnancies. I thank Him also, that I have not, in the 1 year and 1 month conceived, only to have lost Bubba. I pray I never will - even though my mum and sister in law did, I'm not sure if miscarriage or "babies born sleeping" is a genetic issue, whether what the women in my family before me has endured will affect my own experience. But I commit this to the Lord.

Psychologically, when we want something enough, our bodies can convince us it is happening to us, or to everyone around us. For example, when I wanted a new car, I kept seeing EVERYWHERE the car I wanted; when I was single, it seemed like EVERYONE ELSE was married! And now, as Hubby and I are on this journey, it seems as though even my own body is prepared to deceive me into believing a) EVERY WOMAN around me is pregnant, or b) that I have become pregnant when I am not.

It is times like this when I need to trust God even more than normal. It is times like this, when my own body has betrayed me in this way that I have to turn to God, cry out to Him and ask Him to help me this month. I have to entrust my body and my future into His hands, knowing and trusting that His plans for me are good, that He plans to prosper me and Hubby - and part of us prospering, will be to have a family. I have to trust Him, and the desires of my heart to Him. And I do! I hope you can too. 

Friday, September 7, 2012


I was recently talking with a friend and colleague - a beautiful Godly woman I look up to a lot. She's older than me, so we often have some wonderful time of encouragement and learning (usually on my part!!).

On this occasion, we had been talking about cars, and I shared with her my desire to get a new car at some point. Hubby and I have spoken about the fact that when Bubba arrives, the small car we have now won't really be suitable for a family of "four" (including my step son who stays with us once a fortnight).

I think about all aspects of the future... as you can tell!!

She asked then that million dollar question... "When do you see yourself having a family of your own?"

I responded "Well, we've been trying for a year, so I don't know. Whenever the Lord allows us to have one."

Silence ensued.

"God knows what He is doing" I said.

It was a little awkward, and if we hadn't been interrupted by a couple of people ahead of us, then who knows where the conversation would have been led. I think so often, people take it for granted that woman can have children. We seem to forget that not everyone can. Many women are struggling with the idea of being "infertile" - or as the Bile would say, "barren". It would be lovely if we could have all the answers to life's difficult questions, or if the right thing to say were always on the tip of our tongue at any given moment. Not in a glib, superficial kind of a way, but in a sincere empathetic way.

We each receive a measure of comfort from the Lord. And yes, it is easier to comfort someone when you have been through exactly what someone else is going through. It's easier to see where they are at when you have been there. But at the same time - we can support one another even if we haven't been through the same life problem, just because life is not perfect and stuff happens!

I would have loved to take away that moment of awkwardness... and many other times of awkwardness when people ask me the "family" question. But I can't. What I can do, is receive the encouragement offered and the confirmation of hope in Jesus. What I can do is receive your prayer support.

If ever you encounter one of those "awkward silences" why not offer to pray with the person you are speaking with. Pray in agreement with them for the thing they are seeking God about. Pray for God's strength to endure. Pray for the Lord to uphold them, with His righteous right hand - because even if you haven't been where you are - one day you may need someone to pray for you. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dodgy Products Horror!

I may not be expecting Bubba just yet, but I like to be informed of what is available, when the time does come. So occasionally, I have a look at what products are out there and dream the hours away!! Don't tell me you've never done that yourself!!!

I have, literally, just been watching a programme on the Beeb - Fake Britain... I do quite like these kinds of programmes for the information they provide the general public with. So it was with interest I watched the story about fake products being sold to new parents for their babies. Products such as the newly popular baby carrier - made famous by some of the celebs society (sadly) aspires toward.

This particular mother in the interview had bought a famous brand of baby carrier through ebay, and slowly things started to go wrong with it... seams came undone, bits started to tear, but the scariest thing was when one of the straps came away and the mother's baby almost fell out.

I am aware of the amount of unscrupulous people out there who don't care about your baby as much as they should be for another human life - they care only about they money make. As a result their desire for more money exceeds their desire to keep your baby safe.

If you are a new mum, or you're expecting or you're TTC and dreaming while you wait, please be aware of the stuff you buy for your new-born. As far as possible, try to buy direct from the company / supplier etc... But I know this is not always possible, because money is tight!!! I pray that if you do need to purchase something from ebay - or a second-hand seller, the Holy Spirit will prompt you in your heart if something is not right with the item you are considering - because He knows all things, and He cares more about your baby than we ever will. As you shop online, be open to the still small voice of God as He directs you - because believe it or not, He cares about all the tiny details of our lives - as well as the bigger choices we make.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pregnant Women Everywhere!

Saturday afternoon equals SHOPPING!! So off I went with family in tow to one of those all under one roof, all singing, all dancing shopping centres. I really enjoy wandering around and seeing what's available on offer etc...

My mum decided she was going to "powder her nose"at one point in our expedition, so I waited outside for her.

I absent-mindedly observed people walking past, one of those past-times we all engage in from time to time. It seemed as though every woman who walked past me was either pregnant or pushing a new born in front of them! Every single woman!!!!

Now, I know this wasn't really the case, because psychologically if we really want something, we tend to focus on it in others, so it is obviously foremost in my mind. It was nice to see, actually. But it also made the longing inside me stronger!

One day, hopefully, at some point in the future you'll be observing me as one such woman!!!