Friday, January 21, 2011

a busy day on the boards

someone on one of my baby boards asked about the connection between stress and fertility. it's something i've been thinking about a lot. i know i manifest stress physically- i get stress hives from time to time, i had an ulcer when i was 21. i know that the way i'm feeling definitely affects me physically. so how could i look at fertility any differently? don't get me wrong, i'm not all down on myself, i'm not blaming myself for the infertility and the losses. but still... i can't help but wonder. anyway, this is what i replied to her when she asked if stress could be affects her ability to conceive:

i think it's a fine line. i mean, on the one hand i get really irate when people suggest that i'm infertile because i'm stressing about it too much, but on the other hand i do think that cortisol and adrenaline (2 stress hormones) have some affect on your body chemistry. the above post made a good point about people in 3rd world countries having a high birth rate, but they've also been conditioned to their life stresses since birth so their bodies have probably learned to cope and adapt in ways that keep their stress from manifesting in physical ways. they also don't have access to early pregnancy tests and prenatal care so who knows how often they miscarry?
i don't want to get too new-age on you, but i also think it depends on where you "carry" stress. a lot of people feel it in their back and neck which would have no real affect on your reproductive organs. i have been told repeatedly by acupuncturists and massage therapists that i carry stress in my belly (i even had an ulcer when i was 21). i once got this mayan fertility massage and she told me i had a ball of stress next to my uterus and it was crushing my reproductive system... so i dunno... maybe that's my problem?

I also responded to this post about why so many women who miscarry decide to get a D&C. in retrospect i hope it wasn't too harsh. it seemed to kill the thread entirely and that wasn't my intention at all, in fact I'm glad the poster asked instead of just passing judgement. a lot of women who've never had a m/c and consider themselves more natural wonder why women don't just try and pass the m/c at home. doesn't getting a d&c just do more damage? i think that until you've been in that situation you just can't say how you'd react or what kind of toll that would take on you psychologically.

anyway, here's my response:
It is incredibly difficult to bear the burden of a physical pregnancy after you know the baby has passed. A lot of women still have morning sickness even after the baby passes, along with insomnia, hormonal mood swings etc. While any pregnant woman will gladly bear these discomforts when she knows she is growing a baby, someone who is told that the baby is gone will often feel like the lingering symptoms are rubbing salt in the wound. Not to mention it is psychologically horrifying to walk around all day knowing your dead baby is trapped in your body. It is worse than anything I have ever lived through.

I managed to induce my miscarriage by strenuous yoga poses designed to open the cervix and sitting in a hot tub and taking some herbal remedies, but after a week even I was ready to break (and I was pretty determined to do it at home). Luckily I passed the baby 7 days after I found out it died (at 10w3d) and going through it was NOTHING like a period. It was a mini-labor. I had contractions, my cervix had to open, I had to push it out.

The thing is, and I mean no disrespect, but people throw around the term "natural miscarriage" all the time, but the correct term is "unassisted miscarriage." There is absolutely nothing "natural" about losing a baby, about having to deliver a dead fetus in your bathroom. And women who can't emotionally or physically handle it deserve every comfort modern medicine can give them.

I also had a regrettably more hormonal moment on someone who posted some complaints about her TWELVE WEEK pregnancy on a ttc after miscarriage board. i just think that's the height of insensitivity. why would you come on a board full of women who are desperate to have a baby and still very much mourning their losses, and talk about your "out of the 1st tri danger zone" baby?!? UGH. then the worst part is how many people come out to defend her. it seems to happen all the time, i'm never "mean" or "rude" i am actually very polite and say, "a lot of women here are still ttc and your question might be viewed as insensitive to them. here's a link to a great pregnancy after loss board." and people act like i read them the riot act. SHEESH. how ignorant can you be? someone even wrote today, "ttc doesn't end just because you're pregnant. ttc isn't over until you have a baby in your arms" ummm no dummy, trying to conceive ends at conception! DUH!

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