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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
Chrissy November 10, 2009, 9:03 AM

WHAT A TERRIBLE ORDEAL! So sorry you suffered so much. I am currently suffering lower back pain, I have to struggle to pee (have to really push to make it all come out), and my cervix gets in the way when I am trying to insert a tampon. Feels like it has dropped down. Are these beginning symptons of the uterus dropping? I don’t have an infection so I am wondering if having four kids has caused my uterus to drop. Serious answers please, this is not a laughing matter.

A freind November 10, 2009, 9:12 AM

Thanks for sharing. Sorry for your ordeal. let me say this..I was a party and one of my friends said women have to take care of ourselves. she talked me into getting a colonoscopy..and it turned out I had cancer ..and my frontside fell off. Nothing like your pain. but saved my life.

I’m guessing some Estrogen hormone cream may help you with your walls. Any lady over 50 might talk to their gyn about the cream.

For constipation:
your poop should float.

if not…

Avoid decongestants (or diet pills) (diuretics: alcohol, caffeine) or add extra water, drink warm water in mornings and do jumping jack or light excercise. Add metamucil to bulk up if needed (even with loose stool) and you will pass easier. I add all bran to rice crispie treats.
My favorite recipe is: ground flax seed, one egg, some milk or water. Microwave 1 minute stir then another 1/2 minute. Voila. “Flax seed pudding”. Add some honey or sweetener… better than oatmeal. FAST and good for you. Can do morning or night. If you don’t like sweet, can add something and make this savory..add to fried rice, or whatever.

You can add ground flax seed to lots of stuff. If you are not prone to breast cancer..some Silk vanilla soy milk sometimes makes you does some tea with senna in diet teas, but add them slowly…do in moderation..because they cause cramping. ALWAYS add fiber SLOWLY and add water as you add fiber.

Take care.

Jennifer November 10, 2009, 9:45 AM

Oh what a horrifying story - I am so sorry you had to go through all of this. And not just once but several times. I am glad you are finally on the mend, and I pray that you never have to go through that again!

Anonymous November 10, 2009, 11:01 AM

this is the most horrible story i have read my stomach its upside down…

i fell so bad for her, she went by far to much…

=,( snif snif

Jen November 10, 2009, 11:22 AM

I can not believe all the mean thing some of you are saying This lady is sharing a painful personal story that could help other women and those of you that didnt have anything nice to say didnt have to read it. I hope you and your family are well.

Arlene November 10, 2009, 11:50 AM

I had a prolapsed uterus, rectum, bladder also. My doctor used a ‘mesh’ to insure everything stayed in place. I have had no problems since and I don’t think I’ll be needing anymore surgery as the mesh helps hold things together. He did remove my uterus also, but I was finished having children. I waited awhile too because I know this happened with my last baby (he was 21 when I went in) so I was lucky it didn’t get nearly as bad as yours. Good luck in the future and hope everything works out for you.

GrownUpGirl November 10, 2009, 11:51 AM

Allison, what a well written, informative article~ Thanks! My story started at birth when I was born w/ extrophy of the bladder (my bladder was on the outside of my body, but thankfully I was 9 lbs.-sorry Mom!)but otherwise a healthy baby. I have had 47 major/minor reconstructive surgeries until I was 24, so as one could imagine, my vaginal wall is shot. I’ve been dealing w/ a prolapsed uterus for years now. In the words of a wise California girl “It totally sucks.” Surgery is an option for me- but I have a major fear of “everything else” falling out right after it. So my choice at this point is to just live w/ it. For 19 years I have been thankfully married to a man who loves me for me. A girl w/ a road map of scars on her abdomen and a uterus that’s making a showing 24/7.
Miraculously, I too had a baby. She was born at 26 weeks weighing 1 lb. 14 oz. and 13 inches long. She is now 13, brilliant and beautiful~ Thanks again for telling your story~

chelsey November 10, 2009, 12:05 PM

wow,that is so crazy.i have heard of this before my friend works in the er.a woman came in because she had an absess on her but.when my friend went to look he saw her u money to fix it.luckily you did.sorry you had to go through so much.but at least you have a shiny new vag! your hubby loves that :)

Audrey November 10, 2009, 12:27 PM

I’m soo glad you shared this. I know this has happened to other women out there, but the fact that you shared this verry personal ordeal ensures that myself and other women who read this will also share this story and not have to deal with it the painfull way you did. This will prompt other women to take unusual changes in their body more seriously, we have to, we have children depending on us to take care of them, and in some cases husbands too, being that these days they are becoming more child like!

Christi November 10, 2009, 1:54 PM

Just reading this all made me a bit sick and dizzy to be honest.

So sorry you had to go through all of that. I guess it’s a big reminder that while we may push things off in order to deal with our kids, they won’t be better off without us. So, instead of ignoring things, get checked out for you and your kids.

kimwinn November 10, 2009, 4:23 PM

First of all, I’m so sorry that you had to go through this. When I was a young rookie x-ray tech in the 80’s, I saw an older woman sitting in a wheelchair and her gown wasn’t covering her very well. Her uterus was protruding out of her vagina. I was in complete shock. I found out later, after x-raying her for another problem, that she didn’t have insurance and no one would operate. I remember feeling so badly for her.

hellen f. November 10, 2009, 4:53 PM

…….atleast for today, i will not complain about any of my aches and pains…….in solidarity for all the pain and trama you have been through——you are strong, i would have literally been dead by now……stay strong and stay well……..your friends in new york city———-2009’

leslieann November 10, 2009, 6:03 PM

I am so very sorry u had to go through this. I feel so entirely bad. God Bless u & I’m Glad u r feeling better. Best wishes. & Ladies let’s take this as a lesson learned!!!

Anonymous November 10, 2009, 7:56 PM


Erin November 11, 2009, 9:00 AM

Allison, I’m so glad you are recovering and have your vagina back! I was thrilled to read your story because I am experiencing the exact same thing…prolapse, rectocele and cystocele. I noticed what turned out to be my bladder falling out 5 weeks after my second child was born. I am 6 months postpartum now and I wear a pessary everyday. The pessary keeps everything pushed back in until I decide when I will have my reconstructive surgery. Because I talked to my doctor right when I noticed my vagina falling out, there is the option of a 3rd pregnancy if I want. Since I’m still nursing my 2nd, I’m just holding off for a while on any decissions. The pessary is a wonderful temporary fix…but not a long term fix. Thank you for sharing your story, Allison. It’s good to know I’m not the only one!

nadineon5 November 11, 2009, 6:36 PM

You poor thing! Giving birth is one thing, but what you went through is traumatic! I try to do kegals but I don’t think it works for me! Any advice? I have 5 children!

rugbymom November 11, 2009, 6:42 PM

I’m glad you shared b/c I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I vomited a little in my mouth.

J November 11, 2009, 9:46 PM

Wow, you’ve really touched so many women. I hope you continue to be healthy, and if you need more surgeries, may they be successful!

Lacey November 11, 2009, 11:40 PM

Oh my god… that is horrible. I could barely read the whole thing. That is a LOT for a woman to go through. I don’t think I could handle all that. What an amazing woman… really. I feel one little pain somewhere and I start to worry. If that pain lasts for days… you can bet I’m going to the doctor! Even though I don’t have insurance, you have to be careful!

Anonymous November 12, 2009, 10:27 AM

This happened to me as well after I had my cervix frozen due to cancer cells. I was treated as if I was a liar and was told that’s its not possible that the freezing of the crevix caused this but I would know if things were hanging out of my body before this happened. I was devestated. Its been 8 yrs. and still not fixed I think doctors don’t always listen and understand how many things surround this problem. Lack of ability to pass a proper bowel movement, constant painful back aches. Please go to the doctor and please don’t stop complaining until they fix it.

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