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My Bladder Has Fallen And I Can't Get Up! Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me About Cystocele?

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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Bladder Has Fallen And I Can't Get Up! Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me About Cystocele?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read everything I could. But, one thing no one told me was that one possible side effect of childbirth could be that my bladder may someday fall out of its normal resting spot inside my body.

Now before I send any of my pregnant readers into a tizzy, please note that this condition, known as cystocele, is fairly uncommon, especially among younger women. But, if you have ever needed a reason to kegel, keep reading.

By the way, if you are male, heed my warning and stop now. Go watch something on Tivo or make a snack.

OK. . .all clear?

Here's the scoop:

It was another ordinary night in the Fairly Odd household in spring '04. Fairly Odd Father was enjoying a night out with the boys to see the Boston Bruins. I was four months pregnant with my third child. Belly was three and Jilly had just turned a year old.

I decided to give the girls a bath, so I got the water in the tub ready. But, as I lifted them into the tub, I felt an odd sensation. It was if something was sliding out of me. Not painful, just not right. I had visions of me birthing my baby right then and there, on the bathroom floor. I thought about an ex-coworker who told the story of how her mother knew she was about to birth her twins when she looked down and saw a leg coming out. "I hope I don't see a leg" was all my brain could muster.

(deep breath)

I then reached down and pushed something back up into my body. Something squishy and fleshy and not a baby leg. I suppose I should be so very thankful of that fact.

Miraculously, I had brought the phone into the bathroom with me, and dialed my OB/GYN's number with shaking fingers. I got the answering service and will never forget the poor guy who had to answer my call. "Excuse me, what is happening?" I'm not sure what he said to my OB/GYN, but 60 seconds hadn't passed before my OB was calling me back.

I answered his questions:

* no, no blood (thank goodness)
* yes, it seems to be up there again, although I am lying down with my head propped up so I can see my two babies who are still in the tub
not having any contractions or anything to indicate I'm going into labor

I thought I'd soon hear an ambulance driving up to take me to the ER, but instead he told me to take it easy, go to bed and come in first thing the next morning.

Really? Well, OK!

Except, not OK, because I still had my two girls stranded in the tub (there was no way I was going to try to lift them), and a husband at least an hour away. So, I called my next-door neighbor who (thankfully) knows us well and had a key to the house. I then called my husband on the phone and turned him a little more gray by blubbering the following into the phone:

"(sob) I need you to come home right now because something is falling out of me but I don't think it's the baby but it might be my uterus and (neighbor) is coming to help but I need you home, and I'm freaking out and I need you home (sob)."

My beloved neighbor got the girls out of the tub, ready for bed and tucked in, probably even with a bedtime story, while I lied in my bed and let my mind race. What the heck was going on with my body? Is this my fault for getting pregnant again so close to baby #2? Maybe a VBAC hadn't been such a great idea. Why hadn't I done those stupid kegels?

The next morning, I felt better but was scared to do anything that might aggravate things. I got myself to the doctor's office and went through an exam where he determined that it was probably not my uterus that had fallen, but my bladder. I guess that pushing out my 8 lb, 12 oz Jilly had weakened everything enough that, when a new baby started to sit on top of everything, it made the bladder droop down where it shouldn't go.

This was unbelievable to me.

"Wait. My bladder can fall out of me like that? Will other organs start falling out too? But, how do some women have 10 kids? Are you saying that all of them have had their bladders fall out of them? Why doesn't anyone talk about this???"

I will never forget what my OB said to my panicked questions:

"Listen---I've seen women who have had 10 kids and no problems, and some have one and---poof!---it all falls apart. But, listen, this isn't too uncommon. I have little old ladies who shuffle in here all the time with their uterus hanging down to their knees."

I'm pretty sure I whimpered at this point, thinking briefly of all those little old ladies I had passed shuffling down the halls in the medical center. I sure as hell hope he was joking to take my mind off my own issues.

I was fortunate, though, because my cystocele kind of straightened itself up on its own. Oh, sure, I made sure to sit down more often during the day, especially if that feeling started to come back. But, as my body changed during pregnancy, it seemed to hold everything in place.

I was petrified of what would happen after I pushed out my third, but things were not too bad. D was my biggest baby at just over 9 pounds, but my cystocele came back only mildly after his delivery. I found a wonderful specialist in Urogynocology and paid a few visits to her but we decided to take a "wait and see" approach. My goal was that if I needed surgery to correct things, I wanted to wait until my youngest was at least five years old.

Well, D is 4 1/2, and things seem pretty good. I'm active (hey Shredheads!) and am still crappy at remembering to kegel. I even have a whole set of, um, weights, that I never use, but will probably need to reconsider as my age keeps going up. Although I don't think I'll ever top her achievement.

But, I'll probably never run a 5K again (or a 1K) or do my first triathalon, which is kind of a bummer, but if I can get through the rest of my days with all of my internal organs staying internal, I'm willing to make some sacrifices.

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Blogger Robin said...

Holy cow. I thought it was bad that I ended up with a hyperactive bladder. At least mine stays where it belongs (for now anyway) even if it does have the holding capacity of a grape.

Glad to hear that the rest of your organs are remaining safely inside of your body.

1:03 AM  
Blogger SabrinaT said...

YIKES! You are a much calmer person that I. If things start falling out I will just call 911 and tell them how I read a blog, about this mother of 3 children and her bladder fell out! Send help!

5:46 AM  
Blogger The Mom said...

Freaky huh? My sister in law had a cystocele and rectocele after she had her 2nd child. She had to have surgery to correct them both. I'm glad yours has resolved on its own.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Motherhood Uncensored said...

Okay. Whoa.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Suburb Sierra said...

Now THAT would have been some fun pool talk yesterday! Great to see you and not your organs. On the way home I was thinking how great your kids are - except when they nail you in the eye with a water gun ;)

8:22 AM  
Blogger Deb said...


10:21 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Ummm, wow! *Must remember to KEGEL!*****
Glad all your parts are in working order....

12:23 PM  
Blogger Issa said...

I thought this was a myth for years. Something they said to make women panic and do kegels.

Then it happened to a friend of mine. All I can say is I would have freaked out WAY more than you did.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

That is very freaky!

Also my Mom just told me that she had her annual physical last week and they told her she had this too but she never knew. Weird.

6:15 PM  
Blogger :)De said...

Kegeling as fast as I can... LOL, Very interesting story. When I had to have an emergency hysterectomy the surgeon was going over possible things that could happen and as I was drifting off he said, "Oh, ane your v-jay could fall out." WHAT?!?!? That's what I drifted off to sleep hearing. Talk about shuffling! LOL!

6:29 PM  
Blogger Sus said...


This is seriously the best case against having a third child that I've heard yet.

It's a good thing you are funny, or I would be nothing but terrified right now.

Oh, and hear hear: Hooray for Amazing Neighbors! It takes a village.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Lest anyone think I'm one of those "calm under pressure" people, just remember that it's easy to sound calm four years after a crisis. And, I think we all have that "mom filter" that says "the kids are right there, we have to act like things are ok, or they will be FREAKING and not helpful at all". If there had been ONE DROP of blood, I'm sure the hysteria would've taken over. Or, again, if I had seen a leg.

The Mom---I'm sorry 'bout your sister. My sister has a friend who had surgery too and it really was uncomfortable afterward. Shannon, I think your mom is an example of how everything really DOES go south after a certain age! And, Sus, please don't let me stop you from procreating! It's not super common and if you do your exercises, things should stay put. I think.

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since first read this post have been kegelling constantly! LESSON LEARNED! THANK YOU FOR THIS PSA! You are a Superwoman!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Auds at Barking Mad said...

Hence the reason I am sitting here doing my kegels as I read this.

Never fear, I too belong to the "Sisterhood of the Falling Body Parts."

Mine happens to be my uterus.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Oh. My. God.

Why didn't I heed your warning and go watch TV like any normal guy would have? I read that whole thing with my jaw dropped to the ground.

Maybe it was looking for bladders or something.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous mommy2twogirls said...

Wow! What a crazy thing to happen. I just had my second child about a month ago. So far no problems like that. By the way, what a great neighbor!

2:39 PM  
Blogger anymommy said...

I'm hysterical for you, four years later!! Horrible. So glad everything went back to basically right place on their own.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Judy Haley (CoffeeJitters.Net) said...

A family member had a prolapsed vagina shortly before I gave birth. That whole week after my baby was born, when everything felt weird inside, I couldn't shake that awful mental image of the prolapsed vagina. I'm so glad things have been staying in their rightful place for you.

i couldn't finish reading this without doing a few kegels myself.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Been there. said...

Well Well, sounds familiar although
I had to have full pelvic floor reconstruction surgery. I have two children first was a c-section second was a VBAC, should have had the second section I guess, oh well. I had to have reconstructive surgery about a year later, it was very hard to except considering I was in great shape a runner and very active, I though what did i do wrong? I was only thirty.
I was told it had to do with family HX and my chosen career, which has alot to do with lifting.
I came to terms with what had to be done and I am back to being a normal mommy of two healthy daughters and running 10k's.
Life goes on doesn't it.

7:37 PM  
Blogger TheFeministBreeder said...

I'm sorry about your experience. I hope you know, however, that having a cesarean doesn't guarantee that you'd be any healthier. We lost a mother and a baby this week from a botched cesarean. Yep - both mom and baby dead. I've been crying for days. That's not said to discount your pain, just an illustration of the fact that nothing guarantees us a healthy mom and baby - especially not major surgery.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

That is terrible about the mother and baby. We all know mothers and babies can die in childbirth. I'm thankful I *could* have a c-section with my 1st b/c she never would've made it without one. AND, I'm thankful I could have two VBACS even though my doctor made me sign a zillion papers to cover his butt should something happen. I'm just amazed that the word "cystocele" is never, ever mentioned around pregnant women. That was the point of my post.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous KittyC said...

I'm about a yeah and a half late to this post, but I wanted to tell you that you just made me feel so much better. I'm eight months pregnant with my first kid, 35 years old, fit, kegelsized to hell, no family history of prolapse...and diagnosed with a cystocele last week. Huh? Doc thinks it might be because my tipped uterus and low-lying baby are literally squishing my bladder, but good god, it's hard to hear "wait and see" when your bladder is peeking out of your punani! Let's just say I've been crying a lot. Reading this not only made me laugh, it literally made my day. Thanks!

12:04 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

KittyC, I'm so glad you found some comfort in my post. It is such a scary thing, but the more I read, the more I realized I wasn't falling apart or a freak!

It may take a while for things to go "back" in place, but it probably will work out fine once your baby is born and you bladder has room to fit back where it belongs. (and wishing you the best with your first baby!)

10:30 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

Hello friend very interesting blog I want to add this information about Cystocele is a medical condition that occurs when the tough fibrous wall between a woman's bladder and her vagina (the pubocervical fascia) is torn by childbirth, allowing the bladder to herniate into the vagina. Urethroceles often occur with cystoceles,I have problems in the bladder also the doctors told me that I suffer from bladder stones I hope this information is useful and helps you with your problem, thanks for sharing your problems

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:34 PM  
Blogger marshalynne said...

I have two daughters, my oldest sister has three boys and five girls. When my youngest daughter turned two I found something strange in my vagine hanging there! I was so freaked out I called the doctor immediately, I just knew I had cancer or something since I had never heard of anything like this! We had just moved to another state so before I was able to call the doctor I had to find one!!! I went in, had a partial hysterectomy with A&P repairs. They said any time you get your bladder tied up you will have to do it again and you can only get it done twice. Well, that was nine years ago and guess what, it's back! Noooooo I've been so worried since I'm currently unemployed which means I have no insurance! Your posts have been a major source of encouragement to me, I'm not going to die because my bladder is hanging out! (I really thought I would die from this)!!! My sister with the eight kids has not had any problems at all! Life is quirky!
Thank you!!!

8:36 AM  
Blogger Lala Haha said...

I am pregnant with my third and my bladder has fallen out :(
My biggest question is what will childbirth be like???? I will be delivering any day now so I am hoping you'll get this soon and respond! Totally nervous about it!

12:14 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Hi Lala, I had things "shift" back to normal while pregnant, so birth was actually a piece of cake (he was my third too). Afterward, though, I had to take it easy on my feet, something that is SO easy to do with a newborn and two toddlers (heh). But, if I "felt" anything, I'd immediately sit down and put my feet up.

My recommendation is, after childbirth, try to see a specialist (I saw a urogynecologist) who can lay out your options and is not "surgery happy". Surgery, to me, is an absolute last resort. Hopefully, as your body heals after childbirth, things will shift back into place. It took years before I felt totally normal, but five years after my last child was born, I ran a 5K, so life as I know it did return.

Best wishes! I'm sure your OB/midwife team has seen it all and will know how to get your baby out safely.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Lala Haha said...

Thank you!

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YEP, this happen after I had my two kids and When I get sick with a cough or sneeze, forget about it... Constantly peeing myself at 41 yrs old.. When I go out I wear pee pads, because you never know when its going to happen... You can feel it and its freaky, Drs dont want to do anything yet, because I am still losing the baby weight..
A friend of mine, she has it in her front in her backside(which alot worse then mine).. Things Women are not told that can happen.. I wish someone would had warned me of how my body changed and never return to normal...
Thank you for sharing your story

9:58 PM  
Anonymous All Better said...

I had by bladder hanging out for quite a while. I would take a rubber glove and push it back up and that lasted for awhile but it finally got the best of me and any activity at all caused it to hang out of my body. I felt like I was giving birth to my bladder!
I had surgery last month to repair my bladder and also lift my rectum a bit. I must say that 2 weeks out I am doing fine. I still have to take it easy for another month in regard to lifting anything over 5 pounds. Also, no stretching. so I can't make make my bed nor put a wash in the dryer. But I must say it is great to have my parts back where they belong. I am sorry that I put it off for so long.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well... I am a man that his wife is going threw this problem 6 years after the second child and 5 years after a hysterectomy ..We did not get to the dr yet cause they r booked up but in a few days we will know what's gonna happen ! Some one should write a book on this stuff for couples that have or plan to have children !!! All of your posts have made us feel a lot better cause we now know she won't die from it !!! It is really crazy stuff ! Neither of us ever heard of this problem before..Thanks for all the info ladies !! Hope everything " stays in place " !!! :)

11:11 PM  

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