Confession: I Have A Prolapsed Bladder

by Michelle Back
A woman with her feet apart and leopard print underwear on them while she is sitting at a toilet in ...
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I’m not going to beat around the bush: My downstairs is destroyed. My vajayjay is jacked. My lady garden is in shambles. What was once a pristine love tunnel is now a sketchy alleyway in the rundown part of town. You know when Tom Hanks and Shelley Long peer through the gapping hole in the floor in the movie Money Pit? That’s my pelvic floor. And I don’t care that that’s an outdated movie reference — you’re on the internet, you can Google.

I thought my vagina would escape destruction when I birthed my daughter by C-section. You would think taking the lazy route <sarcasm> would have spared my lady bits any trauma. You’d be wrong. I was swollen and sore everywhere. It’s almost like the C-section was major abdominal surgery and super-invasive. Huh, imagine that. Once I could sneeze and poop without crying, I discovered the joys of peeing my pants when I sneezed and wondering whether my pelvic floor was becoming a fixer-upper.

Fast-forward three years to when it was time to push my son out the old-fashioned way (also sarcasm), and my vagina was put to the test. It failed. I pushed so hard, for so long, it felt like everything was coming out of me, except my baby. He does love being close to his mama. It took much intervention and cutting to extract his stubborn butt and enormous head, only this time it was my undercarriage going under the knife. In the most dramatic fashion, spraying blood and god knows what else into the crowd of doctors and nurses (and my husband) who had gathered at my temple, my son emerged earthside with a suction cup stuck to his head. I don’t want to brag, but one nurse told me it was one the messiest births she’d ever seen.

The first time I showered after expelling my son, delicately washing my area as instructed by a well-meaning nurse, I realized I was stretched out, cut, and stitched back together like an old quilt. I also discovered a small balloon-shaped object trying to use my vagina as an escape hatch. This was concerning, but you know, my vagina was off-limits for at least six weeks, probably longer because stitches, so I ignored it. Like you do.

When it came time to acknowledge the vagina balloon, I stood up in an exam room, legs spread, clothed in only a short-sleeve pink paper jacket on top and a swath of tissue paper wrapped around my waist. My OB poked around my bits and levied the verdict: I have a prolapsed bladder. I repeat: My bladder is falling out of my vagina.

It’s not a huge deal. It can be uncomfortable. I mean, if you haven’t accidentally pinched your vagina and bladder at the same time while trying to sit down on a hard chair, count yourself lucky. My kids are used to me yelling, “Just a second! Mommy’s about to pee her pants!” as I try to engage my pelvic muscles and gingerly scurry to the bathroom. This is what I’m working with after countless hours of Kegels. But it doesn’t interfere with sex, so all in all, I’m fine, thankyouverymuch.

In fact, having a prolapsed bladder can be advantageous.

There’s a scientific reason for why leggings are pants.

When someone misspeaks and says, “Leggings aren’t pants,” I say, “They are if you have a prolapsed bladder, bitch!” From my belly button down, my guts are toothpaste, and my pelvic floor is the toothpaste tube applicator tip thingy. I love skinny jeans as much as the next person who’s trying to be stylish, but I can’t wear them all the time.

You know how someone might grab the tube of toothpaste and squeeze it in the middle like a monster? That’s what it’s like to wear a real waistband. Every time I sit down, it’s like being squeezed in the middle all willy-nilly. The waistband pushes my pelvic contents against my unreliable pelvic muscles and there’s unnatural pressure in my love canal, like the walls might cave in. It’s not smart to mess with the laws of physics, so I wear leggings.

I just need some space.

My kids love me. I love them. But for the love of all that’s me time, I can’t stand to be touched all the damn time. If my 2-year-old is sitting on my lap, my 5-year-old will drape herself over my shoulders. If I’m cuddling my 5-year-old, my 2-year-old bulldozes himself into my space. Rather than engage in a game of human Tetris where everyone seems to be made of elbows and feet, some days, I simply say, “Mommy has a boo-boo right now!” and remove myself from the game. I’m not lying. My pelvic floor is squishy and jabs from tiny elbows and feet can threaten an emergency change of underwear. But sometimes, I just need some space.

Guilt trips are sometimes necessary TMI.

In the back pocket of my leggings, I have the ultimate guilt trip card. I haven’t played it yet, but its presence brings me comfort. One day we’ll be getting ready for family pictures and will need to dress in very specific outfits that I may or may not have spent four hours planning. Someone will decide that they don’t like their outfit or some other bullshit necessary for taking the hap-happiest family photo ever.

And hand on heart, I will pull out that guilt trip card and say through clenched teeth, “My bladder hasn’t been in the correct location for YEARS. I’m a grown-ass woman who’s peed her pants in public. My vagina is ruined. And I’ve done that all for you. Now put that perfectly coordinated, but not matchy-matchy outfit on and smile like you mean it.” You know you have a guilt trip card. Don’t look at me like that.

A prolapsed bladder keeps life interesting, to say the least. It’s been super fun learning how to use a menstrual cup and keeping it in place. I’m an expert at sneaking away to change my underwear — I bet you didn’t even realize I was gone! I’m really looking forward to the day when a good surgeon can shore up my lady business, but until then: always Kegeling!