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.