This week Maura has officially been in the outside world as long as she was inside me. I’m
sure you’ve heard 9 months on, 9 months off referring to allowing yourself 9 months after baby is born to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight and feel like your old self, I gave myself an extra week or so since Maura did the same for herself on the inside, haha.
I’ve been eyeing my weight, but not focusing on dieting or losing it. I also had to take quite a lengthy break from formal exercise. I can finally say that I’m feeling pretty good! It took 3 different doctors and 7 months of physical therapy…. but I feel good. Maybe the 9 month wait has some truth to it after all. The one thing that all three doctors told me was that a woman is considered postpartum for a full year, not 6 weeks or 12 weeks but an entire year. This was so important for me to hear! There is so much pressure to jump back into a fitness routine and lose the baby weight immediately and I felt awful about myself that not only could I not start running again at 6 weeks, I could barely get through the day without feeling terrible.
Since my 6 month update, things have improved tremendously. At 6 months, I was feeling really frustrated with the lack of improvements to my pelvic floor and prolapse issues even with physical therapy. I was pretty much told there was nothing left for me to do, and I couldn’t except that. I ended up making an appointment with a specialist in urogynecology. (Basically a GYN who also has specialized training in pelvic floor organs, not just tissue). I was SO glad that I kept seeking answers because my appointment went great. Which is so weird to say, haha. My appointment was around 7 and a half months postpartum. The Dr. did the exam and immediately said that the prolapse was very minor. This confused me because I had been diagnosed with stage 2 bladder prolapse by two separate people… and I was still experiencing a lot of discomfort. She then explained that I had a ton of scarring and inflammation, making everything so sensitive that I was feeling symptoms from the level of prolapse that most women who have it don’t even know. She prescribed Estrogen and it’s been helping a lot. I won’t need it forever, and chances are once I stop breastfeeding my hormones will recover on their own and I’ll be able to put this behind me. She also sent me back to physical therapy after taking a month or so off because my pelvic floor muscles were extremely tight – we still aren’t sure why they became tight when they weren’t before – but I have a feeling it’s a combination of desperately attempting kegels (which I still can’t do). I also don’t know why the prolapse got better. The only thing I can think of is that I was slower to recover/heal than most due to the anemia and what takes most women 6 months, took me closer to 8. I debated not writing about this again… it’s so personal, yet if it helps one other person going through similar, I’ll risk it. Women’s health needs to be discussed, even if it does feel embarrassing. The message I want to drill into others is that you can and should get help. There are doctors out there who want to help you, you might have to see a few… but it’s worth it in the end. Don’t be embarrassed, don’t suck it up because you think it’s just part of having a baby, just go get yourself back to feeling good.
*If things had NOT gotten better on their own – for anyone who is looking for a story with a different ending – the specialist said that there are hundreds of types of pessaries, and that she often sets up whole afternoons for women to do fittings – and try and try until one works for them. Other Drs who don’t specialize in this may let you try one or two, but a specialist has more available. She also said that unless symptoms are severe, they do not recommend surgery for younger women (meaning non menopausal). My other tip is do not google. Google had me in tears almost every night until I got things figured out, just stop searching for answers on your own and see someone who is trained to help.*
The past 9 months (closer to 10) have been about getting my health back, the next 3ish months are going to be about getting my fitness back.