What an exciting time in our lives – I was 38 weeks along, not expecting to give birth for at last another two weeks and I had just finished my last day of work. The biggest worry on my mind was getting the house cleaned for the baby’s arrival and getting myself some rest before the big day came. I had no idea what was to come but my mind was on the new baby and all of the planning that goes along with such a huge life change.
Just one day after my last day at work, (ONE DAY!) I went to bed with a little bit of cramping – I thought ‘just something that comes along with the third trimester’ – with no idea that it was actually the beginning stages of labour. Waking up the next morning with similar pains, my husband & I were still completely oblivious until a few hours later when things started to get real. We called over our midwife who took quite a while to arrive due to the ice storm outside and by the time she reached our house, I was already 10 centimetres dilated. A home birth was not in the plan but with the weather outside and how quickly I had progressed, we all decided that since there was low risk, we would stay at home for the birth.
The real sticky bit actually started about a week later. I had been faithfully doing my sitz baths, trying to get my head around having this new baby and watching my body morph into some really odd shapes. A week after our baby was born, I started to get brave enough to actually feel what was going on below the belt. What I felt shocked me and I immediately started praying that it was just a short-term side-effect of giving birth. So, I stewed over it for a day, and by that evening started to get more curious about what was going on.
Has anyone ever told you never to Google anything in the middle of the night? Well, if they haven’t, let me be the first. Things are ALWAYS worse in the middle of the night. Things are more daunting… molehills feel like mountains. Googling medical conditions will scare the living daylights out of you.
I googled it.
And what I found scared the living daylights out of me. I cried for 4 days straight and then went back to my midwife to ask her what was going on. She took a look and told me there was NOTHING! Nothing, oh phew, I’m normal again… but wait, why am I still feeling this great amount of pressure? I can definitely feel it in the shower and my goodness, this couldn’t possibly be normal. I needed a second opinion. That’s when my midwife discreetly directed me to a pelvic health physiotherapist.
When I first met my physio, an entire world opened up to me that I didn’t know existed… women all over the world are experiencing this thing that no one ever talks about!? About 50% of women in the world have prolapse?! That means that I know dozens of women with this same experience but no one has said anything at all. Although, if they did, would I have listened? Probably not… most likely, I thought that it wouldn’t happen to me.
Meeting with my physiotherapist began a journey of fixing a few things such as a diastases recti that had formed from the pregnancy (something else I had never heard of). From there, it was the work on my pelvic floor. My physio is absolutely amazing – dispelling my fears but also helping me come to the realization of my new reality. She’s told me a number of times “It’s not normal… but it’s common”. Over the months, I’ve gradually increased my strength through a variety of specialized kegels and breathing techniques. What I’m coming to learn now is that although I’ve spent a full year strengthening and contracting my pelvic floor, there are still some days when I feel it.. some days when it bothers me when I walk too far and I certainly try my best not to run or jump any more that necessary. I’m also sure now that I need to do whatever I can to prevent going in for surgery for the prolapse. The rate of failure for these procedures is too great to risk and after a probable failure, there’s less chance of fixing things through strength training.
On the up side, it really does feel better now than it did when I first found out about this whole world of injury. I’ve read somewhere that it might even get better once I stop breastfeeding. Who knows…
I hope that this post will find its way into the hands of someone who is early on in discovering a prolapse and is completely petrified, just like I was. I’ve been there, lady, and I know it keeps you up at night. I know you’re thinking about all the ways that your life is going to change and all of the things that you can’t do.
Better yet, I hope this post gets into the hands of women before something like this happens to them. One of my great regrets now is that I didn’t know more about how important my core strength was and the role of my pelvic floor. I’d also tell my pregnant self – do not push until you feel ready!!It’s common for medical practitioners to ask their patients to start pushing earlier than they feel the urge. It would have saved me some real anguish if I just hadn’t pushed my insides out along with my baby.
But remember this, as long as you get yourself into the hands of a professional physiotherapist that can help you with strength training and techniques (either before or after giving birth), you will be much more knowledgable about your internal health & core than you ever have been before. And, really it gets better… either it just becomes part of your life or you learn lots of ways to be strong on the inside – not just physically but mentally.
I’d love for anyone who wants to share, cry or get more information about what helped me deal with Pelvic floor prolapse to reach out through comments or email. I didn’t do a lot of that in the beginning and I think it might have helped with the grief. Feel free to send me a message or leave a comment below.
The following is a list of great resources to help you in your path to wellness. I’ll add any that I come across or please share more in the comments section:
I am a 30-something mother of a one-year-old baby girl. My husband, baby and I live just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We love to spend time outdoors, travel, make crafts and bake bread. These are some highlights of our journey.