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.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Baby Dedication at Church

After being away from Church whilst I was recovering from the op, I made a conscious decision to go back after the third week. I'd really missed being in the presence of God, and around my Church family, although I knew rumours were rife, and I was slightly dreading being bombarded with lots of questions.

We arrived late, partly because I wanted to avoid people with their questions!! It was great to be able to join in with the worship again!

But then, it was announced that one of the families were dedicating their two daughters!!! I mean seriously, that couldn't have been done while I was off. I wrestled within myself the idea of walking out to avoid being faced with the baby and her older sister. I mean really wrestled.

But then, I decided to stay, for two reasons.
1. God knew the dedication was that morning, and He knew it was my first week back after the failed op. He would have to give me the strength to get through the next 10 minutes.
2. It wasn't the family's fault I was going through what I am going through. As a member of the same Church, I should be able to rejoice with those who are rejoicing.

It wasn't easy. I had to fight back tears, but God was faithful and remained close to me as I prayed for the family. If this was a test, it was an unfair one!!! But I hope I was able to demonstrate the light of Jesus in that situation.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Understanding Jacob's Rachel

I'm a woman. What other purpose do I have, if I cannot give my husband children. I look at my sister, his other wife, and she has practically birthed a whole village as his heritage. And my maidservant, along with her maidservant followed suit - but he is my husband. In fact, it seems like every women - slave and free - around me is either pregnant or with babies and children hanging off their skirts. Every woman except me.

All my life, I have been preparing for womanhood... by womanhood, I mean motherhood, for the two are inseparable. That's what Ima* always taught as I was growing up. Everything I was taught was about looking after my husband, and looking after my children. It's the way Adonai designed my body. For motherhood. Everything was about motherhood. I just sit and watch the women around me fulfilling their purpose and being mothers. And my heart aches, for I cannot. I have not fulfilled my purpose as a woman. What other reason am I here except to give my Husband an heir... except my sister has beaten me to that, a few times over. I can't even give him a daughter to dote on, for she beat me to that too!

What else is there for me. I might as well have not been born. I have no future. My story, my heritage will die with me when I am dead. I can't even do that one thing which Ima told me was natural for every woman. Oh Lord, who am I? 

Jacob, give me children or else I should die. I have no purpose to you. I have nothing to offer you. GIVE ME A CHILD!

I don't know who I should be. There is no reason for my husband to be lumbered with me if I have no children to give him. I am cursed. I am not blessed. He is of a blessed heritage! I remember the stories he shared with me about his Grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac. Of the blessing of Adonai. Of the promises He gave for the future heritage He would bless them with. I am so obviously outside of that blessing, I might as well not even be here. Oh Adonai, that You would release me from this life. That You would release my husband from the burden of my barrenness. Oh Adonai, that You would take away this pain of not fulfilling the basic purpose for which You created me. Oh Adonai, I would rather die than never be a mother. 

Remember your husband's grandmother, Sarah.
Rachel, remember her story.
Remember how I redeemed her, fulfilled My purpose in her.
Do not fear, Rachel. Do not wish away your life. For greater things are yet to be birthed through you. Shalom, My daughter. Breathe in My Shalom.

*Ima is the Hebrew word for Mother

Lord, If You Are Willing...

The night following my release from the hospital, I was lying in bed. Completely numb from the news, with no real idea of how to process what the Surgeon had said. About how my procedure had been abandoned. How was I supposed to deal with this.

Lord, I told you I didn't want to go through this Operation if it wasn't necessary. Why am I lying here in pain from a surgery which didn't even work? How is this part of Your plan for my life?

And then, over and over, the following words just kept repeating in my mind... unrelenting:
"Lord, if You are willing, I know You are able*."

Even as Hubby came and spoke to me, he was saying a similar kind of thing, that although we may not understand what God's purpose is in all this, He is still God, and He is more than able to make a way for Bubba, where it seems like an absolute impossibility. And as Hubby spoke, over and over the same prayer, "Lord, if You are willing, I know You are able."

(*This is a verse found in Matthew 8:2, Mark 1:40 and Luke 5:12, when a man with leprosy approaches Jesus and says to Him, "Lord, if You are willing, I know You can make me clean")

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Laparoscopic Salpingostomy - Recovery

I know every woman's body is different, so my experiences probably won't be the same for everyone. This is just to give you an idea of how my body handled the recovery.

During the first 48 hours, I was coughing up blood, this as from the tube which was put down my throat during the operation, and is normal. It was quite dark, to start off with, but then became lighter. If it had continued, or had remained darker for longer, I'd have had to have it checked out, as this could be indicative of a chest infection, which can sometimes happen after an op.

About 3 days after the op, I was sat talking with my Sis-in-Law, and noticed a slight discomfort in my right shoulder. This was expected, as a result of the gas they use, to expand the abdomen, trying to escape. During the night while I was at the hospital, I did have a lot of gas escaping...!

I had some bloody discharge for about 5/6 days after the op. Again, this is normal, bearing in mind the area they were looking at and trying to operate on.

The sore throat from the tube lasted for about 10 days. I found I needed to drink a lot more than usual, to try and soothe my throat...and ice cream helped too!!! ;-)  But for the first couple of days, I mostly ate things which were soft and easy to swallow, after the issues with the toast on the ward!

I had three incisions in my abdomen. The one in the belly button is definitely the worst. The other two I hardly noticed. The nurse had changed the dressings before I left, as they were pretty yucky. I asked about showering and stuff, and she recommended I wash for the first few days, but then showering would be fine. She said, "Not the bath though, as this can increase risk of infection." The dressings were fine when washing, and when showering.

I took the dressings off the two "other" cuts after about a week, and kept checking the wounds and the stitches. As they were below my knicker line, I didn't really pull them or notice any issues. Two weeks on, the stitches haven't yet dissolved and the incisions seem to be healing well. The dressing over the belly button I tried to take off after a week as well, but noticed it had been weeping. I put on the spare dressing I had been given, to keep it covered, and also to protect my t-shirts!!! White t-shirts!!! I took off the dressing after 14 days, and it looks OK, though obviously isn't as clear as the other two cuts.

Internally though, I have no idea of how things are going. One of my friends who'd had a Laparoscopic salpingostomy a few months before me, advised me to make sure I rested, and to not lift anything heavier than a filled kettle. I found it easier when I was able to stretch out, and as Hubby and I have recliner sofas, this was easy to achieve, The nurse had said I would feel as though I wanted to hunch over as the wounds were healing, but to not do this. There were random times, like when washing up, or just standing talking to Hubby, when I would get sharp stabbing pains internally, and found myself hunching over.

For the first couple of days, getting in and out of bed was made easier by pressing a cushion, or a folded sheet on my belly as I sat up and stood up. This was something shown when I'd attended that per-op afternoon. And the cushion-thing helped a lot whenever I was in pain. On day 8, I went with Hubby to the shop across the road, and carried a couple of items back, but found when I got home I was in pain. On day 10, my Sis-in-Law picked me up and took me back to hers for a change of scenery. I found that quite uncomfortable, but using a cushion pressed against my belly helped, both while we were watching Kathrine Jenkins on tele, and in the car on the way home. On day 14, I tried to drive, thinking things would be OK, but after making a five minute journey into town with Hubby, and back, I was in agony with internal pains. I also tried to wear a pair of jeans - after 2 weeks in leggings and trakkie bottoms, which is sooooo not me - but found they were digging into the area where I was getting the most discomfort internally.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Laparoscopic Salpingostomy - The Result

So, I guessed something was wrong from the Nurse's response.
Turns out something was very wrong.

The Consultant explained to me what should have happened. Most blockages occur near the top of the Fallopian Tube, near the ovaries. Which can be operated on. Some blockages are in the middle of the Tube, which can also be operated on.

Then he said, "We tried to locate the blockage using the dye, ran multiple tests to try and find the source, so we could work on it for you. But we were not successful. The blockage in your case is much worse than we had expected. Your Tubes are blocked near the uterus, which I cannot access. I had to abandon the surgery. I am so sorry, this is really disappointing and not the news I wanted to give you both."

It turns out I had been in the operating theatre for more than double the allocated time, and the Surgeon had tried many different ways to try to sort out my Tubes.

It was such a shock. I was in tears. I wasn't expecting this. In all the preparation for the op, I had never once been told. or ever considered that the op wouldn't work and they would have to "abandon" the procedure. I had no idea how to process this. I had no idea how to respond.

"So does that mean we may never be successful?" I asked.

"I would never say never. The sperm is only minute, and doesn't require lots of space in order to travel toward the egg. But you are at high risk of an ectopic pregnancy, and as soon as you get pregnant, you would need to be checked. The best chance you have, really, is IVF."

"Is there anywhere which does Natural IVF?"

"Are you asking because of your problems with Clomind?"

I nodded.

"There is one place in Nottingham, which I can refer you to, if this is the route you choose to take. Think about it, once you have had a chance to recover from this, and from the shock. And if you do want me to refer you, just call."

I was numb.
My brother had accompanied Hubby, and he was gutted. "I'm so sorry Sis"

I think I spent most of the rest of the day in tears. How on earth am I supposed to even begin to deal with this news???? The Op had been abandonded. That was the actual word on the letter which my GP will receive. Abandoned. My body is soooo not as it should be. It seemed that along with the Surgeon... God had also abandoned my hopes of becoming Mumma.

Laparoscopic Salpingostomy - The Day Arrives

OK, so the idea of this is to give anyone who is facing their own Laparoscopic Salpingostomy procedure an idea of what to expect. 

I tried to stay in bed as long as I possibly could. Pulling the covers over my head in the hope that I could prolong the day a little. But alas, life doesn't work like that!

I was soon up, packed and ready for my Sister-in-Law to take me to the hospital. I was booked in for 11:30am ready for an afternoon procedure, which meant I couldn't eat after 8am. I'd actually woken up at around 7am, and made myself a slice of toast, just because I knew it was going to be a long day.

We arrived at the hospital and made our way to the Out Patients clinic. I had originally been booked onto the ward, but when I attended the pre-op assessment, it had been suggested I attend as a Day Patient instead of going on the ward. With hindsight, I wish I'd stuck with the original plan, as it would have meant Hubby could have stayed with me the whole time.

We went into the Outpatient Clinic and were invited to take a seat in the lounge area. A TV was playing the final hour of This Morning in the background, while my Sis-in-Law tried to distract me. After a few moments, a nurse came into the lounge and called my name. She introduced herself and said she would be looking after me for the day. I was led into the Outpatients Ward. It was basically a large room with three trolley beds across one wall, and four reclining chairs opposite. I was invited to take a seat in one of the chairs. There were two other ladies in the room, one coming around from her procedure, and the other was nervously waiting for hers.

The nurse explained that I would be speaking to the anaesthetist, but that I could go back out into the lounge to wait with Hubby and Sis-in-Law, if I wanted to. I texted Hubby and asked him to wait while I met with the anaesthetist. After about ten minutes, the anaesthetist came to see me, and invited me to follow her to her office. She spoke through the procedure, and reassured me that she would be with me the whole time. She described how I would be given the anaesthetic and monitored throughout the whole operation, to check I was OK, unconscious and not in pain! We discussed the difficulty my asthma may present, especially in light of the difficulty my Mother had when she'd undergone a hysterectomy (you will be asked about blood relatives having any problems with the anaesthetic, and my Mother had stopped breathing during her op) Then I went back out into the Lounge - This Morning was just finishing!

Sis-in-Law had left by this time, Hubby said he was staying until I was led back through for the actual procedure. I was so glad to have him there, I was becoming more anxious as time drew on, and his hand to hold was such a reassurance, especially as I knew he would have to leave.

The nurse came back and invited me into an office so she could go through a few final checks, including the pee test - even though I'd told her I was just finishing my monthly!! She check blood pressure, pulse rate etc. and checked through my information. She asked me, "So, why are you having this procedure?" in a very 'conspiratorial' kind of a tone, like we were friends discussing famous actors we might like! I told her Hubby and I had been trying for a family and it was hoped this would help to unblock my Tubes. I don't think she realised how old I actually am, until she looked at my date of birth! She reassured me that the Surgeon would do everything he could, and that he had scheduled me in for my operation last, which meant he wanted to take his time with me. She also said that he had requested a bed be booked for me overnight. As she ran the tests, we discussed the usual distraction questions about my job!

Hubby had nipped out to get us some drinks, and I asked if I had to stop drinking (Nil by mouth after a certain time) and she affirmed that now I had seen her, I couldn't eat or drink anything.

Hubby went to get himself some lunch, actually, we asked if we could both go for a walk, but the receptionist asked if I had seen the Consultant yet. When I said I hadn't, she asked me to wait in the waiting room until I had spoken with him. So Hubby went to get himself a sandwich while I waited. Alone. Watching the Hungry Sailors. Feeling hungry as I wasn't allowed to eat. Watching Hubby munch his lunch.

A little while later, a woman entered pushing a baby into the Lounge area. It turns out she was one of the nurses in the Outpatient Clinic who was on maternity. Oh... and then she was joined by a second new mum, also on maternity. They had come to show off their babies to their colleagues, and every member of the Ward come out to see the new arrivals.

The nurse came back through and said that the Consultant was in the area, and would be ready to speak with me shortly. Hubby and I were led into an office where we waited for about 20 mins. The nurse came back and apologised because the Consultant had left to operate on his next patient without coming through. Hubby wasn't impressed, but got a coffee out of it.

We were told that the procedure was booked in for an hour and ten minutes, at the end of the day. But the nurse couldn't tell us when I would be called through. So we went back out to the Lounge.

At around 3pm (Dickinson's Real Deal was just starting!), the nurse came to take me through to the ward, and to the bed which I could call "home" for the time I was in the hospital. Hubby was allowed to accompany me, to carry the bag with my overnight stuff which you are advised to bring. But he couldn't stay with me. So he gave me a hug, prayed for me and left.

I changed into one of those gorgeously fashionable hospital gowns, (the nurse had said, "please take off everything, including your underwear", but I decided to keep on my knickers until the last possible moment!!), put on my dressing gown, and sat on the bed. There were three other beds, but two other women in the ward with me. One had the curtain around her, she was still sleeping after her op. The other was dressed and as I waited, she had some relatives arrive, ready to take her home when she was discharged. the other bed had obviously been wheeled away with the third woman, as her belongings were neatly arrayed on the chair and bed table in her absence.

I sat reading for a while. And texted Hubby.

After about half an hour, a young female porter came to get me. I went to the toilet, removed my undies, and returned to the bed. I wasn't sure whether to sit on it, or lie down on it, while she wheeled me to the operating room. I chose to sit, and used a blanket to cover my legs. I really don't know how this young woman managed to wheel such a huge bed with me sitting on it. We narrowly avoided hitting one door, and I held open another for her!

It was at this point I suddenly became very afraid and very overwhelmed by what was happening, and with what was about to happen. I started to cry. I think part of it is that there is no control over what was happening to me. I was in the control of these professionals. I was incredibly vulnerable. And whilst I was under the anaesthetic, I would be completely vulnerable to whoever was in the operating room. This was really scary. Plus I wasn't sure about how intense the pain would be after. I reassured myself the God was with me, and that this would be OK, because it would increase the chance for Hubby and I to conceive.

The porter noticed I was upset, so she was really lovely. She wheeled me into the pre-op holding room (there was a gentleman on a bed already in there), and fetched a tissue for me, she then spoke to me and tried to reassure me that everything would be OK.

I was asked to move from the bed I'd been wheeled in on, to the actual operation trolley bed. After a few minutes, the anaethetist I had met earlier came over to my bed, and continued to reassure me while the tears kept falling. Uninvited!!

Then I was wheeled out of the holding room. My heart started pounding - and was much quicker than it had been up til this point! My Consultant came toward me at this point and helped with wheeling the bed. He was speaking to me about how he would do his best for me, and hopefully to help make Hubby and my dreams for a baby become a reality. I was taken into a little room where there were about four other people. Another anaethetist guy and some others... I don't remember who they were, even though I was introduced to each of them! The anaethetist guy started to squeeze my arm, in order to bring up the veins in my arm. He was very sweet and apologized for hurting me. I replied, "It's OK, you're not hurting me as much as she is about to!", indicating the Main anaethetist who had a needle in her hand and was inserting the cannula. She spoke about each stage before she did it, so I would know what they were doing. When she was about to administer the anaesthetic, she said, "You will feel a slight ache, and coldness in your arm as the anaesthetic goes in."

After that, I don't remember anymore. I know, because my consultant had told me beforehand, that I would have some of the same blue dye used during the HSG inserted to allow him to see where the blockage was.

Until I remember people shouting my name. And pain in my abdomen.

I opened my eyes, and saw the anaesthetist over me, trying to wake me. I noticed there was a clock above her head - it was 7:10pm. There were questions of "are you in pain". But I couldn't answer because of the pain, and just nodded my head. I tried to indicate it was my belly, and ended up crying because it hurt so much. There were like two different types of pain. One like a really really bad period cramps, and the other like sharp stabbing pains. They administered some morphine. I think I went back to sleep, because they were shouting my name again, "Does it still hurt?" I nodded, the tears still falling out o f my eyes, which I couldn't open. Someone said, "I've given her x amount of Morphine, but we need to give her more because she is still very obviously in pain.

I don't remember much after this. It's a bit patchy.

I was wheeled back on the ward. I remember seeing curtains being drawn around me.

The next thing I remember is Hubby and my Sis-in-Law sitting with me. I'm not sure how long they were there for. I ended up staying the night. And was administered more morphine in the early hours of the morning. I also tried going to the toilet a couple of times, but although felt the need to go, nothing was coming out. The night nurse scanned my bladder, to check there wasn't a problem. I was able to go on the third of forth attempt. I also had my blood pressure and pulse checked, on three occassions, I was advised to use the oxygen mask as my oxygen levels were low.

In the morning we were all woken at around half 6 and administered pain killers, then breakfast was served at around quarter to 8. My throat was painful from the tubes which were put down my throat during the operation. I tried to eat toast, because I had no idea of what was available and had heard another patient order it. This was soooo not a good idea! I drank loads of water instead.

The other women received their Consultants and were discharged. I hadn't seen mine, and was still there at lunchtime. I was given a towel and allowed to wash and get changed. I'd brought a pair of leggings to go over the wound in the abdomen, and needed to use sanitary pads, as there was blood following the procedure. Then I sat on the bed, and read.

Just before the food was served, the Main Ward Nurse came over to speak with me. She asked if I had seen my Consultant yet, and whether I had been discharged. I replied I hadn't. She went to get my notes, and said she would be able to change my dressings and then discharge me. When she came back with my notes, she pulled the curtain around me and asked, "What do you know about what happened to you?" I replied that I'd not spoken to anyone about it. She informed me that she would have to get the Consultant to speak to me, and off she went. Just as my dinner arrived. I started to cry. Again. Hubby arrived. And together, we waited for the Consultant.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Laparoscopic Salpingostomy - The Night Before

As the day of the surgery drew near, I was so grateful for the friends who occupied my mind and stopped me dwelling on the fears which threatened to overwhelm me.

Hubby was at work, he didn't finish til 11pm. Tuesday night is the night for our Connect Group (Home Group) meeting, and I went as normal, thinking I would go home and pack for the hospital before picking up Hubby from work.

I actually found it really hard to stay with what was happening during the meeting, and as we were sitting outside, I wore my shades which meant no one was really aware of me zoning out!! I wonder if that's why the celebs wear their shades so much!!

After the meeting, most people left really quickly, and I was about to follow suit, but the Connect Group leader - a friend who has been incredibly supportive through this journey, knowing from real experience how hard it is - asked me to wait so she could sow me some bits around the garden. A bit random, I know, but we'd actually talked about some of her plants earlier. So I stayed while they saw out the rest of the guests.

She showed me around the garden, and we discussed our plants, what worked for us, what wasn't working, and then her Hubby asked if I wanted a drink. When we sat back around the patio, we started to discuss the next day's event and how I was feeling about it. The discussion went on about their own experiences, and they were able to open up about the number of procedures she had had to endure, IVF etc.

As they spoke, I learned something new about them, about how one of the treatments had worked, but they'd lost their baby at 11 weeks. As the Hubby shared, I understood that for him, the pain of what his wife went through had as much of an impact on him as it had on her. Yet most people don't understand the Hubby's perspective - afterall, it's the woman who undergoes most of the physically traumatic experience. But for this man, watching what his wife went through, the joy of becoming pregnant, and the sadness of losing the baby still remain with him - even all these years later.

How often we forget about the Hubby's perspective.

By the time they finished sharing with me, and me with them, I was going to be late picking up Hubby from work. We'd had no idea of how late it was. But for me, this was the best way for me to spend the night before. Sharing with friends, in the presence of the Lord. As I got up to leave, the couple prayed with me, and I felt such a huge sense of peace as I left to pick up Hubby.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pre-Op Assessment

Oh joy of joys! The week of the operation has arrived. I have to admit, I'm still trying to bury my head in the sand... only because on the one occasion I tried to deal with it, and buy a dressing gown (with matching PJs) for the hospital, I nearly burst into tears at the checkout... and couldn't contain them while driving home! So I think it's safer for everyone, if I stay under the sand!!

Last week, I went for the Pre-Op assessment. I had no idea what to expect, and based my experience on an  older friend who had surgery for something completely different. This is sooo not a good idea.

I was so convinced I would have to have more blood tests and the like, that I worked myself up so much. Instead of resting in God, I allowed my mind to wander and think all kinds of crazy things.., and almost threw up in B&Q car park due to the nerves and anxiety. The procedure itself ended up being no where near as bad as I had billed it to be, in my head! In fact, it was a walk in the park!

My sister-in-law picked me up an hour before, so we could get parked, and grab a coffee before sitting in the waiting area of the Pre-Op clinic. It's always helpful to have someone with you, even to distract you during the times you have to wait. And she was brilliant at this.

So, coffee cup in hand, we arrived at the Pre-Op assessment clinic, and I registered with the nurse on duty. We then sat and waited for a while, to be called. The first room I entered (I visited three different areas in total) contained two female nurses. One was obviously still in training. I was weighed and measured (though they wouldn't let me keep my heels on for that bit) and then invited to take a seat in a chair. They asked the usual, "do you smoke, do you drink" questions, then asked if I'd ever been tested for MRSA before. The older nurse explained, "we need to take two samples from you. One from your nasal passage, and one from your groin." She then proceeded to use a cotton bud type implement to take the sample from my nose... which tickled a bit. Then she started to pull the curtain around the chair I was sitting on. "What I need you to do now, is to drop your jeans, and your undies, so I can take a sample from your groin. I will need to wipe the [cotton bud] on the skin between your vagina and anal passage."

Err.... ok!! Awkward!
That, though, was the worst part about the whole assessment.

As I was leaving, I was handed a sample tube and asked if I could produce a urine sample. As nervous as I was, that would not have been a problem at all!

We then went back out into the waiting area, where we continued our conversation.

The next person I saw was the consultant. He talked me through the procedure, and drew a diagram of the areas he was going to work on in my body. He was very gentle and clear in his explanation. He asked if I had any questions, but I couldn't think of anything. Always the way! I wish I had written down some of the things I had researched on Google! He said after the Op, he would discharge me, basically he was telling me there was nothing else he could do for me. And there were no guarantees the Op will bring the desired outcome for Hubby n me.

We went back out into reception and waited a but longer, before being taken into an office by the male nurse who had booked me in where I first arrived. As I picked up my bag, I muttered under my breath, "Oh, not a male nurse!" but actually, there was nothing involved which was awkward. Before you arrive for your appointment, you are sent a six page questionnaire to complete, asking about everything relating to your health, your family history, previous operations, complications, blood relatives complications etc.. So this nurse just went through the questionnaire with me, adding my answers onto the screen and asking for clarification where necessary. Like one of the questions was "Do you have any allergies?" to which I had written, "Clomid and dogs" He asked what Clomid was, "a fertility dog".. then he asked about the dogs thing. My Sis in Law started to giggle... dogs! I was like, "well you never know... one may appear in the operating theatre" the nurse replied, "I doubt it... not the four-legged variety anyway!" which had us all in stitches!

After that I was released until the day of the Op itself.