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