I felt awesome the moment my baby shot from my vagina and was passed to my outstretched arms. I was tired and uncomfortable after three solid weeks of never ending Braxton-Hicks contractions.
My pregnant self couldn’t sleep because the fetus was crumpled up in my uterus like a chickpea and made lugging him around extra uncomfortable and observers’ comments (WOW YOU’RE SOOOOO HAAAAUUUUUUGE) extra specially neck-punchily annoying. Then at 39 weeks and four days, my little chickpea came barreling into this world after a 2.5 hour labour where we just managed to make it to the hospital with enough time to have him born in a delivery room and not, say, in the SLOWEST ELEVATOR EVER with four men cowed into silence by my colourful labouring vocabulary.
Then there he was. Head full of hair, lots of yelling, searching for boobies, and healthy. And there I was: not pregnant, second degree tears but feeling like I could run a marathon, heck, even two marathons. We still had 75 minutes left in our 90 minute courtesy parking spot since everything happened i
n a huge panic so efficiently. We took the time to meet our handsome new person, picked a middle name, and I made The Husband pinky swear that we WOULD NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.
Then there it was. Two weeks later. Mere seconds after a glorious post-delivery poop (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, LADIES.) There it was. An unmistakable bulge in my lady parts. Not a sexy bulge. Nope, more like my pelvic organs-are-trying-to-quit-me-via-my-vagina bulge. It had been two weeks since my new person stormed my cervix and made his triumphant escape from the confines of my uterus, and now my internal organs thought it was such a great idea they decided to try it too.
“Surely,” I thought, “this is a mistake.” So I tried to ignore it for a few minutes, thinking I could will it away. I stepped in the shower, prolapses wash away with a bit of dandruff shampoo applied to the top of your head, right? Wrong.
And then I did was every lady is afraid to do after a baby comes blasting out of her vagina: I felt the changes. No mistaking it. A fleshy protrusion, of what? I didn’t know. Something internal, something that had given up the good fight and threw in the towel and its surrounding pelvic musculature to sag in defeat.
I also found another fun surprise: I no longer had a perineum. Yay. Those second degree tears weren’t so second degreey after all.
If you are shaky on the female pelvic anatomy, here’s it in a nutshell (and then go and read the excellent slideshow by Dr. Ritesh Shiwakoti. I’ve linked to it via the picture below.)
Women, like men, have a perineum. It’s a a 1-2 inch bit of skin and underlying muscle that separates the opening to the vagina from the anus. It has a few functions but, in my opinion, one of the most important is that it provides a base of support for the pelvic floor. Women who lack a perineum are more prone to pelvic organ prolapses, including rectocele (a posterior prolapse) and uterine prolapses (very bad when this organ tries to quit you.) The perineum also acts as a barrier to infection, a big deal too but not as much of a thing when you can feel your inner organs are applying for an outer organ position.
I ugly cried.
It was Mother’s Day. For me, the past two MDs have meant sleeping in, over eating carbs, and celebrating my gorgeous human, now my gorgeous two humans. But this MD I scored a new enhancement that would see me waiting in the emergency room for strangers look at my still bleeding lady parts. It’s all a mama could ask for.
But I didn’t just have sagging organ(s). No ma’am, I also had fun extra not-normal bleeding that could mean a hemorrhage. There’s nothing that upstages a “boring” non-uterine prolapse faster than some fun extra bleeding. That’s a real emergency and a protruding something-or-other, on the other hand, is not. For Mother’s Day, the hospital gave me four cytotec pills up my butt for the bleeding and told me to do kegels for my prolapse. (The prolapse wasn’t found because the bleeding was a more emergent issue and also because my ladybits were looked at while I was lying down.)
But there was no mistaking it. As I waddled my postpartum body out of the emergency room I could feel the cytotec tablets up my butt and my prolapse hanging out of my vagina.
I cried for the entire drive home.