Posts Tagged ‘pelvic floor’

Spring Training

Lately, I have found myself fixated on the fact that I just can’t work out. Because I fractured the wire on my first sacral nerve stimulator while engaging in aqua aerobics, I am worried, actually terrified, that something like that will happen again.  Since my “go to” when my emotions run high is food, I am gaining weight.  Gaining weight, mixed with an inability to exercise effectively, is a very wrong combination for me.

Prior to having my daughter, I always was an active person.  I enjoyed training, competing, and reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  After having my daughter, and extensive therapy, I was once again enjoying the benefits of going to the gym, being a reasonable weight, and a healthy person.  I even found that I could exercise carefully and effectively with my first Interstim placement.  Once pregnant with my son, and having my pelvic floor slip, being on bed-rest for 19 weeks, fracturing my Interstim wire, and recovering from another surgery, I have continued to lose that overall wellness I used to enjoy.

And I want it back.  But, I’m afraid.  I don’t want to fracture another wire.  I cannot afford the type of trainer I would need that would be able to look at my x-rays, determine wire placement, and recommend safe and effective exercises.  I cannot afford to spend weeks/months/years back in physical therapy.  I need something, but, I don’t know how to access it or afford it. I really would LOVE to be able to get something in place for “spring training.” Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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My “Adult” Movie

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of engaging in a video shoot for Medtronic Interstim device for fecal incontinence.  This video will serve to bolster Medtronic’s website for fecal incontinence by providing a real face, and story, to the issue.  In coming to my hometown, Medtronic was able to interview me, my doctor, and my family, and capture the impacts on all of our lives from this phenomenal device.

After giving authorization, my family was included in the taping of this promotional video.  In basing this video in reality, I thought it important to give the go ahead for my family to be portrayed.  When trying to explain to my 6 year old daughter what the purpose of this video was, I found myself stumbling over concepts she may be too young to understand.  When asked the question by my daughter, “Will this video be on TV for us to see?”  I was able to give the easy answer of “No, it will be on the computer, on a website.”  When asked the question by my daughter, “Will my friends be able to watch me?”  I was able to answer, “Well it’s like an adult movie.”  In summation, my daughter concluded, “Oh, OK, so we are making an adult movie for the computer website…cool, can’t wait to tell my teacher.”

UH Oh.  Adult movie, computer website.  I am seeing here that she requires more clarification.  I show her my scar and proceed to tell her that the video is about “mommy’s surgery” and we will help tell others that need the surgery that they can get it and be happy and healthy families.  Phew, bullet dodged.  Although, frankly, sometimes talking about incontinence does have the same stigma as talking about “adult” movies.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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

Forceps

This weekend, a story came to my attention that left me emotionally devastated.  You can read the story in its entirety here.  The story highlights the birth of baby Olivia, who, following a rather tumultuous attempt at a vaginal delivery, was delivered via forceps.  Because of forceps’ placement and doctor’s skill, or lack thereof, Baby Olivia’s skull and spine were broken, leaving her on life support for 5 days before she passed away.  Reading this story, I can only imagine the horror and anguish that this family feels.  I can only imagine that the mother, whose body must be broken and battered from a botched forceps delivery, and whose daughter is lost to her, now has to cope with both physical and undeniable emotional pain.  I can only imagine how the father, who witnessed the botched delivery, and lost his little one, will live with that emotional anguish.

I can only imagine, and reflect, on my own experience with forceps delivery.  Like the mother in this sad story, c-section was pushed to the back burner.  Olivia’s mother, in fact, asked for a c-section, prior to admittance to the hospital, and was told that “she’d be left with a scar.”  After 3 hours of pushing, I too was told that a c-section would leave me with more physical baggage then a forceps delivery.  I think, too often, that people underestimate the very real dangers of forceps delivery…in part because we are not warned of the horrors of such a delivery.  I have yet to read a story of, “my wonderful forceps delivery.”  I have yet to meet a woman, who delivered via forceps, with a glowing review to such a delivery.

Like Olivia’s parents, I maintain that forceps deliveries should be banned.  My thoughts are, if you get to the point in a vaginal delivery where your body is just not ready/responding, then go for the c-section.  In fact, my thoughts are, if you need any sort of intervention, including induction, you may as well go for the c-section.  Although my thoughts may be unpopular, they are rooted in my own experiences, and in the experiences that I hear about from others who struggle on a daily basis with birth trauma.

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

Just another reason…

The first thing my physical therapist pointed out to me when I was diagnosed with symphysis pubic dysfunction, SPD, is that the mode of the baby’s arrival would be important to consider.  Already knowing that I plan to have an elective c-section based on my past experiences, she quickly added on that a c-section is the best way to deliver a baby from a mother suffering with SPD.  Thinking about this, it makes perfect sense.  Why try to force a child’s head through an area in your body that is in extreme pain?  Why try for a vaginal birth when the reality of a vaginal birth for women with SPD is the action of splitting the pelvis further apart, possibly even breaking the pelvis, and causing life long problems and discomfort?  Why not opt for the truly safer option for women with SPD, the elective cesarean and bypass the pelvic floor and further damage to that area completely?
Why, when based with the evidence of a professional, and based upon a mother’s own pain with SPD, is a vaginal birth even considered?  Well, me being me, I checked out literature and forums surrounding this very topic.  The topic of c-section with SPD versus vaginal birth.   With despair, I noted that many women, women suffering with SPD, now also are suffering with disparaging answers and discussions on forums regarding their possible choice to have a c-section.  Why is society so adamant that  vaginal birth is best?  Clearly, when a woman is suffering with SPD, c-section should be the most obvious and logical choice.  Unfortunately, the forums I encountered suggested ways to still push for a vaginal birth with this condition.  Ways that encouraged mothers to avoid a c-section at any cost. Ways that clearly were not optimal to a woman in labor.  One such suggestion was measuring how far you could put your knees apart prior to labor without essentially cracking your pelvis, creating a ribbon loop, and using the loop during labor to not surpass that width.  As a women suffering with SPD, I can assure you that the width would not be that far, thus making labor and delivery much more difficult to achieve.  In addition, delivery of a baby vaginally by a woman with SPD increases the chances for SPD in the next pregnancy.  For that matter, any traumatic vaginal birth where there is damage to the pelvis or pelvic floor results in an increased likelihood for SPD in future pregnancies.  I know this to be true as my current SPD condition is a result of my weakened pelvic floor by way of my prior forceps traumatic delivery.

I’m all for choice in birth.  However, when society dictates a decree about vaginal birth at any cost, I hesitate to agree.  There should always be an open-minded discussion regarding the mode of delivery.  One that considers the mother’s physical and emotional needs as well as the baby.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Biking-in the water?

My bike seat for land will be arriving at my house shortly, like, this week.  Glorious!  I can’t wait to strap my ham hocks onto the seat that is created to protect my tender pelvic floor.  I hope it works, fingers crossed! If you are so inclined, feel free to read my earlier post about biking.  I also hope that our weather cooperates.  I don’t know how it’s been where you live, but we have hit mid 70’s one day, snowstorm the next.  Wacky!

One place I do not need to worry about biking in the elements is the gym.  I’d like to be very clear, I’m not talking about “the spin class.”  I tried that, once, before I had my daughter.  I couldn’t walk, for days!  Hmmm, bikes at the gym, that aren’t in a land spin class?  Where are said bikes I speak of?  In the water of course!

Hydro-biking is an amazing workout for those with pelvic floor damage.  The hydro-bike allows you to “spin” and workout with limited pressure on your pelvic area.  It is an awesome resource that I am very lucky to be able to use at the weekly hydro-bike class at the gym.  Kudos to my gym for trying something new.

So, for someone who was told they would never ride a bike again, I say, I CAN and I AM bike riding! (with modifications).

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Bike Riding

The first time I was seen by a medical professional post birth trauma was 6 weeks later.  As I sat across from my OBGYN, (the same one who delivered me), she first calmly told me I was too bruised to examine.  She then proceeded to tell me about my “normal” delivery and my “normal” recovery and how it would just take time to get back to “normal.”  No mention of physical therapy, fecal incontinence surgery, PTSD treatment, just a condescending statement that “normalcy” would be achieved with time.  She then, offhandedly, remarked-“It’s not like you need to ever ride a bike again.”

WHAT?  Part of my “normal” recovery from my “normal” delivery would impact my ability to ride a bike?  I often think about this statement.  Was my OBGYN placing a thought in my head, a thought that I could reinforce with a nonchalance of “well, it’s not like I need to.”

Well, since then I have switched OBGYN’s, but the switch for the bike statement in my brain was not as easily achieved.  Until now.  I have found a bike seat that I am ready to try.  This bike seat eliminates pressure on the perineum area and claims to be both comfortable and functional for those with pelvic floor issues.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Thanks for reading,

Lauren