On sitting in a room filled with pregnant bellies

This has been a tough week.

On Tuesday I had to go in for a last-minute Endometrial Biopsy. I’m having surgery in about 10 days, and this is a new requirement for it.

I am no longer able to have children — we’re not sure why but at 43 I have to accept that my oven is no longer in working order. I got my tubes tied three months ago so I could have an Endometrial Ablation since I’ve been dealing with the Red Tide from Hell for several years — seriously, I don’t get to sleep through the night for one week out of every three due to these issues.

I think if I hadn’t been TRYING to get pregnant the whole last year, the bellies around me in the waiting room wouldn’t have been so hard. But I’m going in to forever sever my ability to have biological children, and so seeing them gets to me.

But this time, my self-absorption was interrupted by a couple, crying, clinging to each other, coming in and sitting down to wait for an appointment that was being worked in. I knew what all that meant. Maybe she was bleeding. Maybe more had already happened. No matter what, sitting among all the bellies was harder for them than it was for me.

A lady across from them took out a long string of ultrasound pictures and the poor girl turned her face into the boy’s shoulder and sobbed harder. I kind of wanted to snatch the sonograms from her and stuff them in her purse. Couldn’t she see how hard this was? The couple was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER.

But the blissfully unaware are just that — unaware. We have to forgive them for what they don’t know and be glad that not everyone has to know of this sort of bone-deep grief.

So tell me:

What were some of your waiting room experiences?

I’ll be writing Corabelle and Gavin’s story after their loss. Corabelle has to go for her followup, alone, because Gavin has taken off and no one knows where he has gone.

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32 thoughts on “On sitting in a room filled with pregnant bellies

  1. Jenny Woehler

    One week after my D&C I had to go in for my post-op appointment, sitting in that waiting room was awful, almost worst than the D&C itself, the few other women in the room had big bellies, all I could do was hold my purse close and look down so I didn’t have to look at them… And I was sobbing the whole time till I finally got called back, which felt like an eternity. I am still working threw the whole testing part of why I m/c twice in a row, so I still have to wait in that same waiting room in a regular basis, it is still not easy to have to see other pregnant women, when I know that I am not one of them anymore..

    1. Deanna Post author

      I totally get how you feel, Jenny. Thanks for sharing. That’s a powerful image of you holding your purse close and looking down.

  2. Jennifer

    I had a similar experience you did. I had to get a hysterectomy for severe bleeding! We had already had a miscarriage and a stillborn son. I had to be on the mother baby floor at the hospital and hear all of the announcements of babies being born, and hearing them cry. It was very tough. I was finally able to have my daughter (obviously before hysterectomy) with going to the doctor every 2 weeks and I had to give myself shots 3 times a day. I know people are not purposefully mean, but they do not know the grief unless you live it. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless

    1. Deanna Post author

      I have often imagined what it must be like to have a stillbirth on the maternity ward. I was never in a hospital for my losses. I will need to address this on its own, I think. I’m sorry you’ve gone through so much. Hold that little girl close.

  3. dina dolley

    After I lost my baby boy on the 21 January 2013, I went for my 6 week check up. Sitting there a couple came out and are all happy because they found out they are pregnant. The receptionist asks me loud in front of everyone, what are you doing here for your 6 week check up when your baby is due now, obviously everyone looks at me because there is no belly, so I had to shout from where I was sitting that I lost my baby. Not one person came to me and said sorry or even gave me a hug. I got treat like a alien. No body understands the pain and anger you feel inside.

    1. Deanna Post author

      Eek. That’s terrible! Wow. I would write them a letter letting them know how you were treated. I have found they often do talk about this in staff meetings and how they can change.

  4. Lindsey

    I had went to my ob/gyn because I hadn’t felt my baby girl move in a couple days and when I was there it was discovered she had lost her heartbeat and would be stillborn. I had to then walk out into the waiting room full of happy, pregnant women, while my husband and I walked out sobbing in tears. I was then admitted to the hospital to induce the delivery, which was on the maternity floor but very quiet and private. After 48 hours of labor and nothing, they did a c-section which after that I was moved to an ob ward which was below the maternity ward and all I could hear all night were heartbeats and mothers giving birth!!! Yes, this made my nightmare worse than it already was! I had to stay in the hospital for a few days post surgery and I had to walk all the time and all I saw were pregnant woman walking around and parents leaving with their newborns. I was finally released and when leaving so were other new parents, except they left with their babies and I left with empty arms.

    I then had my 6 week follow-up, which was a nightmare. Bellies and babies everywhere!! And talks of ultrasounds and finding out the gender. And to date, the bellies are still everywhere I go! It has been 7.5 months since I had my little girl, and still not pregnant, which I have had multiple visits to my ob/gyn for, so the nightmare is never ending.

    1. Deanna Post author

      Oh, Lindsey, things are so hard for you right now. I’m so sorry. Just do the best you can. You’ve been through so much that you can’t help but be stronger even though I’m sure you feel very vulnerable and weak. You can do this. You will never forget your baby, but you will get through this. Hugs.

  5. AJ

    The day of our first ultrasound at 6.5 weeks was filled with excitement. There were lots of pregnant bellies at all different stages in the waiting room. We could see there were other couples there waiting for their first ultrasounds, too and we were encouraged when they would come out smiling with sonogram pictures. However, we didn’t get the opportunity to come out into the waiting room beaming. At 6.5 weeks, our sac was only measuring 4 weeks. That was Mar 20th. In the following weeks of waiting, HCG level checking, more ultrasounds and eventually bleeding, our pregnancy was declared a miscarriage on April 4, 2013. On that day, the tears were searing into my cheeks as I came out into the waiting room and saw those pregnant bellies. In the weeks of waiting for the miscarriage to happen naturally; which, of course, it didn’t; pregnant bellies and newborns were everywhere. They seemed to magically appear to taunt me. Sometimes, I would just have to walk out of a room. Or hide in bathroom stalls to cry for a bit until I could calm down. The hardest day was 2 weeks after the miscarriage was declared my church was having baby dedication sign-ups. (They have baby dedications about 4 times a year). But why did it have to be now!?!?! Ultimately as anembryonic pregnancys tend to go (like 90% of them), I had to have a D&C on April 29, 2013. It was terrifying. I had never had a surgery in my life. I had never been “put under” for anything in my life. It was beyond what I could mentally and emotionally handle. About 5 days after my D&C, my hubby, mom and I went to an outdoor farmer’s market. There were lots of strollers there and adorable pregnant ladies. I tried avoiding looking at them at all costs, but it was impossible not to see them. Over time since the surgery, I am less bitter about those bellies and baby commercials and infants, but it still hurts. The emotions aren’t as raw anymore so they are easier to control.

    1. Deanna Post author

      AJ, thank you for sharing your experiences. I hope you saying that you are doing better will be helpful to those who still feel like they will never feel better.

      I was ushered out the back door after we found out my baby (at 20 weeks) didn’t have a heartbeat. It spared me the bellies for that moment, but also made me bitter, as though we had to be ushered out the back way to avoid upsetting anyone.

      1. Kristin

        I was ushered out the backdoor with my first m/c as well. I was torn between being grateful for the privacy and bitter that all those happy people wouldn’t see my grief. But for all the followups over the next 6 weeks and for my second m/c, I had to go out the main exit with all the bellies and babies. Then I wished I could have gone out the backdoor.

  6. Kelly Brown

    I called last Monday morning because I wasn’t feeling any movement. The nurse told me to high-tail it up to the doctors office. They immediately took me to the back and when they weighed me I knew. I had lost 4 lbs in 5 days since my last visit. They hooked me up to a fetal monitor and the doctor couldn’t hear the heartbeat. He said not to worry, let’s get a better look. They then took me to a room with a sonogram and couldn’t find a heartbeat there either and saw no movement. The doctor hugged me and told me how sorry he was and the nurse waited with me till my husband showed up to take me home. I delivered my baby two days later as I was 7 months along and can’t stand to be in a room with pregnant women or babies. We went back for my follow up yesterday and the doctor informed us that the pathology lab found that my baby had down syndrome even though we tested early on for it and it came back negative. I picked up my little angels remains yesterday. This has been the hardest two weeks of my life. Please tell me it gets easier?

    1. Deanna Post author

      Kelly, it does get easier. It never totally goes away, but life does become manageable again.

      You’re in the worst part of it right now. Just do the best you can to take one hour at a time. Only when you look back on where you’ve been will you start to see how far you’ve come.

      Sending you love and strength.

  7. Chrissie

    Even the thought of this can still bring tears to my eyes and its been 7 years since my last loss. It upsets me and annoys me in equal measure that to this day women have to share the same waiting room as those heavily pregnant. I’ve had 3 losses and with each I had a follow up scan to ensure the womb was empty. Sat there knowing you have lost your baby, surrounded by big bellies going for a 20 week scan, is something nobody should have to cope with. I remember doing everything I could to avoid looking – pretending to read a leaflet, looking at the paintings on the wall, hunting for something imaginary in my bag, absolutely anything to avoid glancing in their direction, hoping that nobody would see the tears fall, that huge lump in my throat, knowing I could break down at any moment. It’s a horrible situation, one that nobody ever deserves to deal with.

  8. Maria Stokes

    At my 7 week 5 day scan we were told that all 3 of our triplets had died. My husband and i were inconsolable, this was a 3 year try at having a baby through ivf with perfect embryios ( donor eggs) . We were sent into the waiting room where there was a couple sat infront of us showing their perfect scan photos of their
    Healthy baby. My husband and i could not hold back the tears. Its awful to be made to sit in a waiting room full of happy and pregnant mums to be when you have just been given the most awful news.

  9. Raelynn

    I still have issues going into the ob/gyn office.. I had to go back after my loss to make sure everything was gone… and I sat there for 45 mins watching all these pregnant women or women with 6 week old babies coming out with huge smiles and talks of labor and delivery or how far along they were and gender…

    I’m still feeling like this will never get easier. “/

    1. AJ

      Raelynn, my first follow-up appointment after my miscarriage was declare was aweful. I basically was having a panic attack from the time we drove into the parking lot. Then, I was put into the same room as the appointment I was told I was losing my baby (this room painted orange). My heart was racing. My 2nd follow-up appointment they put me in a different room (this room painted lavender). The lavender was way more calming and didn’t have the edge of emotions of the orange room. I’ve been bounced around to other rooms since, so asking for a different room is pretty normal- do that if it helps. Any with each appointment it does get a tiny bit easier each time. I can go there without feeling like I will have a heart attach now.


    After my first of three miscarriages, my doctor wanted me to have an ultrasound to make sure all of the tissue was out. It was only a week since I passed the sac and baby and I dreaded going to the Dr to begin with. Of course, on that day, the room was filled with happy women rubbing their “oh-so-pregnant” bellies, and I was left empty inside. I sat down and tried my best to ignore all the joy around me. One woman sat down beside me and asked “So, how far along are you?” Trying not to cry, I turned my head as if I didn’t hear her at all. I couldn’t talk about my loss to my closest family yet, let alone a stranger. Finally I get called back to registration. I had my papers from my Dr that specifically noted on the top “Spontaneous AB check for tissue and hcg levels”. I handed my papers to the woman behind the registration desk and she asks me “How many weeks are you?” I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I was so angry, not just at her for her insensitivity and obvious lack of competence to do her job properly, but angry at the world for my baby being gone. I looked at her and said in a not-so-nice voice “I had a miscarriage, read your papers!” She apologized over and over, but I was done with her. I ignored her apologies and went in for my ultrasound. This was in October 2011. As fate would have it, in May of 2012 I was sitting there in the same office, waiting for the same ultrasound after miscarriage #2. I ignored the happy pregnant women once again, this time though I felt a bit stronger. I went into the registration office and who is behind the desk? Yep, the same insensitive, incompetent woman as last time! I sat down and handed her my papers, hoping she would just do her job and not talk at all. Apparently she did not learn anything from our first experience together because once again she put her foot in her mouth as she asked “How many weeks are you?” This time though, I took a deep breath and tried to not lose my cool. I said to her “You know, you asked me that in October after my first miscarriage and now you are asking again after my second miscarriage. It plainly states in big letters on the top of the ultrasound order that I had a loss and that the ultrasound is to check for any tissue left behind and that I need blood drawn to check hcg levels. Maybe you should actually read over the lab order before you open your mouth next time.” She apologized like crazy and this time SHE looked like the one who wanted to curl up in a ball and cry!

  11. Natasha

    Omg, it was the worst experience I ever had at a Dr. Office. It was six months ago but I can remember it like it was yesterday. On friday November 29, I went to the emergency room because of heavy bleeding. I get to the emergency room at 9am and have to wait till 11 to be seen by the ER doctor because she don’t come in till that time. The whole time waiting, I’m in pain from the heavy clots that was passing and the mild contractions. When the Dr. gets there she having a hard time trying to find my cervix so she had to get another Dr. To come in to find it and to see if the baby had an heart beat. By this time, I a felt violated because they did it several times and then they sent me to the X-ray room to check also. I sat in the hospital for 4 hrs for them to tell me to go to my obgyn. I had to wait the whole weekend because they wouldn’t take me till that Monday. During the weekend it finally came down and passed. So, I’m hurt because its my first and I’m 32 years old and it feel like God took a gift from me. Well Monday comes and no call from the Dr. Office to schedule me to come in on that day, by noon I had to call them and remind them. They schedule me and appointment and 2 hrs later call me back to change it. I get to my obgyn for my appoint. While I was sitting in the waiting room; it was so many women coming in with their newborns or women that were coming in for their weekly visit. They had me sitting there in the waiting room for a hr after my appointment with tears flowing. I felt with my situation they could had at least put me in a room till I was being seen. The Doctors there were not sensitive to my situation and I refuse to go back not even for a follow up. It was the worst day of my life.

  12. wendy

    My loss was 3 years ago at 8 weeks, 4 days. It was difficult to sit in the waiting room awaiting the results of the ultrasound that I knew wasn’t good. I was pretty wrapped up in worry, so it didn’t bother me as much. The biggest slap in the face was having to go back for my follow up 2 weeks after my d and c. To this day, I really wonder why they don’t have separate waiting rooms for those going through this trauma. I don’t remember any specific situation from that day, except some big bellies and happy couples. It was very upsetting. Much of my difficulty came after, with day to day situations, such as friends being pregnant, being invited to showers, running into people who were due when I was.
    I feel for everyone here who took the time to write comments it’s so difficult..

  13. Robin

    I remember sitting in a very busy doctor’s practice with women full of bellies of baby while I was waiting for my husband’s sperm to be washed so the doctor could inject it back into my uterus. This was after enduring many follicle inducing medicines, ultrasounds to monitor follicle production and ovulation visits. My life for an agonizing year and a half was full of these visits. Sitting in a huge waiting room with big bellied woman sharing sonogram pictures with each other..discussing baby names, nannies, etc. I started sitting in the hallway instead of the waiting room. My very last IUI agonizing visit, I was sitting in the hallway and my OB walked past me and looked at me with a puzzled expression and said, “Hi, what are you doing here today?” Hello dude, I’ve only been in your office week after week for months trying to get pregnant. Thankfully this last cycle “took” and ended with a successful pregnancy and birth of our beautiful youngest son. I switched OB for insurance reasons after this only to sit pregnant in a new doctor’s office with more pregnant women I actually knew. My pregnancies with this new doctor ended in miscarriages. Doctor’s offices really should offer 2 waiting rooms..this probably isn’t financially feasible for doctor’s, but it sure would provide a lot for the mental health for their patients trying to conceive or in the middle of a miscarriage.

  14. Tara

    It had taken me years to get pregnant, several different Drs and different fertility meds. Finally I was pregnant for the 1st time. Before the 1st trimester was over I was told there was no heartbeat and would miscarry soon. I couldn’t believe my ears. When I returned the next time to have an ultrasound done of my uterus to figure out why I didn’t carry I just couldn’t sit in the waiting room. I had tears in my eyes and asked the receptionist if I could wait on the other side of door. I’ve seen 2 chairs next to a drinking fountain before and so they gladly let me wait there. As I sat there I cried even more just because I was going through this and also noticed almost directly in front of me was the board of baby announcements and pictures of babies delivered by the staff. I am thankful my dr met me out there, sat right beside me, and told me he has high hope for and not to give up. I was always upset and jealous of seeing pregnant people while I was trying and sometimes still do though I was eventually blessed with a healthy girl. My husband was our rock and always positive when I was not. He reminded me constantly how I will never know if some of the persons out there I was jealous of went through infertility and/or loss as well.

  15. Ariel Callaghan

    I had been crying all weekend because I knew I was losing my first baby, and that Monday afternoon in the OB’s office was unbelievably horrible. Honestly, I don’t remember that much of it. I know I was sitting there for at least an hour, and I remember bursting into quiet tears every now and then, but I don’t know how I passed all that time. I sat in the corner and tried not to look at anyone or draw any attention. I was ashamed, so ashamed, because my body had betrayed me and rejected the baby I loved so much. All those women with pregnant bellies had been able to grow their babies, so what was wrong with me? Was my body defective? I felt so empty, so conscious of the fact that my baby was dead. All those pregnant women were physical manifestations of the hopes I had had when I saw that positive pregnancy test. And now that hope was gone.

  16. Jen

    It will be seven years this coming July that we lost our son Jayden.He was a full term stillborn.I remember having to go back to my OB’s office for various reasons.Everytime it was heart wrenching.I went on to have two healthy children but it is still uncomfortable for me to go to that office and hospital.If I did not have such a good Dr.I probaly would have switched.My heart aches for any one who has to go through a loss.It does get better with time but I still seven years later feel cheated.

  17. AJ

    I did want to share 2 good things that happened with OBGYN office:
    1) On 4/4 when my miscarriage was declared, the office didn’t charge us for that visit. The “check out lady” as a call her just said to me “no, you don’t own anything, just go home and try to have a good weekend.” To me, it was a very sweet gesture.
    2) In all our follow-up appointments through to the D&C while we were in the waiting room with pregnant bellies, we never had to wait more than 10 minutes. Sometimes we were even taken right in. This was also a welcomed blessing when my nervous were shot just by coming to the office.

  18. Ashley Z.

    2 days after my loss I had to go in and find out the blood results to see if my body had caused this late miscarriage. Actually I was blessed b/c there was not a pregnant belly in sight. Now doesn’t mean that one woman wasn’t pregnant just not visable. But I just could not sit there knowing I was not there for a prenatal checkup I was there to find out if I had caused my son to die. I walked to the front and told the lady I would be outside that I just could not be in that waiting room if they called me that’s where I was. So I walk outside and see this beautiful solid blue butterfly fluttering around a vehicle and I broke down. Almost 2 years since my loss I have never seen another one. I didn’t have many emotions b/c of shock and just mentally blocking what happened out. I was blessed to get pregnant again and while I was sitting in the OB office waiting to have a 6 week u/s and make sure I did not have a sch again 2 ladies were 30 and 34 weeks pregnant and oh my goodness were they complaining!!! I could do nothing but roll my eyes. It was terrible. They both were ready to have these babies and they would have been premature. I’m thinking I lost my son at 17 weeks I would feel blessed to make it that far but even more blessed to make it to term. I looked at my husband and asked what he thought and he said the same thing I was thinking. One woman had 4 children. It’s amazing the stuff women share 🙂 that day we received bad news I had another sch. Which sent me to a high risk doctor. Now this was an experience that ripped my heart apart. As I was sitting there and I was so early no belly a lady walks out alone with a huge pregnant belly and was just putting tears. She left then 30 mins later she comes back and needs an excuse for bed rest. My heart broke into a million pieces. She was ALONE and had received terrible news. I have no idea what but it wasn’t good. While sitting there I had a couple beside me. They were mid to late 30s and she had this small cute baby bump. They were called back and later on (I had a very long wait) the man comes out and is in tears. He was crying as hard as the first lady. My heart broke again and needless to say I wanted to run and never come back. I wanted to hug the lady and gentleman (never saw his wife) and tell them it was ok. I’m a spiritual person and I wanted to grab their hands and pray. I don’t know what they were facing. If one was facing a loss or if there was something physically wrong. Who knows but in that moment I wanted to be a comfort. I KNEW what it was like to face not just a loss but bad news. I’ve always had a big heart but losing my son and having that experience put me in a better position to actually FEEL the pain. So hard to describe. But those were my experiences after my loss

  19. Katie

    My story began after we lost our son Joseph a 23 weeks. We went in for a checkup and there were several pregnant women in the lobby. One particular couple set out to us. Very very loudly the friend of the pregnant woman said Your baby is the size of a avocado and I hate avocados I want to punch you in your stomach! I can’t believe the nerve of some people. Now that comments will haunts me every time I have to going back that office.

  20. Kim

    My miscarriage experience led me to switch doctors. I was pregnant after my 6th attempt with IUI. We were thrilled. My first ultrasound was done with my RE, a heartbeat was detected, but it was low at 89. My doctor wanted it to be at least 100. He told me to follow up with my OB and have an ultrasound 3 days later. At the second ultrasound, a heartbeat could not be detected. It was very busy at the dr’s office, and the scan was done by a tech rather than the doctor. The tech told me to go ahead and change, have a seat in the lobby, and she would see if my doctor was available to see me. I remember sitting out in the lobby full of pregnant women, wondering how cruel to be put in there to wait. I sat and cried. About 15 minutes later, the receptionist approached me and offered me a private room. While continuing to wait for the doctor, my cell phone rang and I had a voicemail. I checked it. It was the local hospital calling to schedule my D&C. What? I hadn’t even talked to my doctor! Needless to say, it was a horrifying experience. There was no compassion.

  21. Jennifer

    The hardest thing for me was after arriving in the emergency room in the middle of the night, completely stunned and knowing in my heart that my baby was dead, the first doctor to examine me was very pregnant. She was the one to ultimately confirm the miscarriage. The irony was a little hard to take.

  22. Meagan

    I blogged about my experience. It was tough. No one said anything to me until my dr came in. She was amazing. I was a crying mess so I went out the back door. I have a question too. I know I should wait to test 15 dpo but not sure if I can wait that long. What pee is better for pregnancy test? First morning pee or don’t drink water for a few hours during the day pee? Here is my blog post http://megs7827.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-happened.html?m=0

  23. Christina

    With my first miscarriage I went in to the local ER twice. The second trip was in the middle of the night because I couldn’t take the pain anymore. The jerk that was on call did the roughest pelvic exam I’ve ever had in my life. When he came back in with the blood test results he wouldn’t make eye contact and seemed like he was in a rush to get out of the room. He couldn’t bother to prescribe pain meds.
    With my second miscarriage I had to go to the on post(military) laboratory to have my blood drawn. The waiting room was full of pregnant women waiting to do their Glucose testing. I was sitting in the front row so I didn’t have to look at most of them. Glucose testing has a special letter code and they are given priority. There was a woman sitting in front of me with a car seat on the floor. She was rocking it with her foot and after a while she pulled a very young baby boy with a head full of hair. I put my head down and started bawling. It took at least an hour to get out of there. My appointment was later that afternoon. The female officer that was the doctor/NP came in and lectured me of the female reproductive system and rattled off some generalizations about the female body. She said that the office would not consider any testing or supplements unless I have another miscarriage. She also said that she didn’t think I will have another miscarriage since I have two living children.

  24. Chelsea

    Seriously, how hard would it be to have a small, separate waiting room for women whose pregnancies are not going well? With a separate hallway whose walls are not covered in baby and pregnant belly pictures. I’ve had 2 ectopic pregnancies in the past 4 months and going into the office for follow-up labs once a week for a month after the injection has been horrible.