Everyone has a different birth story, but everyone’s birth story is THEIR story.
I recently asked a patient to share her story to let other women know about her success with physical therapy. She talked about her struggles, her obstacles, and the challenges that she faced during her pregnancy, but mostly after the delivery of her son. After reading it, I asked her if I could share her story with everyone because I know that many women feel as if they are alone or the only ones that had to go through an experience during or after birth that they weren’t expecting.
If you can relate to her story, know that you are not alone in your journey. There are many other women struggling to find ways to cope, physically and emotionally, to becoming a new mom and there are people to help.
Here is her story…
“Once I had my son, I naively believed my struggle with pregnancy-related issues was over. He was out and I would be on the road to a swift any easy recovery. That’s what we see all the time, right? Those moms that have their baby and post selfies looking stunning with their one week old infant… well, the was not even close to my reality.
Let me backtrack. My pregnancy was relatively normal. I got diagnosed with pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPS) around 16 weeks. Basically, its an allergic reaction on steroids that does not just go away. I had a rash that covered my body literally everywhere but my face. Nothing specifically causes it but I was one of the lucky women out of 150 that got to deal with it. I also had a high amount of amniotic fluid but not enough that was considered threatening to babies health.
I was induced on the morning of November 28th 2017. My water broke on its own almost an hour after. I had my epidural and next thing I knew it was time to push. After hours of pushing I had nothing left in me. The baby was half way out and my doctor looked at me and told me it was time to get him out with forceps. Out comes my son who is blue and not breathing. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his next inhibiting airflow. The doctor unwrapped him and the nurses took my son over to a table. I looked at my husband in terror as the Doctor stitched me up and gave a look to the nurses and back at me to see if I was freaking out.
He was breathing.
I could breathe.
Everyone was breathing.
I gave birth to a 7lb 3oz healthy baby boy.
We stayed one night and went home to begin our journey of parenthood.
Of course the part they don’t tell you about is what happens once you get home.
Being as this is my first (and will be my only) child, I had no idea what to expect from my body after delivery. Those aren’t the things your doctor and friends tell you about. Once that baby is out it’s not about you or your health anymore, it’s about your child’s.
Between breastfeeding and pumping I was not getting any sleep. Honestly, I was miserable. As women however, we are not “allowed” to have these feelings. We should be thrilled and overjoyed that we have welcomed a beautiful new life into this world.
I would ask my husband to take my son because I was not bonding with him. I could not understand nor deal with the emotions that took over my body and mind at that point in time.
About three weeks after having my baby, my husband found me on the bathroom floor.
I was sobbing. (I am not one to cry). He asked me what was wrong as I heard my son’s wrenching cry from the next room. I told him I was done and couldn’t do it anymore. I needed the baby to leave. I could no longer be a mother or a wife and I was done with life.
He scooped me up in his arms and put me in our bed and immediately called my OBYGYN and told me I needed medication as soon as possible. I sobbed in the bed feeling like a failure needing to be medicated to just function in life.
It was the best thing he could have ever done for me and I am absolutely certain he saved my life that day.
At that point I was formally diagnosed with PPD.
Medication helped and I was still able to breastfeed.
I was having pain when wiping after peeing. It felt like something was poking my labia. I went to the doctor; another surprise!
I had a stitch that did not dissolve like the rest and my skin grew over most of it. I got a lidocaine shot right there in the doctors office in my vagina and they dug that sucker out right there on the exam table.
Problems gone, right? Wrong.
So, so wrong.
Flash forward to about four months PP. I was cleared by my doctor for sex.
Well once again I imagined it to be amazing to finally be able to have sex again without a giant belly! Sure, a mom-bod now but, no. Giant. Belly. Those dreams were shattered quickly.
When I say intercourse was painful I mean I began crying from physical pain. Something wasn’t right. However, I assumed that this was normal PP and we continued to try. It typically ended in me asking to stop and frustrations throughout the marriage.
Finally, I had enough and went back to the doctor. I was 11 months PP at this point. I let my doctor know that I was in excruciating pain and it was taking a toll on my marriage. It felt like someone was literally ripping me open anytime there was any sort of penetration.
I got scheduled for perineorrhaphy the week before my sons first birthday. My OBGYN explained that I had a piece of tissue that would not heal the size of a fingernail in my vaginal wall that needed to be removed and that would end my pain. I told him the sooner the better.
Basically I got to have a second episiotomy.
I went in for my final check-up post-surgery. The doctor went to check everything and my vaginal wall contracted. The doctor said while physically I was clear and would be good for sex, I was suffering from vaginismus. Vaginismus is involuntary contraction of muscles around the opening of the vagina in women with no abnormalities in the genital organs. The tight muscle contraction makes sexual intercourse or any sexual activity that involves penetration painful or impossible. Mine, personally was caused by PTSD. My body was telling me, “NO MORE” and I was referred to Thrive for pelvic floor therapy.
My first session was December 31st, 2018. I sobbed and cried talking about the toll painful sex (at this point no sex) was taking on my marriage and my own feelings as a woman. I repeated over and over how amazing and supportive my husband was (which he is). Katherine Prevost Stewart listened without judgement and let me have my moment.
After that it was time to work. Birthfit exercises, biofeedback, kegals, mental exercises, rhythmic breathing, and dilators became my life for a few months.
10 sessions was all it took to change my life back to normal.
TODAY WAS MY DISCHARGE DAY.
I am now able to have painless intercourse with my husband. I am now able to look at my son and not be resentful. I am no longer taking medication for depression. I am now able to share this journey with others who are too afraid to talk about their bodies.
I know this was a long, personal read, but if it even encourages one person to take control of their body then I am grateful! Please if anyone has questions I am an open book.
Your mental and physical health are intertwined and so important to take care of. A better mind will lead to a better you.” — Katy
If you have felt any of these emotions that Katy spoke about or any of the physical pain that she experienced after childbirth, be sure to speak to someone about this and know that you are not suffering alone.
I do offer free Discovery visits so we can sit down and discuss YOUR birth story or challenges that YOU are facing and then come up with a plan to improve it TOGETHER.
Email me at email@example.com or call (337) 990-5621 to schedule a visit.