6 Month pp Update - sorry it's so long!

Body: 

I personally love reading updates as people move through this work so I thought I'd start my own update post.
I hesitate to put it in the success stories just yet (don't want to count my chickens etc) but I feel like this is the place for it.

backstory - i'm 38. 2 vaginal births - both in hospital, both with epidural & pitocin, 1st birth water 'broke' (prob just a leak tho) no progress. spent over 24hrs on pitocin, got an epi halfway thru. I was 'allowed' to labor & push on my sides, used a push bar and towel to pull against, 2 hrs of pushing, 3rd deg tear no episiotomy. 9lb12oz baby girl. no problems post partum at all - other than i do remember feeling like my labia were in the way as i walked around if i had no underwear on. this subsided at some point.

15 months post partum got pregnant with baby #2. Due date was aug 31st. was so worried about getting bubs out before school cutoffs of sep 1st that i was jumping, running around etc the last week or 2 of pregnancy in the hopes of bringing on labor. i also (looking back i cringe) but I also carried around a 30lb toddler while 9 months pregnant.... i was dancing around the house with my big girl on my belly with no concern about posture or my already stretched and relaxed ligaments. anyway....
got to the hospital with #2 at 6cm but of course, stalled (should've stayed home). got epidural and pitocin, 15 minutes of pushing on my back, knees pulled up by my ears. 10lb3oz baby boy, 4th degree tear.

after 2 weeks I felt great - stitches healed, no pain, baby boy breastfeeding like a champ.... i also had been wearing compression undies right after birth. Again, cringe! but I felt like I wanted to have a flat belly asap so I wore high waisted spanx-like undies all day and even to bed.
4 weeks pp i noticed vaginal air bubbles. any time i moved, got up, walked - i had to wiggle to shift them. I also around this time noticed that my whole crotch area felt 'numb' - the urge to pee wasn't there at all and i remember straining with my first bowel movement pp and feeling like i couldn't feel my rectum. then walking thru my house i felt - hmm - feels like a tampon's falling out. I checked - and I immediately knew what it was. I'd heard rumors of organs falling down - but thought it was down to luck or having lots of kids....
so immediately freaked out. I called my doc - she said it's 'pretty normal - do kegels -we'll see u at 6 weeks"
got online right away and spent the next month reading, freaking out, crying..... curled up in a ball - didn't want to go anywhere or pick anything up or move too much.
looking back, during my last trimester I was peeing a lot (like you do) but I'd have to lean forward to get the last bits of pee out. I think something was starting to go awry back then.

main symptoms - vaginal air bubbles, dribbling incontinence, flatulence incontinence, constant light need to pee but it never got stronger the longer I held it, tampon falling out feeling, visible bulge from bladder in vagina opening. 6 weeks pp dr confirmed - that's your bladder. she was surprised I was in tears.... i asked about having subsequent kids - "yeah it'll prob get worse." had me do a kegel and was like, 'wow! your muscle tone is great!' um - so what will additional kegels do then?? she was very dismissive and quick. I got a referral for a urogyne after I asked her for it but i never ended up going.

I immediately started spending all my spare time here - the only place where i found hope instead of doom and gloom. I immediately saw results as well - that's kept me here.

things i've changed:
1st is posture - standing, sitting, walking in posture. I sit at the edge of the couch (ours isn't a flufy fall back type couch anyway but I never lean back anymore) or I sit on the floor.
I spend time on hands and knees as much as possible.
All nursing went immediately to side lying.
bought a lumbar cushion for the car and keep my seat at 90 degrees.
sit on the edge of office chair.
don't do the workouts per se but take what i can remember and do the moves during the day (plie and up on toes while I'm waiting on stuff, 2nd wheel stretches as I play with the kids, etc)
hinge at hips always! I'm really tall so things like brushing teeth or cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, etc i can't do these things standing tall. So I open up my hips, bend my knees and hinge forward at the hips (kinda like christine shows to pick up a heavy toddler) and stay in this position for the few minutes it takes to clean or vacuum.
I nauli and firebreathe (as best I can) first thing in the morning when my stomach's empty.

Diet - it still is pretty bad (sugar!) but i've eliminated dairy, added magnesium, vit c, vit d, eating sauerkraut first thing in the morning- i've been a lot more regular than ever in my life but it's still a struggle. still not going every single day but almost and i'm not straining. I'm having trouble with the toileting posture since when I lift off the seat, my rectum tends to close up. sometimes this posture works, sometimes not - it depends how 'ready' i am to go. I've been trying lopo, twisting, rocking - so far no splinting and i don't feel like i'm not emptying, i'm just trying not to strain and trying to make sure i go every day.

after a month or so i discovered that apart from my cystocele, i also have a rectocele. got scared all over again.
and just recently, I was able to feel my cervix for the first time in my life (!!) but it's gone again.... I haven't had a period yet but I'm definitely seeing changes that tell me it's coming soon. my pp hair has started falling out in the past few weeks and I ovulated a few weeks ago - had definite ovulation pain like i used to get pre babies.

so what's changed?
the bladder bulge has not been down by the entrance since those first few weeks.
rectocele is there, mushy, size of a small grape the one time I did look at it, pretty asymptomatic so far tho (thankfully!).
my 'numbness' went away - both urinary and rectal. I feel the urge to pee come on and build up if I don't go right away - can squeeze and release anal sphincter and can hold flatulence if need be. I still feel like I can hold way too much urine overnight without getting a strong signal to go pee - I wake up to breastfeed and I feel a slight urge to go and when I do go there's a lot of urine there. maybe because I'm lying down? during the day everything feels normal.
vaginal walls feel a bit soft and slouchy. not sure how they used to feel but i think they were firmer prior to having kids.
air bubbles have stayed - however I got some advice from Christine to help slouchiness (lifting tailbone while walking with long strides) and its worked for the air bubbles too. They have dissipated greatly even though I still get them.
no more dribbling - what's weird is I dribbled more when I tilted my pelvis into posture in the early days. this naturally felt like things were in the right position and encouraged me to keep everything forward even more.
tampon falling out feeling hasn't been back - tampon incorrectly inserted does come on occasion still.
some days I feel more draggy/bulgy, where I can "feel" my vagina.... not all day, but usually towards the end of the day. I feel fear grip me and I tentatively poke around and have a feel every now and again and everything feels ok apart from a bit slouchy.
mentally i'm ok more often than not lately- i feel like things are under control.
i sometimes despair and want this all to go away - sometimes i'm grateful that I can start this work now pre menopause (which is just around the corner really - my mother and grandma had theirs mid to late 40s).
i've been worried that things will get worse... I've been worried about how to deal with this going forward... i want to possibly have another child and i'm scared....
but I definitely have seen a lot of positive changes and I feel more and more confident.
Libido is at zero though unfortunately. this is partly due to breastfeeding i think but also, my mind's up my vagina all day and I can't yet relax about it. hopefully things return in that dept.

one thing I worry about - am I done healing? i've always been a fast healer - is this my new normal? where I'm at now? I try to tell myself to be patient. my experience mirrors so many that have come before and they've all continued to see changes for up to 2 years (sometimes more) post partum. plus i'm still working on posture, diet, breathing.... it's getting to be a bit more 2nd nature but not always. some parts i've got down pat- some not so much.
one thing i look at - my linea negra is just now almost totally gone - but it's still there at the very top and bottom of my stomach. i look at the shadow of this line and think - if the outside of my skin is taking so long to revert, the inside is doing the same....

Thank you for the update, it gives me hope as I am at the beginning of this journey. I am so glad to hear the numbness improved, that is what I am experiencing also and have been so worried it was a nerve damage thing. I hope i can report a success story also once I get going full speed with the program. Started today.

Thanks TM for getting this all down - I think it will make very interesting and encouraging reading for other PP newbies. As far as your healing is concerned, I believe you have a ways to go, and if you stick diligently with WW tools and practices, you will continue to see improvements for a long time....enough to rid you of those fears and doubts that can so easily crop up when we've had a bad day.

I myself had two very large babies starting at age 38, lots of pushing, episiotomies, and felt very bulgy and heavy post-partum. This was before the internet and quite frankly, I wasn't really concerned, as I didn't expect to feel "normal" for awhile, didn't know what prolapse was, and fully expected changes to my vagina after all that. Lacking WW wisdom, I spent the next couple of decades doing all the wrong stuff. Eventually it caught up to me. New moms these days, those who find their way to WW, have such a golden opportunity to set themselves on the right path so much earlier, with so much better outcomes. Healthwise, there is a great deal more at stake here than just managing prolapse itself.

Thanks again and keep us informed! - Surviving

I was glad to hear a bit of your story a while back - especially since you had your last baby over 40 (which might be me!) and you also had large babies (my son's head was 15 inches diameter) a lot of the older posts I've been reading about post partum mom's - many of them were late 20's early 30s and I feel like that's a different sort of experience so I'm glad to hear your story as its very similar to mine.

and i've taken your words to heart - that us post partum moms are lucky to have found this now.... at first I thought I'd rather be ignorant - i'd rather deal with this post menopause when I don't have 2 little kids running around needing me to bend and lift and not have a moment to myself.
my own mom is super unaware of the female body.... she never had ultrasounds, 6 natural births starting at 19 years old, she didn't know much about birth control and never used it (catholic! from the old country!) she had no idea there were 3 holes in the female pelvis... and on one hand her ignorance is bliss - she was never fearful about birth or her pelvic health - she just sort of went with it.... not knowing about tearing or stitches and really not caring. maybe she had some prolapse? maybe not... she likely wouldn't know it.... she thought prolapse = incontinence.... and yeah, plenty of old women in the village did have that. she even told me that there's no way i have prolapse since i'd be running to the bathroom if i did....

philosophically - I think back to all the whispers i've heard through the years "things aren't the same down there".... 'I can't wear tampons after having kids"...... i see my one friend who crosses her legs and bends over to sneeze.... "there aren't enough kegels in the world to bring it back to what it was"
and so yes - i can now 'feel' my vagina pretty much most of the day... and there is a bulge from a rectocele that I can see if i look (which i refuse) so yes - things ARE different down there. but what of it? I can still take care of my kids, I can still pee and poop, I can have sex (and maybe one day i'll want to lol). My mind wanders to worst case scenarios - especially regarding my anal sphincter.... but for now it's ok. it healed.... it works.....

we went to an indoor pool this weekend because my daughter loves the pool, and she needed to go pee so i took her to the cold wet locker room, full of people, hand dryers and hair dryers blaring - she was cold and scared. she wanted up... she's 35lbs..... i carried her. I stuck out my bottom (prob way more than necessary), i tried to lift my chest as much as possible, I did half a kegel just in case and I carried her. And I know things feel different - I can feel my crotch as I carry her. But I can do it... and it didn't do any further damage because my organs were over bone. so i try to be grateful and stop worrying about the what ifs.
(disclaimer - I'm 5'10", 5'11" and 170 lbs so me lifting a 35lb kid is slightly different than a smaller person doing so... I try not to lift her often but sometimes I think, f* it - I'm not going to let her be scared or cold or whatever just because of this prolapse).

gaudygirl - I too hope you can come back here soon to us and report that your bulges aren't quite so bulgy... this work has helped so many - i'm confident you'll see some changes soon!

You are on a great track and I think you will just keep getting better and better. Even someone like me, starting this work post-menopause, went through a very long stage of learning and improving and I don't think that will ever end.

I did a lot of experimentation early on, with lifting and carrying. I frequently find myself carrying around quite a lot of stuff. Lifting and getting things situated is the hard part, but once I could get myself back into true WW posture with my load, I could actually feel that the extra weight from above IMPROVES the prolapse. Christine said it, and it turned out to be true. You can't always be in ideal posture, but the quicker you can return to it, the better, and this is especially true of carrying. Don't be afraid to do it. - Surviving

So here we are.... my son has turned 1. I wanted to continue on this same thread for posterity :)
I just re-read what I wrote at 6 months pp and I still sounded scared... I don't feel that way anymore. I would say I still have whispers of fear here and there - but no. I'm ok. I will be fine.

At 6 months post partum I could still 'feel' my vagina - especially towards the end of the day. I no longer have that. I now might feel a bit of something being off a few times a month.
There has definitely been more post partum healing between 6-12 months. In fact, months 8-10 were another leap in healing.
I very rarely get air bubbles in the vagina anymore... I can do downward dog and lift my leg up in the air and no air goes in.
No dribbling or urinary incontinence, however due to dietary changes I can get a bit gassy now and then and I've had gas escape on occasion. What happens is, I can hold gas in if I know it's coming... it's like the first bit sneaks up on me and then I can hold the rest. I think this might be normal (i mean, it's a running gag in comedies - children also let gas escape even after they know how to hold it) but it used to hardly ever happen pre kids (and pre tearing). But especially if i'm squatting down to do something or moving around doing something - gas might escape a bit before I can catch it. Can be embarrassing as it's happened at grocery stores or whatever...
this doesn't happen very often tho unless i've eaten something i shouldn't so I feel like i can control it by eating clean.
I lift and carry my kids (even my 40 pound daughter on occasion) and have had no ill effects as long as i focus and do it slowly and in posture.
I sit and stand and walk in posture all day - I have an office job and a long commute and i've continued to heal and control my prolapses using posture and christine's teachings...
i guess what I'm saying is I've been able to live my life completely normally and my prolapses have been mostly asymptomatic.
The rectocele is not noticeable to me unless I look for it. I never strain on the toilet and I practice lopo. The biggest issue with the rectocele is if I can't get to the bathroom right away to have a bowel movement (such as being in meetings at work or being away form a toilet somewhere). If I don't go - the bowel movement becomes very large and I have to push to pass it. I push only when lifted off the seat in lopo, upper body stretched forward, weight on both feet. and I don't strain, but I do have to push here and there to get it out... again, this is only if I leave it... i try to go when nature calls for the most part tho and have been able to do so with no pushing.

what else? libido still very low... not non existent, but very low... I might start taking maca root.
Still breastfeeding but starting to try to wean a bit since I am sick of pumping at work. going to try to move to just nursing when I'm home...

Apart from posture, I do try to incorporate the workout moves as often as I can. I rewatch the workouts here and there to keep the moves fresh in my mind.
walking in posture is the best thing in my mind - and i try to take the kids out for walks a few times a day if possible.
clothing - i live in jeggings and leggings now - tennis shoes - long tank tops. looks stylish and is prolapse friendly. they make great jeggings now that look completely like jeans. I also still wear maternity jeans.
I'm trying to lose a few pounds and if I eat badly I can immediately tell because i get very bloated and look pregnant again, especially with relaxing the belly... but when I eat little and well, and pull up into posture, my belly is rounded, but very small and feminine. My side profile has changed - it used to be top belly in and lower belly out and now it's almost like top belly is more prominent.
once i stop pumping at work I can go back to the little gym we have here and see what kind of workouts i can get back into - especially over the long winter months coming up ahead.
what else?
i only ever check my vagina once in a long while - it feels ok in there. A bit softer, a bit fleshier maybe, but no obvious bulges. It's a closed space nowadays. haven't looked with a mirror in many months so I have no idea what it looks like....
basically, I'm a complete world away from when I came here 11 months ago, and I'm also a lot better than I was at 6 months.
The changes are gradual, they're slow, but all of a sudden you forget how bad you even felt until you actually sit and really think back. This process has taught me to slow down, way down, and really take care of myself even if it's only a little bit at a time.
also to appreciate women in general and be a lot less harsh and judgmental (towards others as well as myself)... I feel like i'm a part or womanhood - i feel more connected to other women around me even if they don't know it :)

Thanks TypicalMe for taking the time to give this update. It should be reassuring to anyone reading it. I'm proud of your progress and really don't have any suggestions for how you could improve your routine....it's definitely working in all the right ways (physically, mentally, emotionally). You are a great asset to our Forum and have helped many new moms through the process, in ways that only another new mom in the trenches ever could. BTW I've had several surprise farts over the last few years, and yeah....awkward! Especially when it's in the presence of co-workers you have to see every day! (I'll take the grocery store over that, any day!). Thanks for writing. - Surviving

thanks Surviving!
re surprise farts lol - you gave me a chuckle - I have been living in fear of that happening at work and it's been a great motivator to watch diet... especially days when there's looooong meetings. but sometimes it's random on what makes me so gassy, i've been trying to eat better overall, add in fermented foods, lower the amount of meat and sugar, and I almost feel like the better I eat, the worse I react to 'bad' food....
I also wonder how much tearing through my anal sphincter is behind this - and how much is just the nature of gas...

I feel like I've gotten so very much from this site - I want to give back in my own way by just participating and keeping conversations going... especially when we have new people coming on every day. One thing that sticks in my mind is an old thread where it's mentioned that every day is someone's first day here and i take that to heart. I love our little village of women here, sharing knowledge and Christine's important work...

thanks Surviving! I am surviving as well. I suffer from Mercury poisoning issues--until I can afford a dentist to remove 5 more silver fillings...I also suffer from Cipro antibiotic issues...from two doses I took years ago...I did lots of research to figure that out and I counter it with tons of Magnesium, Vit. B-6 and D-3. On top of those issues I had bladder prolapse from giving birth to two 8 1/2 pound and two 9 1/2 pound babies years ago!! I thought a silicon pessary would help. After wearing it for the last 3 1/2 months I find myself with at UTI again!! The pessary was supposed to stop UTI's but honestly, about a month into having it installed by a Gyn doc, I saw the symptoms return...I am unemployed and struggling financially...the doc who put the pessary in has not responded to calls for help to remove it and I am not physically capable of taking it out myself--I know some people do that, not me....so I went to the local emergency room /local hospital...Sorry, we won't remove it...here is a script for an antibiotic!! Yuck...I finally found a charity doctor clinic that has a Gyn doc...I will go tomorrow to see if they will remove it...and I do not plan to put it back in...I plan to learn to live with the prolapse...I personally believe that the Silicon in it---in addition to the Mercury fillings is tipping the scales to my panic attacks, insomnia, etc....misery and pain...Pessary is helpful, but probably not worth it --since I had UTI symptoms weeks after it was placed---I appreciate this website....like-minded people.

Sounds like you are working hard to detox and that is good. I personally think it sounds like you'd be so much better off getting the pessary out and dealing with your prolapse through WW posture. Despite your other issues, if you have all your organs and have not had surgeries, you aren't going to find a better approach to prolapse management than what Christine teaches. I know that I, too, would have a problem taking a pessary out and putting it back in....which is only one of several reasons why I would never consider one. It can aggravate prolapse over time, because the goal is to move the organs forward so that the vagina can be a flat, airless space. Most pessaries hold the vagina open. What about Whole Woman posture? Are you working on it? - Surviving