Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Miscarriage *trigger warning*

On Friday, November 29, 2014, I was officially 13 weeks pregnant.

We made it past the first three months that many consider risky for disclosing your pregnant status. You're more likely to lose a pregnancy in those delicate 12 weeks. I was in the clear.

It's been two years since my miscarriage. I'm happy that I told people about my pregnancy before you're "supposed to". I won't hide my loss because they're so common yet somehow we never hear about them.
This was my experience having a miscarriage. It was awful and traumatic. It was probably one of the worst experiences I've had and I have a lot of life experience, as many readers know.

That Friday, two days after my thirty-third birthday, I woke and finally wasn't nauseous. I decided to get my body warmed up with some pregnancy belly dance-just gentle stuff like hip circles-before the 25 minute walk to work that morning. I had a little bit of spotting but tried not to worry about it too much. Spotting is fairly common and often inconsequential. On my way to work, I texted my doula/RN neighbour just in case. She responded that I had likely done too much and told me to take it easy.
At work, I took calls as I normally did but with this nagging thought interrupting my problem solving for callers. It was hard to focus. Jennifer, my doula, told me to drink lots of water and lay down once I got home. At home that afternoon, I tried to relax and not do anything. I kept spotting and had started cramping.
On Saturday morning, Carlos went to work. I sat on the couch with my dog and kept drinking water. The cramps were steadily getting stronger. I made some hot chocolate and watched Four Rooms starring Tim Roth.
As it got later in the day, I decided to shower to get ready for my work Christmas party. I heard Carlos come home as I finished. As I stepped out of the shower, big gobs of blood fell out of me. I immediately opened the bathroom door and called for Carlos. I told him what was happening as I choked up. We hugged and shared the same anxious look. I texted my supervisor and told her we couldn't come to the party.
We ordered Indian food and tried to relax. I kept in contact with Jennifer. She said to go to Emergency if I soak through a pad. At this point, the cramping was nearly unbearable and I couldn't eat my food. Carlos insisted we go to Emergency.
We went to the hospital at 8pm. When we arrived at the General Hospital, I spoke with the admitting staff about my symptoms. They were taking my blood pressure and as I stood there, blood oozed through my pants and down my legs. I had soaked through the pad. I was admitted right away and we were led to a private room just off Emergency. I was in excruciating pain. The cramping was horrendous. Worse pain ever. I vomited twice.
A nurse brought me pads, a gown, and hospital underwear. I soaked through a couple more pads and "free bled" into the toilet a number of times. They took blood samples and tested me for a urinary tract infection. I spoke with Jennifer on the phone and she could tell when the pain was really bad. It became hard to speak. It came in waves. Like contractions. I learned later that this cramping was worse, by far.
Poor Carlos was helpless as he sat on a hard chair next to the hospital bed as I writhed in agony, worried about our little fetus.
I was given saline solution and morphine (they said it was safe for baby) intravenously and Gravol to help the morphine-induced nausea.
Several hours after arriving, a doctor had come with a portable ultrasound machine to check on our baby but she wasn't able to see anything. She told us we'd have to wait till the next morning for a vaginal ultrasound.
I drank more water and ate some fruit since the morphine started to work. My sister brought me pajama pants and slippers since I had bled through the pants I had arrived in. Carlos went home for awhile to care for Mannie and Chaos and get some sleep. The morphine helped me sleep.

In the morning, they needed the room we were in so they wheeled my bed into a hallway and we waited there. At 8am, we went for the other ultrasound. I was still on saline solution and morphine in my IV but I laid half naked under my gown and hospital blanket in the hall for the rest of the day. They wouldn't let me have any water in case I had to have a D&C (which they never actually said, just that I may need a "procedure").
We waited in that busy corridor the entire day. An ER doctor finally came at 4pm and told us, with countless strangers bustling past us, that the pregnancy wasn't viable. There was "no yolk". He said that my body would likely expel the sack in the next day or so and I wouldn't need a D&C.

*Side note* The way the hospital handled this situation was not appreciated. We were given no opportunity to have a private moment after our second ultrasound. Telling us about the loss in the hallway was absolutely not the way to do it. This clinic is the answer.

The next day, I saw my regular doctor and she explained a bit more about what a blighted ovum was and told me there was nothing that I had done or hadn't done that caused the miscarriage. She said that sometimes it was the wrong sperm with the wrong egg. A bad recipe. Over the next several weeks we tested my blood's hCG levels to ensure it was decreasing.

This was so hard but I truly appreciate my body's wisdom. And because I had told everyone about my pregnancy "early", I had so much support and a surprising number of women I know shared their own experiences with miscarriage. Including my grandmother.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Raising My Offspring Vegan

First Message-wear for my fetus 
My friend had emailed me the Oh She Glows post "Will You Raise Your Daughter Vegan? My Answer May Surprise You". I am familiar with Angela Liddon's work, I do have her first cookbook and they're great tasting dishes. After reading her post a couple of times, my emailed response to my friend was, "That's such a lame response. Being vegan isn't about diet. It's about standing against a socially sanctioned wrong. Diet is just a part of it." Just a quick email of my initial thoughts. Of course I went on to think about it much more.

This is why I'm raising my child vegan.
It's clear to me that Angela Liddon isn't vegan for the animals (original definition of vegan) and if she is-or claims to be-she hasn't thought critically about her position. I can read between the lines when she says that she "personally experienced benefits and drawbacks to labelling my own diet". Her feelings have been hurt. She goes on,"I don't want to push my beliefs on her". Um...isn't that what parenting is?! So, you don't want to be a parent...

Here's my line of thinking. If I'm a parent who sees how devastating rape is and doesn't believe it's an ethical way to behave, but at the same time I refuse to instill that same anti-rape value in my children, how is that ethical or even consistent? And once Junior is a teenager and he starts raping people, do I condone that choice? Absolutely not.
Part of the problem is that because animal use is so widespread and accepted by the great unwashed, it seems unreasonable to stand against animal use and to teach your children vegan values. But if it were rape, that's much more sound and the masses would support your "pushing your beliefs".
We have very little control of how others behave. To 'control' our kids choices and teach them similar values to our own (I reiterate-this is what parenting is) is one of the things that we do have some control of, at least at the start.
Angela Liddon doesn't want to label herself or her daughter. Personally, I'm very comfortable with being labelled as a vegan. Our brains are constantly trying to organize the world.
It's obvious that the violence inherit in the animal exploitation industries don't enter into her decision making. She fantasizes about "an excitement for healthy food, understanding its impact on our energy, etc." The closest she gets to talking about nonhuman animals is "etc". She doesn't want to restrict her daughter's pleasure. She doesn't want to "stop her from enjoying some of her dad's chicken or a birthday cake at a friend's party". Angela still sees "dad's chicken" as food. I don't. That's what separates us.
Look, I understand why she's in the position that she's in. Her husband isn't vegan, and that can't be very easy if you were concerned about other species rather than your own health (I'm divorced, I know). In the first paragraph, she writes that her husband "is happy and healthy which is what matters." <sigh> What  about the billions of other sentient lives?
I also don't believe her readership is exclusively vegan. In fact, a number of my non-vegan friends have recommended her blog to me. Could she be attempting to appeal to the non-vegan readers? It's obvious reading the comments on her blog that most readers are praising her decision. I am not.

Damn rights I'm raising my child vegan. Just like I intend to raise them to not be sexist, or heterosexist, or racist, or any of those other isms that put those that are different from us as separate and not worthy of moral consideration. I refuse to raise them speciesist.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My Re-Introduction To Reading

Yes. My last post was nearly a year ago. A lot has transpired since my spine surgery.

I am not writing about any of that in this post. I was, however, inspired to write by a new Twitter friend, @beanloveblogger, when she tweeted me her own blog post about the similarities she found in reading the book, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, featuring zombies and her experiences with her own brain injury. I really appreciate her perspective. It very much reminded me of my almost identical experience comparing my brain injury experience with a book by Daniel Waters entitled Generation Dead. Oddly enough, also presenting zombies.

My Dad had found a copy of Generation Dead with a large display of books that were free for borrowing (or taking) at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre. I was going to various therapies there, early in my recovery. At the same time, I had just received the prism for my eyeglasses to help with my diplopia, so I was seeing singularly and could read for a period without exhausting my healing brain.

Now, I do want to mention, that although I was 28 years old at the time, and Generation Dead was written for a much younger readership (amazon says it's for reading level grade 7 and up), I was quite childlike in my cognitive abilities.
My brain
was horribly damaged mere months ago, give a lady a break.

As mentioned in previous posts, I love reading. Zombies were one of my favourite topics. This was well before The Walking Dead came to television.
See post: Zombie Love and Saving My Brain
Anyhoo. I was excited to read.
Generation Dead is a story about a phenomenon of teenagers coming back from the dead as "living impaired" or "differently biotic", and how the community handles the change. Specifically, this story focuses on three characters, all in high school. It was enthralling to me because a lot of the characteristics of the differently biotic were eerily similar to what I experienced learning to walk and talk again. They shuffled, and moved funny, they mumbled and their speech wasn't always clear. There were definite themes related to how we treat different groups of people (class, colour, ethnicities, sexualities, and abilities). But what I really took from the story (stories, really, I also read Kiss Of Life and Passing Strange) was that-and spoiler alert-the living impaired kids that were able to "recover" from their deadness were the kids that had love and support from friends and family. This is also very much true in how my recovery has played out. My family and friends were and are amazing throughout my life. They are part of the reason that I've recovered so well from the undead.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Sciatic Nerve

Starting the long weekend of September in 2013, my back started giving me problems. I put down Chaos's food bowl (he has a raised bowl to prevent bloat) for his supper, and when I straightened back up, I thought, "that isn't right."  I didn't give it another thought. I brushed it aside. When I woke up the next morning, I could barely move.
I went to a chiropractor a couple times, and he got me back to mobile. He told me I had to stop running till we got this fixed. Poor Chaos. Poor me. 
I gave it a couple weeks, and my back got worse, this time I felt pain in my leg and down into the heel of my left foot. Back to the chiropractor! It was pretty convenient. There's a chiropractic office a few blocks to the west of my home. I would just walk there on my way to work, stop in, get treated, and make my way to work.
It helped my mobility, but the pain was still very much there. After a couple months, he sent me for an X-ray to see what the problem was. The X-ray wasn't clear. They recommended an MRI.
I finally saw my doctor and got a prescription for pain medication. I wasn't getting the sleep my brain required to function. I also got a referral for physiotherapy. I needed to try something else.
Got the MRI, it confirmed that my L5,S1 disc was herniated and resting on my sciatic nerve, causing the debilitating pain down my left leg.
I started physio at a clinic a few more blocks west from my chiropractor. Both practitioners had me doing exercises in the morning and at night to try to get my herniated disc back into place. No such luck. My doctor referred me to a neurosurgeon, after a couple more months of waiting, I got in to see him. He said that if I can live with the pain, I don't need surgery, but if I can't, I should get the surgery. I told him that initially I would've said no to surgery, but it's been 8 months, and lots of chiropractic treatment and physiotherapy, missed days at work, and no running with my dog...I want the surgery. About two weeks later, I got a call saying I was booked for surgery: Thursday, April 24, 2014. That was in two days.
I was excited to visualize the end of my sciatica, but I did start to panic with all the things I wanted to get done before the surgery, and I knew it was a fairly long recovery period.

Surgery went well. I was so nervous, but everyone was so calm and very nice. It kept me relatively relaxed. They just directed me through each step in preparing for surgery.  I also brought Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's book On Being Vegan. I got a couple pleasant questions because I was reading that. I was glad I brought it because it invited a couple of good conversations.
I was anxious about getting the IV. I know people have had lots of problems getting it in properly. My guy got it in my hand alright, but he did have to wiggle it around to get it into the right vein. My hand has a bit of a bruise, but it isn't terrible. 
It really stung when they injected the anaesthesia. But then I was out. 
They gave me a lot of morphine when I came to. I was really stoned, and had a hard time hobbling to the bathroom with my IV stand, even with a nurses help. Well . . . I did just have surgery on my spine, so the fact that I could walk at all is kind of incredible. 

I was pretty hungry, too. I had to fast for surgery. I was smart and brought an apple and a banana because I wasn't entirely confident that they would have a lot for a vegan. They did have some rice crackers and peanut butter, and peach juice for me after the surgery.My parents came and saw me in recovery, and Carlos picked me up. I got really nauseous in the wheelchair down to the car, and in the car on the ride home. Luckily we live close. I took off my jacket and rolled down the window and the air really helped. 
But man. I'm having a really hard time with this "do nothing and relax" concept! It's little wonder they had to put me in an induced coma after the car collision! I'm only supposed to lay down or stand for the first week. I've been doing a lot of sleeping and reading. 
I can start increasing how much time I sit next week. I made a mistake the next day (Friday), I thought I could sweep off the
leaves from my deck. I felt okay while I was doing it. Nope. Minutes later my back just ached. Then I reread my back care instructions, all I can do in terms of house work is do dishes and light dusting. I can't push/pull/lift anything over 5 lbs.  Whoops
I am supposed to walk everyday and slowly increase the time. I get the staples out on Thursday. Which just sounds so utterly awful and painful, I'm really not looking forward to it. But I can shower after they're gone. No more of this spot-washing for me!
But sciatica's gone!!! That's crazy exciting and I wanted to cry from sheer joy. 

Carlos has been really helpful.  Extremely helpful. Not sure how I would manage without him.
SGI is going over all of my medical information to see if this back problem was caused by the car collision. I sure hope so. I've spent a lot of money on treatments, money that  was intended for some much-needed house renovations. Here's hoping.