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This Time Last Year…

Oops, I am a day late with this, thanks to returning home after almost a week away and not wanting to do more than curl up on the sofa with Tim and watch the colourised version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Can I just say that I thought it would be totally wrong to watch it in colour, and I shall definitely be watching it in the original black and white again before Christmas, but it really isn’t that bad!

Anyway, that being said, I am writing yesterday’s post today and shall write today’s post on Tuesday next week! So, without further ado, let’s get on with it.

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With the recent warnings of snow and the upcoming advent season (and the relaunch of my Advent Series), I couldn’t help but remember where we were last year…

This time last year, the above church was the view from our house.

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This time last year we lived in a village with neighbours who enjoyed entertaining so much that it became a regular occurrence for us all to take part in “Safari Suppers”, hosting others for one course and going on to another house for the next one.

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This time last year I spent glorious hours with Pippi, our neighbours cat, who would keep me company on the coldest and darkest of days when Tim was at work and I was home alone.

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And this time last year I had a job, which despite its demands and difficulties, meant I could provide for my own little family of two and enjoy a little bit of extra “splashing out” (read: a couple of presents and Christmas Dinner).

Outwardly it looked like I had the best of life: our home was cosy, and we both had work (a far cry from the year previous when we lived in a damp flat and had been on a single income for several months). But underneath it all I was falling apart.

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This time last year my outlook was bleak…

I was entering my second “pseudo-menopause” in just over a year

I was dealing with a certain amount of discrimination and pressure at work, thanks to my health

I was inconsolable, coming home after a day in the office and crying most of the night. Somehow I pulled myself together enough to get on the bus each morning a 7.30am, turn up to work with a smile on my face and deal with every single one of the difficult customers who entered our office, and then make the hour’s commute back home again before I would fall apart. But fall apart I would, and this time last year I hit my limit.

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Through sheer determination, we have made it to where we are today: married, trying to start a family, and therefore free of medication (on my behalf). Life is still hard, but in different ways. No matter what we face now, it is nothing compared to what we have already faced together, and I only have to look back to this time last year to know how true that is…

Outwardly it may seem like we have moved backwards, but inwardly we have made leaps worthy of the moon landing!

TTC: The First Step

For those of you confused by the title of this post, TTC stands for “trying to conceive”. There are a lot of these abbreviations on fertility and infertility blogs and forums and I know how confusing they can be to those of us “not in the know”, so I will try to keep the use of them to a minimum. However TTC is a main one I will use, as it is much quicker than writing “trying to conceive” every time.

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As I am sure you are all aware by now, Tim and I have been waiting until after our wedding to begin TTC. We had hoped to be able to discuss the removal of my mirena and other alternatives for helping with my Endometriosis symptoms with the gynaecologist before actually having it removed, however with my appointment being rescheduled a second time we decided we didn’t really want to wait any longer.

The are several reasons behind this. First, and most important, is the fact that we both feel ready. The second, and almost as important as the first, is the fact that even with a Mirena coil and no periods, new Endometriosis adhesions formed within a few short years between laparoscopies and we daren’t leave it too long after my last laparoscopy in 2009 before TTC. Each time the adhesions occur and surgery is performed, new scar tissue is created, which is entirely undesirable in any circumstances, but especially when TTC.

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There are other reasons too, including how my general health has been in previous years. The above photo was taken in December 2008, shortly after my first “pseudo-menopause” in the hopes of dealing with the return of my Endometriosis symptoms. I felt dreadful and cannot believe that I managed to survive another year of feeling that way as well as moving home twice, going through further treatments and commuting to and from work, meaning I was out of the house almost 12 hours each day.

When I gave up work and set up the Patch, it was to try and regain a certain level of “normalcy” to the way I was feeling, in hopes of being able to start a family further down the line. I reached what I call “breaking point” last Christmas and knew that something had to give and I would be damned if it had been my health and the prospect of having children. I still feel guilty at causing us huge financial strain by giving up work, but I know in my heart we made the right choice.

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Because here we are, in the run up to Christmas 2010, married and excited about having my Mirena removed so that we can begin TTC. No matter the strain of meeting each month’s rent and trying to make a success of my business (or finding part-time work), we couldn’t want for more than to be with each other, dreaming of expanding our little family.

Don’t get me wrong: I am also terrified. I am finally where I have dreamed of being all my life and now I am here it seems far more scary than I ever imagined. Part of that is due to the immensity of the situation and part of it is due to the fact that I am having the one thing removed that has ever truly helped with my Endometriosis symptoms.

I spent years trying different contraceptives and hormone treatments to deal with the Endometriosis, and those of you who have followed this blog for a while will know that the Mirena certainly didn’t protect me from all of the symptoms. But a lack of heavy bleeding each month certainly made a huge difference to my ability to cope long-term with things. I may also have cramps regularly throughout the month, but they never confine me to bed any more.

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But we’re looking to a future that will be bright and full of love and that is all that really matters right now. This blog will not become a running commentary on our TTC journey, but the occasional post will pop up. And don’t forget you can follow my series on the iVillageUK Pregnancy and Baby Channel if you want more regular thoughts on the matter of TTC with Endometriosis.

For now, though, please hold us in your thoughts as we take this first step in our TTC journey.