Day 8: Dress up a coat. Or don't.

I didn't. I don't think I even wore a coat that day. Not that it wasn't cold, but because I didn't remember to.

This was my second visit to the physical therapist. I went to see her because I was referred by a urogynecologist, to whom I was referred by my ob/gyn when I went in for a check-up and asked about some post-baby muscle weakness I was still having. The OB said that my darling little 9-pound, posterior, forceps-delivered Dark Lord had basically broken my bottom and that I should go see some specialists about that to see if I need reconstructive surgery and and oh by the way you should only have C-sections from now or you'll make it worse mmkay?

These . . . were not words that my Hypnobabies/midwives/birthing pool self expected or wished to hear, and they threw me into kind of an absolute state. I won't get into all of that mess here but will say that I'm glad I'm not pregnant right now and have some more time to get additional opinions and weigh risks and come to terms with whatever. Also on the list of "things I have time to do" is to visit a Physical Butt Hole Therapist to try to get myself fixed back up. Because that's the kind of glamorous that I am. I am so incredibly glamorous, friends, that I can now accept as a typical Wednesday activity something like, say, lying on an exam table with electrodes taped to either side of my @$$hole.

It's a decadent life.

And I know I said I wasn't going to get into this but have any of you had bad tears with your babies? And if so, did you keep having bad tears? I know everyone is different, but I really would like to know.


Señora H-B said... [reply]

Oh, honey. I have no words of wisdom (as I have no babies), though I do look forward to reading what other readers have to say.

Sending good electrode a-hole vibes your way.

(That, my dear, is a sentence I never imagined typing...)

C. said... [reply]

I had a horrific tear the first time and none the second. I could go on and on about it, but I'll send you an email with my thoughts instead, so maybe check the spam folder if you don't see it.

Brinestone said... [reply]

*hopefully not-creepy internet hug*

I haven't had bad tears, so I can't help, but I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. It sounds like a pain in the butt, quite literally.

Dave and Camille said... [reply]

Ok, we don't know each other at all but I somehow found your blog and find it entertaining. I would have continued to just anonymously stalk you but I'm actually going through a similar experience so I thought I would share. When I had my second this past august I basically tore everything and have been dealing with a very difficult recovery as well. My first was an emergency csection so we went the natural method the second time so I could continue having babies the not out your stomach way. Turns out this was worse and my recovery more difficult. I have also been dealing with lack of performance of my pelvic floors muscles, which is definitely not fun. I never thought I'd be jealous of people who could just stand in the same place for extended periods of time without being in pain. Go figure :) ive been in pt for a few months now and I can definitely say that it works. It's awkward and painful at times but worth it. I also get deep tissue massage and acupuncture as well. My dr also recommended csections from here on out and honestly it will probably be awhile before I can even think of being pregnant again. My mom tore similarly to me (though not as much internally) with me, her first ( can we say bad karma?) but had 4 kids after that with no more than second degree tears. Basically I think it's all a crapshoot and drs tend to err on the side of extreme caution. Sorry if it's tmi... Good luck with everything! - camille

Elsha said... [reply]

No bad tears here, so no help. I just wanted to say the whole thing sounds really awful. I hope the physical therapy helps! And possible future c-sections aren't the end of the world, right? (I've had one c-section, one vaginal delivery and neither of them are really super fun to recover from.)

Jennifer said... [reply]

I'm with Camille, you totally don't know me, but you're funny, so I read your blog...so let's talk about things that are really personal :)

I had a horrible 3rd degree tear with my first--baby was in distress, had to come out as soon as I was completely dilated, so had an episiotomy and then tore more as they vacuumed her out. Couldn't walk, stand, or sit for a week...and it was a lot longer before I was anywhere near normal down there.

I've since had two more babies--both induced at 39 weeks so they wouldn't be over 9 lbs like the first was. I have still had second degree tears in the same place (previously torn tissue apparently isn't as elastic as it used to be), but they were SO minor in comparison to the first one. Even my doctor said, "This is so much better than last time!" Like I could actually walk once the epidural wore off and going to the bathroom didn't make we want to kill myself because it was so painful. With my third, I only took pain meds for the first few days for the after birth cramps when I was nursing, not for anything down there. I'm wishing you the best as you figure out the next steps for you!

Therese said... [reply]

C-section. Absolutely. Don't put yourself through that again.

Gina said... [reply]

I have 7 children, and all deliveries have been so different. The first was a c-section, 3lb baby. The second was VBAC, small and I still tore, A LOT. The third was a huge baby and I had such a fantastic nurse that totally prepped and stretched me out that I didn't tear a bit. I could go on and on. Like most moms, every birth is worth several volumes of fascinating reading. I won't put you through that, but I would highly encourage skipping the c-section if at all possible. Your recovery will be trash, your baby will take longer to recover too. They need the birth canal experience to get here totally ready. Anyway, I would talk with different post-partum nurses and see which midwives they recommend for helping women not tear. It sounds weird, but you really can call the hospital, or just show up. These women (or men, but that would be weird) see the recovery side of things, they keep track and know what is up. They are the ones to ask about pretty much everything.

Lauren said... [reply]

Yet another admirer of your blog who will now share personal stories over the net for all to see. Of course all aspects of birth go to totally repressing a sense of modesty, so I'm sure we all can relate.

I tore badly with both of my boys. The md refused to tell me how many stitches, but it took over half an hour of sewing with one wicked looking instrument. Baby #2 came out with his arm above his head and sharp finger nails apparently carved out a good trail on his exit. Of course my md didn't say anything about needing future c/s, so yours must have been worse than mine.

For that, you have my eternal pity and sympathy. And your need for PT should give you the 'ha--beat that" painful birth story winner.

Janssen said... [reply]

Hey! That Gina that commented is my sister-in-law! The world is small.

Anyway, I had your average tearing, and good heavens, THAT took me forever to recover from. Not looking forward to that happening again.

MJ said... [reply]

I'm loving all the first time commentors. Y'all ROCK.

With me, I had 2nd degree tears both times, even though my 2nd was TWO POUNDS BIGGER. My first came with one arm over his shoulder, little punk.

I didn't have gestational diabetes with either kid, so the 9 lbs 7 1/2 oz was a huge (lol) shock to my doctor (I just felt vindication, cuz I KNEW he was done 3 weeks before I was induced).

Anyway, if you watch your diet from the get-go, and try the perineum massage (I'll be trying that next time around), you might not need to go with a c/s. I'm not a professional, mind you, but I think just giving up and getting a c/s just because one baby was big isn't the way to go.

My MIL had 7 kids, and only one of her kids was mean to her.

Maybe your next kids will be nice. :)

annie (the annilygreen one) said... [reply]

i was all excited to tear less with my second baby (thanks to it being the second and hypnobirthing and everything), but after he was born, i asked if i'd torn. the midwife said, "oh yes. you didn't stretch at ALL!" so it was much, much worse the second time. so i don't have any advice or anything other than to say that a c-section seems like the last resort that it always was. trust your instincts and listen to your body and don't let doctors freak you out. but also, thank goodness safe c-sections are an option, right?

mj said... [reply]

Oh yuck. I will let you know in about six weeks. I had a 4th degree tear and recovery sucked a, but I pretty much got back to normal after six fantastic months. Well, that is until I got preggo again and realized I have little to no control over when and where I pass gas. Pretty awesome.
But, I'm still hoping that's a temporary thing, thanks to my good friend relaxin and am still planning to give vaginal birth another chance. The literature I have read puts the chances of a repeat at about 10%, BUT that increases if you have continued to have issues, so, yeah . . . Anyway, I judge no one that chooses C-section and I still reserve the right to change my mind if something weird happens.

Nells-Bells said... [reply]

i have never torn. i too wanted a regular, vaginal birth when i was pregnant with my first. he ended up getting stuck in my pelvis and every time i had a contraction, his oxygen level dropped so dramatically that i had an emergency c section. my doc said i could not have a VBAC because my birth canal is too narrow for any human baby to fit through (alien, possibly).

my first c section was definitely the worst. the second and third i have healed faster each time and wasn't in as much pain.

though my experience is TOTALLY different, i think having a c section doesn't mean you're a wuss. it definitely isn't the natural way a baby was made to come out but if your body isn't made to have babies the normal way, then why not have a c section? You can enjoy the experience and be grateful you have a healthy baby. AND still have your anus attached properly so you can poop!

Stacia said... [reply]

Just a late comment to expand on the perineum massage option mentioned by MJ. I had episiotomies for the first two - docs and nurses insisted the baby would tear me without the cut - and did a home birth pool for the 3rd. For the last month we did 5 minutes of perineum massage every single day. It was not pleasant, but in the end I did not tear at all. The episiotomy scar did pop open - it hadn't healed properly - but with no blood so I went to the old OB and he was absolutely amazed. He said 100% I would have torn without the massage. It healed with no event and I am a believer in the massage stretching to condition the skin.

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