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  1. #1
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    Default Perineal Tears

    Hi there,

    I recently gave birth for the first time - we have a lovely daughter. But I sustained a third degree tear during the birth. I was wondering how many others have gone through this?

    While I knew about tearing, I didn't realise how long the healing process could be, and how it can involve the pelvic floor muscles. I was shocked when I was told I wouldn't be able to lift anything heavier than my daughter for 12 weeks, and that I would be on bed rest for a week.

    I was also wondering how common my hospital experience was. The nurses were great about helping with breastfeeding, but seemed to not care about my pelvic floor injury, apart from offering panadol - I had to ask all the time for cold packs to decrease the bruising. The physiotherapist told me I was on bed rest, but the nurses got me up to teach me how to bathe my daughter, which meant I had to walk a distance and stand for at least 15 minutes. I was also refused a cold pack by one nurse, and told to get up and get it myself by another. To top it off, on discharge I was not offered a wheelchair, so ended up walking down to the pharmacy to get my discharge medications, and then out to the car park. This was a humiliating experience rather than the joyful one I expected. I was having to shuffle rather than walk due to my injury, making it obvious what had happened to me, and by the time I got to the car park, I was having to hold my "bits" with my hand, as they felt like they were dropping through my pelvic floor.

    Once I got home, I continued to do too much, as I was trying to be the best new mum I could. I expected my injury to get better, but it got worse until I went to the doctor to see if I was prolapsing - luckily I wasn't, but that was what it felt like - very scary!! I tried to see a physio at the hospital to see what they thought, but they were fully booked for 2 weeks, and that was too long for me to wait - I was already very fearful and depressed thinking I would never be normal again. Luckily I eventually found a private physio who was lovely and very helpful. But that wasn't easy either - it took me half a day of ringing around to find her - not easy when you are supposed to be resting and looking after a newborn all at the same time! Also when I was ringing around, once I told the physio's what was wrong with me, they would get me to call someone else as they didn't want to take me on - this didn't do anything to decrease my anxiety - no one seemed to want to help me.

    It's now 9 weeks since I gave birth, and things are much better. No pain or incontinence and I can now get up and walk for an hour or so at a time before I have to rest my pelvic floor. My husband and I haven't tried to have sex yet - My GP said to wait until week 12.

    I'm just amazed that I'd never heard of this before. I'm also amazed that so many health professionals seem to want to ignore/avoid dealing with this problem.

    Have any of you gone through this? What happened to you?

  2. #2
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    BJelly,

    How terrible!!!!! It is hard enough being a new Mum, let alone a new Mum who needs medical help and no one wants to help. Some people just shouldn't be in the healthcare proffesional if they don't care!!
    I can't say my experience with tearing was anyway near as bad as yours. Though I did only pull up 2mm short of tearing the whole distance between my vagina and rectum. My bub was rather large and his shoulder got stuck coming out. I opted not to be cut but rather tear to try and avoid having torn muscle tissue. Luckily I got away with it. But I must agree that there does seem to be a real "get over it" attitude floating through hospitals at present.
    I have been having trouble trying to keep my pelvic floor under control through my current pregnancy. Once again I am expecting a large bub and my pelvic floor is not coping. I have actually sort out a private physio who specialises in women's health. She sold me an excellent book called " womens waterworks - curing incontinence" by Dr Pauline Chiarelli. It actually focuses a lot on the pelvic floor. There is even a section on new mothers. It helps with exercise routines and general info. I highly recommend it.

    I'm so sorry no one at the hospital you delivered at was more helpful. It might pay to write a letter of complaint. It may stop this sort of stuff happening to others in future.

    I do help you heal soon and that it doesn't turn you off having another child.

    Tracey
    Mum to Alec 18 months and bub due May 3rd

    Ps if you want a copy of the book but can't locate it, let me know and I'd be happy to get one for you and post it to you.

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    Default oh sweetheart

    oh i could just cry , how horrible you poor thing you deserve a year of bed rest with each one of those people who let you down waiting on you hand and foot.
    i was so lucky that i had a great dr and she cut before i could tear which was great as ds head was presenting with the widest part and he was a large baby.
    i have a good friend who had 3rd degree tears and she now cant wait to have her next baby he son is 10 months .it took a while to get everything back to normal.
    i would suggest writting to the director of the hospital or to the head of each department and let them know of your experince mixed messages are incrediblie common but if no body says anything then nothing changes .
    i hope you can enjoy the next 12 weeks alot more than the last . good luck

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    Hi BJelly,

    I've just read your story and I feel so bad for what happened to you. I also had 3rd grade tears with my DD (also my first). I had some of the tearing inside my vagina, on my perineum and a little grazing outside, but the worst one was a 2" tear straight up and down between the inner and outer labia. I didn't feel anything at the time it happened or for the hour and a half it took for them to stitch me up. I was lucky in that the midwives in the post natal ward always asked if I needed anything for the pain, checked my stitches everyday and organised everything I needed for salt baths. Even this funny looking chair with a bowl in the bottom. I continued the baths at home for a long time too. It took me weeks before I could walk properly without pain. Even walking for half an hour left me with the most unbearable pain for ages. Going to the toilet just for a wee hurt too.

    We waited until about 10weeks before braving sex. But taking it really slow helped a lot. I think I would have to say that up until DD was 5 1/2mo that I felt pain in that area (sorry if this freaks you out, but I wish someone had told me what to expect) but I've had no other 'side effects'. My bladder behaves itself and I think my pf muscles are as strong as they were before I gave birth. But do you know what? Whenever I look at my angel, it all seems like a distant dream and I absolutely can't wait to do it again.......well not the tearing bit anyway!

    It sounds like you're doing a fantastic job, regardless of what you've been through. You should give yourself a pat on the back
    Last edited by vickster; 28-04-2005 at 21:36.

  5. #5
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    our little treasures is offline Gorgeous family wonderful friends <3 life!
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    Bjelly I also had third degree tears although I found that they all offered pain relief some offered gauges and one even told me that when at home fill condoms and freeze them and use these. But then there was alot of them telling me to get up as I wasn't helping the situation, not to rest get up and move around etc. I was in agony and your right Iv'e always said since dd birth that noone tells you the real pain of tears. Even though I went shopping from the day I was released amd went everywhere I still remember crying from the feeling of pain I was in agony for 9 weeks and thats when it all sorted itself although hubby and I refrained from sex until 11wks. I know this sounds funny but I don't think they sewed it up to how it was!!!! My hubby swears different! The public hosi I went to actually have a physio that you can go back to for 8weeks after birth for free, I didn't take this offer up as Ithought I was tough. I also refused pelvic floor exercises as it hurt but now regret that decision. Hopefully you recover as I have but I'm hoping to never tear again!!!

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    Default mumof2girls

    I to had a 3rd degree tear and your right they are no fun!

    I was told not to get out of bed for 5 days after my daughter was born and they wouldn't let me out not even to go to the toile or shower (YUK!) but after days 5 I was able to get up and trying to walk was horrible.

    My doctor said he lost count of the stitches he used but it was over 280 inside and out (I really don't know where he put them, not sure I want to) but he was very good. Some of my nurses were great some weren't.

    When I left hospital I couldn't do much it hurt to sit down, lay down etc for about 12 weeks. I must admit though that I still had pain of sorts for a few months after this. I had a similar problem with my second daughter and these days my bladder doesn't always behave it's self and the nurse I see said it is all because of child birth, but I look at my girls and they are happy beautiful children and they are so worth it (not that I would want to repeat the experience hahaha)

    Good luck with your healing and take the time that you need now or it may take longer to heal. Best of luck!

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    Default Tearing

    I had 3rd degree tearing too. My ds is 3 months old now, and it's all starting to feel more normal. It really does take some time though, and although the pelvic floor exercises are a nuscience, they're worth it (if you can remember).

    It's amazing how strong we women really are.

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    Hi,

    Thanks for all your replies and good wishes. I must admit that while I'm healing well and am really enjoying our new daughter, the thought of tearing again is a daunting one. Next time, I'll make sure I don't get impatient and push too hard!

    I was wondering what subsequent births were like for women after a 3rd or 4th degree tear - and even what the pregnancy was like - even the thought of carrying the extra weight for several months seems a bit scary.

    We'll definitely take our time getting pregnant with number 2, just to give my body time to recover if nothing else.

    I am curious, did any of you with third degree tears get a wheelchair to leave hospital? (I'm not sure what is standard procedure). I'm sure that if the nursing staff treated me like I was supposed to be on bed rest, I wouldn't have done so much when I got home. It was because they were so casual about it, that I was too - and this ended up causing me more grief than anything else.

    Also I just wanted to say, how brave you all are too - I've got a much deeper appreciation of how much selflessness is involved in motherhood.

    For those who had more children after a big tear, how did you deal with the fear of tearing again? (It's not just the injury that scares me, but the fact that it makes you a semi-invalid for a while, which was bad enough with one child, but definitely makes looking after a newborn and a toddler very difficult) Did you do anything to avoid tearing again?

    I can't say enough good things about my physiotherapist - she told me to stay in bed and rest for a week - I could get up for 5-10 mins at a time, and gradually build up my pelvic floor exercises. She also suggested wearing bike pants to support my pelvic floor, and to sit on a plastic chair while in the shower (my bath at home was too deep for me to get into). I have to also say how important it was that my husband, friends and family did a great job of looking after me during this time.

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    Default mumof2girls

    Hi Bjelly

    With my second child the doctor cut me so I wouldn't tear, I was still sore but nothing like a tear and much less healing time. My girls are just under 2 years apart and I must admit my pregnancies and labours were not easy for any of us. We did end up with 2 beautiful girls who are healthy and that's all that mattered to me.

    I did get a wheelchair to leave the hospital all the way to the car and they helped me into the car, the were brilliant (I live in SA). I also talked to my doctor about my fears about having another tear and he suggested that I could have a c-section or be cut. 11 years ago a c-section was more like major surgery so I chose to be cut. Things are different these days.

    Believe me in a few months you will forget what you went through with the tear!

    Best of luck!

  10. #10
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    I had a third degree tear with the birth of my son, and the doc who stitched me told me to be VERY careful with bowel movements as I had torn so close to my rectum.
    Reading all of your stories has made me realize I got off VERY lightly.
    A little discomfort, but not really at all.
    I really feel for all of you who had such a difficult time of it
    I'm hoping with the next birth, I will also get off lightly.

    Angie


 

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