Traumatized from Labor, Delivery and Tear!

JW - posted on 06/12/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )

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Hey Ladies, 

I am about 4 months post partum and sadly tore my perineum during delivery.  I was so scared of tearing or having an episiotomy but was told by many medical professionals that tearing heals much better than a cut.  I also was never told how to prevent a tear even though  I took a birthing class and have a sister who is a labor and delivery nurse.  I just wish I had known ways to prevent tearing through breathing and not pushing during crowing or using an Epi-No (device that stretches perineum during pregnancy weeks 36-40 and prepares skin to stretch for babies head).  I did not know about that device until now.  It actually sounds like it probably could prevent a lot of tearing and might be more effective than perineal massage.

I had a second degree tear and needed a lot of stitches.  The tear went through vaginal wall and down perineum and I watched in horror as it happened (I had a mirror).   It took Dr about 20 minutes to sew me up.  I am having a really hard time dealing with my tear (pain and scar tissue) and my very negative delivery experience.  Plus I ended up with terrible hemorrhoids the size of grapes.  I honestly don't know if I can ever have another baby after that experience.  

My tear hurt terribly for the first 5 weeks after delivery!  I wanted to cried all the time.  It was the worst place to have stitches because the skin is so sensitive down their.  I can't believe they allow women to rip like that.  Plus I am not so sure it healed correctly as I have a piece of hanging skin and looks weird  down their now.  But my OB Dr said it healed great and looks good.  

My tear pain did go away for several weeks but now it feels weird all the time  and like its hard and tugging all the time on my perineum.  I constantly feel it when I am sitting or driving and it doesn't feel like the way it used to.  I at times wonder if a c section would have been better for me.  I realize a c section is major abdominal surgery and is probaby very painful but at least my private parts wouldn't be ruined.  Because of my tear intercourse irritates the skin and scar so I can't be intimate unless I want pain.

I was induced at 42 weeks and had 1 minute contractions for 24 hours.  I flashback to the entire labor and delivery and have been very traumatized.  At times I wish I had a c section! Mainly because I would prefer to have an incision on my belly than a 3 inch tear down perineum that has developed hard scar tissue and feels like its tugging all the time.  I can't go a day without feeling my tear.  Is this normal now that I am 4 months postpartum especially since its not a 3rd or 4th degree tear?  

I am curious if any other mothers out there had tears and did they ever feel better and did the hard scar tissue get better?  I can accept the tear and difficult labor but I can't live with constant pain and discomfort from tear.

Sorry that I sound so frustrated.  I am just hoping and praying my tear heals up so I don't feel it one day!  Thanks for listening to me and for any advice you can offer me.   I have been praying God will heal my body of the pain and discomfort so I can be the best mommy to my baby girl.

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Libby - posted on 06/26/2012

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So much of what you wrote, JW, were things I experienced also after my first. You mentioned crying often because of it, and I remember the same. I remember people telling me I should go on antidepressants, but I felt so strongly that it had everything to do with my situation, not my hormones. Other women just can't understand when your birth goes that far astray from what you envisioned--and when you're still in real pain for so long afterwards, those memories of the trauma don't go away. Where most women can forget, to some degree, the trauma of labor because they have their sweet baby to caress, you can't forget, because while you're caressing your baby, you're also keeling over in pain.

For me, I tore in five different directions after they had already done an episiotomy. My son was taken away right away because of meconium in his lungs, and I was left to lie there, legs still open, as the doctor took over an hour to attempt to sew up the six seams. I was in unbelievable pain once we finally were able to go home, and I bled for weeks and weeks. I was still in so much pain that at 5 months I actually had surgery to repair my repairs. The doctors said that since there were so many tears, it was too hard at the time to see how to correctly align things. So, I went under anesthesia when baby was 5 months to fix it. I would say that for me, it was about 7 months, then, when I started to feel better. Exercise was becoming less painful, and I was wincing less during sex.

I think it does differ for everyone in this situation, but these are the things I want to leave you with....:

1) Be encouraged--it won't last forever. It may last for a long time, but take measures to lessen the pain. (Don't know if your doctor told you this or not, but extra estrogen in the body--for instance, produced from nursing--can increase the pain.) Use lubricant and don't overdo it. I know that's hard, but it's worth it.

2) Don't worry right now about another baby. Deal with the pain for the present, and cross that bridge when it comes. We have three children now, but I will say that when I was towards the end of my pregnancy with #2, I started to stay awake at night in fear of having the baby. I was terrified to go through all of that again. I talked to my doctor and she helped to relieve a lot of my anxiety. We were going to try for another vaginal delivery, but it ended up that a c-section was necessary. In hindsight, I'm thankful for it. And truth be told, my recovery from my c-section was an absolute breeze compared to that of my vaginal delivery from my first child.

3) Keep doing what you're doing, reaching out to other moms. Don't hide yourself away. You need friendship and encouragement right now. For the sake of you AND your baby. :)

Hugs!!

Liz - posted on 06/13/2012

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I have a friend who just gave birth to her 9th baby this past Saturday. She has torn with every child. After her fourth, she said it felt like they stitched her back up too tight, and she said sex hurt every time until she had number 5 and she tore all over again! Try some lubrication jelly each time.

I think it is normal to have horrific flashbacks to labor and delivery. When I found out I was pregnant with number 3, I cried. Mostly because I was traumatized by my second son's delivery (he was large and 2 weeks late) and it had only been 8 months since I had him. My third son's delivery was very easy, and I barely felt a thing. Each pregnancy, labor, and delivery is different - so you could get off easy next time!

Alberta - posted on 06/18/2012

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I have 3 girls. My 1st was 33 hours of hard labor and 4 hours of pushing. I delivered her head AND her arm. I had an episiotomy and tore both. I swore I would NEVER have sex again let alone another baby. It was 5 years later when #2 came and she was 4 hours hard labor and 3 pushes. Some tearing. #3 was 12 hours hard labor and 3 pushes. In fact I pushed her out so fast the doctor wasn't ready! some tearing too. I use astroglide when intimate with the hubby and we like it. I know KY is often the choise of many but we do better with the Astroglide. That reminds me must add it to grocery list!!!

Karen - posted on 06/17/2012

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I totally know what you are going through. My son is now 21 years old. I tore so bad the doctor has to give me layer upon layer of stitches. They dropped a 40lb tray of instruments on the floor when I was ready to deliver and was not able to give me an episiotomy in time. It was very sore and painful for a long time and felt very hard and lumpy. It does get better though. It is one of the most painful experiences I had ever. The whole delivery seemed to be such a mess, but I have to tell you I had my daughter almost 3 years later and her delivery was a breeze. No two deliveries are the same. As far as the pain and scar tissue, you have to give it time. It will soften up and get better.

I'm praying for you :)

Casey - posted on 06/16/2012

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It will go away I was in labor for a little less than 24 hours and pushed for 3 1/hours. My son had something called shoulder dislocia ( no idea if that is spelt right) but the doctor had to put both of her hands up and in me ( sorry tmi )to physically pull him out thank goodness I couldn't see( it traumatized my husband though) They ended up keeping the cathader in because it was so bad so I wasn't even allowed to stand up till about 9 hours after the birth. it took forever to heal and was terrified to have another baby, but the 2nd was so easy, It really is a blessing from God that we forget so much or else nobody would have more than one:) The 2nd I pushed for maybe 10 min and only needed 1 stitch. I was actually able to enjoy my baby.

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Elizabeth - posted on 12/27/2012

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I'm sorry hun but I had forceps delivery due to complicated birth, it was very traumatic...don't want to go into details as 4 years on i am still in pain during sexual intercourse where I will get sore or even cause a laceration. So I'm currently looking into what can be done about it..according to the NHS you can have an operation to remove scar tissue that should reduce the further pain. So if I was you I would get a second opinion. Hope that helps.

May - posted on 06/15/2012

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My son is now 4yrs old and I remember not being able to enjoy his first few months, due to the pain and discomfort from sitting. I do remember barely being able to move around - I did have a 3. I was bleeding profusely and had concerns that it may have been the baby, it was a terrible time for me as well. I'm fine now, I can't remember how long it took to feel better, but I do recall having a terrible time the first few months, especially since I he grew quickly into a big baby. I was induced earlier on, can't imagine having him at full term!!! I have always wished for a 2nd child (though the thought of tearing was in the back of my mind, but have not been able to get pregnant, my son took 9years for us!). I am grateful for the blessing of my son, I was very sad that I did not get a chance to enjoy him as much the first few months, but everything for a reason...right? He bonded with my husband and my mother very much and they are sooo close! Of course, he loves his mommy, but I don't think the bond between dad and grandma would be sooo great if they didn't have the opportunity to bond with them as a newborn. I did breastfeed for the first 3 months, as uncomfortable as I was I tried for aslong as possible. I do remember being terrified at the thought of sex afterwards, I did have other problems and the dr. prescribed an anti-inflammatory to help and that also help me relax before sex, I'm fine now...I'm sorry I can't remember when it started being fine, but it does happen and I would give anything for another one! BTW whether they allow you to tear or they cut at the hospital depends on where the "trend" is apparently they go through cycles of thought, where they believe one is better than the other. My sister had a 10lb+ baby girl and she was cut, she had a terrible time as well with the healing, but she didn't remember much about it, when it came my time around and couldn't give me advice on it. Hang in there and don't be afraid to ask for help from those around you, until you're better. Also, I had an etopic preg many years prior and had a c-sec cut done....terrible to heal for me! tears through all the muscle walls and much harder to get around, though some people seem ok and up and walking in no time. It all depends on you, your body what it can handle and can't...I wouldn't be able to choose between any of the choices, none are fantastic for me, but would still have a 2nd one in a heartbeat. I didn't use anything special for my pain, maybe ice a little..tried different pillows, nothing helped much during those very painful months, but keep trying. One day you'll wake up and be fine and forget like me! xo

Bec - posted on 06/14/2012

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Sorry to hear that you're having to deal with such pain and discomfort. I had a rapid delivery with my first child and ended up with 2nd degree tears in fours directions. It took me over a year to heal properly and during that time I felt scared about falling pregnant again. We waited almost two years before trying for our second child, partly to give my body time to heal. With my second child I was nervous about the delivery causing so much tearing again but a longer labour resulted in very little tearing. Be encouraged that you in all likeliness will feel better in time and that subsequent labours may not result in as much tearing. It may be worth getting another check in a few months if you're still in pain. Hoping that you will heal quickly.

Natalie - posted on 06/14/2012

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My daughter was 9lbs 7 ozs and you bet believe she tore me a new one. I was pushing for too long(almost 4 hours) and after 3 vacuums they got her out with forceps. I knew something had happened because i was stitched up after but i didn;t find out how bad till a nurse checked me and told me i have to tell my ob gyn when i have another baby that it was a third degree, I have forgotten most of my delivery, that God. The scar after almost 4 years on August 4th can be tender at times. I can feel where it is but i haven't had any discomfort. Waited till 4 months pp to have sex and from what i remember it didn't hurt but might have been a little uncomfortable, If it is really hurting you could make an appointment with you doctor and talk about it with them. With the next one you can take an oil and stretch the skin some everyday to prepare for delivery.

Victoria - posted on 06/14/2012

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Praying for you sweetheart.

I tore with my first although labour was only 4 hours with a delivery time of 10 minutes.They stitched it, but it was still very painful, but healed up great. With my second it was yet again 4 hours of labour, with around 8 minutes of delivery & they had to snip as she was my biggest at 8lb1oz, they stitched that also. With my last it was yet again only a short 4 hour labour, but delivery was prolonged as she had the cord wrapped around several times & they made me stop pushing until she had enough of waiting & slipped herself right out, but it was still only around 10 minutes. No tearing or anything, but she was number 3 so I think maybe my body was adjusted by then.

I've never heard of anything that can stop you tearing though, didn't know things like that existed.

Anyway it will get better sweetie, in the mean time you are in my prayers.
Congrats on the new addition to your family.

Pastor V.xx

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Yes, I was in the hospital when things started. It was a dream. I was not trying to boast in anyway and realize that I may have come off that way, rather I was trying to point out that even the same woman can experience different births in every way.

I am sorry and pray for those who have horror stories, I pray that the bad experience is lessened by the joy your child brings you.

Praying for you,

Christy - posted on 06/14/2012

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Oh Darling, your birth story sounds horrible and i can so empathise with you. Unfortunatley the pain, discomfort and scaring does hang around for a while. But as others have said, it does get better (try the oil, i found this helped) but i definatley felt (with my very similar first birth story) that a c-section would have been less trauma on my body and definately a quicker recovery. But you cant turn back the hands of time and live in the "what if had of done this differently" but you can learn and attempt things differently if you decide to have another child.
I strongly recommend getting others (particlarily woman) to pray over you for you the emotional & physical trauma you've experienced. I had some beautiful friends do this when i found out i was pregnant with baby no.2 and had constant night-mares from the first birth. This really was amazing. If you can surrender the hurt, the pain, the dissapoint of a birth that didnt go as you wanted over to the Lord this will really help you in so many ways. And let me just say births can be a beautiful & amazing experience even after so much trauma with the first, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! I am about to birth my third child and am actually looking forward to it this time. Praise God for healing.

Liz - posted on 06/14/2012

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Wow! 8 minutes?! I don't know if that's something I would want or not! Did you have the baby in the hospital?

I really think it depends on where you go as far as episiotomies are concerned. Sort of like c-sections - I have 2 hospitals near me that I can choose from to have my children at. I had my 2nd child at the same hospital that many of my friends went to. It was much busier and less personal. More or less, "let's get this job done, so we can move on to the next!" Almost all of my friends who went to that hospital ended up with c-sections. It was almost as if they were thinking, "oh, we ran into a little snag! Cut her open!" To have babies 3 and 4, I went back to the hospital where I had my first.

Carla - posted on 06/14/2012

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Sharon--8 minutes? Hope you were in the hospital when you started labor!

[deleted account]

I had 4. Episiotomy with the first (NEVER AGAIN!)
Tore with the second. (much better) healed faster
Tore with the third. healed fairly quickly
Nothing with the fourth.
I had no meds with any of them and yes, KY works wonders for pain during intercourse, and God erases those memories so that we do it all over again and again. Every birth is different and none of mine were big babies. 7 lbs 5 oz, 7 lbs 4 oz, 6 lbs 13 oz, 6 lbs 4 oz. I also had no long delivery times. 1 hr 45, 45 min, 30 min, and 8 min.

The 2nd one left me like hamburger and I was not inquisitive enough to watch with a mirror nor did I even ask how many stitches. I did not feel it other than during intercourse the first few times after but it all healed quite nicely.

I pray that you too will be able to heal and move on from your experience and I know that God will block those memories and the trauma will dissipate with a little more time.

Carla - posted on 06/14/2012

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I'm curious--I haven't had a baby in a llooonnnngggg time, but with my first they did an episiotomy, because I was young and little. Don't they do them anymore? Our second (son) was so quick, I didn't even get time to get prepped, and with our third, she was breach. I won't go into the details, but the epi was actually a RELIEF!



God has this wonderful memory-erasing stuff that He gives to us women after childbirth--otherwise there would only be ONE child per household ;) I know you have gone through trauma, honey, and our hearts go out to you. But the horror passes, and pretty soon we see a little baby, and go all gushy and get 'those' yearnings again. It's part of a woman's makeup.



The ladies have given you some good advice. A little KY jelly will do the trick until your lubricating juices return. As a post-menopausal woman, I can relate to your pain. I would give ANYTHING to get back my young body!



God bless, darling, pray hard. Give your fears over to our Father, and receive His peace.

Cyndel - posted on 06/13/2012

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Hey, I tore bad with my first, it took them an hour to sew me up. They had to shoot me up with local numbing stuff 2x!
It did take a long time to heal and the scar was hard for a while. But I started massaging it with a little oil I used arnica oil sometimes, coconut oil or olive oil would work to, during showers or baths. It took until my son was 18m but the scar softened and now I have to look to find it, my son is now 4 1/2!
I also wanted you to know that I did my research and with my second birth with a son whose head was just as big I only had a 'skid mark', she said the it would need only one stitch or I could just keep my legs closed and not do any deep squats for 2-3 weeks and I would be fine. I chose to keep my legs closed hehe.
There is hope, the scare will soften whether or not you massage with oil, I just did that because it made it feel better, esp after a long day on my feet.

Also for any moms who see this who might or do have a bad tear For 5 weeks I took newborn diapers and up at the back of the newborn diapers I tore the seal which made a pocket, I stuffed crushed ice between the waterproof outer layer and the soaking layer. A wonderful Ice pack pad that is so much cheaper then the store bought break and shake postpartum ice pads.
I needed these to sleep, I took no pain meds after the first couple of days because these helped so much!!!

Kaitlin - posted on 06/13/2012

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Hello, love! Tearing totally sucks! I had a hard time too- my first was ginormous and tore me in three places (vertically top and bottom and one on the side horizontally) and it took them about 45 minutes to an hour to sew me up. I also have had my boys without epidurals, so I really did feel it all. It totally sucks.
My doctor actually got someone else to come do it who had more experience in sewing because I was so messed up- ow. Like you said, it took a very long time to heal. Sex after my first was painful, but it did get better, especially after I stopped breastfeeding (and hormones settled and I produced more lubrication- when you breastfeed you're often very dry) It was kind of like the first time you have sex, it hurts for a while and gets a little better every time, and then it's amazing again.

When I got pregnant with my second, I was terrified. I talked with my docs (I moved between pregnancies) about my concerns and they were helpful, but couldn't promise anything- they told me I would most likely tear again, in the same spot(s) because the tissue is weak, but I wouldn't tear as bad, and it wouldn't be as painful. They were absolutely correct. I tore a tiny little bit, and yes I felt it it, but it was so much easier, and it took two little stitches to take care of it! I was up and walking to the bathroom on my own right after delivery! (something I could NOT do the first time, lol, for about a week).
Now I am pregnant with our third and nervous again. I am praying for a recovery like my second, and not like my first. It does get better. Also, at the very end of my pregnancy the second time, as I started to dilate, and this time i'm just starting at 34 weeks to feel it, I start to feel my horizontal tear- i think it's because it's starting to stretch and is just a little pinchy, so i know it's there, but not enough to interfere with my life. Sex is fine. Sex after our second chidl was born was much easier, but still a little painful at the beginning. Good luck to you!

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