My postnatal body - Part 2
To say I was nervous about my pelvic floor physio appointment was an understatement!! I had a plan in place, Clare Bourne was coming to me for a home visit, David would take the smalls to nursery which gave me time to have a bath and feel “ready”. Well they were running late so I only managed a shower but I wasn’t rushing around so it was all good.
The appointment was at 10am in the morning and I had 7 anxious wees prior 😂 I guess what I’m trying to get at is it’s totally normal to feel nervous and so put a plan in place to make you feel comfortable.
Claire arrived, popped on her mask & we went into the lounge to have a chat. We talked through my labours and the 2 x second degree tears. The haemorrhoids & vaginal prolapse after Harper, the discomfort from carrying a 10lb 2 Baby Ethan followed by another prolapse & more haemorrhoids.
I told Claire that over the last 4 months I have to push on the back wall of my vagina to poo. I cut down on eating as the process is so traumatising and depressing. We talked about my 2 caffeine boosts a day which as a non coffee/tea drinker is a morning Matcha and an afternoon Pepsi. So I laid out all my humiliating issues and felt so much better just talking about them!
The first things Claire said was that Rectocele’s are common and there are some aids to help you to get in a better position to help relax the body as the tension will only make the process more difficult. The “Femmeze” is a tool for anyone who might be struggling.
She also told me how my reduced food consumption can actually make things worse, ideally we should go every day and I’m on once every 2-3days which doesn’t allow everything to function properly. A tablespoon of Flaxseeds and 250ml of water a day can assist with keeping the digestion functioning.
It was time for the internal examination. We went to the bedroom and a stripped from the waist down and popped a towel over me - then Claire talked through what was going to happen, washed hands and clean gloves on it was a case of feet together and knees apart no different to a smear. She first examined the external area then began the internal assessment, assessed my scar tissue and pelvic floor. To make sure I was doing my exercises correctly I practiced a number of different exercises under Claire’s instruction so she could feel they were all being done and that I was fully releasing.
My pelvic floor was in good shape whilst laying down but when we repeated the exercises standing they were not so strong and when carrying around two children in the day puts extra strain on the area.
I got dressed and we went back to the sofa to hear the verdict and make a plan.
Pelvic floor is strong but needs work in standing so more exercises needed in standing.
The back wall has been stretched and will always remain stretched so it’s about managing the symptoms of this in the best way possible.
No more “pushing” but I need to learn to relax and breathe into the tummy relaxing the pelvic floor. Claire talked me through how there is a kink in the intestines that goes through the pelvic floor and it’s not till we fully release that the kink is straightened out and the bowels can open without any strain. This should also help with my haemorrhoids - double win!
As I don’t drink hot drinks like tea/coffee we agreed a mid morning hot water and lemon would be beneficial for my digestion along with more meals little and often. This plus the tablespoon of Flaxseed with 250ml of water to keep things regular should all reduce the pressure on the wall and allow the symptoms to reduce allowing it to recover.
Being Insta friends we then sat and had a chat about random stuff before Clare had to dash off for her afternoon zoom teaching session.
She left and I felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders, It wasn’t as bad as I thought and as it felt, it is much more common than I knew and it was totally treatable.
In less than 18months I birthed 2 babies and since then I have had 2 prolapses, a rectocele, waded through through a global pandemic, juggled this with my own business and leaving my job, so I started 2021 much heavier than I have ever been. I now finally feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel and I can really start focusing on my health and fitness to feel more like "me".
I have a huge amount of respect for Claire and her knowledge in this area, so if you are thinking of going down this path I would highly recommend checking her out. You can find her on Instagram or on her website.