POP at 34 / Story at 38
A big healthy baby boy! We were delighted and the state of my ‘bits’ never even crossed my mind… that was until I started having ‘wee’ accidents and my prolapse became so bad that it sat outside my body at times! I just got used to it, put up with it and got on with it. I was 34.
Fast forward nearly four years and along came our big healthy baby girl! Just have a natural birth, they said; it won’t make your prolapse any worse, they said.
I finally decided to do something about the state of my vagina and saw a specialist about a year after our second child was born. That move led to prolapse surgery, not just one vaginal wall... the front wall, the back wall and hoisting up of my uterus. Recovery was hideous… as bad as childbirth, I remember thinking!
It was worth it, at least my bits were housed inside my body now! Easy to laugh about it all now but it was not fun at all. Before all of this I had no knowledge of pelvic organ prolapse. I recall housesitting in my early twenties and wondering why the owner’s drawers were full of incontinence pads… it all makes sense now!
I’m not really a sporty type but even going for my daily walks was a struggle. I planned all my daily movements around toilet locations. My bladder was unpredictable and mentally it created a massive anxiety around not making it to the toilet in time. Six years post surgery I still have these issues and it is getting worse.
Recently I decided to see a women’s health physio. I wish I knew there was such a profession years ago! You break a leg, get knee surgery or a hip operation and you follow these things up with rehab and physio. Why don’t we do this after childbirth?! Why is it not talked about? Midwives and Plunket nurses don’t tend to ask you if your vagina is still intact “how’s your V Jay Jay today? … is it hanging out?” Jokes aside, they should! Referrals to specialists early on would make a massive difference in some women’s lives.
Regular visits to my physio and strengthening exercises are helping. Can you believe you can download an app and play online games with your vagina! Who knew! The tricky part is reprogramming your mind, dealing with the anxiety around possible ‘accidents’. I’m still working on that one too.