Things that have helped

Hi friends. I wanted to say thank you again (SO, so much) for all of your kind comments on last week’s wine date post. The prolapse situation has felt extremely isolating, and I have been sad about it since I was first diagnosed at the ER.

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I had no idea that it was something that happens to women all the time, and just isn’t discussed. So I’m going to talk about it over here on the family page, and my progress, especially since many of you said you’ve been there and also felt alone.

I got good news at last week’s Urogyn appointment: apparently it has already greatly improved, and they’re not concerned about future surgery at this point. It was a HUGE sigh of relief. It had been bothering me quite a bit, but it turns out that the pain I’ve been experiencing isn’t from the prolapse, but another issue related to the birth that I’ll have be having corrective surgery for. I’m not looking forward to surgery at all (while I’m under, can they refresh my boobs at least? haha), but at least it will only be one instead of two procedures, and I CAN’T WAIT to heal and feel like myself again.

It’s been a month of constant researching, and since I was willing to try anything to help the prolapse, I thought I’d mention some of the things I found helpful. I want to start off by saying that if you think you may have any type of pelvic floor disorder, are experiencing discomfort, or have questions about healing from birth, reach out to your doctor ASAP. I was immediately referred to pelvic floor physical therapy, and the Urogyn specialists. I am so thankful that I’ve had an incredible medical team by my side, in addition to the additional resources I sought out.

Here are some of the things I’ve tried:

1) The Hab It! DVD. I wish I would have purchased this after Liv was born!!! You don’t need to be experiencing PFD to try these exercises, and can use them as a protective measure to help prevent future problems. The exercises are super simple, and work on targeting the pelvic floor and supporting muscle groups. I also love the emphasis on neutral posture. It affected how I carry myself, and I try to do the exercises in this DVD twice a week. I highly recommend it to my pregnant friends for after the birth, or anyone who is experiencing prolapse (with a doc or midwife’s “ok” of course).

2) Mayan Abdominal Massage. I came across this technique via the Googles and decided since I was willing to try ANYTHING to help this situation, I booked an appointment right away. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, especially since I don’t really love to have my stomach touched/rubbed. If I’m going to get a massage, I want a back, foot, or scalp massage. Anyway, it was MAGICAL. The massage therapist basically did a deep massage on my stomach, lifting everything back up into place. (It sounds gross but it was super relaxing and I felt awesome when I left.) She also did a full body deep tissue massage with it. Win, win, win. I had my second one today, and it was just as amazing (and she could feel that everything is moving back into place! YASSSS). She gave me some at-home tips and ideas, which I’ve been implementing.

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3) Acupuncture and Chinese herbs: I texted my acupuncturist right after the first ER trip to see if there was something he could do to help, or if he’d treated it before. I was crying when I texted him, because once you start googling prolapse, surgical options come up and it can be a little frightening. He said that in less extreme situations, time and physical therapy are the answer. He treated the systems in my body that help lift everything up into place, and I’ve also been taking some herbs that can help with prolapse.

4) Chiropractic. I was a huge fan of chiropractic care during and after both pregnancies, and it can help to make sure that everything is in alignment. I’ve only been once since the initial diagnosis, but will definitely be going back in the next few weeks.

5) Physical therapy. This is something that has dramatically helped me, especially since it’s provided some insight as to how my body is working, what muscles are weak/tight, and exercises I can do at home. My PT is an angel, and when I called to tell her about my Urogyn appointment, she sounded just as thrilled as I was. It turns out that my pelvic floor muscles are way too tight, and my supporting muscles are weak. With her help, I’ve been doing some multifidus (deep low back muscle), hip rotator, and glute medius strengtheners at home every day so that things can be a bit more balanced. I have PT every week, and while it’s tough to coordinate PT appointments with taking care of two littles, it’s worth it. 

6) Reading, reading, reading. I did enough with the Google university, and lately have just been scouring Katy Bowman’s site and reading her book. She’s knowledgeable, a little “out there” (in the best way), and hilarious. She shares fantastic tips for alignment, and I highly recommend her stuff in general, not just if you’re experiencing prolapse. 

7) TIME. It has been a solid month, which is a long time in the early postpartum days. I went from the depths of despair to feeling like this is all going to be ok. While I’ve had a couple of ups and downs, I’m hopeful that time will continue to be on my side. I’m excited to be able to eventually get back into impact exercise and feeling like myself again! I asked the Urogyn if I’d be able to run again, and she said “Absolutely.” In the meantime, I’m sticking with hot yoga, strength (making sure to BREATHE the entire time) with PBB, and starting to work up my cardio endurance. Sadly, because of the other issue that will need repair, tomorrow is my last night teaching spin until after my surgery. It’s a huge bummer because I JUST got back into it -and classes have been packed- but after I teach, I’m in a lot of pain. I keep reminding myself that it’s a short-term thing, and in the long term, it will be worth it. This chapter will just be something I look back on, remember how much it sucked, and then be thankful that it made me a stronger person.

xoxo

G

Resources if you’re local: (none of my practitioners know I have a blog or anything like that. I just like to spread the word, because they’re all amazing)

Comprehensive Therapy Services 

We Love Acupuncture

Dr. Stephanie Williams (chiropractor)

Dr. Patrick Flynn (my naturopath. He’s helping me get all of my hormones back in order after the birth)

Reproductive Wellness Center (Joanna for Mayan abdominal massage)

Sites that are helpful:

Nutritious Movement

Hab It! (they have a thorough “Educate Yourself” section and “Ask Tasha”- she’ll respond to any questions regarding prolapse)

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Comments

  1. Sending you hugs! You are such an inspiration, Gina!

  2. I find this all really interesting. After three kids, I’m grateful to not have pelvic floor issues (that I know of?) but I have noticed so many problems in my alignment and weak/tight muscles. It’s my mission to fix the alignment issues and I am seeing progress, thankfully!

    I wish you all the best with the upcoming surgery and hope that its not too sad to miss your classes. Kids slow us down in lots of ways. More often than not I’m grateful in retrospect because in the midst of it, it can suck. I hope it gets much better very, very soon for you!

  3. Gina, you are so great for discussing women’s health so openly! Pelvic floor problems are definitely an issue that we should all be aware of given how commonly things can be not right down there and ignored for years by women. There is always something that can be done to help! Wishing you all the best with your treatment xx

    P’s your girls are really lucky that they will have you to talk to about all this stuff!!

  4. Sending you lots of love! Hope things continuing on the up and up. I know surgery can be scary, but it will turn out fine!

  5. I was so sorry to hear you are going through this. I know that these posts are going to help many people. Any pelvic floor issues are so frustrating ….I had a hypertonic pelvic floor and it took going to several different practitioners before finally seeing a pelvic physio who finally diagnosed it. And even then, I had to do a lot of research on my own to finally figure out how to fix it. Katy Bowman’s site is amazing. xo

  6. Glad to hear you’re healing! It sounds like you’re doing everything you can to heal as quick as you can!

  7. Gina, I read your wine date post earlier today and wanted to respond. I am praying for you and just devouring all of this information. I messaged you last month, I had a big girl in September and have had some urinary incontinence issues that scared the daylights out of me. I literally filled my shoes out on a walk with baby at 6 weeks post partum! I wanted to offer that it definitely got better over time. I can now do high impact exercises (except jumping jacks, those are my arch nemesis!) but I can run and do high intensity training.

    I can completely relate to your feelings of isolation – I must have mentioned my issue to 10 friends before one admitted she had problems too. And it’s so common! Anyway, I wanted to let you know you’re not alone and we will be supporting you on this journey and sending you tons of love and hugs. Keep your chin up, sweetheart.

  8. Gina,
    I have been a long time reader but never commented. Thank you so so so much for bringing up these issues. As a 30 year old woman who is getting ready to get pregnant, it’s been so helpful to read all of your posts and learn as much as possible. Like many others, I had no idea that prolapse was so common, but I’d rather know that find out by surprise! Wishing you the best with your recovery! Also thanks for sharing all your practitioner links, I’m a San DIegan and have been looking for people in these fields. Best of luck!

  9. Ashley Shawbell says:

    Hi! I’ve been following your blog for about 2 years (love it!) and live in SD and am also a Navy spouse! I took an amazing postpartum fitness series up in Thousand Oaks, CA while my husband was away and I had just had our baby. The trainer of the class (Brianna Battles with Everyday Battles) has devoted her career to helping woman recover from birth related changes and is a big follows of Julie Wiebe (https://www.juliewiebept.com/). Anyway – thought maybe you could all connect or something! Congrats on your two beautiful girls!

  10. Sorry your not feeling well , praying for a speedy recovery!

  11. I’m glad the prolapse is going to heal on its own! That stinks you need surgery for something else, though.

    I’m curious if things would’ve been better if you had induced when they suggested it. I’m NOT suggesting you should have, I probably would’ve done the same, especially with all the comments here saying the doctor guessed their baby’s weight too high. If you could do it again, would you induce? Not that we ever get hindsight in these situations!

    Take care.

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you! it was a huge relief. as far as the other thing goes, at this point i’m just ready to get it over with.
      i’m curious about that too, and it’s something i’ve thought about a lot. i also wondered if i would have been better off with a c-section, but my PT said many times the damage is done during pregnancy, and with a c-section they’d be cutting through my TA. i think things happened the way they were supposed to. even going into labor on my own, i was still dancing the line of emergency surgery. i’m just happy p came out safely, because things could have gone so differently.
      xoxo

  12. Glad things are improving! Hope they keep up.

  13. Ugh I had so many weird issues that took years to resolve after having my son! I remember having what they called a dropped bladder, noticing the symptoms and having a hard time explaining them in the months after he was born! it did eventually go away and eventually my pelvic floor got stronger too (now I don’t wet my pants when I jump rope lol). Hang in there, it’s so not easy.

    • Fitnessista says:

      awww man. sorry to hear you had problems, too! it’s just so weird because i didn’t have to deal with any of this the first time around.

  14. Wishing you well and prayers for a healthy recovery. Remember… this too shall pass! You’ll get through it and sharing your experience will be so helpful to so many women! Thank you!!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this, and the Hab-It resource in particular. I’m in the last month of my second pregnancy and the aches have been difficult. I’m already feeling much relief, and more optimistic, after Just one round of the Hab-It pregnancy exercises (they are free on their website!). Thank you, and I hope your recovery goes smoothly and quickly.

  16. Great post, thank you! I hope that you have a complete recovery!

  17. The end of breastfeeding will also help a lot as your hormones level out and things tighten upwards. To be honest though, I have done a ton of work (most of what you mention above) after both of my pregnancies (so over the last 2.5 years, I am 6 months pp now for my second) and find that I still struggle with symptoms (mine isn’t even that big). It’s usually only when I do high impact exercise, but that’s what I’m trying to get back to (or if I am exhausted or create too much pressure working out). Of course I wouldn’t trade that for 2 beautiful babies, and I’d even have more, but a lot of practitioners tell you it will go away and I’m not sure if that’s always the case. I hope it is. I think they mean that clinically speaking it won’t be a big deal/will resolve, but if you want things to be as they were pre-baby, that’s a different story. Anyway my postpartum workouts are very different for this reason. You should look into hypopressive breathing exercises – it might be something you’d like (and it helps). I wouldn’t consider surgery unless my symptoms were severe, and only after a very long time trying other options as the surgeries themselves can create problems. You are so brave for being open about this! I talk to friends about it because I find that no one talks about it, but a LOT of them don’t even know what a prolapse is. Many of them have incontinence (possibly related) but that isn’t talked about either. I am hoping you continue to recover and improve! My best advice would be though to give it time as you noted and be patient and kind to your body … I was so obsessed with fixing it after my first that I felt like it was a full time job between PT and other appointments. This second time I am more accepting that things will be as they are, and I can only do so much, and time and the end of breastfeeding will probably help me the most.

    • Fitnessista says:

      that is so true. we have an appointment almost every day over here! i’m ready for things to calm down a little.
      thank you for the hope. i’m excited to see how i feel when p is a year old- i think things will have definitely turned around by then <3
      xoxo

  18. I saw a baby seat called babocush made special for babies with colic or reflux and thought of you

  19. I’m so glad PT is helping you! I’m a physical therapist and love to see all of the different dysfunctions it can help to correct! Keep up the good work!

  20. Kate Hamzi says:

    I had some major pelvic floor issues after my second baby that sent me deep into despair also. I felt isolated and sad and like I would never be OK again. Even your blog depressed me because you would post exercises that I was convinced I would never be able to do again. I never thought I would run or even walk without some pain and I felt like it cast a shadow over the beautiful first few weeks of having a newborn. But my PT saved me literally and it now all does seem like a distant memory. Hang in there, this too shall pass. Having babies is hard work and we all need to be more honest about it. I think all moms should have PT post partum. In Europe, all moms automatically get 3 sessions at home after birthing. and PS, I can run again and I am training for a 1/2 ironman!!

    • Fitnessista says:

      that makes me so happy to hear! i feel like every medical professional i first saw about it, i would ask “will i be able to run or jump again?” i’m so thrilled that it actually will happen. it’s definitely a shadow, but i feel like i’m coming out the other side. thank goodness for awesome PTs, too

    • I’m an American living in France bc of my husbands job, and I just gave birth to my 3rd 4months ago. Immediately following birth the midwife comes to your home to check you and the baby, and then beginning around 6 weeks women here begin their “rééducation périnéale”, which is basically 6 initial classes where the midwife teaches you about all the intraabdominal, perineal, and rectal muscles and teaches you how to contract them at varying strengths. You are graded based on their strength and continue classes until you’re “re-educated”. It’s amazing! Can’t believe all women don’t get to do this in the US.

  21. While I’m not a mother and don’t intend to get prego any time soon…I really appreciate that you share your experiences. If more women shared, it would help others realize they are not alone and feel less scared. I didn’t even know what prolapse was and turned to Google myself and was freaked out. Reading this post was super helpful (and less frightening than Google blurbs).

    Happy to hear you’re recovering well!

  22. I had some similar issues after my younger son’s birth a year and a half ago. Like you, went to PT, and over time, it helped. The Wall Street Journal had an article about this like a year or so ago. It affects women even many years after they’ve had children. Kegels and planks are very important for women to do their whole lives. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. Your openness about it will help many others, and you’ve reminded me to keep current on my PT practice to maintain my regained strength and prevent future prolapse and incontinence. Thank you!

  23. So glad that you’re starting to feel better! ❤

  24. Hi Gina, sorry to hear about your up coming surgery, but glad to hear the prolapse is resolving naturally. I just wanted to share my experience with Mayan Abdominal Massage. My acupuncturist is also a Mayan practioner and it has helped me tremendously!!! I do a self care regimen once a day to keep things in place and can feel when my uterus has dropped or is shifted left or right. High impact exercise and all the dance I did as a child were likely the cause, so I would just caution you to really ease into any impact exercise or look into making a Mayan Faja wrap for impact exercise. Congrats on finding a good Mayan practioner!!! Hope you get to feeling like your fabulous self soon 😀 Thank you for sharing all your experiences with us, I enjoy reading your blog with my morning coffee as part of my morning routine.

  25. I’m so glad you are being open about this! I have had a very long journey and one of the barriers I am running into is that even the medical community isn’t that well versed in a lot of this! So I think it’s amazing for you to be opening up about your experience, because it will most likely make some woman out there realize that the symptoms she’s been having actually AREN’T normal and she CAN get help. I even created a new product that stemmed from my experience- I wasn’t taking care of myself AT ALL and if I had something to make me check in every day I am convinced I would have nipped this all in the bud much sooner (DuoDiary.com – Shameless plug!) Also, I’m totally in your boat with being willing to try anything, here are some additional things that have worked for me! (and yay for Mayan therapy!):

    -Mutu Mamas (http://mutumamas.com/) – its an online program of videos that help with alignment and strengthening the pelvic floor and proper abdominal muscles.
    -Postural Restoration (https://www.posturalrestoration.com/find-provider) – this is the single thing that has helped me the most!
    -This Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/902417269838914/ -much less scary than Dr. Google 🙂

    Keep us posted and keep positive that this will pass! The key is to be gentle with yourself and not be in a hurry to ‘get back to your old self.’ Allow yourself the time to heal! Sending you healing thoughts!!

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