Part 1 of *Faye’s Story is here
I cried the whole way home, right along with my colicky son who cried the whole way as well. It was all too much. More pain, more surgery, all while trying to care for this needy and LOUD baby.
First, I went back to the original OB who stitched me in hospital. He said I had an infection but was otherwise healing well. I was prescribed antibiotics and told to come back in a month if there was still trouble. Oh, there was plenty of trouble. I had all the symptoms of a fistula (although I didn’t know what that was at the time, no one thought to educate me about this), but the most disconcerting was that I hadn’t gotten feeling back in any of my pelvic floor muscles. My husband and I have two big dogs who need to be walked, and I could only walk a short ways before I needed to stop because standing and walking made me feel like I was falling apart from the inside out. And here’s the thing – I don’t have a superman of a husband. I hear other women say that their husband is their rock, their cheerleader, that they couldn’t get through any of this without him. My husband is great, but he’s none of those things. He was overwhelmed as a new dad of a colicky newborn, with a wife he didn’t recognize anymore, and he was struggling too. It was all he could do to hold onto his own sanity, let along carry me through my difficult time. I felt really alone, and if you had given me the option then to take it all back, I would have. This is not how I pictured motherhood.
My family doctor (again, thank goodness for her) recommended that I get a second opinion and sent me to an OB she regarded highly. This is where my story improves. He diagnosed a fistula, and told me that almost none of my muscles were connected, and that’s what was causing the numbness! I was so angry with my other OB for the misdiagnosis, but so relieved to have a solution in sight.
I had a surgical repair 2 months later, and it has now been 18 months since the repair. Things aren’t perfect, I still have some painful scar tissue and tightness, but no other issues. I look back on my first few months home with my son and I feel so much guilt for how absent I was emotionally, how much I missed because I wasn’t paying attention. He is my best buddy now and I’m so happy that the love grew very quickly once I started to feel better, but I shouldn’t have had to fight so hard through so much, all by myself, just to keep my head above water.
My husband and I have decided we are one and done (still scarred from super colic baby and my recovery), so I won’t get my story of redemption with another baby, which I’ve made peace with. But, one of the things that is really important to be now is educating other moms-to-be. I’m sure I drive my friends crazy but I want them to know going in what could happen, what’s normal and what isn’t, and that most of all, I’m there for them. And I mean really there for them. I’ll hold the baby while you cry in the tub, or recount your birth story for the hundredth time. I’ll do your laundry, I’ll take you to your doctor’s appointments, I’ll send you those laxatives from Amazon that you need but haven’t had a chance to order. Because I don’t want someone I love to feel broken and alone on top of being a new mom. And that’s the same reason I’ve written this story, is in the hopes that someone might give themselves a break for having dark thoughts about their baby, or losing themselves for a while. Birth is no joke, breastfeeding is no joke, sleep deprivation is no joke, and we all need to be here for each other. Thank goodness for online communities and for people willing to reach out.
*Faye ~ Ontario, Canada