lesson in gratitude

I wrote a little narrative about the whole event for my online support group…


Just got electricity back after 48 hours without it. At least it wasn’t out for a full week like we’d expected. WARNING: Lots of TMI below.Β  It’s about a miscarriage, so be forwarned.

My next death metal band is going to be named “Blackout miscarriage.”

We lost power on Friday, which was the same day we had the ultrasound and found out there wasn’t a fetal heart rate anymore. We had to have it at Advanced Radiology with a technician and doctor we’d never met… that sucked:
Me: “Do you see a heart beat?”
Technician: “Let me let you talk to the doctor.”
We knew. How can you NOT know when someone gives you that freakin’ nightmare answer? “Let me let you talk to the doctor.” (My ass. If I wasn’t in stirrups right now, I’d ram this probe up your rectum and make you say that again…. Temper, Cannady… temper….)

Because it was a Friday, my midwife said we wouldn’t find a doctor who would be available to do a D&C procedure… so I’d have to wait, and if the “cramps or bleeding got severe,” I could “just” go to the E.R. Riiiiight. More on that in a minute.

Silly me – I wasn’t worried. I’d had a miscarriage before, and it was no big deal. Just felt like a heavy menstrual period that first time. And this time, I was only just barely spotting and cramping on Friday, so I thought… “No big deal.” (In retrospect, I have to point out – there is a big difference between miscarrying at 6 weeks and miscarrying at 10-almost-11 weeks.) I walked around the rest of the day, singing the Ramones’ “Pet Semetary” as an ode to my uterus. My uterus IS the Thunderdome. TWO MEN ENTER, ONE MAN LEAVES. Except that really makes no sense whatsoever.

Friday night, I was OK. Had some wine, and relaxed. Talked with DH and a visiting friend, and we were dealing with the emotions. Enjoyed watching the massive storm from our porch. Talked about the power of nature, and felt like life was still pretty awesome, despite our bad news. The power went out, and we went to bed in the heat.

But then Saturday night rolled around. The cramps started to get stronger. So I tried to stay busy, cleaning the bathroom (in candlelight, no less). And then I realized my cramps were coming more and more often, and much more strongly.

While I was expecting a bit of “discomfort,” holy hell, I was not expecting to basically GO INTO LABOR. OH. RIGHT. LABOR. I was too hot, soaked in sweat from pain and the 95 degree temps outside… but couldn’t talk… tore off my clothes. Called my DH, who found me, rocking in “child’s pose” in the middle of the living room carpet. Points to him for not screaming and running out the door. You know how you know your pain is probably a number 8 or 9 on the pain scale? Language is not entirely possible. You make very unsexy grunting sounds.

When I realized I was actually having contractions, we went to the E.R. The only problem was that *everyone* was at the E.R. After all, nobody had electricity on a weekend that was blistering hot. Anyone with asthma or breathing difficulty or heart trouble was going to be there. The triage folks were nice enough, but bluntly said I was at the bottom of the list. (Note: Never tell the E.R. that you already know there’s no fetal heart beat. This will make you a low priority. Also, just generally forget the E.R. on a weekend. If your life isn’t in danger, it doesn’t matter how much pain you’re in. ) I knew I probably needed a D&C, but I was too uncomfortable to sit in the waiting room all night.

My husband likes to say my magical powers are THAT strong… I go into miscarriage labor, and blow out a power grid from the power of my misery.

Luckily, I had some spare Vicodin from egg retrieval day, so… that saved me last night. Went home, took Vicodin, and slept.

This morning, we went to the pharmacy for some pain meds, but when the pharmacist said they hadn’t received the prescription, I just broke down and cried, sitting in the pharmacy. I was so tired of … everything, and healthcare people not being helpful, and being uncomfortable… and… all of it. But I finally got a prescription for more pain relief.

Later Sunday, the cramps had eased up to a “normal” menstrual level. At one point in the afternoon (still without electricity), I went to go pee, and the entire sac just slipped out, without any pain whatsoever. Ever on the quest for answers, I put it all in a clean “Horizon Organic Cottage Cheese” container to bring to pathology at the OB the next day. Needless to say, they were a bit surprised… apparently, people don’t DO that very often. Well.

My midwife later said that women often say the pain from a miscarriage is worse than actual full-term birth labor. Knowing that actually, strangely, has made me feel weirdly strong… like, if I could go through that, and not lose my mind, then I will be OK with whatever fate throws at me in the future.

I should also say: I am *incredibly* grateful my husband happened to be home during those 3 days. He’s a firefighter/paramedic, and has a rotating schedule that keeps him away from home 2 days and then 2 nights out of every 8. He just happened to be on his days off. I know I would have survived all of this alone, of course, but my god, what a lonely, devastating experience it would have been without him to literally hold my hand – especially at that damned ultrasound.

Note: I don’t actually have a death metal band.

Note 2: I was tempted at one point to ask my pregnant neighbor if I could store my m/c in her cooler. That would have been appropriate, right? She said, “Gosh, being pregnant during a power outage is so hard.” I was really tempted to reply ominously, “I know something that’s harder….”

Note 3: Probably should have labeled the container better – like with a large skull and crossbones… or should have reminded James that the Horizon Cottage Cheese container did not contain what he hoped….


  1. You are amazing and will make an incredible mother. In whatever way or time that happens. You are stronger than most, just from your ability to deal with the physical pain of it, not to mention your ability to write about it, joke about it. It also makes me think of what I need to be more appreciative of. I have very bad menstrual cramping every month but it means I could still give pregnancy another try if I wanted to. I don’t claim to know what you have experienced but I will tell you this; I did complain during my two pregnancies. If I should ever be so lucky again, I WILL NOT COMPLAIN, NOT ABOUT ANYTHING. Totally feel like an ass for having taken my fertility for granted. I’m sorry to you and anyone else out there who would give anything for those discomforts.

  2. Wow, that was incredibly sweet! Thanks, Brownbird. And if it helps, I still get menstrual bleeding every month anyway. lol. My body is kinda an asshole.

    But you – YOU are delightful. πŸ™‚

  3. Brownbird: I love that pen! πŸ™‚

  4. This is both terribly sad and terribly funny – all at the same time πŸ™‚ You have an amazing way with words πŸ™‚

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