Posts Tagged ‘Prolapse’

Another Vaginalogue

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

While I was in Tucson last week, I had a bit of an epiphany.

I am done having kids.

As in, this baby factory is CLOSED. Forever and ever. Amen.

You see, despite everything I have been through mentally and physically as a result of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood, I have been struggling to emotionally accept a fact that I know logically: I cannot handle bearing any more babies.

I’ve said time and time again that I have no desire to have another one. I mean, shit, for awhile I was pretty set on having no children whatsoever, but then life happened. However, in the back of my twisted mind, I have always felt some sort of obligation to have more than just two children. An obligation to whom, you ask? To God, my family, my husband, and even to myself.

As part of my Catholic wedding vows, I promised before my parish priest, family, friends, and James that I would willingly and lovingly accept as many children as God asks of me. I took that vow to heart, and as a couple, James and I agreed to to follow the Catholic beliefs and practices of natural family planning. I truly believed that with enough Faith, I would have a wonderful life raising three or four (or maybe even five) little humans while selflessly practicing abstinence during fertile times if a pregnancy was not desirable in our immediate future.

Well, um, that lifestyle and practice was a huge freaking joke for us. Maybe we just don’t have enough Faith, or perhaps the Catholic beliefs regarding family planning are just a bunch of controlling bullshit (*cough*), but for whatever the reason, we failed miserably at fulfilling those vows the way they were intentionally meant in just about every way possible.

And when I say failed, I kind of mean we ate, threw up, shot the remains, hosted a wild sex party on top of, and threw birth control at all while laughing at the Catholic beliefs on making babies.

Sadly, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I prayed like crazy, went to church every week, and devoutly volunteered my time in teaching and practicing the Catechism. I mean, not only did I attend Catholic school for eight years, but I was one of my parish’s first female alter servers, the youngest person to be elected onto the Parish Council, served seven years on said council- the last one as vice-president, taught Vacation Bible School and Sunday School for years, served on a couple other ministries, took part in a young adult faith-sharing group, and loved every moment I spent as a Eucharistic Minister.

But you know what? My religion didn’t take into consideration things like severe mental illness when interpreting the Word of God’s thoughts on birth control. Or the physical trauma I experienced when I ripped in half while birthing my first and all the prolapse I suffered after birthing my second behemoth-sized munchkin. Sure, I am as disgustingly fertile as women appear to possibly come, but the truth is, my body would probably only sustain extreme damage with birthing another one of my husband’s huge babies, and I honestly don’t think I would survive another bout of postpartum depression. I am terrified that it would be full-blown psychosis and I’d drive my car off a bridge without ever knowing I hit the ice-cold water, or that I’d be so far over the edge that I’d be nearly comatose while trying to raise three kids.

It’s just not worth the risk. For me, but even more so for my husband and kids.

Well, up until this last week, I still had this idea in my head that maybe, just maybe, I might someday be able to fulfill my wedding vows and pop out thirty-six kids like that special family you see on TV. I’m not knocking them. Each to their own. But seriously? There’s a point when you just gotta ask yourself… does God REALLY want me to just keep pooping babies out of my hoo-haw, or did He give me a brain that can handle reasoning, common sense, and logical thinking FOR A REASON?

And that’s when it dawned on me: maybe God really wouldn’t be angry with me for only having as many as I can handle. Sure, for that one family, one-hundred-thirteen kids is something they can handle just fine. For me, um, well, smart people made Prozac for a reason.

I was unable to accept that idea for a long time. The family and religious values run deep in my veins, despite what a heathen I’ve become in the past year.

But something happened this week while I was away.

I realized that I really am done having kids, and I am perfectly happy with just my two beautiful, incredible girls. I am best off not putting my body through anymore pregnancies or postpartum roller coasters both physically and mentally, and it’s healthiest for my husband and children for me to be on this earth, mentally well, and able to function. Chancing ruining their lives just so I can fulfill some unspoken and possibly unsaid obligation to God and everyone around me just doesn’t sound like something that a loving, kind God would ask of me. If some religion says otherwise, then it can just suck my prolapsed pussy.

When I realized that I felt released of this “obligation” and I felt happy about my choice to stick with just my two cutie-pies, I was ready to do the thing that my sister and I did last week: get a tattoo on my hip/abdomen.

Getting that piece of ink was liberating. A promise to myself and my body: I am done having babies, and I’m not going to worry about birth control anymore because my husband has agreed that is is time to get a vasectomy. Woo hoo! Thank you, James!

Furthermore, I owe my vagina a bit of love, so I have decided that I’m going to get it fixed.

In a perfect world, I could just accept what has happened to the damn thing and move forward. But, the world most certainly is far from perfect, and I’m in even worse shape. And my va-jay-jay… um… well, it’s a scarred, prolapsed battle zone that I know I’ll never be able to accept. Even with all the physical therapy, I will forever have problems and issues related to the prolapse. A feeling of heaviness in my lower abdomen sometimes, and this sensation that my organs are going to fall out of my body if I cough too hard. The cramps during my period are worse than they where pre-babies, and something as simple as using the bathroom is frequently interrupted by the fact that my bladder and rectal prolapse is squeezing off the flow of elimination. As I age, my pelvic floor muscles will only become weaker. Even with the lifestyle changes I’ve made to accommodate the prolapse and the daily exercises I do to keep my pelvic floor muscles in the best shape possible, the prolapse will never be cured and will only get worse with time. While there are risks involved with getting my vagina fixed, there’s a good chance that the outcome would be much, much better than what I have to deal with now.

Are you feeling a bit traumatized yet? Because if not, I AM ABOUT TO GO THERE.

So, in addition to my complaints above, there are the sexual side effects to prolapse. Sex just doesn’t feel right, and I am embarrassed by how it looks down there.  I mean, I suppose it doesn’t look all that bad, but there’s a spot near my perineum where I wasn’t sewn up correctly after my first vaginal birth. The fact that it wasn’t put back together right is something that only a blind person couldn’t see… and some of that tissue has prolapsed beyond the opening. It’s always bothered me because it’s a bit uncomfortable during sex and when I’m, um, wiping down there. Additionally, the sensation of my hoo-haw just kind of sucks now. Organs protruding from where they’re supposed to be are kind of soft and gushy, and even though it’s a nice, snug fit for my husband’s penis… it feels kind of sloppy to me. Like, not loose, just sloppy. Like things aren’t in the right place… because they’re NOT in the right place. My cervix sits low in the canal, my uterus is dropped, and my rectum and bladder are falling inward and down in my hoo-haw. While sex still feels pleasurable and I can orgasm from it, it just doesn’t feel as comfortable or as good as it did before my second vaginal birth. Even with the pelvic floor rehabilitation I went through, there’s still a noticeable difference that I just hate so much. I frequently find sex to be emotionally damaging because I feel so humiliated by what a mess I believe my vagina really is.

Perhaps a lot of other women are in the same shoes I’m in, but I have yet to hear anyone else talk about it, and not a single health professional has told me that what I’ve experienced is all that typical for someone young and healthy like myself. Or maybe everyone DOES feel loose and sloppy after having babies, but somehow they can just accept it and it doesn’t bother them. Yeah, I wish, but that’s just not my experience.

James swears that it feels good in there, but said that instead of feeling like the more rigid canal that it used to be, it feels soft and there’s a lot less friction, even when I’m contracting my PC muscles as hard as I can. That’s probably a gentleman’s way of nicely saying I feel loose and yucky down there, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and try to believe him. Every time I have sex, I realize that while it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of room diameter-wise in there, it does feels soft like he said. Too much lube equals almost zero sensation, even though I still fit nicely around him. It’s a sucky problem to have, and its humiliating to live with. No amount of reassurance has helped me feel otherwise.

Last night I discussed my desire to get my hoo-haw fixed with James. This is not a new topic coming from me, but it’s the first time I’ve been able to talk about it with a very clear head and with my mind made up that I am done having kids. He agreed that it would be worth getting evaluated to see if I would be a good candidate for a successful surgery, and this morning my therapist gave me a recommendation for a gynecologist that has good results with this sort of thing.

So world, not only do I have a new tattoo, but my husband is going to get his baby batter tubes snipped, AND I’m going to start making appointments to find a doctor I trust to fix the prolapse and broken vagina I’ve been burdened with.

Never in my life have I thought that I would actually consider surgery for something like this, but then again, I never thought I was going to end up on Prozac, either. Funny how that sort of thing works out, eh?

And just to give you fair warning: prepare yourselves for all kinds of TMI moments coming up on my blog in the near future. If you think I’ve been bad before, I can only imagine what kind of shit’s going to hit the computer screen next.

Current Mood:Cool emoticon Cool

Self Loathing and Other Shit

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

I thought my hatred and shame toward my woman-parts was pretty much gone, but I was wrong.

I am so devastated to admit that regardless of what I do to try to accept my vagina and everything it’s been through, I will most likely never, ever, ever find a way to love it or not be ashamed of it.

The only thing I like about that area is my piercing.  It’s so beautiful that the sparkle would be better placed on a not-so-hideous hoo-haw.  But I’m glad it’s there.  It’s lived up to its expectations in the orgasm department, and seeing it always makes me smile.  Plus, the thing was healed just one week after having a 14-gauge needle shoved through my delicate skin, so you can’t go wrong with that kind of speedy recovery.  And YES, I’ve had sex with it in there, for those of you wondering.  It’s wonderful.  I’d recommend it to anyone.

But back to the point.

So what brings this reoccurring thought of self-hatred back into my thoughts today, you ask?  I had to show my breasts and cootch to a stranger to get swabbed, poked, prodded, examined, and otherwise scrutinized for my annual pap smear and check-up this morning. Don’t get me wrong, the Doctor/Midwife who saw me was fantastic, very warm and accepting, and made me feel as comfortable as one could possibly feel with her feet awkwardly placed in a pair of stirrups.  She said my prolapse is doing as well as can be expected, my cervix was sitting higher up than it was several months ago (thank God…. the damn thing was near falling out before…), and everything looks healthy… with the exception of the fact that I have yet another fucking yeast infection.

But the whole principle of having to show another person the mess that childbirth has imposed upon my body breaks my heart.  I feel nothing but embarrassment and disgust for that region of my body, thanks to everything I’ve been through.  And this is the moment at which I’d like to issue a huge FUCK YOU to both the assholes who abused me and to nature for furthering my shame.

If I could sew that area up and never show it to another human being or ever see or have to use it again, I would probably be a much happier person.

Today, I hate myself.

And I feel so sick that I can’t stop the tears.

Current Mood:Sad emoticon Sad

A Note About Post-Baby Weight

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Here’s the part where I get a bit gross and happy, so you may just want to pass over this post unless you wanna barf a little and throw junk food at me.

Yesterday I did something I swore I would never be able to do again after having April.

I wore an itsy-bitsy bikini.  Not with yellow polka-dots, though.

And you know what?  I didn’t feel horribly self-conscious.  In fact, I felt almost confident at first.  Which is a good thing, considering the fact that I like to wear really trashy swimsuits.

Then my sister’s comment pushed me over the line to full-out-confident.  “You look great, Tam.  Really fit and in shape.”  And Kathryn’s not a liar.  She’ll just say it like it is, so I knew she wasn’t just trying to make me feel good.

Let me back up a second, because this is not one of those snotty bragging “look how great I am moments”.  I’m most definitely not that kind of person.  Usually, I’m consistently pointing out all my flaws and agonizing over them more than any single human ever should.  So the fact that I was willing to step into a swimsuit in front of people, particularly a little black bikini, marks a huge improvement in my overall psyche.

Truthfully, after having baby number two, I thought my body was ruined for good.  Birthing an almost-9-pound baby out of my not-very-big self was pretty damaging.  I ended up with three types of pelvic-organ prolapse (rectocele, cystocele, and uterine), severe postpartum depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a slew of stretch marks and loose skin that I thought would never shrink back.

Both times I was pregnant, I gained a whopping 47 pounds.  No one would have guessed it because I stayed in great shape and was groovin’ to the beat until my baby was practically falling out of me onto the dance floor.  But no, the fact that I gained almost 50 pounds was my dirty little secret.  My midwife explained to me once that because I weighed less than “average” to begin with, it was natural that I would gain more than average.  It was a healthy amount.  But hell, it sure didn’t make me feel any better that the scale almost broke when I stepped on it, or that I weighed more than my skinny-ass husband when I finally popped.

I hated myself after giving birth.  I was in such a bad place that I wouldn’t even let James see me naked for months on end because I loathed how I looked.  I was embarrassed to have sex with him because of all the problems I was having.  I couldn’t look in the mirror without feeling utter disgust.  I felt dirty and ashamed.

Most of those problems were in my head.  Part of the my horrific battle with the depression and my obsessive-compulsive thoughts.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t get away from them.

Now, after months of treatment including physical therapy for the prolapse, medication, mental-health therapy, marriage counseling, one very bad run-in with a support group, and intensive exercise and weights classes… well, I finally let myself be seen in a bikini.  (Oh, and I can have sex without freaking out again.  But that’s a whole different story.)

My body will never be back to its pre-baby state, of course, but both it and my mind are doing a heck of a lot better, thank God.

I still have bad days.  There are still things I dislike about myself.  I will always have some prolapse issues.  I will probably always struggle with the mental problems I’ve dealt with.

But that’s all just part of who I am.

My physical therapist said my results for the prolapse therapy have been about the best she has ever seen.  The biofeedback she hooked me up to confirmed it.  I never would have thought that it could have helped so much, but it has done amazing things for keeping my insides where they belong and lessening the other problems the prolapse was creating.

While that is an issue that no one else sees, though, the bathing-suit-body is.

You know what prompted me to even put that little skanky swimsuit on in the first place?

I had to buy a new pair of jeans this weekend to replace my favorite pair that *sniffle* finally developed a too-big hole in the knee to wear comfortably.  I’d avoided trying on any pants since I could remember.

But holy cow, the size 6 were too big.  So I tried on the size 4.  And they fit! Like, extremely well.  I am officially back into the same size I wore in freaking high school!

That’s when I finally had the nerve to really look at myself in the mirror.  All those weights and exercise classes have whipped my exterior shell into some pretty good shape.  Good enough to actually *gasp* wear something I knew I’d never be able to wear again 7 months ago.

I was wrong.

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I felt like throwing a party when I saw myself in that thing.  While the stretchmarks will never disappear, the muscle tone far overshadowed the fact that they even exist.  The extra skin melted away with the baby fat.

I am so proud of myself.  To be honest, it was kind of overwhelming for me (in a good way) when I realized that here I am, 7-and-a-half months later, and I am finally doing pretty well both mentally and physically.

There was a point when I didn’t think this was possible, which is why it is so significant to me.

I am just so proud of myself.  For once.

Now it’s time to go bake some cookies.  Fattening ones full of carbs.  Yummy.

Current Mood:Happy emoticon Happy

Now For the Physical Diagnosis

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I’ve already declared that I’m mentally insane (a fact that I’m currently trying to see for myself and come to terms with), but now it’s time for me to share way more than you probably ever needed to know about me.  As usual.

So I, er, blogged about the unfortunate happenings of what childbirth does to one’s va-jay-jay last week sometime, but what I didn’t really explain was the culprit to all the agony behind the blog.

Besides my (obvious) anger about the death of the perfect vadge, there was a lot more written between the lines of that blog.

I contacted my midwife Lisa a few weeks ago to get a February appointment to check on some problems I’ve been having.  James contacted her about my depression crisis around the same time, and she ended up not setting up an appointment with me.  She wanted to wait until my mental status was in check before actually working on my pelvic floor issues.

What she didn’t know is that a lot of my self-loathing is a direct result of what has happened to me physically during and after childbirth.  When I talked to my first midwife, Fran, at the birthing center on Friday regarding using Prozac while breastfeeding, I also told her that I was concerned about some physical issues that were really affecting my mental healing.  She told me to come in today for an appointment to see exactly what is going on down there.

Bless that woman, she is an incredible midwife.

Using the bathroom has been difficult for me every since April was born.  Both ways, in fact.  Going pee is supposed to be an easy thing.  Yeah, no.  Not after pushing out an almost-9-pounder.  Whereas many women experience incontinence and have trouble holding their urine after having a baby, I’ve been having the exact opposite problem.  It’s actually difficult for me to pee.  And pooping, oh geez, don’t get me started on how much trouble I’ve been having with that.

In addition to the potty problems, there was the excruciating menstrual cramps.  Lower back pain that wasn’t subsiding even with the help of my chiropractor.  And then sex.  Sex has been a serious issue.  Things just don’t feel right.  I keep trying to use that “throwing a hotdog down a hallway” analagy with my hubby, but he doesn’t agree (well, he won’t verbally admit it even if that is the case).  But even he has admitted that things feel different (not bad just different, he always wants me to be sure that I understand).  Like my equipment is out of place or something.  And using tampons has been uncomfortable, but pads suck big time, so there’s no way I want to rely on elephant saddles.

So I went to see Fran today to get that checked out.  The diagnosis sucks big time.  It wasn’t unexpected, I just was hoping it would be better news than I knew it was going to be.

I have all kinds of issues down there.  I have cystocele and rectocele and uterine prolapse.  Basically, what that means is that my bladder and rectum are both falling inwards towards my vaginal wall and pushing downwards towards the opening.  If I look in a mirror and bear down, I see a bulge of tissue in the front and another one in the back of my hoo-haw.  Oh yeah, and my uterus is dropping down as well, but it’s not as bad as the other two.  In addition, my uterus is extremely retroverted, which is not unsual, but my cervix is dropped very low down as a result of the prolapse.  I have a lot of uncomfortable pelvic pressure from all of it.

Apparently, my reproductive and elimination organs are trying to escape via the vadge.

All the Kegels in the world before childbirth and after it haven’t saved my pelvic floor, sadly.  I could do them until I’m blue in the face, but they will unfortunately not have the desired effect.

Like my mental state, my physical condition seems to be a genetic flaw.  My poor girls are screwed.

You would never guess this by looking at me.  I’m fit, thin, strong and healthy on the outside.  A wreck on the inside.  The guys flirting with me at the Starbucks drive-thru window that I stopped by after my appointment to console myself with a mocha- they have no idea how broken I am.  They just saw some sorta-cute chick with a nice smile ordering her theraputic dose of caffeine.  If they could see what’s on the inside- my prozac-infested system, my pelvic organ prolapse, my anger towards myself welling up in me as invisible waves, would they still spend the time to do a double-take?  Probably not.

Fran recommended physiotherapy to combat the prolapse before resorting to surgery.  Right now I’m in the process of battling it out with insurance trying to find a physical therapist who does pelvic floor therapy.  It’s really tough to find someone who does that and takes insurance in this darn town.  And receptionists have half a freaking braincell.  They should have to pass a basic intelligence test before being allowed to answer the damn phone.

I feel like crawling into a small hole and hiding.

It can always be worse, I know.  But that doesn’t make me feel better.