Archive for The Trauma(s)

My Spidey Senses

Remember the character Spiderman? He started off as a normal, average, guy.  But when Peter Parker gets bitten by a spider and achieves “spidey senses”- he transforms into something much more. 

In a way, I feel that a my trauma has given me a “spidey sense.”  That ability, that sense, to see that my birth situation was not entirely right, was not entirely safe, was suspicious.

Had the trauma not occurred, my research, and feelings of advocacy on the topic of birth trauma would probably have been non-existent.  Not because I would have felt that birth trauma is not important.  But because, I would not have had the “spidey sense” to be in tune to the situation.

Often, we become passionate about something personal to us.  It may be something that happened to us, or someone in our family.  It may be something happening in our city, country, or world, that personally affects us.  But until we are “bitten” we are unable to fully engage in the advocacy of change.  The changing of things that are not quite right, not quite safe, things that are ‘suspicious.”

Peter Parker used his “spidey sense” to help others.  That is the way I intend to use mine. 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Let’s Dance, Ellen!

So, I want to be on the Ellen show.  I have submitted my story a couple of times, to no avail 🙂  I know…she’s a busy woman.  I feel like her show could be the perfect platform to thrust birth trauma into the forefront by exposing millions of her viewers to this condition.  The Ellen show has proven to be the perfect venue to talk about topics that society isn’t always aware of or comfortable with.

Because birth trauma is not talked about, people who suffer from birth trauma experience shame, guilt, and sadness.  People who love those afflicted with birth trauma often feel helpless, ignorant, and angry.  We can change ALL of this through exposure.

There ARE support systems, life changing surgeries, wonderful therapies, and experienced doctors out there.  There IS NOT an awareness in our society to bring these resources to the front line of people’s minds.

Ellen, help me to erase the stigma of birth trauma. Ellen, help me to connect people to resources.  Ellen, help me to let people know they are not alone.  Ellen, help me help those suffering with birth trauma know that there IS hope.  Let’s Dance, Ellen!

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

 

 

A Runcible Spoon

“They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon,”

 The Owl & The Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear

“What the heck is a runcible spoon?”  This was the question I was asked by my 4 year old daughter.  Overlooking the word “heck” as her word of choice, I asked myself, “what the HECK is a runcible spoon?”

Luckily, a friend with a smart phone quickly cleared up the confusion….A runcible spoon is….nothing, it is made up, it is vernacular associated with the writings of Edward Lear, being first introduced in his famous story,  The Owl & The Pussy-Cat.

This got me to thinking…how many times throughout my medical journey with birth trauma do I listen to “runcible” spoon jargon? I’m not suggesting that the medical community is speaking a made up language, which it turns out a runcible spoon is, I am more talking about the times I say to myself…”What the HECK is a (enter runcible spoon medical vernacular here)?”

While wading through a trauma that is rarely talked about in mainstream conversation, I have had many “runcible spoon” moments.

Some of my “runcible spoon” moments:

Pudendal Nerve, EMDR, defocography, Interstim, anal wink, anorectal manometry, fistula, prolapse

To all the above terms, and many more, I asked “What the HECK is that???”  As an advocate, I urge you to clarify those “runcible spoon” moments in an effort to maximize your care and further your understanding.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Is she OK?

Yesterday, my daughter ran away from me.

We were in the locker room bathroom at a local gym.  She flipped the lock (as I was using the bathroom), ran out, and hid herself. (in a locker)

As what seemed like the longest three minutes ever passed by, where I frantically searched, cried, yelled her name, I heard a scuffling in the locker next to me.

It was her.

It seems fitting that the panic of losing her, the stress of not knowing if she was OK, the fear of never holding her again, all fell on her day of birth, the day of my trauma, and the day where I experienced similar, if not identical feelings, 4 years ago.

I guess we never lose that feeling when we feel our children are in danger. 

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Today is the Day.

March 12.

It’s here.

March 12, 2008-I am a mom.  My husband, daughter, and I make a family.

March 12, 2012-I am a mom.  My husband, daughter, and I make a family.

4 years does not change who I am to my daughter or what kind of familial unit I am a part of.

March 12, 2008-I am broken, traumatized, helpless.

March 12, 2012-I am pieced back together, stronger, advocating.

4 years makes all the difference, physically and emotionally.

Happy Birthday Dear Daughter.  Peace out of Pieces to me.  Blessings and Thanks to all who have helped me be who I am today, 4 years later.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

A Mother’s Sacrifice

I love my daughter.

I loved her before she was born, before I even knew her.

I want to make it very clear that I would do anything for her.

A mother’s sacrifice is one that does not always come willingly and with a lot of thought.  A mother’s sacrifice can be something that occurs instinctively and without hesitation.

During the course of birthing my daughter, I kept praying for a healthy baby.  When things turned traumatic, she was all I could think of.  At the time, it honestly didn’t matter to me what was happening to me, as long as she was safe.  All I wanted was her to be born healthy and remain healthy.

A mother’s sacrifice.  In my case, I sacrificed my body and mind that day.  I sacrificed my sphincter and my ability to properly defecate.  I sacrificed my brain and my ability to remain untriggered at reminders of the trauma.  I sacrificed my sense of well-being, both physically and mentally.

And I would do it again.

Recently, I read this story.  http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/06/indiana-mom-loses-legs-saving-kids-from-tornado/  This story highlights a mother’s sacrifice.  A mother who protected her children from the elements of a tornado and in the process lost her legs.   I don’t know how people feel about my comparison of this women’s life to mine, however, I truly feel a deep connection to her ability to sacrifice herself at a moment’s notice when faced with the trauma.  My trauma was not a tornado, but the feelings connected with both my trauma and the elements of a tornado are identical.  Extreme fear and helplessness caused both this mother and myself to react in a way that sacrificed our own well-being for that of our children.

The news has done a wonderful job portraying this mother’s courage and sacrifice.  Wouldn’t it be nice if, sometime in the future, the media would cover and support all types of trauma and the sacrifices that mother’s make?  Making birth trauma very real to others starts with an awareness.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Some people just don’t get it…

I have found there will always be some people who just don’t get it. They don’t get the birth trauma, they don’t get my mental illness (PTSD, anxiety), and they don’t get the severity of the physical symptoms I have (had).  They just don’t get it.  I have come to the conclusion that these people fall into one of two categories.

1.  They don’t get it because they don’t want or care to.

2.  They don’t get it because even though they want to, and try to, they just cannot understand it.

It is extremely difficult when people you love don’t get it. I would like to think that the people I love, and that love me, but “don’t get it” fall into the second category.  Even though it is often heartbreaking, I truly can understand why people “don’t get it.”  It is hard to understand something that you haven’t gone through yourself.  It is hard to understand something that is not constantly scrutinized by the media.  It is hard to understand something that is not a part of common conversation.

 

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Anticipation

A huge part of PTSD is anticipatory anxiety.  This is a diagnosis that entails the anticipation of a trigger being so bothersome that one avoids and panics over situations that may or may not happen in the future (but to the person seem imminent).

I am finally able to say that I am rid of my anticipatory anxiety. How do I know this? Because this is what used to happen…

Prior to this year, each time the calendar would flip to February, I would begin to obsessively fret over the upcoming anniversary of the birth trauma.  March 12, my daughter’s birthday AND my worst nightmare.  March 12…the build up was agonizingly terrifying.  Extreme nightmares, numerous panic attacks, involuntary facial tics, uncontrollable emotions, just to name a few of the PTSD symptoms exacerbated with anticipatory anxiety.

Prior to this year, my daughter’s birthday was a time for me to be internally fighting for control of my triggers (and losing) while trying to put on a happy face for my family.

Prior to this year, my daughter’s birthday was a time for me to cry all morning, grieving my loss, wallowing in my situation, and then trying to act functional when she blew out her candles later in the day.

Prior to this year, my daughter’s birthday was a time for me to remember how far I had to go to get back to “normal” and reflect on the fact that I was not where I want to be.

This year-it’s time to celebrate.  My daughter will be 4.  I am well.  Let’s blow out those candles and make a wish!

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Vagina Monologues

“My Vagina, My Vagina, Me.”

This was the refrain that the audience engaged in throughout the show “The Vagina Monologues.”  An excellent, thought provoking, and barrier crashing endeavor, “The Vagina Monologues” strives to tear down the shame, stigma, and embarrassment surrounding violence against women. (and their vaginas)

It was probably about 8 years ago now since I sat in on this performance, but I can still remember the awkwardness of the word “vagina” coming out of my mouth.  Even more awkward, was listening to my boyfriend (now husband) saying over and over “my vagina, my vagina, me” throughout the show.

I’ve come a long way.  I can not only say vagina, I can talk about vaginas, blog about vaginas, and fight for vaginas!

MY VAGINA, MY VAGINA, ME!

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

 

Sunny Side Up

While looking at my medical records, I have made important mental notes about terminology with which I wish to impart my knowledge of in an effort to understand the causes of my trauma, the nature of my trauma, and the results of my trauma.

My daughter presented as occiput posterior.  Commonly known as “sunny-side up,” this presentation of the baby is when the baby is face down but facing your front.  The baby’s back of the head, the occipital bone, is forced against the mother’s tailbone. You can read more here: http://www.babycenter.com/0_posterior-position_1454005.bc?page=1

Sunny-Side Up is not an ideal way to birth your child.  Unfortunately, the care I received during labor was not ideal either, thus compounding a sunny-side up situation.  My daughter was determined to be sunny-side up, yet I was still encouraged to push on for 3 hours, while she was in this position. Labor with a sunny-side up child is pure torture.  Instead of having some semblance or relief in-between contractions, it was actually worse between because that is where my daughter’s unrelenting head met my (now) relenting tailbone.  My hospital records indicate my doctor was out of the room during this time (in the rest area-according to my mother).  After 3 hours of the most painful pushing, the doctor tried to manually turn her by forcing both of her hands into me and twisting. (didn’t work).  Through the use of forceps, my daughter was then delivered.

The consolation…the doctor told me “you should add a pound for a sunny-side up baby, because that is what it feels like you just pushed out.”  So, does 8 pounds 14 ounces get to equal 9 pounds 14 ounces?  I don’t know if this was supposed to make me feel proud or angry at the fact that I should have OBVIOUSLY had a c-section.

Although there is nothing funny about sunny-side up positioning or traumatic childbirth, the following article from Jezebel has an excellent section about the sunny-side up experience in labor.  You can read it here: http://jezebel.com/5867731/natural-childbirth-the-best-thing-i-ever-failed-at?tag=mother-load. 

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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