We spent the day with our Nigerian friends yesterday, and as usual, had a wonderful time. We celebrated my godson's birthday, and our football-themed birthday card, England World Cup replica shirt and mini World Cup replica football went down well - his cake was also decorated to look like a football, and as soon as he'd opened his present he put on the shirt and started playing keepy-uppy with the ball.
In the evening, the boys went off to play upstairs and my friend broached the subject of our IF issues, which I had told her about on the phone last week. Her husband is a highly experienced obstetrician, so he took a professional interest and wanted to know all the details of our treatment and what's happening next - and declared himself very satisfied with the approach the new clinic is taking.
They talked more about their own struggles to conceive - one of her losses, not long before I met her, was at 18 weeks, and I had to hold back the tears as she told us about it and described the clinical, unfeeling attitude of the doctor she saw that day.
They also talked about the miracle of their middle son - after two miscarriages, the cause of which was clearly an incompetent cervix, my friend's husband was very insistent that she should have a stitch in this pregnancy to keep her cervix closed. The hospital where she was having her antenatal care didn't agree, and first the registrar and then the consultant refused even to examine her.
Her husband went with her to an appointment and insisted that they should at least check her cervix, and eventually, just to shut him up, the consultant did a scan. Her cervix was wide open, and one of the baby's legs was already poking down into the birth canal. She was instantly rushed to theatre, where a stitch was put in.
And my friend's husband triumphantly finishes the story (this wasn't the first time I'd heard it) with the words, "And those few moments of me being there resulted in this fine young scholar who is doing so well at school that I burst with pride whenever I hear from his teachers."
We talked for a long time, and when I said it was time for us to leave, my friend said to her husband, "We must pray over them."
He instantly agreed, and we joined hands in a circle while my friend prayed fluently and lengthily, her husband regularly interjected with a loud "Amen", and DH and I shuffled our feet and cleared our throats in that excruciating form of quiet embarrassment that we British specialise in. Our own prayer is silent and private, but we appreciated the thought and the concern that our friends have for us.
And then we left, and as we got into the car my friend's husband thrust an envelope into DH's hand. It turned out to contain a very sweet card, assuring us of their continuing prayers, and a very generous gift of £100 towards the cost of our treatment.