Crappy OB + Skate Kick = New Vagina
Ok, ok this may be a bit of an overshare, I have been known to do this sometimes, however, I would want to know about this if it was someone else’s journey… so, I am sharing the steps I had to take to get a new vagina.
Well, technically I am going the labiaplasty route, which will give me new labia. Interestingly, I learned that most women also get some sprucing up of the vagina or vaginal opening, so I am not WAY off to title this as I did. I am getting ahead of myself, so let me back this up.
Giving birth with a smelly OB
Let’s start back on a hot August afternoon in 2007 where I was at Mt Sinai Hospital delivering my beautiful daughter, Gray. I had a long labour (52 hours to be exact), no pain medication, great support from my doula, and I had been pushing for over 3 hours with my nurses. One of the nurses got the OB/Gyn and he cruised in with way too much cologne, totally disregarding the ‘Thank you for being scent free’ signs that you will find with the other public service announcements covering the walls of the birthing unit.
Since I had been pushing for ‘so long’ and I was ‘so tired’, the scent-covered OB decided vacuum extraction would be my best bet in getting my baby out. Since most women birth with an epidural at Mt Sinai (9 out of 10 is a conservative estimate), my doctor assumed that I was numb from the sternum down. I was not. I pushed, he pulled, and out came Gray. I would like to note her giant head was perfectly round! She had none of that classic coning we expect to see so babies can present the smallest circumference possible, because they love their moms, right?! The little bugger looked beautiful and perfect. My vagina did not.
The malodorous doctor between my legs began the repair, ‘to make my vagina like new’. Again, that epidural assumption meant he started suturing away while I had not a single pain med coursing through my veins. It was 10 minutes of hell. I said as much, and I was told to top up my epidural if I could feel it. That is when the penny dropped for the team and they rushed to get me a local anaesthetic. All that to say, the heavy-handed and careless doctor left me with a disappointing nether region.
Enter Roller Derby
Ok, now let’s fast forward to Summer 2015, and I am in the final game of my roller derby season. We are playing at home, I have lots of fans in the crowd and we are kicking butt. In the last 3 minutes of the game I am checked (normal occurrence) and I fall to the ground landing on a skate wheel, hard (0.01% likelihood of occurring). My bikini bottom and fish nets offer me no protection and my vagina suffers some major trauma. Like, major. I can feel my bottoms filling up with blood. I keep playing – yes, I am that kind of bad a$$. I am put out again on the next line. And the next line for the win. We cheer, skate laps, high five, thank the refs and non-skating officials, I give a congratulatory pep talk to my team as captain and I go to skate to the bathroom where I can assess damage and privately cry. As I am skating away, there is an announcement of the Heavy Hitter/MVP. Yes, I won (#humblebrag). Really though, the point was not to announce my game greatness but rather to highlight how much time had lapsed since I was penetrated with force by a skate wheel with sharp metal hardware.
I accepted my medal, did the photo op, all the while praying blood did not show on my legs (again, sorry, this whole thread is going to be TMI).
There were multiple trips to the doctor all saying ‘we will keep an eye on the healing’. Well, the last 6 months have been hell. Daily non-stop discomfort when there are any kind of undies or bottoms on. Enough was enough, I went to see my doctor again to come up with a plan. Well, the plan was plastic surgery.
I flip flop with my relationship with plastic surgery. Sometimes I feel it is totally acceptable, sometimes I think, why the heck did you do that?! I had my wrist metaphorically slapped by Elizabeth Gilbert when she highlighted the ridiculousness of women judging women in one of her amazing blog posts (read it here). I had to keep reminding myself of her wise words as I sat in the exam room with the plastic surgeon, surrounded by silicone breast augmentation samples.
I was not sure what I expected my consultation to include, so I shaved my legs in case this was a pants-off affair. We chatted about my medical need, the cost and the coverage. I learned some interesting things in that session.
First, OHIP (Ontario’s medical coverage for everyone that makes medical care ‘free’) does not cover ANYTHING like this, regardless of the need for the procedure. Vanity aside, accidents, careless and heavy handed OBs, sexual abuse, or birth defects are all SUPER valid reasons for this procedure, but not according to the Province of Ontario. And I would like to point out, I had two of those reasons! The only thing covered by OHIP was a vulvectomy because that would be due to cancer. That is terrible, I get that, and there are lots of other terrible vagina and friends issues that should be on the list!
Second, I could write to my extended medical insurance provider and plead my case and there is a 50/50 chance they will say yes… well, that was going to have to be my route seeing as this is NOT AT ALL cosmetic.
Third, the recovery was 6 weeks! No sex. That was pretty much all that stood out for me from the recovery talk. I guarantee there was way more said, that is all I heard though.
Finally, watching a doctor tug away at the areas covered by my underpants, while I held a mirror and watched, alternated between bizarre and horrifying…. yes, it was a pants-off affair. Also, I had to do my ‘ugly’ before pics, which I assume will be compared to my ‘beautiful’ after ones. All in all, it was not an experience for the insecure, as it takes you down a notch… or nine.
The plastic surgeon was friendly, showed me the ‘trauma’ areas and discussed vulvas with a light and breezy attitude. He shifted his care into the ‘lesbian’ context and slid in some well-timed jokes that made the whole experience that much better. My favourite:
Doctor: You’ve probably seen more vaginas than me…
Me: Ha, I didn’t even tell you what I did for a living!
He had 3 or 4 of those that took away the potential shame and embarrassment.
So, I left knowing that I could book anytime and get in within a week, as long as I can convince my insurance to put me out of my misery – since I cannot afford to pay out of pocket at this particular time, yet the need is great. So great!
Well, that leaves me in the process of waiting. I hate waiting. Only two more weeks and I’ll have some answers and then you get to hear all about my journey to a new vagina part 2. Whoop.
Bianca Sprague is a birth doula, lactation educator, childbirth educator and business consultant. She and her partner Alana are the moms to their 8 year old daughter, Gray. Bianca is the co-owner of bebo mia and Baby & Me Fitness.
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