Progress I’ve Made in 2015

December 31, 2015

It’s just a couple hours before midnight and it seems appropriate to do a post summarizing my progress with healing my prolapse symptoms this year.  I’m going to make this list quick, so I’ll jot things down in no particular order.  As I think of things to write, I’m going to picture myself a year ago compared to now…

  1. I’ve physically come a long way, although I have more healing to do.
  2. I used to feel like things were FALLING OUT (even when they technically weren’t), but now it doesn’t feel like that.
  3. I used to be afraid that my condition would get worse, and now I don’t live in fear (thanks to following the Whole Woman approach to prolapse management).
  4. I used to stubbornly try to exercise the way I did before I was pregnant, but now I do NOTHING that’s going to make me feel worse.  I learned that it’s just not worth it!
  5. Before– I couldn’t even go on walks comfortably, and now I can.
  6. I enjoy rollerblading, skiing, biking and hiking.  I’m comfortable carrying my baby on my back in the Ergo carrier.
  7. Having sex improves prolapse symptoms = Truth!
  8. The more post-partum periods I’ve had, the better I’ve felt.
  9. I used to cry more often about my frustrations, and now I don’t.
  10. I used to feel irritable about my situation more often, and now it doesn’t “get to me” too much.
  11. I used to be consumed with “feeling my vagina” (i.e. my prolapse symptoms) every waking moment that I’m not sitting or lying down, but now I guess I’ve gotten used to the feeling.
  12. Don’t get me wrong, the feeling is F@$%ing annoying, but at least it’s way better than it was.
  13. It helps me to focus on the positives:  my situation could be a LOT worse than it is.
  14. I’m grateful that my bowel function is fine.  Other women have a lot of problems with elimination due to rectocele.  I wonder if I really have a rectocele.
  15. I’m grateful that my urinary function is fine.  I’m grateful that I don’t have problems with incontinence or urinary tract infections.
  16. My anterior bulge has gotten better and I think my current symptoms are from maybe a urethrocele more so than a cystocele.
  17. It’s so hard to tell “what’s causing what” symptom “down there,” but it’s all gotten better this year.
  18. I used to feel like I needed to manually and visually “check” myself on a daily basis, and now it’s not a daily habit.
  19. I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to heal because I’ve heard other women report that healing continued 2-3 years post-partum.
  20. As more time goes on, I take comfort knowing that there’s a monthly cycle to my symptoms, with lots of predictability there.
  21. There’s NO way that I could have worked at 6 or 9 months post-partum, but now I’m doing just fine working ~2 days per week (as long as I’m careful and deliberate about how I do my job.)
  22. I’ve learned that my body can be lean with my healthy vegan diet alone.  I don’t need to exercise like crazy.
  23. It’s been liberating to fully “let go” of my former quest for body perfection.
  24. My posture has improved a ton by doing the Whole Woman posture.  I believe I am taller!
  25. When I maintain my lumbar curve and avoid tucking in my pelvis, my butt looks better than when I used to “suck and tuck.”
  26. I may have to accept that my childbirth experience will always be a source of lingering trauma for me.  If not, I still have more emotional healing to do in that department.
  27. It feels good to distance myself from all Facebook groups about pregnancy and childbirth.
  28. The thing that the Whole Woman approach has given me is a big degree of CONTROL. I feel confident that I’m in charge of my healing.
  29. I’m grateful that I’m a positive person.  I want to heal, therefore I WILL heal.
  30. Healing is not a linear process.
  31. Healing is a physical, emotional, and spiritual process.
  32. The more I look for peace, the more I find it.

Well I guess that’s it for now.  And now there’s less than an hour to go before 2016 starts (Pacific Standard Time).  Perhaps I’ll do a post soon about my goals for the next year.  For now, I’ll start with this one:  keep blogging.  And this one:

I am healed.

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Leaving a Facebook Group

December 29, 2015

Boy, oh boy…have I gotten out of the habit of regularly blogging or what?  Did you even notice?  Drop me a comment if you please!  Who are you? 😉

Today I’ll just mention that I left a Facebook group within the last week.  I left because I realized that staying in a (vegan) pregnancy-related group was NOT helping me heal myself to my fullest potential.

I’m not going to have anymore kids.  I don’t plan on getting pregnant again.  I’m definitely not giving birth again (HALLELUJAH!).

It does me no good to hang around where I’m continually reminded of everything childbirth related.  It hurts me to stay there.

I don’t want to be stuck in the past.  I need to move on.

I don’t want to hear about how “great” other womens’ births were.  I don’t want to feel those pangs of jealousy.  And I feel guilty when I find myself wishing there were more people like me…so that i can feel less alone in this…

It’s horrible because I don’t really want others to suffer.  It’s just a “misery loves company” thing, no?  Misery isn’t the best word to describe my situation, but it’s how the saying goes…

And so I left.  And so I have one less place to go to waste my precious time.  Excellent!  That gives me some peace!

I have a 16 month old little boy.  He is THAT old.  He’s no longer inside me.  He came out a while ago!  He was once a newborn but now he’s not.  He’s my baby but he’s really a toddler.

I can LET GO of everything pregnancy- and birth-related.  I really can!

I am healed.

Whole Woman Skiing

December 12, 2015

Hello out there!  Has anyone noticed that I’ve fallen off my habit of blogging nearly every day?  I guess it’s because I’ve had more to do lately since Christmas is coming soon, along with the fact that some days I just don’t have much to say.

Today I do have several things to report, though!  Today we went skiing, so our ski season has officially started…woo-hoo!

First, my ski pants do not fit.  And that’s no big surprise.  They were brand new literally right before I found out I was pregnant in December of 2013.  I bought them new when I was at my leanest and lightest.  And those Patagonia size XS pants cost me a pretty penny…about $450 I believe.

Then I got pregnant.  Then I had my baby.  Then I found out that I couldn’t just get back to my old exercising ways on account of my little prolapse problem.  Then I got pretty lean again just with my healthy (vegan) diet alone.  Then I was able to fit into those ski pants at the very end of last ski season (late March 2015).  Then, I was “sucking and tucking” ((cringe)).

NOW…

I certainly don’t suck and tuck (my abs and my pelvis).  I allow my belly to stay relaxed.  And while I’m still just a few pounds over my lightest weight, it seems that my body proportions are different than before I had a baby.

Which means my pants don’t fit.  Which bums me out not because they don’t fit, but because I don’t like wasting $$$!  I have a hard time believing that I’ll ever be able to fit my now-relaxed-belly into those pants again.  Bummer.

But now onto the good news!

Skiing today felt AWESOME.  Last year I was feeling soooo much worse than I felt today.  Last year I felt like things were falling out!  I kind of lived in a state of fear.  Last year I remember that skiing felt better than walking…but that wasn’t really saying much because walking felt pretty shitty.

Last year, I remember feeling particularly uncomfortable and unnerved when my body would be jostled by bumpier sections of terrain.  Only now– one year further into my healing– I realize just how fragile and vulnerable my post-partum body was back then.  I really can appreciate that now.

Today was Day 1 of my period.  Just like last month, it wasn’t as painful as Day 1 on other months.

But what I REALLy want to mention today is that telemark skiing (the kind of skiing I do!) is an ideal exercise for gals with prolapse symptoms!  Last year during ski season, I wasn’t doing Whole Woman posture.  This year I most certainly am!

Today I noticed that when I ski, and especially when I do tele (telemark) turns, my body is in a great position for keeping my pelvic organs “pinned” safely against the bony wall that is my pubic bone.  When I ski, my lumbar curve is maintained, my upper body remains lifted, yet I’m tipped slightly forward as I move down the hill with gravity (which further pins my organs where they ought to be).

And– when I do tele turns, one leg is always further back than the other.  THAT really optimizes my pelvic organ stability.  Unfortunately, I can’t really explain it.  I just notice a definite difference compared to doing “regular” parallel turns.  Tele turns are the best!

Oh, how I loved telemark skiing before I had a kid.  And oh, how I love it now! 🙂

Long before I got pregnant, I enjoyed a lot of “Gratitude Saturdays” while skiing.  Today was definitely a Gratitude Saturday.  Today I felt peaceful and grateful as I noted just how much I’ve improved from one year ago.

My ski pants might not fit, but…

I am healed.

(If you want to buy my like-new Size XS Patagonia ski pants for a great deal, then shoot me an e-mail.  Seriously!)

Finding An Exercise Schedule That Works

December 6, 2015

First of all, exactly 2 years ago today I found out I was pregnant with my little boy.  What a day that was!  I was in shock, disbelief, even denial because…while he might have been “planned” by some higher power, our baby wasn’t planned by us.

Although I intellectually knew that our surprise baby would turn out to be a “good thing,” it still took me a while to get over the initial stress caused by such a massive life change.  After all, I was 42 and my husband was 47 and we’d decided long ago that we didn’t want kids!  We’ve been together since ages 19 and 24 and we’ve been married for almost 19 years (as of now).

If I’d known then what I know now about having my kid (my only point of reference is him!), then surely I would have jumped for joy when I found out I was pregnant.  I still marvel at how a married couple that was soooo perfectly content without kids could become soooo crazy in love with this new person that showed up in our house!

Life can take some interesting twists and turns, that’s for sure.

Now, for today’s topic…

Exercise.  If you’ve been following this blog then you know that I got motivated a couple months ago to “step up” my exercise.  Yeah, well that didn’t last.  And this is soooo unlike the “old me.”  But, clearly the old me, the pre-baby me is very different than who I am now.

The reason I bring this up today is that I started an exercise habit 2 nights ago that just might stick.  (Stay tuned!)  Basically, I’m experimenting with doing some exercises right before bed at night instead of in the morning.

I think this schedule will work best for several reasons:

  • when my 15.5 month old is awake in the morning, I can’t exercise because he constantly wants what I have (i.e. the weights)
  • when my toddler naps, I want to do other things besides exercise
  • my exercise equipment is kept in my bedroom
  • the exercises I want to do regularly include lifting weights and using my “power tower” in a way that’s safe for prolapse
  • those exercises don’t take very long to do, and I can “feel the burn” without getting all sweaty
  • I LOVE the idea of exercising right before bed, because that way my body gets a chance to immediately rest in the horizontal position afterward
  • if I inadvertently do an exercise that’s not-so-good for prolapse, then sleeping is how my body will “recalibrate” itself

This is totally doable.  I’m talking about ~15 minutes of effective upper body work and that’s it.  I feel at peace knowing that a simple change in routine can make a big difference.

I am healed.

I Wish There Was Joy

December 3, 2015

Oh…will I ever “get over” my sorrow over my birth experience?  I really doubt it…

My computer is set to randomly display photos from my library every 5 minutes.  Last night before I went to bed, a sweet photo of my baby popped up on the screen.  It was taken when he was just 2 days old.

Looking at that photo naturally made me want to look at others…which made me go through the pics of me holding my baby for the very first time.  You might imagine that I’d be smiling in those pictures.  You’d think I’d appear happy…even elated.

Nope.

Unfortunately, looking at those specific pictures elicits a feeling of deep sadness.  I haven’t posted any pictures on this blog before, but I’m posting a couple here because this photo (and there are several more like it) shows exactly how I felt immediately after my baby’s birth.

IMG_2363

You can see how dazed I was.  Can you see how utterly spent I was?  My facial expression is completely hollow.  It haunts me.

This picture was taken at 7:44 PM and my baby was born at 7:08 PM.  This was the first time I got to hold him.  I remember the moment very well, but my memories– just like my vision at the time– are a little fuzzy.

I was “happy” to hold him, yet I felt so exhausted that I had zero ability to really FEEL any joy whatsoever.  And I specifically recall that my positioning was awkward and I could barely bend my right elbow to hold him in a way that I could even see him very well, because of the IV lines in my arm.  I remember feeling annoyed at that.

Looking back, I wonder why no one elevated the head of my bed to help me.  Yet, at the time I didn’t have the energy to care all that much.

Last night I thought about these moments some more.  And for the first time since the birth I pondered this thought:

Why did no one in the room act at all happy when my baby was born?

I don’t remember anyone saying so much as a CONGRATULATIONS!  Did I lose that memory?  Was there any joy in the room at that time?  I don’t think so.  If there was, then I don’t remember it.  And that makes me sad.

My hospital transfer was unexpected.  The OB that cut me and delivered our baby was someone I’d never met before.  She was professional, but she was there to do her job.  I really do owe her the greatest of thanks, though.  Because of her…IT WAS FINALLY OVER.

My midwife and doula didn’t get to be there for the actual birth (one of them took the above picture, which was almost 1/2 hour later).  My husband was there for the birth, but after such a long, arduous wait he was rightfully focused primarily our baby’s well being.  In fact, he alerted the medical staff to some concerning twitches.  Shortly after I held our baby, he went to the NICU.

If you read the full birth story (you can search for it in this blog), then you also know that my sister and niece were also absent for the birth because I was transported to the hospital by ambulance and they had to travel by car (separate from my husband.)  They didn’t even get to see baby before he was moved to the NICU.

I recall that my sister could only say how very sorry she was that I had to go through such a difficult birth.  After such a trying day, it seemed that literally NONE of us could feel the joy that should have completely filled the room.

The lack of joy is what I grieved for yesterday.  When I look at the photos, all I see is the emptiness.

In an effort to heal from this, I need to make a list of what I wish would have happened…

  • I wish I could have felt joy while I held him.
  • I wish I was smiling in our first picture together.
  • I wish I had a “first family picture” of the 3 of us, smiling.
  • I wish I’d heard (or remembered) “Congratulations!!”
  • I wish someone had helped me get positioned so that I could have comfortably and effectively held my baby.
  • I wish I could have seen him better when I held him for the first time.
  • I wish I’d been emotionally present and not detached.
  • And I wish for so much more…

As I continue to harbor these painful feelings, but as I try to focus on everything’s that positive instead, I transfer my focus to the first times that I DID feel joy following the birth.  Looking at this picture does bring me peace.  It was taken 2 days later, just before we were discharged from the hospital.

IMG_4163 I have other joyful pictures, too.  Of my husband holding baby.  Of the first time my niece held baby.  I have joyful memories that weren’t captured in pictures.

Am I glad that I have those very first pictures of me with baby?  Yes and no.

I am healed?

Still working on it…