Whilst showering one evening, I was washing ‘down below’ and realized that what I was feeling was my cervix literally popping out! I realized that my uterus had prolapsed and once out of the shower,
I called a friend who is a female GP. She agreed with me that my uterus had prolapsed, that I needed to see her for confirmation at what degree my uterus had prolapsed and suggested that I lie down and push it back in. I did so and spent the rest of the evening lying in my bed.
In the morning I made an appointment to see my GP who confirmed a 3rd degree prolapse and I was referred to a gynae who I saw the next day.
After a thorough examination by the gynae, he asked me about the birth of my son (who is my only child, not by choice but by circumstance as you will find out).
He was a large baby, 3.85kg, it was a natural birth and he was face down and in distress. After 12 and a half hours of labor and a baby in distress, my gynae at the time, decided a forceps delivery was necessary and my son was born shortly afterwards.
No one tells you about the dangers of forceps delivery on your body and when you are young and having your first baby, it is such a magical time and so amazing to hold this precious little blessing from the Lord in your arms. Looking back in retrospect, I wish I could have been given the choice of either having a forceps delivery or a C-section.
But I digress.. . Going back to the recent gynae who had examined me, he told me that it is common in natural births with big babies and forceps deliveries, that damage can be done internally. This is what happened to me. It was 23 years after the birth of my son that my uterus prolapsed to the point that no repair could be made and that I had to have a hysterectomy.
Unfortunately this was not the only damage done by the forceps! During the examination, my gynae found 2 other problems, one being a cystocele (herniation of the bladder into the vagina) and the other being a rectocele (herniation of the rectum into the vagina) because of the damage to the walls of my vagina by the forceps all those years ago.
For years after my son had been born, we tried to fall pregnant again to give him a brother or sister (who he asked for many times) we always wondered why we didn’t have another… Now we know!
So I was in for quite a big op a few weeks later and was dreading the recovery!
During surgery, which I was told would be about 90 minutes, my gynae removed my uterus but he found so much scar tissue internally that he had to remove it all before repairing the cystocele and rectocele. So 4.5 hours later, I was wheeled into recovery. The pain was unbearable at the time and even though I normally have a strong pain threshold, the first thing I asked for when opening my eyes was a pain killer!
My days in hospital were challenging but I am a determined patient (as well as a nursing sister) and I was adamant that I would be up and walking the next morning and though a bit nervous about getting my bladder and bowel working without tearing any stitches, I managed, with a horrible bruised feeling, to slowly get back into my toilet routine.
Once home, in my own bed and away from the noise and hustle and bustle of the busy hospital I think I slept for the whole day and night!
It took me about a week before I had any energy to get up and do anything, and a good 5 weeks before I actually felt good again. I was cooking by week 2, obviously not lifting anything and my husband and son were a great support and help. I was told by my gynae to “potter around the house and when I felt tired, to rest” which is exactly what I did.
I went through good and bad days, a few days where I sneezed a bit and bled, which was a bit alarming, but by the next day all was OK. I had a continual light mustard coloured discharge for 5 weeks and struggled with quite a severe pain in my left groin in my 5th week followed by a day of light bleeding. The next day I called my gynae as I was worried that something was wrong. But I was due to see him for my check up so he said if the bleeding had not stopped the next day he would fit me in to see him. Fortunately there was no bleeding the next day and so I continued with my recovery.
I started walking a bit more each week and at the beginning of my 6th week I went for my follow up appointment. After a gentle examination and an ultrasound, showing all healing taking place as it should, I was immensely relieved and very thankful.
I went back to work at the end of that week to work 12 hour shifts, nursing in a Frail Care facility. I was quite worried about the long hours after so many weeks of rest, especially as my gynae had told me that it would take 10-12 weeks for internal healing to take place and that there were still some stitches that hadn’t dissolved internally. It was a challenge and I was very tired, but I just took one day at a time and rested well on my days off.
My colleagues at work were very understanding and helped with the lifting and bending duties which I could not do. On my days off, I did some walking and swimming to keep myself fit and to get back into shape.
I am now in my 10th week post op and I am well, strong and almost a hundred percent. The Lord has been my strength and I am so grateful to everyone who played a part in my operation and recovery.