Archive for June, 2012

second opinion

The search history on my computer is fraught with the following terms: fecal incontinence, PTSD, childbirth, trauma, tears, Interstim.  Essentially, if someone who did not know me seized and searched my computer history, they would be inundated with my passion to understand, research, and illuminate others about topics not always talked about candidly and publicly.

Recently, I came across this gem of a program regarding the medical community and their stance and understanding of fecal incontinence.  To watch the full episode  as outlined on the website, Second Opinion, does require a time commitment, but it is well worth it if you or a loved one is suffering with fecal incontinence.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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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

Confessions…

My confession, I love to read. Recently, I read an awesome book, “Confessions of a Scary Mommy,” by Jill Smokler.  This book is an unbelievably honest take on all things motherhood.  It offers laughs, tears, and insights into motherhood in a way that is free of judgement and completely anonymously authentic.  This book provides a breath of fresh air, because it often expounds upon the things new mothers, and all mothers for that matter, are saying inside their skulls.  Things that are not always the things we say or think aloud.  And that, my friends, is the hilarious part, and the part that makes any new mother feel instantly part of this “scary mommy” community.

Not only is this a great book, it stems from a great blog, Scary Mommy.   Most importantly, there is a portion of this blog geared to “moms in need.”  After writing to Jill, she graciously decided to feature a link to my blog on her blog in an effort to reach those mothers who suffer in silence in regards to physical and emotional birth trauma.  Check it out!  Thanks Jill!

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

Thanks, Old Man

Dear Old Man,

Thanks.  I’ve never met you before, but yet, you felt the need to pry into my personal business.  At the gym.  While I am walking with my child in the hallway.  Thanks Old Man for asking my daughter “do you have a younger brother?” “do you have a younger sister?”  Thanks for listening and ending the conversation when she politely  said “no.” Oh wait, you felt the need to get more personal?  Thanks for asking me, and my daughter, “why not?  don’t you want to baby?”

So, I truly am in a better place with my PTSD, but this question would have sent me into a full and complete panic attack.  No wonder I avoided novel situations, or uncontrollable situations like the plague while fully involved in PTSD.  Thanks Old Man, for reinforcing my reasons I avoided everyone and everything in the throes of PTSD.  Turns out that trigger was not irrational anticipatory anxiety because people like you exist.

PTSD aside, what if I had a physical reason I could no longer have kids easily.  Oh, wait, I do have that reason.  Thanks Old Man for making me more anxious about my current physical situation.

And not to mention, there are some people in this world who do not want more kids.  What if my financial situation was such that more kids were irresponsible?  What if, god forbid, I was no longer married or with a partner who wanted kids?  What if, what if, what if?

Thanks Old Man for being a nosy busy body.  And no, you don’t get a pass just because you’re old. 

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

How To: Add Fiber in your Day

As I mentioned in my earlier post, 40 grams, eating fiber is truly essential to my success with continence.  The way I look at it is that the Interstim Implant is more than helpful in getting the right nerves stimulated, and the fiber helps with the consistency and regularity of the stool.  Doing both in conjunction with each other is necessary for complete success with fecal continence.

-Adding Fiber in Your Day-

compiled by Lauren at peaceoutofpieces.com 

  • Buy Bran Buds!  These little circles of fibery goodness pack a punch.
  • Mix 1 cup of Bran Buds with yogurt, fruit, chocolate chips, nuts to achieve a parfait pleasing to your palette.
  • Mix 1 cup of Bran Buds with other small food items to create a crunchy trail mix.
  • Be daring, make a Bran Bud cookie by melting chocolate (I prefer dark chocolate chips), adding dried fruit and Bran Buds, and let set.
  • Ingest insane amounts of fiber at your breakfast by adding a crumbled high fiber granola bar, or high fiber brownie to your cup of Bran Buds and yogurt.
  • Add Bran Buds to your instant oatmeal.
  • Add Bran Buds to your other cereal.
  • Do not grind the Bran Buds up or add milk unless you like the taste of sludge or glue.

No, in no way do I get paid to endorse the Bran Buds product.  Would I enjoy that?  Sure!  Sign me up!  Regardless, Bran Buds have helped me have a better day, and they may help you too.  Give them a try 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

So, what do you do?

When meeting someone for the first time, often, the following question arises during the initial small talk, “so, what do you do?”  At times, I struggle to answer this question.  At this point in my recovery, I say “I’m happy to be a stay at home mom.”  However, my lips itch with the urge to spill my guts, to answer in a much more truer sense.  The answer I would love to give is the following, “I’m a stay at home mom.  And, I love it.  However, I am also a teacher. I went to school for many years to obtain this degree.  I achieved tenure because of my good reviews and practice in the classroom. I fought hard to find a job I loved, and I did find that job.  I went back to work when my daughter was 6 months old, and I was OK with that.  Physical and Emotional birth trauma eventually caused me to step out of work on a “medical” leave.  I loved being a teacher.  I still am a teacher.  And, I love being a mom.  The best thing for myself was to leave work to focus on getting myself and my family healed and better.  In fact, I am better now.  And, at this point I choose, not my mind, not my body, I choose to stay home with my daughter.  I will go back to work eventually. ”

Being that answer is often too much, too soon, for casual acquaintances, I often keep that to myself.  But, I do want people to know, people who read my blog, that leaving work was one of the hardest decisions of my life.  For my physical body, the answer was clearly that I should not and could not work.  My fecal incontinence caused numerous accidents throughout the teaching day in which I would need to change my undergarments, take frequent bathroom breaks, feel uneasy about sitting in meetings, and  need to remain in close proximity to a bathroom.  For my mental body, the toll was far worse in my work environment.  Being that pregnant women, the smell of cleaner, and assisting with special education student’s  toileting  needs (ex. cleaning up bowel movements) were triggers rampant in my work environment, anxiety attacks, extreme panic, and the inability to focus were parts of my daily routine in the classroom.

Leaving work was really the only way I could get better.  It took a lot to convince me of this.  It took being escorted to the hospital, from the school’s nurses office, when I thought I was having a heart attack.  (A severe panic attack).  It took being in therapy and realizing the only way I would get better was to stop putting myself in the midst of triggers.  It took me swallowing my pride, to leave a job I loved, and was good at, in an effort to reclaim myself.

And guess what, leaving work was an effective way to assist in my treatment for PTSD.  Removing myself from a constant triggering situation helped me focus on therapy, my family, and myself.  It really was the only way.

Of course, leaving work essentially cut our income in half, caused a change in our health insurance benefits, and manufactured the need for our family to live with and adhere to a budget.  A lot of people assume that going out on “medical leave” means you have some sort of disability payment assistance, especially when the medical leave is “prescribed” by the doctor.  Sadly, that is not always the case.  I still, (2 years later), am fighting to reclaim any disability payments I may have been allotted due to my condition(s).  Luckily, I have a lovely organization that can do this for me (for a small fee).  However, it is important to dispel the myth that “medical leave” automatically means that the person is being financially supported in one way or another during their recovery.  This simply is not true.  Hopefully, at some point I will obtain the disability payments retroactively to support my stretch of “medical leave”, but, that remains to be seen.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren