Posts Tagged ‘medication’

Vaginas and Eyes and Ears, Oh MY!

As I begin to really talk to people openly about my choice to have an elective c-section for the impending arrival of my baby, I can’t help but feeling the weight of the world’s “natural” order on my mind.  In our society, it is a commonly voiced belief that “women’s bodies were meant to give birth” often supported by the statement “women have been doing this since the beginning of time” and ended with “it’s just natural.”

Although I respect your opinion if you hold this belief near and dear to your heart, I must present the other side. My blog, and my mission, is to break down the barriers in our society that allow women to feel judged, stigmatized, and depressed.  It is my job to present another side, another perspective, for women who continue to feel victimized by the pervasive thought in our society in which they somehow “failed” as a mother, as a woman, by either “succumbing” to a c-section or electing for one.  Women often are made to feel ashamed of the inability or lack of desire to birth “naturally.”  Many natural birthing movement attitudes view c-section as a last resort, an unfortunate choice, a traumatizing alternative that will result in feelings of inadequacy, emptiness, and total lack of womanhood.

My responsibility is to offer a different perspective.  For example-the belief that “women’s bodies were meant to give birth (without intervention)” should and can sit side by side with the statements “people’s eyes were meant to see (without intervention)” and “people’s ears were meant to hear (without intervention).”  Why oh why do we only hold true the first statement?  Why is it socially acceptable to accept “medical” intervention to advance one’s sight or hearing?  Do people with glasses and hearing aids feel less of a person because they have somehow “failed” to live as nature intended?  Wouldn’t it be odd if, as a society, one was expected to “trust nature” and continue to walk around blindly or without the ability to hear if there were medical advances and professional individuals around to implement those medical advances?  Of course society does not expect those with deficits in eyes or ears that can be medically corrected to just “go with what nature intended.”  However, women who have either emotional or physical barriers present prior to the delivery of their baby are often expected to entertain the “natural” order of the body prior to “succumbing” to medical advances such as medicated birth and c-section.

The statement, “women have been doing this since the beginning of time” is inherently true.  You know what else is true?  Women have been dying in childbirth since the beginning of time.  And so have their babies.  Furthermore, more women and babies died in childbirth in the “beginning of time” because medical advances, information, and professionals who know how to implement and utilize the technology we have now did not exist.  I truly believe that I and/or my child would have perished in childbirth if I had been birthing in an era of even 100 years ago.

Lastly, the proclamation of “it’s natural” is one that suggests anything other than a vaginal, non-medicated birth as “unnatural.”  I would like to add that “natural” isn’t always efficient or life-affirming.  Evolution is “natural.”  Evolution allows for natural selection, survival of the fittest, the inability for all of us in society to “naturally” give birth.  Is it right to give a label to woman of “unnatural” who would otherwise perish in childbirth if not for medically assisted birth?  I view the labeling of my upcoming elective c-section birth as “unnatural” to be disconcerting.  This societal label thrusts women who opt for c-section as outcasts, non-societal norms, that need to be treated with pity and disdain.

Based upon my words above, it’s easy to see how I feel about these statements.  However, I still remain open to the thought that it IS natural for women to have their own beliefs and ideas about childbirth.  I fully support a woman’s right to choose their own birth story in an educated and supported context. For more on my birth position, read here. I struggle with the fact that our society, as a whole, supports statements that make women feel less, make women feel “unnatural”, and make women feel as if their body and mind have failed them somehow.  And that, my friends, is why I continue to advocate for the other side.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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“Boss Level”

Last night when my husband came home, I met him with a tear streaked face and incoherent mumbling.  I’ve found that during this latest medication titration session, I’ve been able to hold it together until my biggest support walks in the door, and then I fall apart. 

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that this last medication titration has been the absolute worst.  Most likely, because this titration is the last step in the process of getting off my medication.  Headaches, brain zaps, stomach aches, fatigue, and so much more have plagued me for the last week or so.   Mix the medication titration with extended family drama, and you get a pretty grumpy individual.

Cross medication titration, extended family drama, and my time of the month and you get this statement from my husband. “Uh, oh, I’ve reached Boss Level.”  (For those of you who need an explanation-according to Wikipedia ” A boss is an enemy-based challenge (and a computer-controlled opponent in such challenge) which is found in video games.[1] A fight with a boss character is commonly referred to as a boss battle or boss fight.[2] Boss battles are generally seen at the climax of a particular section of the game, usually at the end of a stage or level, or guarding a specific objective, and the boss enemy is generally far stronger than the opponents the player has faced up to that point.”source-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boss_%28video_gaming%29

Pretty good assessment on my husband’s part.  And, his statement made me laugh, then cry, then laugh again, then cry again, OK, you get the point.

Thanks for reading!

-Lauren

Brain ZAPS

So, I have been kind of quiet in Blog land lately and the reason for that is the withdrawal has hit me.  I mentioned in my earlier post that it’s no picnic withdrawing from medications and in fact I have been out of it for the last couple of days.  My body is experiencing fatigue, anxiety, loss of appetite, appetite for high carb. foods, headaches, body aches, irritability, nausea, and, oh yes, BRAIN ZAPS.  Brain zaps are aptly named because when you are experiencing one it feels as though your mind is being “zapped” by lightning, you’re short circuiting, and you have an excruciating headache.  I never knew what to call these until I started looking up my symptoms and found that other people have experienced this phenomenon.  Who would have known?  Hopefully, these will go away soon.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Titration

For a couple of years now I have been on medication for PTSD.  Under the watchful eye of a psychiatrist, I have been prescribed Prozac, Ambien, Xanax, and Venlafaxine in various doses and combinations.  Currently, I am “titrating” off of all of my medications, meaning, I am tapering off of them in a controlled and safe way.

The only medication I have left is Venlafaxine (Effexor) and I am currently on the lowest dose.  Getting off meds is not easy.  There is definitely a withdrawal component that makes you feel like an addict!  The addictive nature of these drugs is one that does not make it easy to just quit cold turkey.  Stepping down from the Venlafaxine has taken 3 months!  Side effects that I have experienced during my withdrawal are “brain zaps,” loss of appetite, hunger at times, fatigue, and generally not feeling well.  However, it really is worth it to withdrawal if you and your psychiatrist deem it appropriate.

If you have PTSD, you generally need medication to help support your psychotherapy.  They go hand in hand in my book.  The best advice I can give on this subject is to take medications and titrate off of medications with the help and support of a good psychiatrist.  For me, now is the time to get off all of these medications and I really am looking forward to not needing them anymore!

Thanks for reading,

Lauren