***Warning Content May Not Be Suitable for the Weak or Ones That May Not Want to Read About Pelvic Floor Weakness A.K.A MEN :)***
I’m writing on the topic below not because it’s something that I am ecstatic to write about (I’m kind of embarrassed actually) but because I wish I would have known before or even after delivery that this could be a problem and that there is noninvasive help. So, I hope at least one person could benefit from reading this or relate.
I feel like there were many things that I was not told about during my pregnancy and once I gave birth I went in for a 6 week check and then sent on my merry way. There were things I wish I would have known along the way and afterwards. However, I was going to a maternal fetal specialist for my care. He is there to save lives not necessarily as a life coach and I get that. And without a doubt he saved my Baby B’s life during delivery. So, I’m not really complaining about it. It’s just in retrospect a few extra tips would have saved me from months of after care.
Despite what some have said, my delivery wasn’t “easy”. Despite some complications delivering two babies isn’t frickin’ easy and if some people think so you try it. My labor was long and the delivery was short. You do that math that means that I pushed out two human lives within a very short amount of time. I went into Labor & Delivery around 3:00 p.m. to be induced and I didn’t start pushing until 5:00 a.m. the next day and my first baby emerged at 6:51 a.m. and the next baby at 7:05 a.m. I got no sleep from the time I went into Labor & Delivery and never even got a nap. I didn’t get to sleep until 10:00 p.m. the next day. If I ever do this again I’ve learned my lesson on how I would address things. If I did it again the day of delivering is for me and my husband. NO VISITORS. I was exhausted nauseous and in the most pain I had ever been in. All I wanted was to shower and see my baby in the NICU. I know everyone gets excited about seeing a new baby, but ultimately it’s about you for once. But I digress (as usual).
Pushing Baby A out was normal, at least I think so. I’ve never done it before but there were no issues and I could take my time. Baby B had a prolapsed umbilical cord and his heart rate was dropping. I had to push constantly for at least 10 minutes. No breaks in between pushes and I mean not even to catch my breath. During this time I knew it was dire and my only thought was I have to get this baby out. I HAVE TO. So I didn’t even really think about anything else. My husband said at one point my doctor had both arms in there up to his elbows. And I know that I pushed with all my might. I should have know that months later there would be issues but it was never discussed with me so I didn’t think much of it. Also, during my pregnancy I was in pain A LOT. I felt like my whole pelvis was on fire and that my undercarriage was ripping away. My doctor told me that it was round ligament pain and that it was normal. Getting a brace was mentioned once, but if I had to do it again I would have definitely have gotten one. My doctor had told me that round ligament pain was everything stretching and making room for baby but I was never told that doesn’t resolve itself after delivery. For some women it may be obvious for them to practice their kegels during pregnancy, but it was never told to me and I was much worried about other things during my high risk pregnancy.
Around 3 months postpartum I hadn’t really even looked down there. I was scared. I had an episiotomy after delivering. The doctor had made quite a huge cut in my perineum for reasons described above. I didn’t know what it would look like afterwards and I didn’t want to know. But at about three months postpartum I had gotten my good old friend, flo. So, I tried to use a tampon because that was what I was used to doing prior to giving birth. The first time the tampon just fell out. Not because it was so loose that it just fell out but it kind of pushed its way out. Second time the same thing. I thought it was odd but kind of expected things to be different. I finally took a hand mirror and noticed a protrusion down yonder. It of course freaked me out. So, bad I had my husband investigate. Poor guy. It’s amazing that we take our vows so seriously. This man has literally seen everything and me at my absolute worst. I had noticed that I was leaking urine when lifting, coughing, laughing and I had trouble making it to the bathroom. All of which is always joked about after delivery so I thought it was normal. But ladies this is NOT normal. It’s not.
I made an appointment with my regular OB/GYN. After a quick exam she diagnosed me with a prolapsed bladder from a weakened pelvic floor. She said it was fairly normal after delivery and very normal after a traumatic delivery. She said there was several courses of treatment but mine was actually fairly mild and she prescribed me physical therapy . I thought physical therapy what can they do for me that I wouldn’t be able to do at home? She had given me a script for a women’s health physical therapist. Normally I would probably blow something like this off but I decided after delivering I wasn’t going to let my health go and this was not a comfortable problem. I made an appointment that day. I was scared to go and did not know what to expect. When they told me that I would be with a woman I was more comfortable. Not sure if you guys have been to a physical therapy place but to I’ve seen young males all the time. That’s the last person I want to be helping me with this issue. On my first appointment, my physical therapist put me at ease right away. She was very sweet and she told me that she would build a course of action depending on my progress each week. During the first appointment she told me that all the things that women joke about, like leaking urine after delivery isn’t normal. And that it can in fact lead to other chronic health problems like reoccurring UTI’s. She told me to get Poise pads. To me that was embarrassing. I didn’t want to buy incontinence pads. What was I, 80 years old? But I did. She then gave me various pelvic floor exercises and told me the proper way to do Kegels. I was doing them wrong all along or at least in a way that wasn’t getting the best results to strengthen my pelvic wall. She also discussed my bathroom habits. Apparently I pee way to often and that doesn’t do justice for your bladder. I didn’t know that. I always thought it was bad to hold it, but really I was tricking my brain into thinking I had to go that often or I was irritating my bladder with stimulants like caffeine. Knowledge really is power and I had no idea. After the first visit I did think what in the hell else could she do for me that I couldn’t do at home. It was hard to find someone to watch my babies while I went and it was kind of an inconvenience.
But during the course of my treatment she actually did internal work. She did biofeedback to make sure my muscles were working properly she even did internal work. She did massage on my pelvic floor muscles to ensure that they were relaxed. This may sound incredibly awkward but during delivery and during my three-day stint in the hospital everyone including the janitor saw my woo haw or at least that is how it felt. So, at this point I didn’t really care, I just wanted to be better. The therapist also made me feel comfortable and she had had triplets. I knew she knew what it felt like to be in this situation. On my last visit, I expressed to her how much I appreciated her help and knowledge. Everyone makes it out to be normal to have issues like leakage after delivery to be normal and it’s not. There is help out there and my insurance covered all but $11.00 for each PT visit. It truly was a reasonable course of treatment and very effective. The therapist told me to expect there to be some reoccurrence of issues, that the prolapse can worsen again, but to keep up with my exercises. I try to do them once a day.
I think it’s important for women to know that: 1. this isn’t normal and 2. there is help for these kinds of issues.