Workplace Stress and Miscarriage

I am thinking this will be what get’s me through.  I am a researcher at heart and would like to to talk to women who PERSONALLY feel that stress in the workplace contributed to their miscarriage.  Please email me at maniacalmom@gmail.com

Thanks!

 

http://miscarriage.about.com/od/riskfactors/i/stress_2.htm

http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20030605/how-stress-causes-miscarriage

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/nov/27/gender.world

http://www.preconception.com/articles/miscarriage/stress-and-miscarriage-1405/

Momma

Where do you go from here?

I didn’t believe it was happening.  My mind was not processing what was happening.  I had carried and delivered three healthy amazing human beings, how was it possible this was any different.  I rationalized.  I googled.  I researched.  I meditated.  I read articles and advice columns.  I slept.  I relaxed.  I did everything I could to put the brakes on the run away train, but by Sunday afternoon, it was clear that nothing I was doing was going to stop this nightmare I was in.

Saturday night, after feeling sick all day, I saw the first signs of something going wrong with my body and my baby.  Tiny droplets of blood on the tissue.  My mind went into survival mode and began to weave a story that would carry me to Sunday.  It’s just a reaction to being sick today.  I had been throwing up, so there was nothing left in my stomach, so it must be the trauma of dry heaving.  It’s hard on a body.  After all, throwing up in pregnancy is a good thing right?  I spent the better part of the day on the couch Saturday, so I hadn’t done ANYTHING that would have possibly hurt the baby..right?

Sunday morning was quiet.  My son had gone to my mom’s house Saturday because I was so sick, so I had no one to take care of except me.  I stayed on the couch, flipping channels and surfing the internet.  Thank goodness for netbooks and wifi!  I had a bowl of oatmeal, something soft and easy on the stomach.  Called my mom and let her know that I still felt bad but was taking it easy and would keep her posted. I didn’t tell her about the bleeding.  After all, I didn’t want to worry her too, because there was nothing wrong…just my body reacting to being sick.  I called my midwife and let her know that the spotting was still happening from last night and she gently told me that it was possible I was in the early stages of a miscarriage, but to stay calm and relax, there were other things it could be and that some women do have slight spotting in pregnancy.  My mind was racing and I was trying to work out just what was happening and what I could do to STOP whatever was going on.  I had three healthy children, how could this pregnancy be any different?

I went back to my couch and slept for a few hours.  Around 3 pm, I woke up and knew in my mind, something was different.  Something was terribly wrong.  I headed to the bathroom and knew that this baby was is deep trouble.  No more watery pale blood, this was deep red, filled with the destiny of my baby.  The life was draining out of me and there was nothing I could do about it.  I called my mom, because who do you call when you are in a crisis?  Your mom!  I called her crying on the phone that I was losing the baby.  She told me that she would be right over.  I hung up, called the midwife and told her that I thought I was losing the baby.  She told me that the best thing I could do right now was to lie down and relax.  If that really was what was happening, I needed all my strength to face what was happening.  Was I alone?  Yes, but my mom was on her way.  Where was Big Red?  At work but I would call and let him know what was happening.  Did I want her to come over?  No, but I would let her know what was happening.  I called Big Red, told him that I was losing the baby and his stream of questions just about pushed me over the edge.  I know he was trying to cope with it in his own way, but I felt like he wasn’t listening and just trying to make it harder on me.  In that moment, I was so angry at him.  Why was he trying to make this harder on me?

I hung up the phone and waited for my mom to get here.  I was on twitter asking my friends what they would do and many of them encouraged me to get to a hospital and find out what was really going on.  My mom arrived about 3 pm and I struggled with what to do.  If I really was losing the baby, the hospital was the last place I wanted to be.  I remembered reading stories of women having a miscarriage in the emergency waiting room and that wasn’t going to be me.  It was happening all over Canada and I did not want to endure that suffering in a waiting room.  I also knew that they would probably send me home, so why go out in the cold to just be sent back home.  After talking to my mom and friends, I decided that I would go into the hospital.  If it wasn’t a miscarriage, they would be able to have a look and see what was going on and maybe save the day.

I have to say, the Lougheed was great.  I was seen immediately and put right into a room.  They took blood, etc etc and then put me in a room to wait for an ultrasound.  The doctor came in and explained…AT LENGTH, what may be going on.  While I appreciate his willingness to lay out the entire hoe down to me, I really just wanted to have an ultrasound to have some piece of mind, or to move forward.  Thirty minutes later, I was on my back getting the ultrasound.  Unfortunately, there was no heartbeat.  I wasn’t sure how to feel.  Cognitively, I knew that if anything was wrong with the baby, this was natures way of making sure that a sick baby didn’t suffer.  Emotionally, I was numb.

They did a brief pelvic exam to make sure nothing life threatening was going on.  Everything looked okay and they would send me home.  I was to come back if I was loosing a significant amount of blood, felt dizzy or light-headed (more so than the shock of losing the baby), or was violently ill.  We headed home and I settled back into the couch.  I hadn’t really lost anything major from my body at this point, so I still held onto the hope that maybe this was just a weird going on and that everything would be okay.  Big Red came home from work early and my mom stayed over for the night, just in case.

We headed to bed about 1 am…of course I’d been dozing on and off all day, so I wasn’t tired, add to that the panic I was feeling of being powerless.  I tossed and turned and at about 2 am got up to go to the bathroom.  I am sure at this point you don’t need details.  I stood up and the room spun around me.  I grabbed onto the counter before I hit the floor and sat back down.  I called out to my mom and she came running.  I was dripping sweat off of me, the room was spinning, I couldn’t breathe and I was going to throw up.  My mind was not functioning.  They were asking me questions and I wanted to answer but I just couldn’t get the answers out.  My mom called the ambulance and I am pretty sure they were there within 10 minutes.  Off to the hospital we went.

3 am…waiting, waiting, waiting.  At 4 am, I told the on call doctor that I had to have something to eat.  Hadn’t eaten since 8 pm the night before and if they were insisting that I wait until 10:30 am for an ultrasound, they HAD to give me something to eat, otherwise I was going to have a migraine and being throwing up long before the ultrasound.  They relented and gave me a couple of packs of crackers and a small plastic cup of juice.  They also told me that they hoped I would get in sooner for the ultrasound.  The waiting was killing me…just laying there…nothing to say, nothing to stop what was happening.  I could feel the life draining out of me.

At 8:30 am, they called me to go for the ultrasound.  Wheeling me down the hall like a circus exhibit curled up on a stretcher I headed to the room that would tell me that the baby was gone.  He was nice enough…conversational and bland…but at least he didn’t ask me stupid fucking questions about how I was feeling?  How was my day?  He did his scan and left the room.  He came back in and said he needed a few more pictures and that he would break his own rule and let me know that there was no fetal heart beat and no fetal pole (to be honest, I wasn’t sure what the last part meant, but I knew it wasn’t good)  He also told me that the “sack” appeared to be around 6 weeks, not 11 like we had dated the pregnancy to from last cycle.  Wow, 5 weeks ago things had started going wrong and I didn’t know.  What the fuck was wrong with me, with my body, with my womanly intuition?  My mind was swimming with emotion and questions…questions that had no answer to them.

They wheeled me back to my waiting area in emergency and about an hour later, a resident gynecologist came in and let me read the report.  It was a very medical rationalization of the death of my baby.  No fetal heart beat, blah blah blah…in black and white, my baby had died.  He had a job to do…now to dispense information to me so I could make some decisions.

By this time, Big Red had arrived at the hospital along with Gorgeous.  They were present for the conversation that came next.

“I’m sorry for your loss.  There are some things we need to cover to ensure you have all the information you need to make the best decision.  Whatever your decision is, we will move forward with that.  The baby did not survive.  As you can see from the report, the baby stopped growing about 6 weeks ago.  You have lost the major portion of the fetal materials through a spontaneous abortion your body is undergoing.  The fetal sack remains in your uterus and we have to decide how we are going to deal with that.  Here are your two options.  One:  We can schedule you for a D & C (dilation and curettage) and remove that material with a small vacuum.  It is a quick procedure and you will be home tonight.  Two:  We can send you home now and wait and see what your body does naturally.”  I asked if those were the only options, and he stated yes.  I said I would prefer that things go naturally, as we had planned on a home birth and clearly we had a more natural hope for this, rather than a medical one.  He was very nice and said that he would take that information to his supervisor, the Gynecologist on staff and they would return shortly.

At 11 am, the “doctor” or the guy who is in charge came back with the junior resident.  He was a very nice man and went over my options again, this time, he wanted me to have more information.  “Option One:  Best option, we get the material (my baby!) dealt with quickly and there is a lower concern of hemorrhage.  What were the risks…uterine puncture from the equipment, hemorrhage on the operating table and possible death. At this point, my daughter started to cry…she didn’t want mommy to die.  Suddenly, I was acutely aware of the people surrounding me…my mom, Big Red, Gorgeous, two doctors and three nurses…this wasn’t happening…how the hell did I get to this point?  How did this happen???  I turned to Gorgeous and told her that it would be okay, mommy was okay and the doctor had a responsibility to tell mommy ALL the things about the surgery and give me all the details no matter what.  It would be okay.  Option Two:  I could go home, allow my body to try to deal with it naturally.  The risks were a possible hemorrhage at home with no assistance available to me immediately.  A hemorrhage at home would most likely result in my death as I could bleed out quickly.  Hundreds of years ago, that’s how women dealt with a miscarriage by going home and waiting, but now there were other options.

I asked him for a moment to talk to Big Red so we could make a decision together.  He stepped out of the room and I asked Big Red what he wanted to do.  He looked like he’d been side swiped by a bus.  He was at a loss and didn’t know what to do.    I hated the thought of going into surgery but at this point, I didn’t really feel like I had any other options.  We called the doctor back in and told him that we would take the surgery option.  He then stated we would be put in as an E6…meaning I would be into surgery in 6 hours or less.  At noon, they moved me upstairs to the day surgery unit and we waited…and waited and waited…for almost 8 hours for the surgery.

I slipped in and out of sleep during the day.  Gorgeous would come in and out of the area, checking on me, asking me if I needed anything.  She would sit with me quietly, not talking just sitting.  It was nice to have her there…even if she was just 10 years old.  My mom would pop in and out..asking if I needed lip balm.  The wouldn’t let me eat anything or drink anything.  I had asked for a piece of ice as my mouth was so dry and they said yes, but the ice never showed up.  At 4 pm, I told the nurse I felt a migraine starting up and that I needed something before I got really sick.  She hung something on the pole and attached it to my saline drip.  Thank God for that…it probably saved my brain from a total melt down.

We waited and waited as surgery after surgery was wheeled in before me.  The six-hour wait came and went.  Finally at 7:30 pm….8 hours after the doctor told me it would be 6 hours…I called the nurse and said, “if I”m not in surgery in the next 15 minutes, I am going home.  Come what may, I am not waiting here any longer.  I could have eating crackers at 11 am and been fine for surgery 8 hours later.  I have had nothing to eat since 4 am that morning…now 16 hours later.  I know it isn’t her fault or her problem, but I am done sitting at a hospital waiting and I am going home.”  The nurse was awesome…thank you Jody at the Lougheed!  She said she would get right on the phone, she would be upset too and yes, I could have eaten at 11 am and been fine with crackers and some water.  She left my bed and got on the phone.  I could hear her talking to someone and I was gathering my things to go home.  About two minutes later, she came over and said “you better go to the bathroom, you are going in right now.”  Wow, if I had been a bitch earlier, maybe I would have gotten in sooner.

The surgery lasted barely 5 minutes…in and out…and my baby was gone.  Nothing left but a broken heart and a sheet filled with don’ts for the next 24 hours to six weeks.  After everything, my weekend boiled down to instructions on a sheet of paper.  The words swam on the paper in front of me.  Mom took the sheet and folded it up and put it in my coat.  Mom brought over a wheelchair and I put my clothing back on, tossing the hospital gown on the bed.  I sat in the chair and mom wheeled me out to the car.  The day was over.  The baby was gone and life would be irrevocably changed for me.

No longer did I trust that my body knew what to do to grow a baby.  No longer did I feel comfortable as a woman.  My body had failed me.  As I headed home, I counted back 5 weeks.  Guess where that date landed…December 28th.  I had written this post on December 31st.  On January 4th, I wrote this post.  Both of these posts tie into the tremendous amount of stress I was, AM under and how hard it had been.  Through all of that, I had lost my passion for many things in my life.  The toxic place I was in was shaving away everything I thought I knew about me.  I had always been strong, able to cope with anything.  Thought I could handle any situation that came my way.  I was wrong.

Doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists can tell me all they want it was a simple coincidence, but the will never convince me of that.  It’s funny, “they” warn you to minimize stress in your life while pregnant, yet when the stress is overwhelming, it’s only a coincidence that you lose your baby.  Interesting.

Today, I feel empty.  I feel lost and I feel like the sun will never shine again.  I get up, move around and pretend to do the things that need to be done, because after all, I am a mom and people are counting on me.  I ghost through the day, wondering if I’ll ever feel normal again. I worry about my kids and the effect the loss of this baby will have on them.  I worry about my relationship with Big Red and will we be able to survive this loss.  So many questions and no answers.

I hold onto my sanity by my fingertips…almost wishing my mind would just collapse because then I would have a reason to not be strong for everyone else.  In spite of everything, I am a mom.  I have people who are counting on me and people who need me.  I will myself to get out of bed, stand up, put on my clothes and move forward.  I have cried more tears today than I have since it all started on Saturday.  The realization that all the plans and dreams I had for this coming year are changing.  Life will go on and I will go on.  I look towards tomorrow wiser and more cautious.

I would love to hope that no other woman will go through what I’ve been through.  I know I am not the first, nor will I be the last.  My best advice is to reach out.  Hold onto the people who love you.  Ask for help and cry until you can’t cry any more.  Get pissed off.  Yell and punch the shit out of your pillows.  Don’t answer the phone if you don’t want to.  Stay in your pajamas all day for a week if you want to.  This is about YOU.  Not your job, not your bills, not anyone else but YOU.

I mourn the loss of my baby.  I am making a plan to release the sadness and release this baby to heaven.  I hope that one day, it won’t hurt so much.

Momma

Stress F*cks You Up…

I have been under a tremendous amount of stress lately.  Way more stress than any one person should be under.  95% of it is from work…the other 5% is a mix of home, pregnancy, hating winter…the normal stuff we all stress about.

Stress has gifted me with these lovely side effects….

1.  Insomnia:  This is a wonderful byproduct of not being able to work out the things that run through your mind constantly.  I lay down at night, and I get in this endless loop of what I am going to say, or should have said to my manager at work.  Rather than getting pissed off, giving up and walking out, I should have stood my ground, called him on his lack of management and his continued violation of our collective agreement.  I should have continued with my day, HIGHLIGHTED the continued violations and filed grievances and gone after him with the right people on my side.  Instead, hormones racing through my system, I lost my cool and left.  Bad choice.

2.  Lack of appetite:  which, normally, any woman would say…awesome…but when you’re pregnant, not so awesome.  You need to eat to nourish the  baby, so not wanting to eat is not a good thing….nor is weight loss.  I’m trying to eat more, but it’s still tough when you really don’t want to.  Thank God for Cheerio’s and Oatmeal.

3.  Pounding heart and racing pulse:  Getting your heart rate up should be a good thing..right?  Not when you are overwhelmed with anxiety.  It makes your palms sweaty and makes you unable to function properly.  As much as I would love to believe this “cardiac” workout is good for me…I know it’s not.

4.  Lack of intimacy with Big Red: because I am so stressed, the last thing on my mind is sex, or anything remotely sexual.  I am sure this confession is shocking considering I am always bitching about how Red doesn’t put out…*sigh…I seem to be the one who is saying no.  I’m working on it and I hope that I can get back to where I was.

I’m in therapy trying to lower my anxiety, and so far, it’s helping a lot.  My therapist is wonderful and she has given me some great ideas and skills.

I’ll keep you posted…and hopefully, get back to bitching about the lack of sex in my life.

Momma

Ask Me…

I have been told a few times that it would be great to have a forum for asking questions on my blog.  To give you some background, I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Counselling with a Human Sexuality major.  I also have a Master Sexologist designation.  With that being said, I would love to answer your questions, give you some suggestions and have some fun together.

Email your questions to maniacalmom@gmail.com and I will post them here with answers.  Please let me know if you prefer to be an anonymous question and I will ensure your privacy is protected.

I am not dispensing medical advice.  As with all things medical, it is always best to see a professional medical opinion.  If your question is beyond my area of experience and expertise, I will refer you back to your family Doctor or local medical clinic.

Let’s have some fun!

Momma

An open letter to new moms…

Dear New Mom:

First things first, I don’t know everything…this is my fourth baby and well, really I can only share my experience with you.  I am not telling you what to do or be, I just want you to know some things that people won’t tell you or maybe don’t know.

It’s called Labor for a reason!  It’s supposed to be hard.  It’s meant to massage the baby, get them ready to face that cold harsh world that we all live in.  Inside your womb is warm, soft, quiet…and life, well, life is not.  It really does serve a purpose and if you can take it one minute at a time, it isn’t that bad.  There is a purpose to labor and even though it fucking hurts like hell, it’s only for a moment when you consider a lifetime of baby!

Don’t listen to women who have NEVER had a child…at all…they don’t know shit!  Well, okay, maybe they know stuff, but the reality is….you are a PERFECT parent until you become a parent, then the universe bitch slaps you from high heaven and you realize that parenting is a tough gig and no one knows exactly what YOUR experience is going to be like.

Experts are great, but again, they are paid to talk smack and most times, they are only GUESSING based on their experience!  If you wanna co-sleep…do it!  If you wanna bottle feed…do it!  NEVER EVER EVER let anyone make you feel bad about your parenting choices…unless of course what you are doing is illegal or immoral, then you better feel about as high as a fleas knee…cuz that shit ain’t okay.  YOU, I am happy to say…are the EXPERT when it comes to your child!  Do what your gut instinct is telling you to do!  Pick your baby up, put your baby down, feed them, let them lay naked on a blanket, let them eat Cheerios for supper!  Do what YOU think is best!  Honestly, I was pulled in a trillion different directions as a brand new mom and sometimes, I wish I had just listened to my own instincts and done what I wanted to do at the time.  Ferber DID NOT work for me!  Nursing for 18 months did!  Co sleeping worked for me!  Baby wearing didn’t!  See, it’s all about moderation and choices.

I have to let you know…you may lose friends once that baby shows up.  To be honest…your single girlfriends will tire of looking at endless albums of your gorgeous baby…and that’s okay.  Find a mom’s group…online or in real life.  Get out of the house when you want to…and stay in your pajamas for a week…well, change your pajamas in the week…if you want to!  The best thing I did as a new mom was to wear pajamas 24/7 because then the rellies didn’t stay for hours and hours when all I wanted to do was nap!  Trust me on this one!

Learn how to nurse lying down on your side!  OH MY GAWD!  This was a gift from my guru parent friend!   She taught me how to do it…and fucking hell, it saved my sanity…that old adage nap when the baby naps…well honey, you can’t help but nap if you are lying down to nurse your baby…and fuck em…the ones who say don’t nurse your baby to sleep…trust me…they won’t be 8 years old needing your nips in their mouth to fall asleep!

Buy an awesome book or series…prop that baby up on a pillow and nurse…shut of the idiot box…and READ a book!  It’s good for you!  Let your mind to the creating!  Read out loud to the baby if you want!  Maybe skip the bodice ripping scenes…but read the ones that describe the sky and the trees and the gorgeous clothing!

I am a personal fan of nursing!  That’s my PERSONAL opinion.  It was monumentally easy to go to the mall, to friends for dinner, even to movies with a newborn.  Whip out the food source and feed the baby.  No bottles to warm, no formula to mix.  No crazy grocery bills because formula is ridiculously expensive.  It’s your choice!  Do what you think is best!  I loved the nursing times with my little ones…and that is one thing I am SO looking forward to with baby pickle (that’s the nickname we are using).

DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!  It may surprise you…but you don’t have to do EVERYTHING your physician recommends.  He/She doesn’t know everything…HONEST. TO. GAWD.  You are the master of your destiny!  You are the Momma Bear!  I am pro research…I am not ANTI anything!

I love to chat with moms and share my experience…cry about things, laugh about things…and one thing is for sure…we moms need a heck of a lot more support that we need to be condemned for our choices!  How about we start sticking together and helping rather than tearing each other apart??  HERE HERE!!!

Momma

New Goals for a New Year…

Well, 2011 started out with a bang…that’s for sure.  It started out with the news of a new addition to our family…a baby, which totally turned my frigging plans upside down.

I had to sit back and look at what I wanted, where I was going and what that meant to ME.

I discovered that I have some new goals for 2011/12

1.  White Knuckle it to Maternity Leave.  I have to make it to August and then I get some time to regroup.

2.  Reorganize my home.  I think I need some help…I wonder if I can pay someone in sex toys to help reorganize my home.

3.  Take better care of myself.  This means I will get massages, pedi’s and things that make me feel good.  I’m tired of feeling like shit.

4.  Stop taking shit from people that don’t matter.

Those are the four things that are changing for this year.

Momma

Today, the reality sets in…

I really am preggers…for reals…no going back now.

I am set to visit my midwife today…the first visit of many…many many many visits!  If I remember correctly, it’s about once a month for the first 7 months, then it goes to bi-weekly then it goes to weekly, then it goes to ohmyfuckinggawdthesecontractionsaresofuckingpainfulgetthisdamnbabyouttame for about 10 hours.

Lots of people ask me why I chose to have my baby at HOME with a midwife.  After all, the greater degree of the population has their baby in a hospital…you know, the place you go when you are sick and/or dying…right?  When I got pregnant with my first, I was going to a Chiropractor and he recommended these birthing classes called Bradley Method, or Husband Coached Birthing.  That was back when the Ex and I were still in love and like each other, and it was our first baby and what better way to experience the most incredible miracle ever, than to have the man you love right by your side?  (I was delusional back then.)  We went to the classes, learned a shit load about birth, pregnancy, diet, and a multitude of other things…the biggest thing was…PREGNANCY IS A NATURAL STATE FOR A WOMAN’S BODY.  It isn’t an emergency!  It isn’t a sickness, you aren’t a delusional moron who has no clue what is going on.  It EMPOWERED me!  It gave me the knowledge I needed to be, quite frankly, way more educated about labor and delivery than MOST of the staff at a hospital.  They (and I am only addressing MY EXPERIENCE here) were so CLOSED MINDED that anything outside of their little tiny of box of “this is what it WILL be because we will medicate the hell outta your ass and MANAGE your birth and your experience and you will do what we want, when we want and how we want” was IMPOSSIBLE for them to wrap their minds around.

Now, let me put in a bit of a caveat here for all you women who might read this story, get your back up, thinking I am in any way dissing your experience or your choices…I AM NOT.  What I am a big believer in is EDUCATION…KNOWLEDGE…GIRL POWER.  Stop for a minute and think, really think about how your birth went.  Were you given options?  Were you told about the side effects of an Epidural? Were you told about how medication during labor affects the nursing relationship between a mother a child?  There are many questions that we just never ever think to ask…and it’s okay.  After all, we do the best we can with what we have right?  Many of us see our doctor, he tells us to do something and we do.  End of story.  Mostly because we are truly not aware there are options out there and if we knew there were options, we wouldn’t be as easy to manage by our doctors.  The biggest thing I learned from taking childbirth classes…YOUR DOCTOR WORKS FOR YOU!  HE/SHE IS YOUR EMPLOYEE.  YOU PAY THEM FOR THEIR SERVICES.  Just like we wouldn’t tolerate our housekeeper telling us that we should put our socks in the bottom drawer because it’s easier for him/her, the same rings true for our healthcare providers.  Sure, they are there to help educate us, but they are not the be all, end all of our education.  We are responsible for our own knowledge.  So…that being said…this isn’t a judgement on YOUR experience…it’s a recollection of mine.

We are having this baby at home, again.  Little man was born at home, in front of the fireplace on a chilly November day.  This baby will be a late summer baby, so there will not be a fireplace blazing…but there will be a pool in my living room.

We tried to hear the baby’s heartbeat today, but alas, we couldn’t find it.  She did reassure me that it was only 10 weeks and 2 days…and sometimes it can take up to 14 weeks to hear the baby.  We will try again when I come back in March.  I did the whole VBAC info dump on the risks and rewards for a home birth and a consult set up with an OB/GYN so that I am making an informed choice.

I am excited for this baby…it almost doesn’t seem real yet.

Momma

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