How can you be envious of someone over such an awful thing as a missed miscarriage?
I have been, and I felt like the worst person in the world. She was a friend. We both had missed miscarriages around the same time – where the baby dies inside you, but you have no idea and carry on oblivious until you either begin bleeding or have a routine scan where they tell you that they are very sorry, but there is no heartbeat. They were within weeks of each other and I was jealous about the support she had and how her husband acted during and after.
I felt utterly evil at the time, but I was so angry that she had people who cared about her. I was jealous that the first time I saw her husband afterwards the poor man looked devastated and was asking me what the best things he could do to help her through it were, what things had helped me and I just wanted to scream at him.
I was jealous that she had her mother and her husband with her at all the horrible, invasive, and frankly, quite embarrassing hospital procedures when I had to drag myself to and from mine on my own on the tube, feeling like death and had no one to hold my hand while I was crying my eyes out like a lunatic in the waiting room.
Instead of being told to pull herself together by her husband like I was, she was listened to by her husband who was as upset at losing their baby as she was.
Instead of being given two weeks to ‘wallow in self pity’ as I was after I had finally miscarried and got over the trauma of almost dying myself in the process, she was given all the time she needed.
I hated her for it and I hated myself even more for feeling the way I did.
Miscarriages are always awful. No matter early or late you lose a baby, you have still lost your baby. Miscarriages are up there with the worst things a woman can go through, but missed miscarriages are just plain evil.
You might even get to the point of already having an early scan, have seen its little heart beating and tiny, still forming legs and arms beginning to wave and kick around and then you get the wow moment and everything seems really real and it’s your baby already. And then you start thinking about names, and if this one will have your Granddad’s eyes too, and how many people will be annoyed if it’s a girl and you name it after your cousin who everyone thinks is odd. And if you have an older child as I did, you automatically think of this new baby as an extension of them and get excited about how similar or different they will be.
And then you have another routine scan, and you are all exited to see the baby again, to see how much they have grown.
And then all of a sudden, you are laying down with cold jelly all over your stomach and the sonographer is pressing the ultrasound transducer deeper into your skin and you just know. Partly because of their concerned face and partly because you know that even if you can’t see anything on the screen yet, you should be able to hear that fast, loud heartbeat.
And then you see it. They try to turn the screen away, but I tell them not to. The baby that you saw wriggling around the last time is just there looking like it’s in suspended animation. No movement, no sound.
“I am so sorry my dear – there is no heartbeat. You have had a missed miscarriage”.
Those words are the worst and you feel numb.
And unlike a miscarriage where you bleed and you have no idea, this time you know that your baby is dead and still inside you. You still feel pregnant. You might have even had your head down the toilet with morning sickness while waiting for the appointment and your belly might still have been growing and your boobs are still huge and sore.
Then the fear sets in. The baby is dead and it’s still inside you. It needs to come out. How will that happen?
No one really tells you anything, at least, at the hospitals I have been to. I was just sent away, told to go to my GP and get referred back to the early pregnancy unit.
I had to wait a week for the appointment, where I was scanned again. But because it was at a different hospital, their protocol was that I had to wait another ten days for a second scan to make sure the pregnancy had actually ended. Which was ridiculous and even the consultant obstetrician apologised and said how terrible it was and that he was sorry, and not very subtly suggested that I pay for a private consultation at the Marie Stopes Clinic to get the procedure over with.
I am an idiot, so I decided to wait it out and miscarry naturally, even though I was 14 weeks pregnant when the baby died. It took me four weeks to the day to start miscarrying. I could have had a D&C (like an abortion where the pregnancy is manually removed) but I was too scared of having a general anesthetic. So I waited.
In the end it turned out that I had to wait four weeks. Four weeks of walking around with the baby dead inside me, still feeling and looking pregnant and being expected to carry on as normal because as far as my husband was concerned, it was all done with, it was dead and at 14 weeks, it wasn’t a proper baby anyway. There was disbelief and anger on his part that I would dare to be upset at something that meant nothing to him.
I was forced to carry on as normal when I felt like I was having a breakdown. It was only two weeks into waiting when I broke down in the street when a child-minder I knew from the school gates asked if everything was okay that I could finally tell someone how I was feeling. For the next two weeks, she and another parent I confided in took my son to and from school for me, appalled that I was expected by my husband to just carry on when I was waiting to miscarry at anytime.
At home, I wasn’t allowed to mention it and I wasn’t allowed to cry and it was hell, so everything used to bubble up and I would burst out crying in the middle of Tesco or on the bus with everyone edging away from me like I was mad.
I had to go for trans-vaginal scans every few days to see how things were ‘progressing’, and to make that the body wasn’t decomposing and poisoning me, which at first I found mortifying, but I eventually got used to them. As much as you can get used to a stranger in a white coat shoving a glorified dildo in your vagina and wiggling it around (they even cover the ‘wand’ with a condom to keep it clean, so it’s quite bizarre).
The worst part is, you wait for these scans in the same waiting room as happy couples waiting for their 20 week scans, with them coming out of the room excitedly chatting after they have just found out the sex of their baby, while you are waiting to see if your dead one is on it’s way out yet or about to kill you.
By the time I had the last trans-vaginal scan I was a pro at them, and as I had no dignity left at that point, I was no longer embarrassed. It was done by a very handsome, very young doctor who abruptly asked told me to remove my underwear. I told him I’d usually expect to be bought a drink first, but as he was fit, I’d do it this one time. He went bright red and apologised profusely for his abruptness and merrily shoved the condom-covered device into me anyway. That was the first time I had laughed since the horrible situation had begun.
Four weeks to the day after that horrible scan where they told me my baby was dead, I started getting contractions. It led to the worst day of my life where I went into cervical shock as the body of the baby got stuck and almost died on my toilet, like Elvis but eating less cheeseburgers. Everything happened so frighteningly fast that by the time and ambulance arrived, I was on my way out as I had hemorrhaged and lost so much blood, my heart stopping in the process.
You think that that experience would have been enough to shock my husband into caring, right? Not a chance. I miscarried on the Saturday, had to leave hospital on the Sunday and was expected to be totally back to normal on the Monday morning. Only, I wasn’t. I had almost died and left my son without a mother at the same age I was when my own mother died, so I was wracked with guilt for not overcoming my fear of general anesthetics and just having a D&C on top of everything else. That was when he gave me two weeks to get over myself and get back to normal.
During those two weeks my friend called me to say she was having a missed miscarriage too. Seeing her treated with such compassion and kindness almost sent me over the edge and I wasn’t a very nice person for a while. I am not a jealous person, but seeing the kindness and care she got from her husband and how much he loved and cared about her, and how upset he was at losing their baby made me hate her for a while.
I have never apologised to her either. It ruined the friendship as I couldn’t bear to be around them again and seeing them support each other and even now I can’t read the spate of articles written by men about how their partners miscarriages affected them when mine didn’t care.