Posts Tagged ‘Postpartum’

It’s just not funny

Recently, I came across an article about a woman who lost her job due to incontinence.  The headline reads: Opera Singer Can’t Stop Farting After Surgery, Loses Job.  The woman, who suffered a botched episiotomy at childbirth, now endures incontinence issues such as uncontrollable loss of gas and feces.  She is suing the hospital due to loss of control, and subsequently, the inability to perform as an opera singer, her occupation.  As someone who also, ultimately, had to leave her chosen profession due to incontinence and birth trauma issues, I relate to this woman on a very personal level.  I applaud her ability to pursue legal action, and I admire her for going public with this very real, and very embarrassing issue.  I was initially introduced to this story via my Facebook feed, but then dug around for other news outlets carrying the story.  Largely listed under, “weird news,” and on the news feed “gawker,”  I now find this story to be listed in the media as a joke. Well, guess what, it’s just not funny.  Nor, is it “weird news.”  The fact that the media needs to portray an article like this under “weird” eliminates it’s ability to become a mainstream health issue.  Furthermore, the comments listed as a response to these articles are largely littered with middle school level jokes and puns about poop, farting, and loss of control.  So, congratulations media, for making a mockery of a very real problem for a lot of women, and also, creating an outlet for those wishing to relive their middle school years with crude wisecracks.  I’m not laughing.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Cringe

Sometimes, I cringe.  I cringe when I hear stories about birth trauma.  I cringe when someone contacts me with yet another story of doctor incompetence resulting in physical and emotional harm. I especially cringe when the doctor that woman tells me about was the doctor who delivered me into my own personal hell.  I wonder if this doctor knows the impact she has on some of her patients.  The impact of her decisions, especially poor ones, on the individual women who she assisted during delivery and cared for postpartum.  The physical and emotional scarring from a doctor who I view as callous and without empathy.  I wonder, how many women have left her practice due to her incompetence, and then, I wonder, how many still remain?  I cringe.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Speaking UP!

Living with a bowel disorder is not easy.  In fact, it can be downright awful at times.  Besides the obvious physical discomfort, emotional stress is rampant.  As an ambassador for those suffering with fecal incontinence and a support group facilitator for those with bowel disorders, the theme of negativity around incontinence is a prevalent one.  In fact, I urge you, if you are NOT suffering with incontinence, to imagine a day when you may be.  Can you imagine how incontinence would impact your daily life?  I wrote about my experiences in-depth in this post here.  Can you imagine how leakage, urgency, physical pain in the rectal region, would change your outlook on your day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute happenings?

Remaining positive when dealing with your own bowel disorder is difficult.  Oftentimes, bowel disorders lead to increased isolation, as the individual suffering refuses to share such personal information, and/ or feels uncomfortable leaving familiar areas.  Often, people go years, even decades, before opening up about their incontinence to anyone, including health professionals.  This suffering in silence wears down a person, physically and mentally.

It’s time, as a society, to stop being afraid of talking about fecal incontinence.  Let’s not allow “pooping your pants” to be a punchline.   It’s time to create a safe space to identify, share, and discuss incontinence.  Only then, will people truly seek the treatment they need, and deserve.  And, guess what, I don’t mind starting the conversation.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

It’s been TOO long!

As I sit and write this post, the thought of “it’s been TOO long,” resonates in my brain.  Yes, it HAS been too long since I last posted.  The excuses pile up…Yes, I have been busy with the baby.  Yes, I have been busy with the  general end of summer, beginning of fall, type things.  Yes, I have been busy sending my oldest off to kindergarten.  Yes, I have been busy getting a part-time job and engaging in my various other volunteer activities.  Yes, I have been busy.

On a very basic level, the fact that I CAN be busy….the fact that I CAN think of other things besides my past  trauma, my past physical and mental impediments, is exhilarating!!!!!  It is such a rush to realize that I am no longer tied to my past emotionally and physically to the point that the past is all I can think about.  The fact that my past no longer keeps me busy.  The fact that the present and future rule my world and I am not bogged down in irrational thinking and physical pain.

However, my mission will always be to shed light on birth trauma, in whatever way I can.  I am truly inspired by some wonderful individuals that post and write about a cause on almost a daily turn, a cause that I feel passionate about.  I am ready to get back in the swing of blogging.  I owe it to my past to pay tribute to a truly terrifying and difficult experience and to honor a hard-fought recovery.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

A Gathering

About a month ago, I was asked to facilitate a support group specifically geared towards those suffering with bowel disorders.  This group is the first of its kind in my area and I am humbled and honored that I was chosen to lead this gathering of individuals with similar issues.  Honestly, even with the outreach to individuals telling them about this group, I was hesitant to think that we may have a large turnout to this type of meeting.  It is an unfortunate truth that many individuals afflicted with bowel disorders remain silent…not because they necessarily want to, but more because society stigmatizes the ability to talk freely about issues such as these.

With great pride, I am pleased to announce that between 15 and 20 individuals showed at the first meeting.  Brave individuals who summoned the courage to share their stories, listen with an open heart and mind to others, and work with me to shape future gatherings into meetings that are both productive and encouraging.  I am truly blessed that I have been given the opportunity to facilitate these meetings.  I am excited about the possibilities of shattering societal stigma, beginning with the small group dynamic, and spreading out into the general public by raising awareness of these very personal issues.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

A Perfect Birth

Birth without trauma.  Birth in which the mother and baby are healthy and happy.  Birth which leaves no lasting ramifications, either physical or emotional.  A Perfect Birth.  That’s what I have now experienced with the birth of my son.

Going into birth this time, I was ready.  Ready, educated, and excited.  My pregnancy before this delivery was rocky, to say the least.  Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction, two hospital stays due to illness, and a last-minute run around regarding getting the delivery I wanted (and needed) posed real issues for me.  However, the delivery, a delivery that myself and my doctor agreed to be most beneficial to mother and baby, was such that it set up “a perfect birth.”

My son’s birth story:

I went into the hospital at 11:30, with the understanding that the c-section would take place at 1:00.  I was 38 weeks, 2 days and with no indications of imminent labor, I understood that my surgery could be “pushed” for emergency patients.  I was made comfortable while waiting for my turn, and an IV was inserted, and any questions I had were answered.  A little after 1:00, I was wheeled into the delivery room.  I walked myself to the bed and was told how to sit for an effective spinal.  All the while, the medical professionals present were kind, understanding, supportive, and reassuring.  My spinal was placed without incident and then I was instructed to lie down.  Once numbed, I was happy to see my husband arrive by my head.  And then, the incision, the surgery, and less than 8 minutes from first incision, my baby boy’s screams as he was born.  Perfect baby boy, who was immediately shown to me and then checked out by the nurses (with my husband by his side and in the same room).  Once wrapped up, my husband held him by my head as they stitched me up.  All the while I felt cared for, informed, and respected.  A complete opposite to my previous birth experience.  My husband, baby, and I ventured to recovery together where I was able to effectively breastfeed and bond with the newest member of our family.  Later that evening, my daughter joined us and our family of four was “officially” all together.

Since the birth, I have managed my pain and was off all pain killers within the first week.  I am able to walk now with the symphysis pubic dysfunction drastically diminished.  I have nothing but positive memories of the birth and my daily interactions reflect positivity.  I am looking forward to noting my progress at my 6 week check-up.  The baby is doing wonderfully as well.  Over eight pounds at birth, he continues to thrive, both feeding and sleeping as well as a 3 and 1/2 week old should.

The support I have had for this birth experience was immeasurable.  Thank you all.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Comparing Pregnancies

It is amazing to me how much pregnancies can vary.  With exactly 5 years between the pregnancy of my daughter and my current pregnancy, I have found that although I have hit the trimester milestones in the same months, my pregnancies couldn’t be more different.  With my daughter, pregnancy was pretty much a breeze.  Sure, a little morning sickness, some aches and pains, extreme cravings….basically- the hallmarks of a “normal” pregnancy.  With my son, extreme morning sickness, symphysis pubic dysfunction, inability to move without the aid of a wheelchair/cane, sickness leading to hospitalization, are just some of the maladies I’ve experienced throughout the duration of this pregnancy.

In truth, part of me (all of me really) hopes that the “suffering” with this current pregnancy is over the minute this little boy is delivered.  If that is the case, it would be in sharp contrast to the delivery of my daughter, where the “suffering” really began upon delivery and leached into a LONG physically and emotionally painful postpartum period.  Knowing that I’ve done all I can to be proactive for this upcoming delivery, and knowing what I know now about what “ideal” postpartum care should look like, I feel that I have done my part in the process for a successful delivery and postpartum period.  I feel prepared and educated and therefore, happy to know that I am in control of the direction of my postpartum recovery.

I know it is not reality to think that the logic “easy pregnancy=tough postpartum”  equates to “tough pregnancy=easy postpartum” but hey, it’s OK to imagine that might be the case, right?

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

I Need Time

Recently, I came across an article, “I’m Having a Baby, Not Hosting A Party-Stay Out Of My Hospital Room!”  while researching the time of c-section recovery for the mother.  With a large, loving, local, extended family, I know that visitors are going to be itching to come and see the new addition to our family.  Like the author, Rebecca Eckler, I also feel that “Of course I want everyone to see the baby…but I don’t really want visitors…   Like the author, I am having a planned c-section.  Like the author, people know about the date and location of delivery.  Like the author, I’m worried.

Perhaps ,unlike the author, I am worried about having visitors post delivery mainly because I don’t know how I am going to be, or what I will be feeling, emotionally and physically.  After my daughter was born, I experienced the ramifications of both physical and emotional trauma.  I was unable to navigate all of the immediate postpartum emotions and physical discomfort with a clear head.  I was in shock, physically and emotionally, for the allotted time of “recovery” at the hospital.  I had many visitors to the hospital postpartum, well-meaning friends and family, excited to see the baby, yet unaware of my inner and outer turmoil.

Part of my years of PTSD therapy explored the possibility of having another child.  At first, the firm answer of “NO WAY” was the only sane answer I could come up with in regards to the question of “will you have another child?”  As time passed, and I became much more emotionally healthy, I realized my dream for another child was one that I could not ignore, one that I did not want to lose simply because of the trauma inflicted upon me.  The dream of having another child was a dream that was my right, a dream that I could fulfill by continuing to attend therapy and eventually be discharged with a healthy psyche.

Having another child, and facing my trauma, the trauma of a delivery, head on is not something that scares me anymore.  I realize that because of the enormity of what I am about to experience, I may be overly emotional immediately postpartum simply because of the nature of the experience.  I know I will be able to reclaim, in the physical and emotional sense, what was lost to me during that initial traumatic delivery.  I am going into all of this a much more educated and medically supported individual.  I have a team of medical professionals that are helping me to succeed physically and emotionally with this pregnancy.  I have me, a much stronger, better, advocate for what I need.

I’ve never thought of myself as a selfish individual, but I need to ask myself the following question in an effort to preserve my sanity, my spirit, and to protect my physical and emotional wellness.  “What do I need during those first few days?” I need time.  I need quiet.  I need peace.  I need to make peace out of the broken pieces of my first delivery by having this delivery, this experience, be different.  How much time do I need?  How will I achieve this quiet reflective time necessary for the reconciliation of and reclamation of my spirit?  How can I truly be at peace?  The answer lies in the events yet to happen during and after delivery.  The answer lies in the control that I feel postpartum.  The answer lies in my ability to let visitors know that I may need more time, just because, prior to them visiting the baby.  The answer lies in people respecting that time that I need.  Not only people respecting that time, but people appreciating that I am taking that time to heal, to make peace, to be joyful, to feel whole again.  The biggest question of all, the one that I cannot plan for, is how much time will I need?  I am unable and unwilling to answer that question at this time.  I just don’t know what it’s going to be like.  However, I do know that I will advocate for whatever it is I need to remain a healthy and happy individual.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Celebrating my 100th post!

This is my 100th post.

I thought I should probably make it somewhat meaningful, possibly a celebration of how far I have come, or a glance at what I have become.

Or both.

Well, I have come from a place of despair, of darkness, of hopelessness, of fear.

I have become a fighter, a survivor,….. an advocate.
In March 2008, I gave birth to one of the most precious blessings in my life.  4 1/2 years ago I experienced both the best and worst day of my life.  At the same time this beautiful light entered my life, my own light went out.  I suffered both physical and emotional consequences I could not have even imagined.  My world stopped making sense.

Through my struggles my family remained by my side, supporting me in my therapies, medical testing, and surgeries.

Slowly, with time, support, and extensive therapy, I began to emerge, a stronger, better, LOUDER, advocating individual.  I fight for women’s choice in birthing options, access to timely and correct prenatal and postpartum care, and recognition of the very real devastating effects of physical and emotional birth trauma.

I am happy to announce that I have been able to take the next step in my life journey.  I am expecting.  A thought, a dream, that I could not entertain for months, years, because of the physical and emotional ramifications of my first delivery.  I am so very happy to be able to share this with you, my readers, with the very real hope that I am offering YOU hope.  Things can and will get better.  It is possible.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren (and baby bump)

Warrior Mom

It is a universal truth that women have always given birth.  I often think about my actual birthing situation, and how I would have fared 50, 100, 500 years ago.    My conclusion is always the same; without the intervention that I had, I would have died…my daughter too.  There was just no way she was coming out on her own, forceps or c-section were needed.  There was just no way that without significant medical intervention, such as the right medication and careful monitoring postpartum, that the sustained blood loss I sustained during my postpartum hemorrhage would have been survivable in years past.

Obviously, I am truly glad that we both survived.  However, what people need to realize is that I truly believe, and believed then, was that I was, and my daughter was, in a life and death situation.  Today, there are still many “close calls” in the medical field during the birth of a child, but with the right interventions, it is a general belief that women fare a lot better than in years past.  It is important to note that although the “battle zone” in the birthing room may be one that has improved over the years, traumatic situations can still arise both in the moment and postpartum.  In reading recent message boards, comments, and blogs pertaining to PTSD following childbirth, I have found some very interesting pieces of information pertaining to the belief of the “warrior mom.”

For instance, the Aztecs, believed childbirth to be “a battle” and the mother to be “a warrior.”  It is interesting to see that this belief was part of their culture, and women were glorified in their efforts to bring a child into the world.  Today, Katherine Stone, creator of Postpartum Progress, has heralded the efforts of women as warriors in childbirth and postpartum.  She has a wide selection of postpartum “bling” in an effort to recognize women’s efforts and triumphs in seeking help and overcoming obstacles postpartum.  She is instrumental in perpetuating the belief that the Aztecs held dear so long ago, birthing women are warriors, and need to be glorified as such.
This is the personal “warrior mom” badge I chose to represent my own journey.

Photobucket

http://postpartumprogress.com/survival-badge-bling

 

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

« Previous entries
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 65 other followers