6 months and many lessons

6 months.

Yesterday marked 6 months since Spencer’s birth.

6 months since my vagina was intact.  Yes, we are talking about it again.  Vagina, Vagina, Vagina.

I have been forced to alter my life to accommodate my new physical limitations.  I had to suspend my Stroller Strides membership because I couldn’t walk without major pain, let alone run.  I could no longer stand for extended periods of time.  I couldn’t sit cross-legged, on uneven or hard surfaces any longer.  Wearing tight fitting clothes was out, and let’s face it now that I have had 2 kids–all my clothes are tight fitting…

The first doctor visit was 10 or so days post delivery.  I felt like something wasn’t healing right.  She said I was rushing it and to take it easy.

The second visit was for my 6 week follow up.  Again, I noted the pain and discomfort.  The GYN said take it easy.  Sometimes healing takes a while.  The pain was likely a result of the prolapse.  Come back in 4-6 months for a follow up.

During the last few months I have made adjustments.  I have been in almost constant discomfort in one way or another.  I have lost sleep over not being able to have anymore kids because of the pain.  I have contemplated surgery even though I wouldn’t be able to pick up my kids for 6 weeks or more.  I have cried.  But, mostly I have been silent.  I shared on this blog and with a few people.  But, mostly I have been silent about it since that is what you are supposed to do.

You aren’t supposed to talk about your vagina.

Yesterday, I went to a specialist whose emphasis is in pelvic floor disorders.  He took one look at me and was shocked.  He couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been diagnosed before.  He was shocked that I went so long without treatment.  He said that most of my discomfort could be eliminated with a procedure he could do right now.  He couldn’t guarantee that one treatment would eliminate the problem but he was certain that it would make me feel better than I felt.

He said my prolapse was normal.  He said I could have 10 more kids if I wanted.

I started to cry.  My legs in stirrups – spreadeagled and I was crying.  The nurse put her hand on my leg and brought me the box of tissues.  I was that girl.

I felt so relieved.  A painless application of silver nitrate and I was good to go.  If I wasn’t healed in 2 weeks to make another appointment.

I also felt stupid.  And angry.  And silly.  I endured 6 months of pain and silent embarrassment when all I needed was some silver nitrate and a competent doctor.

Exuberant granulation tissue.

All of this isn’t to say that I am 100% healed.  I still have a minor prolapse.  And I may still need an office visit to surgically remove the extra tissue.  But, I already feel better today both knowing the true cause of my pain and knowing that it can be treated.

Lessons learned-  Trust my body.  Trust my instincts.  Trust myself.   Don’t blindly trust doctors.  Don’t be ashamed of my body–broken or not.

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My world without email

Not having a job has stirred up and shifted many things inside the pit of my existence.

The first is that I am (make that was) addicted to email. Many times through out a day I will think, Hmm, I should check my work email. Only to realize that I don’t have an employer therefore I don’t have any work email to check.

Bummer.

Therefore, I am going to refocus all my emailing efforts on this blog, flickr, facebook, twitter, linkedin, and my personal email.

That will show them.

Response to Shame

In my previous post, I included a link to a blog I stumbled on by accident. However, I wonder how much of life is accidental and how much is fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it (lets leave the likes of divine intervention out of this). I don’t know the answer to the fate question, but I do wonder about it.

Anyway, I have been really thinking about the post. I have been wondering why people who are molested, raped, or sexually abused feel ashamed of what happened to them. I was thinking about how being abused shouldn’t be a source of shame or embarrassment. But, how often it is. How most crimes like this go unreported and the victims never see justice or closure (not that closure is even possible). It really got me thinking, but more than that it got me feeling.

So, I wanted to free myself from feeling shameful or embarrassed (thanks Grace!). A little side note though: I don’t want to talk about this with anyone. I am posting it here to free myself from it. But, unless I bring it up, I don’t want to talk about it. I have effectively put this behind me, but want to acknowledge that it happened.

I was sexually abused by my step brother when I was 4 years old. It was a brief period of time, and most of it I hardly remember. But, I do remember enough to know that it happened. My sister told my Mom about it a while later, and I remember my Mom asking me what happened. I was flooded with feelings that couldn’t be expressed and words that had no way of being vocalized. After all, I was only 4; it would be impossible to express what I felt or thought at that age. Almost 30 years later I can remember feeling powerless and afraid to be alone with my step brother. Yet, I can hardly express my feelings now–I just don’t have the words.

My Mom left this husband, but not because of the abuse. I don’t think she knew about the abuse until after she left anyway. We spoke of it that one time, and neither her nor I spoke of it again.

I often wonder what sort of effect something like this has on peoples lives. I don’t honestly think you can know the answer to this, since life has an innumerable number of variables. But, I look at my life and wonder how things may have been different for me if this event had not occur ed. I don’t spend much time thinking about it, since there is no way to change to the past. But, I do feel saddened by the fact that it happened. I feels like I was robbed of a piece of my childhood, of my innocence. Something was taken from me during that time, something that can never be replaced or given back.

Just like all of the books say–now that I am a Mother, I have been thinking about my childhood and my youthful experiences in more depth. I am often in awe at the fact that my Mother was able to raise 2 girls essentially on her own. My Mom didn’t attend college, but was a highly intelligent woman (I will explain the use of the past tense word ‘was’ later). She has an amazing vocabulary, has a razor sharp wit and tongue, and has never been afraid to express or stand up for herself. On the other side of the coin, it kills me to think that someone who was so intelligent could allow herself to get involved with man after destructive man, marriage after marriage. How could someone who appears so self assured need a man like my Mom does. It is difficult to not place blame when I think about all of the fucked up things that have happened in my life under the tutelage of my mother (many of them while she was under the influence). And, just when I am filled with resentment and bitterness–I remember that she did the very best she could. I hope that every decision that she made was out of love, and not selfishness. I long to believe that she always put us first when a difficult choice was needed. Many days I doubt it, and that forces a irremovable wedge between us. But, some days I can forgive her and I love her more than myself.

So, there you have another tid-bit of my history. All of the pieces that make up my life and make me who I am today. Are you glad or sad you know?

Dreadful

I had a dreadful time last night. We went home for the weekend to attend a friends wedding shower. We stayed overnight at the hostesses house, so that we could put Lil E to bed at his normal time, and then live it up like the grownups we are.

Sadly for me, I have finally succumb to illness. After fighting off several strains of cold, cough, and whatnot…I have finally come down with something terrible. Body aches, headache, sore throat, major chest congestion, coughing, shortness of breath, running/stuffed up nose…YUCK! All of this is bad timing for me, with all that is going on with my work life. Details on this later.

That wasn’t the dreadful part though, if you can imagine! There were about 60 people at this shindig, and thankfully I wasn’t the only one with a baby! For a while, I was the only one is my group of home town peeps that had a kid. Now, one of my girlfriends is preggers, and a few others are trying. Phew…it was getting lonely being surrounded by all these succesfull, professional, unencumbered chicks.

At this party there were 2 other babies. Both, upon arrival were sleeping. I had heard stories about a particluar baby who constantly cried and these parents who just didnt seem to get it. But I thought it was an exaggeration or girls just talking to talk. It wasn’t. This poor baby cried the entire time she was there-a good four plus hours. The parents seeming to be impervious to the cries-drinking and partying the night away.

It was certainly one of the most emotionally draining experiences I can remember. I can name 20 things (see below for a list) that I wanted to say and suggest to these new parents, none of which were positive and all unsolicited. It was so uncomfortable for me, that I had to leave the party, go upstairs and awake my son from a perfectly peaceful slumber and cuddle him, just so he knew how much I loved him. Then several times during the night, I awoke thinking about calling CPS on these folks. Not because the baby was crying. I understand that some babies are coliky and just cry. There was more to it than that.

I wonder in retrospect, what I could have or should have done. Is there still something to be done? Maybe I am just more sensitive because I am new Mom. Maybe there is more to their story that I dont know or understand. I am sure its a bit of everything, since life is never as easy as 1,2,3…

Too many questions and not enough answers. And worse is that there is no closure. Since I wasnt able to find my voice last night, I want to try and express it here:
1. your 5 month old daughter doesnt want or need to watch tv, expecially not COPS
2. your baby watches tv because you put her in front of it, she doesnt like it
3. She may be screaming beacuse she cant look away or close her eyes when she is over stimulated by it
4. put the drink down, and take care of your baby
5. pick her up, hold her-that flat spot on the back of her head needs a break
6. hold her close so she feels your warmth, so she is close to you and feels safe and loved
7. look for signs that she is overstimilated, and RESPOND
8. dont be so selfish, negligent and stupid (I cant help it…that is how I felt)
9. dont drink and drive (ever! but especiually) with your baby in the car
10. feed your baby-often
11. burp her
12. dont let your friends take pictures with their cell phones while she is screaming
13. Take her to a quiet, dark place to help her relax
14. Carry her in a sling, ergo, or carrier
15. When you are feeding her, craddle her close so she feels comfortable
16. When your baby cries for 4 plus hours straight know that it is stressful to those around you
17. Try and put her down for a nap when she needs it, not when it is conviennt for you
18. Perhaps try a pacifier
19. Your baby should come before you. Babies cant make decisions for themselves–we are all they have. They trust us to give them what they need.
20. look her in the eyes
21. talk to her
22. If your baby is crying for hours and hours straight, you may want to take your baby home.

What would you do?

Hubby and I were preparing to hand out candy on Halloween. We were getting the porch ready for trick or treaters, and I was holding Elliott. As I mentioned before, we live in an urban neighborhood, and do not have a driveway. Several houses on our street have driveways, but ours does not. Our hood is also mixed zoning, so we have SFR’s, apartments and condo’s as well as businesses, shops and resturaunts.

So, we part on the street, along with many of our neighbors. Most times this isn’t a problem, as there is usually parking close by the house, and I don’t have to lug things too far. Well, this day I was lucky enough to get RSP (rock star parking) right in front of our house. Hubby was parked behind me, and I backed up very close to his car to try and make enough room in front of me for a small car to squeeze in.

While we were standing in our yard, a gentlemen in a medium size SUV tried to park in front of me. He proceeded to play bumper cars with me and the car in front of him. The first couple of times he hit my car trying to park, I thought…hmm, it was probably an accident and he misjudged the distance. The next couple of times, I realized that he just didn’t care. As each time he backed up he hit my car, and when he pulled forward he hit the car in front of him.

The thought of his disregard infuriated me, and I went down to speak with him. I very nicely asked him to please cease hitting my car while attempting to park. He retorted and said, get this…that’s what bumpers were for. Now, I did not accept this as an answer, and asked him to park elsewhere, should he be unable to park here without hitting my car again, and explained that I often must park around the corner and lug my kid and his gear from my distant parking spot to my home.

Apparently I made him angry. He backed up hard into my car again as I was walking back to my house and screeched off. Hopefully not to assault someother car with his expert parking skills. When I returned to the porch, and reunited with hubby…I was met with a look of shock and disappointment. Hubby was very mad that I had confronted this man, especially with my boy in arms.

We proceeded to get into a long conversation about the positive and negative merits of confronting a stranger. You can imagine how the conversation went remembering that my husband is mellow, and often times a pacifist. I am curious to know what you would have done in a similar situation? Was I wrong to address this person? Should I have left it alone and not said anything?

Toothpaste Recall

I was struck by a news report this morning on NPR. It was alerting folks to a recall of Colgate toothpaste in several east coast states. The recall is due to a chemical discovered in the toothpaste that is also found in anti-freeze. This chemical apparently has been found in several other products imported from other countries as well.

The part that struck me was that the recalled toothpaste is being sold at discount stores. Do the stores know they are importing products that are counterfeit? Are they doing this with the knowledge that the company does not manufacture products in the country they are importing them from? Do they read the labels and see that words are being misspelled?

I am concerned about the fact that these products are being sold in discount stores where the patrons are often on tight budgets. The clientele it seems are less likely to be aware of recalls, and therefore more at risk for harm. This seems somehow unfair, and it left me feeling sad and at a loss for words on how to properly express how I feel. This was the best I could do for now.