Argh. I’ll keep this short, but I had an incredibly frustrating experience at work today and need to vent. Maybe I’ll write a whole post about it someday, but one of the difficult things about second trimester miscarriage is that you don’t get to choose who to share your news with, so you wind up having to deal with a lot of clueless and insensitive responses.
I was in the department office getting a new piece of chalk before my class. I ran into a retired engineering professor who has been working intermittently for the last 9 months or so on restoring a large and complicated piece of equipment in our department.
He was the first person at work I told about my pregnancy, out of necessity. The day after I found out I was pregnant, I came into work and he was spraying a chemical on a piece of equipment in the hallway directly outside my office door. The fumes were strong in my office. I pulled him aside, told him that it wasn’t common knowledge yet but that I was pregnant, and asked if he could do any necessary chemical-spraying in some of the more isolated areas of the building. He congratulated me, agreed to do the spraying elsewhere, and promptly told me a horror story about his daughter’s birth experience (welcome to pregnancy… everyone wants to tell you their horror stories).
Today as I was rummaging in the supply closet for chalk, I said hello — he hadn’t been in the department since the end of the summer, a few weeks before my daughter died. Here is my best reconstruction of the ensuing conversation:
Him (brightly): “I see that you are no longer with child!”
Me: “Unfortunately my baby died when I was four and a half months pregnant. I had a placental abruption.”
Him: “That’s very common.”
Me: “No, it’s not, actually. There was a less than 1% chance of it happening.”
Him: “Well, maybe the specific thing that happened to you. But a lot of conceptions end in death.”
Me: “Usually not as late as mine.”
At this point I’m realizing how bizarre it is to be arguing with this guy that what happened to me was bad. I also need to start my class. So I grabbed my chalk, started walking out, he expressed his condolences, I thanked him, and I went to teach my class, feeling shaky and weepy.
It’s been over four months since my daughter died. How many times do I have to do this?!
To end on a positive note, I’m very excited that I only have to wait until Monday for the hysteroscopy to figure out what’s going on with the mass in my uterine cavity and hopefully to get it removed. It really feels like progress, but at the same time I’m anxious about finding out what it is and how long I need to wait to heal before we can start trying to get pregnant again. Wish me luck…