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My Bits Fell Out!

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Have you ever heard of vaginal prolapse? I hadn't either, until it happened to me. Here's my story.

vaginal prolapse

Allison Henry: My first pregnancy was totally normal and healthy and fine. When my daughter was 11-and-a-half months old, I got pregnant with my second child.

About ten weeks into my pregnancy, I was doing prenatal yoga and it felt like someone had rammed a pitchfork up my butt, so I stopped. It was an intense, sharp pain, but it passed. As I was feeding my daughter lunch a short time later, it felt like I had peed my pants, and when I ran to the bathroom, I saw I was gushing blood everywhere. It was the biggest scare of my life.

I rushed to the OB/GYN, and they said I hadn't lost the baby, thank God. But they couldn't figure out what was wrong, and I kept bleeding for 15 weeks straight. When I was 25 weeks pregnant, they put me in the hospital for three-and-a-half weeks on bed rest. That was the first time I had stopped bleeding in four months, and I was so relieved. When they released me, they put me on hospital-level bed rest at home, but even walking from the couch to the bathroom made me start bleeding again, so they had to put me back in the hospital. My son was born six-and-a-half weeks early, at 33 weeks.

What they ultimately found out was that I developed a hematoma outside the placenta. The baby was fine, thank God, and after he was released from five weeks in the NICU, we thought the whole ordeal was behind us. Boy, were we wrong about that.

One day in the bathroom, I felt something kind of strange when I was wiping. There wasn't really a hole there -- it felt kind of flat. I thought it was a little weird, but I had a 19-month-old and a newborn to care for, so I brushed it off. I wasn't bleeding, I wasn't in pain, so I didn't address it.

Over the next year, I noticed this more and more and more. I would feel that something was poking out of my vagina when I was wiping.

In the meantime, I had a massive emergency appendectomy, I got gangrene, and I was hospitalized. It took me about eight months to heal from that whole thing, so I didn't really address what was going on with my vagina.

One night, I took a look down there, and it was like my insides were on the outside and they were coming out. I knew I couldn't put this off any longer. I went to my doctor and said, "My vagina is falling out of my body!"

I was referred to a pelvic floor specialist. She took a look and said, "Holy crap -- your vagina is falling out of your body, and it's dragging your bladder and your rectum along with it!"

It turned out I had complete uterine prolapse, where the uterus is falling out of the body. I also had rectocele, where the walls of the vagina are weakened, and your rectum is pushing into the back wall of your vagina. That explained why I had been constipated for months. They also told me I had cystocele, where your bladder pushes through the other wall of your vagina. I had been having trouble peeing -- even though I always felt like I had to go. This was apparently why.

The uterus is supposed to be 8 or 11 centimeters up inside your vagina. When I was lying down in the doctor's office, mine was 3 centimeters up, but when I was standing, it was plus-five centimeters! It was literally falling out of my body.

I had to have surgery, and they took my uterus out. All the ligaments that hold the uterus in place were completely shredded by all the blood I'd lost in my second pregnancy. My husband and I had thought about possibly having another child, but that took care of that.

Then my doctor had to resupport and restructure the back wall of my vagina so it wouldn't collapse again. She put my rectum and my colon back in their proper place. She had to untwist my bladder and place it right-side-up. It had twisted and turned upside down.

On top of this, I had a labia reduction, which was brutal. All of "Dr. 90210"'s patients who say it doesn't hurt are lying. I'd rather get my teeth pulled out than do that again!

After a few days of recovery, I was released from the hospital ... but unfortunately my story doesn't end there.

Every complication that could happen to me happened.

I was throwing up, constipated, and completely backed up for days. I had a UTI, and I was on antibiotics for that and painkillers.

Then seven days after my surgery, I was watching "Snow White" with my daughter when my son came into the room. He didn't like the seating arrangement and sort of lunged on top of my daughter. I had to push him off her, and when I did, I heard a loud ripping sound. Oh, no. I looked under the comforter, and my entire bed was covered with blood. It was like a horror movie -- you could see the blood filling the entire white bed. Since it was under the covers, thank God the kids didn't see anything.

I screamed, "Call the doctor! Call the doctor!" In 15 minutes, I had passed 10 huge palm-sized blood clots.

My stepmom rushed me to the emergency room, and the ER doctor was trying to figure out where the blood was coming from, but couldn't see because there was too much blood gushing out. He was poking around down there -- and I was still extremely tender from my surgery. It was the worst pain of my life.

He called my doctor and said: "I can't see where it's coming from. She's bleeding so fast and so much, I can't see. I'm killing her!"

So they prepped me for emergency surgery. It turns out when I pushed my son off my daughter, I ripped through eight way-deep internal sutures. My doctor had to go in and stitch everything back up once again. After having two surgeries in one week, I was beyond sore afterwards. I was in so much pain.

They put me on an antibiotic that I was allergic to -- I got a full body rash and was covered in red bumps from my head to my ankles.

The cumulative effect of all the anesthesia in my body did me in. I lost 30 pounds. Not that I minded being super skinny, but I was so sickly skinny, it was scary.

Six months later, I started having this weird discharge that had a funky odor. I was still in pain. It turned out my body was now rejecting the second set of sutures, and I had to have -- guess what? -- another surgery!

That was a year and a half ago. Since then, I've had some bladder issues, and they had to go in and slough off some of the scar tissue that had grown on the inside walls of my bladder as a result of my surgery.

The experience has been a total nightmare, but I'm happy to say I'm on the mend. We just had a cocktail party to celebrate me feeling healthy. And I do have the vagina of a 13-year-old virgin, with a perfect labia, as a bonus.

Within 10 or 15 years, there's a 90 percent chance I'll have to have another reconstructive surgery to resupport the walls of my vagina, because the results don't last forever. But that's something I knew going in.

There are definitely other women out there who've had this, or are experiencing the symptoms now. My advice is to go to the doctor sooner rather than later. If I had gone sooner, I would have had a much less complicated surgery. But I was dealing with a toddler and a preemie, and I thought I'd just deal with it later. It took me years to see my doctor.

If I had addressed this when it was just partially prolapsing, there's a possibility I could have had kids again. So don't wait like I did. If something doesn't feel right, get checked out right away.

next: Missing Fla. Baby Found Alive Under Baby Sitter's Bed
171 comments so far | Post a comment now
jade November 8, 2009, 4:28 PM

I had a similar experience but it was long before most of you were born, back in 1972. When preganant with my fourth child, my cervix was partially dilated and ouside my body. Doc said I had 3rd degree uterine prolapse, cystocele and rectocele. 2 mos. after the birth, Doc did a vaginal hysterectomy, but while attempting to tack up my bladder, he cut through the bladder AND an artery. A friend who witnessed the surgery said they nearly lost me. Anyway, Doc never repaired the cystecele or the rectocele.
Someone asked how does that affect sex—it makes the vagina a bit more crowded :) but my husband never complained. I never went back to that Doc and meant to have the repair but didn’t due to either being unable to take time from work, or lack of insurance. Now, with medicare, I hope to have it done because it is so bad that I cannot stand for very long. I’ve been unable to wear jeans and mostly wear long, loose skirts. It is very embarrassing, but my condition isn’t life-threatening and at my age, I’m used to taking care of others’ before taking care of myself. Those who have posted derogatory things here need to be kind—I’ve seen so many people judge others and then have much worse happen to them.

Chris November 8, 2009, 7:14 PM

You’re brave to share something so personal. But I’m betting a lot of women need to hear your story. Thanks for speaking up — and here’s to your continued good health!

dbm November 9, 2009, 10:01 AM

I’m 57 years old and a mother of 3 sons, all of whom were large babies. I developed these same issues, but ignored them for 28 years. I’d recommend that these symptoms be addressed at a much younger age…

I didn’t have surgical repair until I was 54 - vaginal hysterectomy, cystocle, rectocele, bladder sling. I had really severe endometriosis, too, which wasn’t discovered until the surgery, causing a major challenge for the surgeon. Ended up back in hospital 2 more times for blood transfusions and an infection caused from a hospital acquired bacteria.

Assurant/Time Insurance rescinded my individual health insurance policy a month afterwards, claiming pre-existing condition, meaning the $10,000 in medical bills was an expense we had to pay.
With the help of a letter from an attorney to the health insurance company, the policy was reinstated 6 months later, after we paid those 6 months worth of premiums.

I was able to qualify for a new individual health insurance policy with BCBS after the first surgery and they helped pay a small amount with the following 2 hospital stays. We paid for those 2 health insurance policies for a year following my initial surgery.

I cancelled out the Assurant policy after my recovery and the bills were paid.

I can now attest that “surgical menopause” is another challenge that is no fun! Everything in the vaginal area dries up, ladies, and bladder infections become a common occurrence. With the use of antibiotics and premarin cream, I’m coping.

One thing I’m glad didn’t endure was the labia reduction… the recovery sounded too painful for me.

Fisher November 9, 2009, 11:53 AM

I had exactly the same problem for 17 years. My gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente never guessed what I had. I lost 30 pounds through impossibility to digest. I ended vomiting excrements. I could not walk because I was too weak. I knew I was dying so I went to France. The doctor there could not believe what he immediately saw. I had reconstructice surgery followed by a long stay in a convalescent home where I was pamapered so nicely. All this Free because I was a teacher there and never stop paying the monthly dues (less than $80) to the excellent French Healthcare system. When I came back home in San Jose California, I was still too weak to make a claim for refund of trips, hotels, 10% participation of medical expanses. I did file a claim within the year. I received about $700.00 for the bill at the convalescence home. But they refused to pay any medical expanses, with no reason put forward. I did not take a lawyer. I still feel hurt and the consequences of their incompetence are such that I developed an intense case of Osteoporosis, due to lack of proper nutrition for 17 years…. and the hardship is still on, I am completely incontinent.

Michelle November 9, 2009, 2:49 PM

In France here,our lovers always check us out “Downstairs” so we do not have that problem. You shouiod inform your husband or lover, Enchante,MMsle

anna November 9, 2009, 5:53 PM

Thanks for so courageously sharing your story with other women. There are so many gynecological conditions that are kept quiet and not discussed openly. Women have a right to privacy, but it also helps when we can feel free to talk about these things openly in our society.

Ann November 9, 2009, 6:21 PM

This story sounds similar to mine. I went to the doctor when I noticed that my uterus felt heavy. She noticed that my bladder had dropped (and also I had rectocyle)and sent me to a urologist. He didn’t diagnose the problem so I let it go for another year. I changed to a different doctor that a friend recommended and that is where I found out that I had vaginal prolapse. My vagina was tearing away from the wall and dragging down my uterus and my bladder.I had surgery in Jan 2007. I then had another minor surgery for my bladder but it did not correct the problem (my muscles became weak and now leaks). I was then told that I needed to have my bladder put in a sling (my oldest sister has this). I did not want to go thru with yet another surgery so for the past 2 years I have put it off (especially since I was told that I would not be able to drive for 9 weeks-impossible).I feel for these women that posted similar stories and I now realize that this is more common that I thought.

Mew November 9, 2009, 7:17 PM

Stories like this are why I will never have children. No child would ever be worth this much pain and suffering.

As for your desire to have more children, have you not heard of adoption? You do realize that children don’t HAVE to share your DNA, right? There are plenty of children out there who could use a loving home if you want to have more than two in your household. I hate seeing things like that, someone talking of wanting (more) children but ignoring the options out there that don’t involve pushing it out of your own body.

Insane Twane November 10, 2009, 2:38 AM

While I am very sorry to hear about your medical problems, this part is just so sick…(guess you wish your husband was Roman Polanski) when you say:

“And I do have the vagina of a 13-year-old virgin, with a perfect labia, as a bonus.”

Oh wait, we already know the teenager he had sex with wasn’t a virgin…

Dolores November 10, 2009, 3:26 AM

Oh my God I was waiting to find someone who had the same thing.After my third child this happened.I had her induced.I was told I had a cyctocele.My uterus and bladder had prolapsed,dropped out of my vagina too.I had to push it back in wahen I was in the shower.Of course that didn’t work.I was told to wait awhile since I just gave birth and do excercises to tighten the muscle and bring it up.Yeah that didn’t work either.I was having horrible pains in my back.Not to mention no for a while either.LOng story short,I had a hysterectamy -vaginally,with a uterus tucking up.Also had a fibroid tumor that was on the outside of the uterus that needed to come outanyway.Scars on the outside up by the hairline.I thought that would be all there was to remember the surgery.Not.After they did the procedure,I was put into recovery and was vomiting non stop and not coming out the anesthesia.Well from 730 am to 4:30 am I was basically dying and noone knew.They called a code blue on me,my stats dropped and they all rushed to me to give fluids interveniouslly etc.It helped a little.Now the rush began to find out why this was happenening.Well if they had listened that I had seriouslly aganizing pains in my stomach area ,they would have known .They did tests.And they boold showed I was anemic,was I ?Not when I came in here I wasn’t.SO more tests/Xrays.Not till (;30 pm,did they realize I was internally bleeding from the doctor cut me and didn’t know it then.I was a hematacrit of 15.When I came in I was 38.Normal for a woman is around 40 I was told.I was dying they told me.I needed emergency surgery.They ahd to match blood.They call my hubby,to come asap as I may not make it when he arrives,I may be dead. back who went home to be with the children for awhile.They send a Priest as I am Catholic,to give me my last rights in case I did Die,which looked promising.I was bearly conscious.I still Had to sign for the surgery.Unbelieveable.Well After they manually pumped three bags of blood in me they do surgery and i had massive blood to clean up with a massive scar from my belly button down to hair line.No what I asked for though here.SO they fix it all,and say they are sorry.I stay in Icu for a week,with more blood transfusions to follow,and complications with the bladder,can’t pee.So I need that cath for a while.They send me home with a fever.SO I am back witha kidney infection and a hema toma infection in pelvic area ,from left over blood clot they left there.Another week in the hospital.Not goo here.LOng story ,9 transfusions and scars and now sever food allergies from the trama,.Oh and another code blue from a cat scan allergie to the dye ,and now I can’t eat fish or much of anything else,but I am alive to see my three children grow,.thats the bargain I made I guess.Sex Is good though.Yes and tighter than before.Worst nightmare of my life for sure.Girls get things checked and stay on top of your health.

carrie November 10, 2009, 4:08 AM

Ladies, this can happen to any woman who has had children, mostly its in women in their 40’s and up. I kept noticing somthing also, when i would wipe, so i fianlly looked, and it was something that wasn’t suppose to be that far down, it was my rectum pushing out my vagina, yes it can happen, dr said it was from childbirth, and could be from weight gain, and you probably can get it if you continually lift and tug in your younger years, mine was slow, i noticed something for a couple of years, no surgury yet, im 58, dr keeps a check on it. I don’t have any symptoms except back pain, and that could be from herniated disc also, and i do go to the bathroom a lot, your bladder is pulled down also, so they can go in and put a net to hold this up, but so far i haven’t had anything done, it does happen to a lot of women, mostly older women.

Pat F November 10, 2009, 5:06 AM

Oh my gosh, what women must endure..this is scary….I would like some information on prevention, how to self examine I guess so that you can know,maybe some specific things we can do to avoid this. Seems to me after reading much of the comments this can happen if you have had a vaginal birth, are perimenopausal , menopausal or over 40?? So much for the prime of life.So how do we avoid it?

ASHMADSMOM November 10, 2009, 5:32 AM

i HAVE THE SAME PROB. I have seen a Dr and have just been told I would just have to deal with it and its fine??!! I really do wonder I have BAD lower back and front pain all the time. I can feel it falling/pushing out when I use the bathroom.
I feel Your pain and You are lucky to have a Dr that helped You. I sure wish I did.

Melanie November 10, 2009, 5:48 AM

My God, I don’t consider myself squeamish but this story is way too much to handle with my morning coffee.

Maxine p. soso November 10, 2009, 6:53 AM

I am truly sorry for what you have gone through but I’m glad that things work out for the best. God Bless you for sharing this insightful story so that maybe it will be of help to someone else.

pamela November 10, 2009, 7:29 AM

I had this not as severe and without the complications poor you, mine was due to having a large baby 10Lbs 5oz and then getting pregnant 4 months later and i couldnt carry him to term I bleed for months and finally at the age of 27 had to have this surgery thanks for sharing a somewhat uncomfortable subject but hey you can die from this go to the doctors ladys

Just Me November 10, 2009, 7:40 AM

Wow! that is so scary! when i had my son my bladder fell to they tried pushing it back but that didn’t work, so they just left that was 7 yrs ago now im paying for it now. my bladder doesn’t completely empty so i always feel like i have to go…its very annoying and i also get many many bladder infection

poppiesinoz November 10, 2009, 7:55 AM

I can so relate to this story mine is I am just turned 50, have not finished menopause yet>>arggh but have born 4 children many years ago my youngest is 18… but about 4 yrs ago, I would start bleeding very bad every 9 days or so, then came the severe pain & pressure in my pelvis, thighs, lower back, well after many many tests n exams they tell me i had csyts on ovaries& a small lesions on my uterus which they cut out… so now the cysts, they start popping bursting off n on so here comes more excrutiating pain again, so now its gotten to the point that my uterus is FALLING OUT, which I have told them repeatedly that it feels like my Va-JaJa is falling out but no they dont seem to understand what I am telling them… after 5 drs, w/me telling THEM whats wrong I have NO-ONE listening to me…so now Without any insurance I have been ‘walking’ if ya can call it THAT around wearing a girdle to hold my lower pelvis muscles in, it hurts to even sit now, I actaully request sex from Hubby lol… to push everything back in and relieve some pressure… so without any Insurance or a dang dr that will listen i am currently living on pain meds to just be able to function in my daily chores anymore! Its been a living hell, they (free clinics) have ran $40,000 in tests exams etc but instead of treating the source and removing my uterus and getting rid of the Problem..NO they wont cover the surgery!!! now due to being on pain meds daily i can no longer work at my job due to that being operating heavy equipment in construction ,I have had to take a leave of absence from my job till I can somehow ..someway find a dr or hospital to do the surgery on a payment plan..which is about impossible, so I have to pay out of pocket for meds n pain mang dr $160 every 4 weeks and $150 in meds, so talk about a catch 22, i am stone walled with this problem, and would LOVE to hear any & all suggestions or others storys PLEASE !!

Becky Grady November 10, 2009, 8:15 AM

Thank you for sharing your story so candidly. I hope it helps someone else. I can’t imageine going through all that and caring for little ones at the same time. I wish you continued good health.

Alisa November 10, 2009, 8:22 AM

You are truly an inspiration of a human for getting through this, taking care of children, and telling the tale. I wish you a fast and uneventful recovery and a turn of the wheel, so that something as wonderful as this was horrible happens to you.

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