Trigger Warning: This birth story contains details of induction, instrumental birth, caesarean, IVF, birth after birth trauma, levator avulsion and pelvic organ prolapse. If you are triggered by these topics you may wish to skip this blog or read it once you have support available. If you are seeking support for your birth trauma, you may wish to contact our Peer Support Service.
Before giving birth to my first child I was fit and healthy and never thought I’d ever suffer from pelvic organ prolapse (POP). I had a good labour as far as I could tell…. Induced with an epidural and short labour of only 5 hours. My baby did get stuck and I needed to have the vacuum. I recovered really well and did not have too much pain.
My world came crashing down when I prolapsed at 4 months postpartum. I found out that because of my birth I experience Levator Avulsion. I slipped into a dark space where I felt my life as I knew it was over. I thought I was all alone, I had never thought that this happened to young mums.
Looking back at all of the intervention that was given to me was not a good combination. It took some time, but I found a fabulous support team which consisted of the support from ABTA, and a wonderful women’s Exercise Physiologist who worked with me weekly to regain the strength in my muscles and find my life again.
I was quite hesitant for a long time to try for number 2. The pressure was on, I was getting older and it took me 6 years, 4 operations for endometriosis and 9 rounds of IVF to conceive my first. I continued to see my exercise physiologist and my body was strong again. With the help of loads of glute exercises and muscle strengthening exercises my body was ready at 18 months pp. We tried again. We had a failed round of IVF and I had my 5th operation for endometriosis before falling pregnant with my second child.
With the advice from my support team I decided to have a planned caesarean. I never wanted to damage my pelvic floor again, especially after 18 months of dedicated work to heal what could be healed. And I accepted my new normal.
For 6 months prior to falling pregnant I wore a ring pessary. This helped heal muscle memory and allowed me to live a normal life without many symptoms of POP, and also live without the mental torture of constantly thinking it would get worse after every movement. When falling pregnant with my second child my IVF specialist did not want me to wear it and thankfully, I trusted my body and the work I put into it prior that I did not get too symptomatic during the 9 months.
Closer to the birth of my second child I started to think about having her naturally, I think you just forget the trauma when you are in that nesting space. Thankfully I decided to go ahead with my scheduled caesarean which was still quite a nervous time for me. Although I was confident that I would not be making my POP worse, it was the unknown.
My caesarean was quite good, although they reduced my drugs due to me being sick during the procedure. For days after I had to play catch up with the pain. I did experience extreme pain for a week after the procedure, I found it difficult to walk until day 6 pp. The pain was around my scar area, I believe that this was due to the previous operations I had for endometriosis which was in the same area.
I learned that with time and careful movement I healed well, and my POP remained the same. I went back to my Exercise Physiologist at about 3 months pp. I continued seeing her for the next 9 months until I was confident I could trust my body and muscles again.
I am now 13 months pp and feeling pretty good, I look back at my experience and I truly believe that all women are amazing beings. If you are a mother, whether you give birth naturally or by c section they both have their own merits and difficulties, no birth is easy.
However, looking back I am so glad that I opted for my c section the second time around and probably wished I had for my first too. I’m hoping to continue to maintain my POP symptoms but if things get worse, I now know that I have support around me and many, many, many women in the same boat.