The Bigger Story: Before Austyn Grey

Disclaimer: This post will use words that might make you uncomfortable— strictly anatomy, though. Not “moist” or “panties” or even “hubby.”



Recently, I posted baby Austyn’s birth story. While it communicated the facts of her birth week, I left out the story before the story. Today, we change that.

On a warm summer’s night in July 2012, Nate Harrison proposed to me. It was wonderful and personal and just in time to plan an autumn wedding in Texas. My sister bought the magazines; we sifted through dog-eared pages that very night. With only 4 months until our selected date, practicality took over for the organized virgin. That was my nickname in high school. (That wasn't my nickname.)

Nate and I were waiting until marriage to have sex. Because we didn’t want to have a honeymoon baby, I was quick to schedule a doctor’s appointment in order to begin taking birth control. I was told it would take 3 months for my body to become acclimated to the new meds, and I wanted to be gtg once we hit Disney World that November. You get me.

At my first trip to the gynecologist (ever), I mentioned to the doctor that I had attempted using a tampon once in my life. It was painfully difficult and inspired a January full of prayers. After describing the event to her, which was so traumatic I got a nosebleed from it, she said the following words:

You may not be able to have intercourse.

Lovely, isn’t it? To drop that bomb on a twenty-one-year-old bride and then disappear from the room? After returning, the doctor examined me and explained there was too much tissue in my vagina. She could not even fit a q-tip into it. Solution: We scheduled surgery for 3 weeks later.

I received a partial hymenectomy of the hymenal ring. After surgery the wedding planning continued, this time with an ice cold water bottle between my legs. My post-op went great. We were cleared for landing.

As the fairytale goes, our first failed attempt was the wedding night. We hoped we would be able to work out the kinks by the end of our honeymoon, but a few tears and several roller coasters later, we returned to real life with an un-consummated marriage. We enjoyed the bliss of newlywed life and experimented to some extent, but two months later we still had not “gone all the way,” “completed the transaction,” “hit a homerun,” or any other disappointing euphemism.

It was time to find a new doctor. 

My upgraded diagnosis came with a set of medical grade dilators. Vaginal Vestibulitis, we discovered, caused my vagina to develop a pain loop whenever it was touched. My nerves would lash out, which would burn, and then the burning would cause more burning. Horror film plot, much? My instructions were to use the dilators every night until my body relaxed and we were given the green light to try to have sex again. Ten months later, progress had leveled off and it was time for a fresh approach. Next stop: physical therapy.

My god-send physical therapist discovered the cause of pain was actually misalignment. My bones, muscles, and tissue were not where they were supposed to be. This was causing my muscles to be overworked, which made sex difficult, if not impossible, and my nerves to lash out. Over the course of another year, we slowly and methodically reversed the issues with both physical therapy and a prescription medicine. 

Finally, after two years and three months of marriage, Nate and I were able to do what married people do. (Insert confetti cannons here) And we’re still doing it. ;) In some ways, I’m incredibly thankful for the mountain Nate and I hiked at the beginning of our marriage. We learned how to patiently, as partners, stand up to a challenge. I became extremely convinced that my husband loved me for more than just a hot piece of a-esthetically-pleasing body parts. Our trust grew, a foundation was laid, and we experienced intimacy even without sex. Several years later, we possess such appreciation for the gift of sex and the even greater gift of a baby girl. God is so good.

(How embarrassed will Austyn be one day when she reads this? I’m killing the mom game already.)


Kelsey Harrison