With both girls I was back in pre-baby clothes within a week of giving birth. Actually, if I’m really honest, I was wearing pre-baby clothes before that. I’d hear,
“You’ve had 2 kids!?”
“How lucky you snapped back so quick!”
“You look great.”
But amongst the comments on how I *looked* nobody knew that I was actually dealing with internal destruction. It started about 3 months after I had Athena. A peculiar little problem that I chalked up to not enough water to or just general post-partum annoyance. But it persisted. And a good bit of googling and reading multiple resources led me to the realization that I had a rectocele prolapse. Essentially a vaginal hernia.
No, this topic isn’t usually in general conversation. Dad, if you’re reading this, you may not want to continue. Though I think the worst part is done. But it needs to be discussed and shared. I like to think I’m fairly knowledgable about L&D and the human body. I have a LOT of mommy friends, and have heard a bajillion birth stories over the years. And if in alllllllllll of my pre-baby research and prior knowledge, I’d never even known this was a potential issue, then there is a really good chance there is another mama or soon to be mama or friend of a mama who is going to read this and feel like she’s not alone.
In the midst of my research on RP, I quickly realized that mine was fairly significant and more than likely would need surgery to fix. Well, it didn’t make sense for me to fix it, just to have another baby and undo it.
For the last almost 4 years I’ve been drinking tons of water- a normal habit anyway, and drink at least 1 cup of coffee almost immediately in the morning. Those 2 habits help keep things soft, and moving. Skipping either can mean some serious discomfort and a trickle down effect of issues.
At my 6wk post partum, my wonderful Mennonite midwife informed me that I had 0 muscle tone. Zero. None. Zilch. Nadda. I’ll spare you the details on her hilarious, albeit graphic, explanation on that one. I asked her, “so what does that mean?” She said that if I was having any number of side effects that I’d have to go to a pelvic floor therapist. For those wondering, I thankfully have not been in pain, nor have I been experiencing any kind or degree of incontinence.
Eleanor turns 1 at the end of July. And here I am having FINALLY made an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist. After our initial consult, we’ll decide if I should get surgery first or after a few appointments. Either way, I have a minimum of 8 weeks of pelvic floor physical therapy where she will actually come to the house for my appointments. That’s without taking surgery into consideration, healing, and PVPT after that.
At the end of the day- there’s nothing I could have “done.” Kegels wouldn’t have prevented this. But birth, no matter how “good” is still a crazy, inescapable, physical, trauma to the body. You not only expel a human, but you lose an entire organ too. My body is a body of extremes. Both of my wildflower children burst into the world on their own very fast timetables. I was fortunate enough to not tear with either, but the haste and force with which they both delivered has caused ridiculous damage internally. We can add on the fact that my uterus shrank back down to normal size within 48hrs of delivery- something that takes upwards of SIX WEEKS for most women. Or the blood clot that held on for a week that I unknowingly kept clean and disinfected using my oil blend so well that it didn’t get infected and I had no symptoms.
So no. None of this is “normal conversation.” But how are we, as mothers, or future mothers, supposed to know these things can happen, and what our options are if they do, if we don’t talk about them? If we hide them like a secret shame? If my vulnerability, sharing “too much,” and putting this out there instead of keeping it to myself helps one mom than I’m happy.
Thank you to Hehe for the free education you provide right on your insta and blog. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have even known I could get help. I can’t wait to get started with Jennifer from Pelvic Foundations!