By Alyce Collins
MEET THE woman who has NEVER had sex with her husband because of a condition which makes her vagina CLENCH when touched, but has miraculously managed to conceive a baby through IVF and hopes that the experience will help her finally have intercourse.
Digital marketer, Revati Bordawekar (30) from Ahmednagar, India, had sensed that something was wrong when just the thought of using a tampon made her vaginal muscles clench. At the age of 22, Revati attempted to use a tampon for the first time, but each time she tried to insert it, her hand began to shake and the vaginal opening would seize shut.
Revati started speaking to her now husband Chinmay in 2013 but didn’t feel comfortable telling him about her experiences. Despite fearing that she wouldn’t be able to have intercourse with her husband, Revati hoped that feeling ready would help things fall into place.
At the age of 25, Revati and Chinmay married, but on the night of her wedding, after having saved herself, Revati couldn’t go through with having sex and told her husband of this condition she thought she might have.
After a year of marriage, Revati received advice from medical advisers and friends telling her to practice foreplay, drink a glass of wine before sex and even use numbing cream around the labia. None of this worked so Revati sought medical attention, but her condition meant she had to be put under general anaesthetic for doctors to check her over.
Doctors surgically cut Revati’s hymen and dilated her in the hopes that she would overcome the condition known as vaginismus, when the muscles around the vaginal opening contract involuntarily. This had little effect, so the couple tried IVF and got pregnant in May 2018.
Revati had always intended on a C-section delivery due to her vaginismus, but after meeting with midwives and attending birth classes, Revati knew that she’d made it this far, so she wanted to experience the full birthing journey. During the delivery, Revati had to psyche herself up for pushing and despite vaginismus, she welcomed daughter Eva in February 2019.
“I first tried a tampon at the age of 22 and I kept trying but anticipated a lot of pain already” said Revati.
“My hands started to shiver, and the vaginal opening clenched each time I tried to get the tampon around the area. That was my first cue.
“Through my twenties, I tried to feel around the area but was never able to even touch beyond the labia. At that point I didn’t feel comfortable enough to seek medical attention or even talk about what I was going through.
“Though I had doubts about me not being able to have intercourse, I just decided to leave it to the future and see how things went.
“I met my husband through online dating, and we dated briefly via long-distance as he was living in America at the time. When he came to India, we got engaged and subsequently married when I was 25.
“On our wedding night I blurted out to him about how I had a deep fear of hurting the area and he comforted me by saying he was in no rush to push me for sex but that we should spend some time getting to know each other first. That eased me a lot.
“I assumed that the opening was small therefore unable to accommodate anything causing me pain. While Googling painful intercourse, we stumbled upon vaginismus. As I read the symptoms of the condition, I was able to relate. We were so happy that it had a name and to know that it was curable.
“I finally mustered up the courage to visit my doctor who was unable to check me, and she had to put me under anaesthesia and surgically cut my hymen. I was dilated while under anaesthesia and the hope was for me to be able to overcome vaginismus gradually by using numbing medication at the entrance.
“I used a numbing cream after a year of being married and we were hoping that the hymenectomy would help ease my pain, but it didn’t change much at all.
“We were desperate to overcome it because we wanted to get pregnant, so I looked at the vaginismus support groups for ways to get pregnant. They suggested using syringes to collect semen then inserting it as far as possible into the vagina.
“We tried an IUI under general anaesthesia because of vaginismus which failed. So we did our first IVF cycle and our second cycle finally worked.”
Before her pregnancy, Revati’s appointments had been done under anaesthetic but this was no longer an option during her pregnancy, and she had to learn breathing techniques to help.
Revati and her husband are still only able to have partial penetrative sex, but they have been able to be intimate in other ways.
“We did a second IVF cycle in May 2018, which gave us our miracle baby Eva. When I finally got our first positive pregnancy test, it felt so unreal that I cried my heart out. The day that we were waiting for so long was finally here,” said Revati.
“I began to bleed during my pregnancy, but it was too early for abdominal checks so I had to have a vaginal ultrasound. I requested two members of staff to hold my hands and soothe my feet as the doctor promised to insert the probe slowly inside to get an idea of things.
“My midwife noticed the progress I made through the exams and she asked if I was willing to try for a natural birth but keep my planned C-section in case. We attended a series of classes on childbirth preparation which slowly made me turn towards at least giving vaginal birth a try before quitting.
“My daughter was born on February 9, 2019 after 48 hours of labour. I was at a 7.5 cm dilation when I finally had to ask for an epidural because my contractions were getting too intense and I was in great pain. When my midwife said it was time to start pushing, I asked for five minutes to brace myself.
“I thought about my struggle with vaginismus since my teens, the years of being told to ‘relax and it will happen’. I thought of how bad I felt each time I was deprived of something that came naturally to most, yet this was my only chance to experience the miracle of vaginal birth. And then I was ready to start pushing.
“We haven’t tried sex yet, but I’m confident that it won’t be a barrier anymore. I’ll always remind myself that if I can push a six-pound baby with a head circumference of 33 centimetres out my vagina, I can easily take in a penis with much lesser circumference inside of me.
“I want to show that vaginismus doesn’t stop you from giving birth to your baby. Coming from someone like me with severe primary vaginismus – if I could do it, you can too.
“Also, vaginismus is real, it’s not in your head and it won’t go away if you relax, drink wine or lube up. It will happen whenever it has to happen and until then, celebrate being you. Because you are so much more than a condition to label yourself with.”
You can follow Revati’s journey by visiting www.instagram.com/our_journey_to_eva