Life Without A Uterus - Olivia Franklin’s Birth Story - Olivia Franklin Art

Life Without A Uterus - Olivia Franklin’s Birth Story

Trigger Warning: This birth story discusses birth trauma, caesarean, postpartum PTSD & hemorrhage.

I wanted to be a voice, and raise other women’s voices in breaking the silence and stigma around perinatal mental health and raise awareness by exploring my birth trauma through painting and storytelling. 

My experiences have shaped me into a fierce advocate, a compassionate listener and I hope, a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of motherhood and mental health. I found purpose beyond my own healing – to help others find theirs. 

Journal Entry: October 31, 2022

"This was never supposed to happen. I had planned a routine c-section with my Doctor...

I was nervous and excited for my new baby. My second baby. Everything was going smoothly, I was joking around and getting to know all the Doctors, nurses and staff. I felt comfortable, it seemed like everything would go as planned. Until my son was born and things changed. I was thrilled and excited he was finally here after nine months of being absolutely miserable.

I’m lucky.. I have two beautiful boys. Many people don’t get to have what I have.. but that’s not the point.

I was never supposed to have a hysterectomy… My surgery was not supposed to be an emergency but it ended up being one. After my son was born my uterus wouldn’t stop bleeding. After my doctor had tried everything she could, including consulting another surgeon, I had lost two liters of blood. The only thing left to do was to remove my uterus. My doctor told me what she had to do before she did it and all I could say was ok.

It was horrible.. the rest of the surgery. I went in and out of consciousness. I literally thought I was going to die.. and I would have if my doctor hadn't taken my uterus.

I should be thankful that I’m still here.

I lost my womb.

I have two children now and I wasn’t planning on having more. I never even expected to have my second baby. I’m sad."

A year later...

Today: December 14, 2023

I remember dreaming of never having a period. It was never easy for me, my periods were heavy and painful. So painful I was usually in bed for the first few days. My periods lasted for a week and birth control never helped. I still have my ovaries. I still have hormones which I’m thankful for. I can only imagine how hard it must be for women. It’s already hard enough as it is. Women have such complex and beautiful bodies.

I keep going through the positives of losing my womb. I won’t bleed ever again, I won’t ever have to use protection during sex, I will save money from buying pads and tampons. I can wear white pants anytime I want. But again I’m sad… Part of me is gone.

I never thought I would paint a picture of my uterus but here we are. After I gave birth to my second son Ollie it was rough. Mainly because I almost didn't survive. I had a cesarean this time around because my doctor and I thought it would be best since my first birth was also very traumatic and resulted in additional surgery. To prevent going through that again, I opted for the c-section. Soon after Ollie arrived my uterus began to hemorrhage two whole liters of blood. If you don't know, we only have three liters in our body, so I lost more than half my blood. I was going in and out of consciousness and I remember feeling like someone was sitting on my chest. I also remember my doctor looking me in the eyes and telling me she had to take my uterus or I was going to die. The only thing I could do was agree.

It’s been thirteen months since my uterus was removed. thirteen  months to be able to say I am proud of my body. I'm okay with the fact that I won’t have any more children. Don’t get me wrong I still get sad about it but that’s ok! The only weird thing about it all is the fact I don't have a period anymore. I also still have trouble with anything period related.. I still don’t feel like myself completely but I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of that.

I don’t always think about the fact that I don’t have a uterus unless someone mentions their period or having kids. I do have to admit though that it's the ultimate birth control and I can literally have sex as much as I want to with little to no consequences.

One thing I never expected was not feeling like a woman anymore. I felt like I had no right to express my feelings about women’s rights because I didn’t have a uterus. It might sound silly but it was an identity crisis for me. I mean you never really think it will go away.  You just accept the fact that you will have a period for a really long time.

My body is different. Not only did my body change after having children but it also changed when my uterus was removed. My stomach slightly sinks in, like there’s a dip where my uterus should be. I don't know if that's normal but I've never really questioned it.

Postpartum Hemorrhage

Postpartum Hemorrhage is the #1 reason for maternal death. If you don't know what hemorrhage means it is a significant amount of blood loss and in my case losing as much as 2 liters after a cesarean delivery. 

This is actually teaching me a lot about what my body went through and has given me some needed closure. From what I have learned from some simple google searches about hemorrhaging there are several types and causes. I will only be going over the one that I experienced which was uterine atony.

What is uterine atony?

From what I understand it is caused by the inability of the uterus to contract which then causes excessive bleeding and if not taken care of right away, death. 


People ask me why this happened but honestly, I don't have an answer to that. Sometimes things just happen and they are out of our control. Looking back I am thankful this happened to me. If I had done a vaginal birth like I originally planned I would have died but sense my Doctor already had me opened up she was able to quickly remove my uterus before I bled out. 

Even though I went through this traumatic event I can't thank my doctors enough for saving my life. I can't be more thankful for my body and how strong it is and most importantly my family, my biggest and best supporters.

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