It’s September….somehow. My baby is just five months old. Mister Uterus is back at work from his four month new baby leave. And we’re all getting used to the new normal. Some days the little ones have meltdowns, sometimes it’s the big ones who remember what it was like to live without children. Kids. It’s hard no matter how many you have, am I right?
I’m tired as hell but finding my joy and also my way back to the gym. I think it was, oh, a month ago when I looked at myself in the mirror. I look pregnant, maybe around 4-5 months, my neck and face and arms are bigger, and I huff and puff when I should be able to launch into a soliloquy while riding a unicycle and juggling badgers.
So I said “fuck it” to the advice about no heavy lifting. I mean, I’d been slinging around a 30lb toddler mid-meltdown all summer with no end in sight, I might as well get shit done in the gym. I packed my stinky gym bag, and threw myself and the kids into the car.
The week before I had gotten the all clear from my everything-but-vaginas pelvic floor physiotherapist, Sharlene. If you recall, Sharlene is one of two physiotherapists I’m seeing and the other one deals with the land down under. Sharlene has been helping me with finding small movements and physio exercises that will “wake up” my slacker transverse abs and glutes.
After two sessions where my glutes were still being lazy, no show bummers I decided to take matters into my own hands. Knowing that I couldn’t push too hard, too soon or risk aggravating my prolapse, I designed a super small workout.
- Body weight thrusters with upper back on a bench (4 sets x 15 reps)
- Single leg squats, with back foot on a bench (4 sets x 4-5 reps per side)
- Seated rows, ridiculously low weight (for me) (4 sets x 15 reps)
- Incline dumbbell press, ridiculously low weight (for me) (4 sets x 15 reps)
- Stretching all problem areas: hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, back and shoulders, chest, calves and feet
- And ALWAYS practicing piston breathing and exhaling before exertion (aka “blow before you go”), going slowly, focusing on form
After two weeks this workout, about 2-3 times a week or so, there was dramatic improvement in my posterior prolapse symptoms. And by improvement, I mean hardly any symptoms sensation-wise or having a good old check on my lonesome.
Then I went #2 sans stool softeners and felt a NEW prolapse.
Because everything is in a state of flux downstairs, bearing down during a bowel movement caused my bladder to give the fuck up. Annoying. But, and I consider this a victory, not depressing. Why? Because anterior (aka bladder, aka cystocele) prolapses are usually more responsive to physical therapy than posterior prolapses. I wasn’t given a grade at my initial assessment by the nurse practitioner, but reading the grading of prolapses online, it was most likely a 3….that’s bad. And uncomfortable. Depressing, too.
Well, my lovely lady friends, that is a load of bollocks because I had my OBGYN surgical consult last week. Like I had suspected, I had an anterior prolapse (grade 2), my grade 2.5 or 3 posterior prolapse was a 1, and I have a slightly prolapsed uterus. And in my OBGYN’s words: “because you barely have a posterior prolapse, a slight uterus prolapse, and a grade 2 bladder prolapse, you are not a candidate for surgery. In cases like yours, things will improve on their own.”
Did you read that shit?
Things will improve on their own.
Three months ago I was crying myself to sleep, droopily symptomatic, constantly visualizing a future on the sidelines of physical activity. Every single thing I read online, confirmed by what I was told at the Pelvic Floor Pathway, led me to believe that surgery was the. only. way. to heal a posterior prolapse.
Nope. Seems like a thought out, careful and consistent exercise regime will help to improve a posterior prolapse.
I was given vagina estrogen cream and told to use it 3x a week (it has an applicator to whoop-de-do it up there), told to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s clearly making things improve, and booked in for a 6 month follow up.
No word on the perineum because they can’t fix it right now anyway – with no menstrual cycle I have skin that’s thin like a post-menopausal woman and they won’t touch me with a ten foot scalpel in case they make the current lack-of-perineum-shitshow even bigger than it already is. (I appreciate that.)
I’ve decided to commit to one physiotherapist, Sharlene, double down on my exercise routine and bring it up to 5x a week, and continue to incorporate yin yoga stretches into my physiotherapy homework. Oh, and the piston breathing with associated pelvic floor contractions during exercise….I swear this made everything improve. I may *gasp* be able to start running again in a year.
And one day, hopefully superfuckingsoon, my vagina will go from being one of the first things I think about to one of the last.