*Warning – talk of birth, poo and blood – not for the squeamish*
When you’re pregnant you hear some stories about poo. People tell you how constipation is a normal part of pregnancy and even how many, if not most women, poo themselves while they’re giving birth, some with every contraction I hear – and having been constipated during almost the entire third trimester of one pregnancy and thinking about how much poo might have been stored up there, I can believe that might be true! However, what no one told me about was how bad… no ‘bad’ isn’t a strong enough word, but how traumatic having your first poo, or in my case, several poo’s after giving birth would be.
So rewind to almost 11 years ago and I’m lying there after just giving birth to my first child, Kai. His was a traumatic labour and delivery which ended up with a ambulance on standby to take me from the maternity led unit to a local hospital for an emergency caesarean as his heart rate kept dropping.
However, there was no time for that journey to be made, and the two midwifes who were looking after me and who had began looking a little panic stricken, buzzed for the senior midwife on duty, who arrived in the room, almost immediately. Dorothy, who I later learned she was called, a serious woman who was past retirement age but had came in as they were short staffed, took one look at me, the baby’s heartbeat, picked up a scalpel and cut him out of me. Just like that. He literally fell out. This left me with my legs in stirrups being stitched up, with gas and air, while my husband sat and watched from the end of the bed whilst holding the baby, totally in shock!
When we were eventually allowed back to our room, Kai wasn’t with us for very long as he was poorly and was taken to the special care baby unit, but that’s another story, for another day.
Back to the poo….
The next day as I was lying in bed recovering, people kept coming into the room and asking me if I’d had a poo yet. Aside from telling me to help myself to the fresh orange juice which was stored in massive quantities in a fridge along the corridor (obviously they thought it would help all the women poo quicker), “have you
The pressure to pop one out was on!
I remember thinking that I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, that my insides were hanging out, my vagina felt at least x10 bigger than usual and was throbbing like mad, I had a huge migraine, and so why on earth was having a poo so important and why was it the main thing I was being asked?
Later that night I felt the urge to go, you know that feeling you get, that little ache in the bottom of your tummy and a slight pressure in your bum, that.
On my safe arrival to the toilet I pulled my trousers down and attempted to sit, yes attempted to, and that’s when the ordeal began.
Firstly I couldn’t quite sit down properly as it hurt too much, everything was so tender that any pressure there felt intense, like on fire intense. I felt like my whole vagina was going to splat into the toilet beneath me. I half hovered above the toilet and tried to do a little push but the pain that shot up my bum, like an iron rod being forced up there immediately stopped me from pushing and my bum hole closed tightly shut of it’s own accord, like I couldn’t have even pushed one out if I had wanted to. I think the poor thing went it to shock!
I thought about what to do. I couldn’t sit but I couldn’t quite stand as the pain from needing a poo was so bad. So I took a deep breath and I tried to push again and I swear I could feel the stitches bulging, trying to rip out of me. Nah, I just couldn’t do it. So I buzzed for the midwife who came to the toilet to see what was going on.
When she arrived she asked me to stand up and as I
I had failed. Failed to have my first post-birth poo. And I had failed because I was scared, too scared to push one out. I’d had a baby for goodness sake. How could I be more scared of pushing a poo out? That’s how painful it was! But please don’t let this scare you, well not too much, it was probably as painful as it was due to the fact I’d also been cut wide open!
So the next day the inevitable happened and I couldn’t put it off any longer. I went to the toilet again and was just so scared that my stitches would pop out that I actually cried.
Feeling like a fool and some kind of weirdo for not being able to poo when it is something I’d done quite successfully my whole life, I called for the midwife again.
When she arrived I told her I was worried the stitches would pop and she assured me that they wouldn’t and she wet a sanitary towel under the tap and told me to hold it against the stitches while I poo’d. And so that’s what I done. I half hovered, pressing the sanitary pad against my stitches with one hand, holding onto the wall with the other, and began pushing the poo out and I’m not going to lie, it fucking knacked, and I’m talking eye watering pain.
I was pushing and pushing and it felt like it was just coming out and wasn’t going to stop. For a moment I was actually genuinely worried that another baby was on it’s way out, that’s how big it felt.
I looked down the toilet and seen the biggest poo of my life. So that’s where all the poo had been all these months while I was constipated! For some weird reason, I remembered a time when I was at University and a friend of mine was constipated and she was in so much pain and desperate to have a poo. In the library one day, it happened, she went to the toilet and came back and happily told us that she’d had a poo the size to a baby’s arm. She looked very proud. And as I pushed this poo out I thought to myself, “well, my love, let me tell you, this poo, this one is like a baby’s leg…. I win!”
Anyway, the sight of the poo, too long hovering with weak legs, stitches budging and vagina throbbing, I lost my balance, dropped the sanitary pad down the toilet…..and these are no normal size sanitary pads, we’re talking the biggest maternity pads you can get, the size of a new-born nappy…. I fell over side ways, accidentally flushed the toilet chain as I tried to get up and flooded the toilet as it blocked, unable to cope with all of the poo, huge sanitary towel and probably a few clots thrown in for good measure…..
And you know what? I just didn’t care, I’d had my poo and the relief was immense. I wandered out, told a midwife what had happened and she just looked at me, expressionless, and told me to go lie down! I think they were just happy that now they’d be able to send me home!
Moments later the domestic staff arrived to clean up. I simply pulled the curtain back and hid.
But at least it was over….or was it? That’ll be a no! Because what no one also tells you is that when you give birth your bum can rip. That’s right, your bum hole can actually tear open. I do believe the correct term is, ‘anal fissure.’
I didn’t notice when I first went home that my bum was bleeding, I thought it was just blood from my vagina. But after bleeding from the front entrance stopped, I noticed that blood was also coming out of the other hole.
We’ll skip past infected stitches, midwives cutting them out as they’d been sewn too low making my hold smaller than it should be,
So, I went to the doctors and explained my bum was bleeding and I guessed it had been bleeding since giving birth, a few weeks ago, as it was still painful when I had a poo.
The doctor asked me to remove my pants, lie on the examination couch, tuck my knees up to my chest so she could stick her finger up my backside and have a feel around. FFS ……as if giving birth isn’t enough!
To be honest, at this stage, I wasn’t bothered about who saw what anymore, she could have taken me outside, lay me down on the side of the road and I would have gladly opened my legs for the world to see. I think at least 25 different people must have looked at that area during the last 10 months, what difference would another one make?
So she told me, “you have an anal fissure,” which made me think immediately of fishing…then fishing rods…then fishing hooks…and then it made sense because yes that is indeed how I felt, like someone had stuck a fishing hook up my asshole and yanked it out, leaving a big rip there.
As I dressed she told me that they apparently heal on their own and no need to worry about it, it usually only takes a few weeks to do so.
Liar! Big fat liar.
Well maybe that’s a little harsh as I’m sure for most people they do heal in a few weeks, but not for me. Mine re-opened every time I gave birth after that, every time I got constipated or anytime I may have pushed a little too hard whilst on the loo……yes even 11 years later. Apparently it’s only a little fissure and needs no medical intervention. I just need to maintain a good diet, avoid constipation and all should be well…….phew!
So that’s it, the post-birth poo. Or in my case, many post-birth poo’s.
If someone had told me about this beforehand would it have put me off having kids?
I think now of the women I know who can’t have babies and who would quite gladly stick a fish hook up their own asshole and rip it out themselves if it meant they could hold a baby of their own in their arms.
All in all, it’s a small price to pay for the love in my life.
Maybe next time I’ll talk about post-birth sickness, as no one talks about that either…… I filled 7 sick bowls after giving birth to my second child, with blood and everything as the force of the vomit coming out cut my throat…. lovely!
With love, Maria x
p.s. I shared this post on Facebook, you can check out the responses below 🙂