North & South - - Letters -

AS AN OLDER mother (I found my lovely hus­band a bit later in life), I read with in­ter­est the sec­tion in your child­birth story on the in­juries some women suf­fer dur­ing nat­u­ral de­liv­er­ies. It’s some­thing I’m cur­rently strug­gling with on a daily ba­sis.

Four years ago, at 37, I had a third­de­gree per­ineal tear giv­ing birth to our daugh­ter ( par­tially due to lack of care) in Mid­dle­more Hos­pi­tal. This re­sulted in costly tax­payer-funded surgery to stitch me back to­gether, with a rea­son­ably long and painful re­cov­ery. With our last lit­tle bun­dle de­liv­ered in Tau­ranga Hos­pi­tal in mid-2015, it has taken me over a year to build up the courage to tell my doc­tors there was some­thing “fall­ing out of me”; that I’ve been un­able to have nat­u­ral bowel move­ments since giv­ing birth last year.

My own re­search, re­cently con­firmed by doc­tors, is that I have a pos­te­rior vagi­nal wall pro­lapse, oth­er­wise known as a rec­to­cele. I have to re­move my own bowel move­ments man­u­ally, as they get con­tained in the bowel cav­ity, and tam­pons will barely stay in place as my rec­tum is bulging into the vagina. This month, I was in­formed by a nurse that Tau­ranga District Heath Board will not fund a rec­tal spe­cial­ist or gy­nae­col­o­gist con­sul­ta­tion to as­sess this un­com­fort­able con­di­tion, which af­fects me daily and has changed my view of my­self as a hu­man.

This may well have been an avoid­able trauma, had I been given full ad­vice and op­tions be­fore giv­ing birth last year, tak­ing into ac­count my age and the his­tory of my 2012 post- de­liv­ery surgery. I’m amazed to learn I could have asked for and been given a tax­payer-funded c-sec­tion. In­stead, I went through a vagi­nal birth and now, at 41, re­ally can’t en­joy a nor­mal life.

I can’t imag­ine hav­ing to live the rest of my life like this. I hope by telling my story, other mothers may feel more con­fi­dent about get­ting help for af­ter­birth is­sues; and ex­pec­tant mothers may be en­cour­aged to have se­ri­ous dis­cus­sions with their mid­wives or

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