I recently discovered a new low in my infertility drama. A depth to which I had not plunged before. This wasn't a mood or an emotional collapse that had me wringing my hands and saying, "Ohhh". No. This was me being jealous of another infertile because she kept falling pregnant. Shocked?
Yes, me too.Apparently I have shed the last of my decent humanity in my attempt to create more, well, humans. My dear infertile friend may be falling pregnant two to three times a year, but she is also losing each and every one of these precious lives. How she puts one foot in front of another is absolutely beyond my comprehension and I think there should be some kind of public holiday in her honour.
My spasm of evil thought didn't really extend to the full depth of her issue. It was just a momentary flash of anguish that said, "At least you can fall pregnant." Nasty right? Isn't it funny how life's little dramas can convert you into a self-serving shrew?
I finally fell pregnant and even though I knew a miscarriage was a strong possibility and that my age (42) meant it was pretty much a given, I was so happy. I didn't say anything to anyone. Not even my husband. I was terrified that I would jinx it. Instead I had quiet time with a stick every, single day for six weeks. Every time I looked at the result I did the happy Snoopy dance.
The pregnancy test of choice was the one that sports a digital monitor and tells you how far along your pregnancy is, it is so advanced it can probably make you tea.
I spent an absolute fortune on these and started feeling a lot like Carrie Mathison from Homeland with a drawer full of pregnancy tests and nowhere to go. It's as if I knew that this was not meant to be and, when I told my husband I was pregnant, two days later I started to cramp.
Now, when the NHS website tells you that you are "cramping" it sounds a bit like you have a mild spasm going on and that you can pop paracetamol and carry on as usual. This is not what happened. I was at a soft play centre with my daughter and her best mate. I could barely breathe for the pain.
It felt exactly like labour, that grinding ache in your pelvis, and I called the hospital. Instead of compassion and understanding, I got rudeness and disinterest. I was told that it could be a miscarriage and that I had to come in for them to check. They didn't care that I was worried and scared and lonely. Instead I waited it out there in the noisy room full of laughing children, dropped the kids off with my friend and went to A&E. And that is where things got even more entertaining.
After a three hour wait (that was fine, obviously) the first doctor examined me, took my details and left me in the room with nary a word. An hour later another doctor came in. She had the wrong date. According to her, I was making it up because there was no way I could be six weeks pregnant. I gave her the correct date as worked out with my doctor and she examined me again. Yes, I looked pregnant, but was I sure? I mean, I am quite old and I can't possibly be six weeks pregnant. At this point I got fed up with being treated like I was some kind of psychotic lunatic and pulled out the pregnancy tests.
She said that my cervix was still closed and the pain may be nothing to worry about. I asked what I should expect and I was told that if it went to full miscarriage there would be more cramping and more pain. The next day the miscarriage became a reality and yes, there was the obligatory cramping and pain.
There was also blood and a large sac that contained the dead foetus and a scream that came from my heart and brought my husband hurtling into the bathroom. I have never been so horrified. I had no idea. I mean, I should have guessed at such a thing, but I didn't and the shock of it left me reeling.
Twenty four hours later I had to go into the hospital to make sure I had had a full miscarriage. I was forced to walk through the maternity ward. I was sat with the same rude nurse who had spoken to me on the phone. She called in her superior and they lectured me on my attitude. They hadn't liked the panic and anger in my voice during that first phone call. I was out of line.
I am not the only person to have received such callous treatment from the people who care for women in the throes of a miscarriage. On that day I stood up and I looked at these women and I told them what I thought. I asked them if they had ever spent years trying for a baby only to have the first pregnancy in all that time taken away from them? I asked them if they knew exactly how scared I had been? I reminded them of the hormones that race through a woman's body and what I was going through. They had the grace to look ashamed.
I can't look back on that without wishing I had been more proactive, done something more. I wonder if it was that third cup of coffee I had before I knew I was pregnant. Was it the exercise regime I had just started? I will never know. But I do know one thing. I know that my heart goes out to any woman who has had a miscarriage because it tears away a piece of you that will never grow back.
More on Parentdish: Miscarriage: Causes and support