On Her Flying Trapeze

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Trusted Advisors

Someone recently told me that I'm not as funny via email as I am in my blog. Well, sometimes I'm not as funny in my blog as I am in my blog. So here goes one of "those" posts.

Very Mom's post yesterday got me thinking about trusted advisors.

A while back we were refinancing our home. A few days before we signed, I had some questions but I couldn't get ahold of our mortgage guy. The day of the signing I started to freak out. None of the documentation made sense to me. I didn't have a degree in finances or legalese. What if our mortgage advisor was taking advantage of us and trying to rip us off? He called me back in the nick of time, explained everything to me in a way that made sense and has proven accurate and above board. Then he gave me the "trusted advisor" talk.

It goes something like this:

We can't go to medical school, law school, accounting school, investment banking school and all the other schools out there. So sometimes we need to research and find a trusted advisor (I'll add here, pray about who you pick) and then trust them to guide us in making some pretty major decisions. By all means, do your research but in the end if it seems inconclusive, listen to the person you hired to guide you.

I was a bit miffed when he gave me this talk because I didn't particularly trust him but I'd researched as much as I could, took a leap of faith and followed his guidance. It turned out very well for us financially.

When I was going around and around in circles, reading everything I could find, trying to decide whether or not to immunize my kids, I finally came to my pediatrician whom I love and trust and said, "I'm scared to do this. There are so many books and articles against immunizing. It doesn't seem necessary and there are so many risks. Is there mercury in these shots? (answer - no) I know the medical community pushes immunizations. What I want to hear from you, is - do you immunize your kids?"

She said she did so I did. I do. I'm not sold either way, but in the end I had to trust someone and so I picked her.

Very Mom's post was about IUDs and the fact that some people say they are an abortive method of birth control. I had always heard that too.

A week after the birth of my second child, with no history of mental or emotional illness, I had a dramatic and terrifying dive into the world of Post Partum Mood Disorder. I became terrified, unable to sleep, eat, or keep food down. I lost weight rapidly and experienced hot and cold flashes, panic and anxiety attacks. I almost completely lost my breast milk, though I pumped every two hours in hopes of keeping some supply for when I got better.

My days and nights were filled with waking terrors and for several weeks the thought of death seemed like a welcome release. I was almost totally unable to function and needed to be babysat around the clock. Everyone said I was the last person they expected this to happen to and I agreed. I think I scared a lot of people.

It was the closest thing to hell I have ever experienced and I pray to God never to go through something like that again, though we do plan to have more children.

In the end, after a visit to the ER, afraid my body systems were going to completely shut down, I was referred to a well-known post partum specialist who I believe saved my life. You can't go on for long if you never sleep and throw up everything you put in your mouth.

I have never prayed or devoted myself to God as I did during those weeks. In fact, many of the religious practices I started out of desperation during that time still linger on and have had a positive influence on my family. I was reminded that sometimes God heals people through an instant miracle and sometimes he heals them by inspiring good people to come up with amazing medical treatments.

The specialist put me on medication and within 3 days I felt completely like myself again, not drugged, just like Kathryn. I had always said I would never use "mind altering" drugs. I had always harshly judged people who did.

Dan convinced me by saying, "Your mind has already BEEN altered. What we need to do is alter it back. If you were diabetic, you would take insulin. Your body has a chemical deficiency. Replace what's missing.

If you had lost a leg, you'd use a prosthetic limb. Sure, it wouldn't be as good as your own leg, but at least you wouldn't be hopping around on one foot, saying, 'I'm too proud to use a crutch.'"

I was humbled, scared, and right before taking the medicine for the first time, I called my doctor's emergency line, bawling and begging him to call me. "Please tell me about the studies again. Tell me how the medicine won't affect my baby through the breast milk. Tell me I won't be on this forever. I'm so, so scared to take it and I'm so so terrified not to."

My new-found trusted advisor quoted the studies. He told me of his past experiences with women over 20 years, dealing solely with post partum issues. He calmed me and I trusted him.

Then it was time for birth control. I needed to be on the above medication for my family to function. I refused to be on it while pregnant. Also - Magoo, weighing in at 10lbs 8oz, had caused significant damage to my body and I was unable to walk normally or even lay down in any position but flat on my back. I had to use a special lifter to get my legs in and out of bed.

I could not be pregnant. I could not trust the rhythm method, or the fact that I was nursing (yes, my milk came back) to keep me from becoming pregnant. I was told that going on the pill would only worsen my PPMD symptoms and so we explored our options.

An IUD was suggested by my Obstetrician, someone I have trusted with my life and one of my most trusted advisors. He brought up the fact that outdated literature suggests that IUDs cause a woman's body to abort the fetus and, knowing my religious background, he wanted to address that. I am a firm pro-lifer.

He said that the device has been shown by more updated research to act basically as a spermicide, disabling the sperm so they are unable to fertilize an egg. I haven't read all the studies. Religious websites say one thing, choosing to believe studies done in the 70s for their information. Planned Parenthood says another. I don't really trust either.

My doctor is my trusted advisor. He's read the most recent stuff. He knows my concerns. I feel strongly that he shares my beliefs. I believe him. I don't have access to all of the studies and if I did, would I understand them?

He is my trusted advisor.

(And don't think I blindly follow any doctor's advice. I used a midwife the first time around in another state and loved her. I couldn't find one that I felt great about here so I went the MD route, which turned out to be a majorly great decision considering Magoo's size and the complications. I even switched OBs 5 months into the pregnancy when I realized that I didn't really trust my advisor, no matter how many people had recommended him to me.)

33 Comments:

Blogger Heth said...

Thank you for sharing your story Kathryn. These decisions aren't easy, and I think sometimes we are too hard on each other, dividing up into little camps based on our feelings on some of these topics. I think it is very wise to seek the counsel fo someone you trust.

1/19/2006 5:47 AM

 
Blogger Heth said...

P.S. What are you doing up at 1:30 am? Get some sleep girl!

1/19/2006 5:48 AM

 
Blogger Katy said...

These decisions aren't easy AT ALL! My kids are all grown-ups, but I struggled with these same issues when I was having babies. You are doing a great job of gathering info, choosing whom to trust, praying, etc., and then moving forward.

I had a 10 lb 5 oz girl between my two boys! You'd have thought she would have been the killer, but boy Number One nearly did me in. Do doctors still use forceps? It took 120 stitches to put me back together and I couldn't sit for 8 months.

Thanks for sharing, Kathryn. I'm with you!
Katy www.fallible.com

1/19/2006 6:07 AM

 
Blogger Liz said...

It just comes down to personal decisions sometimes, and that sometimes is not the easy road, or the popular road. Stick to what is right for your family.

1/19/2006 6:24 AM

 
Anonymous Mel said...

Wow wow wow. Thanks so much. I've got a similar background as you (far as I can tell) and am living in an imperfect world wanting to do the best I can, too. Thanks for your non-alarmist explanation of your choices. And I love your "Trusted Advisors" method of coming to difficult decisions. I read VeryMom, too and like how she confronts these issues that are hard to talk about in Mormondom. I think it is always a battle between fear for the worst and faith that it will all work out (with some help).
P.S. I found you through BoB, and am really enjoying your blog.

1/19/2006 8:24 AM

 
Blogger andrea said...

It's my experience that the funniest people are also the most serious/thoughtful. Make any sense? (I'm sure it has something to do with Shakespeare, personally.) What struck me about this post is how I've gone through the same sort of process. There's definitely a divide between what the pundits say and what the tabloid mentality of our society dictates. The same debates rage over ADHD. I've learned to educate myself like crazy, then listen to my own wisdom and gut, and identify those who push a certain choice because they have an agenda. They're easy to identify because they're usually the ones who push hardest. Wait 'til you have kids in school and have to negotiate the schoolyard mum mentality. It's an eye opener!

I'm subscribed now and I voted. Yay!

1/19/2006 8:32 AM

 
Blogger Addie said...

Thank you for talking about this topic. I tend to be the type of person who is very black and white. What I think is of course right and so by basic deduction, every other thinking is wrong. But as I get older, I see that I don't know everything. My perspective of reality is limited by only my experience.

Sounds like your mortgage guys was a pretty wise guy!

1/19/2006 9:01 AM

 
Blogger mom on a wire said...

I think it is courageous and wonderful of you to share such a private story. Birth control is a very important topic, and every side of the story needs to be heard.

1/19/2006 9:16 AM

 
Blogger Cee said...

I have struggled with a lot of those same issues. I never had PPD but I did have a bad case of "baby Blues" with my first child. It was horrible, and that word isn't even strong enough to describe what I felt. I came out of it quickly and on my own, thank God. I am glad that you got the help you needed.

I was about to have an IUD when I found out Elyse was on the way, oops.

I am so glad Elyse was a girl because we didn't have to revisit the whole circumcision issue.

1/19/2006 9:31 AM

 
Blogger Heather said...

That was an open and difficult post to write. I agree. Sometimes your pediatrician and mine have even told us different things to do with our kids. We have each trusted the advice we received, along with our own best judgement and the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and we each have wonderful, healthy kids. You are doing awesome, and I am proud of the decisions you make.

1/19/2006 9:58 AM

 
Blogger Eleisha said...

Thank you for this post and the 'trusted advisor' point. I had the experience this past week of a trusted advisor (my doctor) prescribing meds that sent me for a loop. I was contemplating changing, because of this instance and another one that she was not fully truthful or upfront on some issues concerning medication I was on. I will be shopping for a new practitioner (that may sound wrong); but I do want someone that I can totally trust with my health.

1/19/2006 11:35 AM

 
Blogger Karen said...

I'm with you all the way on this one. Thanks for sharing yourself. You are an amazing person, Kathryn.

1/19/2006 11:38 AM

 
Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

The older I get, the more sensitive I think I get to other people's feelings and the reasons why they do the things they do. I used to be very black and white, too. It has not served me well. In the end, it is up to us- no one else can make decisions for us. We can turn to people for advice, like our trusted advisors, but we have to make the final decisions. I applaud you, Kathryn, for posting your story.

1/19/2006 11:47 AM

 
Blogger Daring Young Dad said...

We were very lucky to have such a good OB. I am very glad we trusted him with Magoo's delivery.

They didn't know how big Magoo was going to be, or they would have done a Caesarian. As it turned out, he got stuck pretty good halfway out. He would have died had not our OB been as strong and experienced as he was, several nurses privately told us after the fact. I also believe he was guided by God, and I thank Him and the OB for saving my son.

I'm glad we chose to trust Him in addition to our OB. I know God doesn't make things always work out peachy, but He always helps make things work out in our hearts.

1/19/2006 11:52 AM

 
Anonymous Pam said...

So true, DYD. I am so glad you and DYM know this. And who to trust on this earth is sometimes so hard to figure out. I think you are doing well. Those are important decisions. :) Love you. Pam

1/19/2006 12:23 PM

 
Blogger The Daring One said...

By all means Eleisha, one thing all this has taught me is to make sure that you don't trust people who are not worthy of your trust.

The biggest thing I've learned is not to judge other people for their personal and family decisions.

Thanks Dan...You are the sweetest.

1/19/2006 12:24 PM

 
Blogger RGLHM said...

Dan's comment made me tear up. What a guy. Daring, I have become all the women I used to judge. Boy is it hard to feel like you are judged by yourself all the time.

And I read both posts and I am glad you wrote something. I know God gave us a brain for a very good reason. If everything was black and white, like I always thought, we wouldn't need brains. But life is complicated. SO many things can happen that only a brain and prayer could sort out. We do the best we can with the time and energy we have to make choices, trust our advisors and trust God. And then we must let go. And then we discover that all the judging we did of other people will have to end b/c we have no clue what's really going on in other's lives.

YOU DID GOOD DARING!!!!

PS I love my OBGYN who knew something was up with my pregnancy and as I looked in her concerned eyes when she told me felt a C-section was necessary, I knew who to trust. I love that concept of a trusted advisor.

1/19/2006 12:45 PM

 
Blogger Kathryn said...

Awesome post! My husband encouraged me to listen to my OBGYN when we found out that our son was breech. He was stubbornly not turning, and my fluid levels were going down. She told me that she wanted me to consider a C-section. I didn't want to, wanted natural childbirth, and all that. She gave me all the info about manual version (trying to turn the baby from the outside) and the statistics and we prayed and decided to go ahead with the planned C-section. I was recovering, when I heard of a friend's friend who's baby got stuck during a natural delivery. The baby went without oxygen for 10 minutes while they performed an emergency C-section. The baby later died, and the mom almost died, it was a horrible experience and I heard the abbreviated version. We are glad that our OBGYN is so good at what she does and knows what she is doing, and knows much more than I do. If I had chosen my way, it could have been a bad situation. Trust is a big issue for me also, but I will see her for the next one if we have more. She is my "trusted advisor."

1/19/2006 1:16 PM

 
Blogger RGLHM said...

Oh, forgot to mention how sorry I am for the terrible traunma you went through. I can't imagine how scary that was. I am so sorry. And how wonderful for you to find the Dr. who could help you and 'saved your life'. Amazing how this life is all about how we help and 'save' eachother.

1/19/2006 1:22 PM

 
Blogger Moonface said...

thank you for being courageous enough to share this very personal story. I cannot imagine how traumatic your experience would have been.

And Dan, you sound like one amazing guy! You lucky, lucky girl, Kathryn!

1/19/2006 1:39 PM

 
Anonymous Jenna said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your comments about anti-depressant/mind altering drugs. Especially in the Christian community, there can be so much judgement against making these choices. I was told numerous times to pray more, have more faith, etc, etc, etc....when in reality, I believe that God heals us in so many ways, and while He is capable of miracles and instant healing in His time and in His will, we need to use all the tools He's given us -- our families and friends, counesling, drugs -- as we feel led. It's a scary choice to make, and we sometimes feel weaker for it, but in reality, the decision to put ourselves in a place, mentally and emotionally, where we can do and be more for Him, for our families, and for ourselves, is a choice of strength.
So....what I was trying to say there was "thanks." Keep telling your story, I'll keep telling mine, and maybe one day, these stigmas and barriers will be down for good.

1/19/2006 1:47 PM

 
Blogger Tigersue said...

Thanks for your comments, I found you on Mormon Mommy Wars! I have blogged a bit about my PPD, experiences. It is amazing how similar and yet how different it can be for every woman.
I'm a nurse and my most frustrating pet-peve, is when someone asks for advice, and yet doesn't want to concider it and then, goes completely opposite. I have worked NBICU for years and so many things could have changed in outcomes if people would listen like you did. (sorry for that small rant.) Anyway, I choose and IUD too after my last baby for many reasons, and my understanding of the literature is that you don't get pregnant at all. So no different from taking the pill.
Have a good day.

1/19/2006 3:05 PM

 
Blogger Karen said...

RIGHT ON, JENNA! Do you blog somewhere?

1/19/2006 4:06 PM

 
Blogger The Daring One said...

I was wondering the same thing Karen. Thanks for asking.

1/19/2006 4:51 PM

 
Anonymous Jenna said...

It's sweet of you ladies to ask, but I'm preeeeeetty boring and would probably best be served keeping my blog adventures to the "read and comment side" -- although perhaps I could hone in on the niche market of "blogs for the insomnia ridden"? "Blogs about what color my socks are today?"

1/19/2006 6:16 PM

 
Blogger Elena said...

Kathryn, I always advise young women to look into Natural Family Planning. Once you learn it it's inexpensive, effective, and it gives you invaluable information about how your body works.

http://www.billings-centre.ab.ca/general/index.html

http://www.ccli.org/


It's not the rhythm method by a long shot!

1/19/2006 6:35 PM

 
Blogger Shannon said...

Oh, wow, Kathryn--thank you so much for sharing that. I had an experience so similar it's amazing. Let's talk about it some time. There's no telling how many women you just helped!!!

1/19/2006 7:13 PM

 
Blogger Manic Mom said...

Hey DYM--Congrats on being one of the ten finalists for BoB Mom Awards! That is awesome! Good luck!

1/19/2006 8:41 PM

 
Blogger The Daring One said...

Thanks everyone for your great comments and support.

Elena - I'll definitely look into that. Thanks for the suggestion. All told, wouldn't we all rather do less to mess with our bodies?

1/20/2006 8:01 AM

 
Blogger elliespen said...

DYM, thanks for sharing this. I really like the "trusted advisor" bit and have noticed it in my own life. I enjoyed hearing your take on it.

And Jenna, for what it's worth, I would totally read a blog about an insomniac with colored socks. (Why didn't I think of that first?)

1/20/2006 9:16 AM

 
Anonymous baby sleep pillow said...

Good postings, and some really useful techniques.

baby sleep pillow

2/16/2006 12:20 AM

 
Anonymous Caryn said...

How interesting that this post came up. I was just thinking of it on Wednesday, when I was at the doctor because, well, I would definitely describe this new doctor as a "trusted advisor". And I thought of your post, and the calmness you felt at realizing that, and I felt the same when in the hands of the doctor on Wednesday. Just thought you'd want to know you words were memorable. :-)

3/19/2006 12:46 PM

 
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