Postpartum: My Third Degree Perineal Tear Story

I wasn’t sure about sharing this post because this topic might be TMI and writing about it means I have to relive it in my mind. I decided to share my story because someone might be going through the same situation, and God knows how many times I googled it to see if anyone was going through the same thing just to find some comfort. Up to this day this blog has been mostly about food and recipes, but I’ve changed so much since I started it a few years ago, and I feel like now I have so much more to say.

It's time to raise awareness on Perineal Tearing and the physical and mental health consequences it has. It's hard for me to share my story but if it helps even one person to understand they're not alone then it's worth it.

First things first, What is a third degree perineal tear?  Is a tear in the vaginal tissue, perineal skin, and perineal muscles that extends into the anal sphincter (the muscle that surrounds your anus). Well that escalated quickly!

When you go to prenatal classes they usually explain that vaginal birth could result in a tear, but I don’t remember hearing you could tear all the way down to your anus! That’s something you would’ve remember, right?

When I was delivering my beautiful baby girl, her head got stuck in my pubic bone. I was given two options, use forceps to guide out my baby’s head or have a C-section. The doctor told me that if we used the forceps she’ll be born in 5 minutes, so of course I chose the forceps, only five more minutes to hold my girl, bring it on! (besides I had been in labor for 23 hours and I just wanted it to be over).

It's time to raise awareness on Perineal Tearing and the physical and mental health consequences it has. It's hard for me to share my story but if it helps even one person to understand they're not alone then it's worth it.

Emi was born right away but I ended up with a third degree perineal tear (assisted deliveries, e.g. forceps, have a higher probability of ending in 3rd or 4th degree tears). In that moment I didn’t feel anything, THANK GOD FOR EPIDURAL, they stitched me up and we were in our room an hour later enjoying life as parents.

When the anesthesia wore off I felt a lot of pain but I assumed it was normal, after all I just squeezed a tiny human out of me. It was my first baby and I didn’t know what to expect. The nurses that were taking care of me kept saying the pain I was feeling was normal so suck it up (of course they didn’t say that last part but it felt that way). Once we were home, I constantly repeated to myself “I can do this”, “you’re a mom now so stop being a wuss”, “once the stitches heal it’ll all be better”.

One day while I was taking a shower I noticed a big blood cloth in the tub. I called my clinic and they told me to go to the emergency room. The doctor said some of the stitches were infected… How could they get infected if I was being so careful keeping them clean? He said it had nothing to do with cleanliness, I’ve been putting too much pressure on them by sitting for long periods or walking too much. They had to remove all the stitches (not only the ones that were infected) right away with no anesthesia. I held my husband’s hand and prayed the whole time. When they were done I was in shock, thinking “why me?”.

They didn’t stitch me again, one doctor even said it wasn’t necessary that it would heal on its own. That didn’t sound right to me so I went to see my OB/GYN. When she was checking me I could tell by the look on her face that something wasn’t right. She told me that I needed to go through perineal repair surgery to properly close the wound. The moment she left the room I couldn’t hold it anymore and I started crying.

It's time to raise awareness on Perineal Tearing and the physical and mental health consequences it has. It's hard for me to share my story but if it helps even one person to understand they're not alone then it's worth it.

I went through surgery feeling guilty for not being there for my newborn who needed me 24/7. Somehow I felt all of this was my fault. My husband reassured me that wasn’t the case and took care of everything. I’m so thankful for having him in my life, I couldn’t have gone through this without his support.

Everything seemed to be okay for the first couple of weeks following the surgery. I went to my post-surgery appointment and my doctor said the stitches weren’t healing properly, nothing wrong with the way I was taking care of them, but my body was reacting in a weird way to the healing process. I kept getting a red skin tissue around the stitches, which had to be cauterized (my doctor used a stick that looked like a large match) and removed. It was an in-office procedure with no anesthesia, it hurt a lot but not as much as everything else I went through. Unfortunately I had to do the same procedure 3 more times until it finally healed.

After surgery, it took me 2 months to stop taking pain killers, 4 months for my stitches to heal and 6 months to be able to sit comfortably without special pillows. Physically speaking I’m completely fine now, however I still have some work to do on the emotional consequences of this experience, no worries I’m getting there. It’s not my intention to scare future moms, but I believe we need to prepare for every possible scenario.

It's time to raise awareness on Perineal Tearing and the physical and mental health consequences it has. It's hard for me to share my story but if it helps even one person to understand they're not alone then it's worth it.

Even though my family and close friends know about my story, it’s scary to share it with the world, it makes me feel vulnerable. But I want to send a message to those of you who are going through the same situation: you are not alone, this is not your fault and YOU WILL HEAL, even though it’s going to take some time, you will be yourself again.

 

Sweet and Moist Cornbread

Hey there! I’m so excited it’s finally FRIYAAY, aren’t you?. Last week I shared my Kid Friendly Chili recipe and I promised I was going to share my recipe for the “sweetest and moistest cornbread in the world”. I’ve been looking for a cornbread that my husband will approve for a while now (he always said it wasn’t sweet or moist enough) so I can assure you this recipe has gone through a few trials and errors to get it where it is now.

There are a million recipes for Cornbread but this one is my family favorite. Give this Sweet and Moist Cornbread recipe a try, you won't regret it!

Writing this week’s post was a bit of a challenge because toddlers are unpredictable. I usually work on the blog while Emi naps (about two hours a day) but this week her sleeping schedule has been a little off, which messes up my everyday schedule (cleaning, cooking, drinking coffee to survive). But a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do and we have to learn to live with it and make the best of it. I’m sure the stay-at-home parents reading this must agree (specially the coffee part).

On the bright side, my husband is taking Monday off so we have a long weekend to spend together, eat and have so much fun, but mostly to eat. Celebrating 4th of July in our home is a big deal. We have great respect for this country that we are blessed enough to call home and even though it’s only the three of us celebrating this holiday, that’s no excuse to stop having some of our 4th of July traditions, like BBQ ribs.

A picture from last year's 4th of July dinner prep, includes BBQ ribs, mexican street corn and homemade cheesy bread

Last year’s 4th of July dinner prep: BBQ ribs, mexican street corn and homemade cheesy bread

If you’re planning a big barbecue or picnic make sure you include this cornbread on your menu. I’m sure it’ll go perfect with anything you’re having and kids will love it.

You’ll need 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup yellow cornmeal, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 egg, 1 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup whole milk (you could also use 2% milk), 1/2 cup butter (melted and room temperature)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking dish. I used my 2-qt oblong baking dish because I shattered my 8-inch square pyrex a few weeks ago. In my defense that thing exploded without a reason! Okay I might have put it on the stove to finish cooking a sauce but aren’t these things supposed to resist like 500F degrees. Whatever, I got a new one and it’s so so pretty. I’m planning on breaking all my boring glass baking dishes to get new pretty ones, just don’t tell my husband about my evil plan bwahahahaha!

Moving on, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl

Mix egg, sour cream, milk, and butter in another bowl.

Egg, sour cream, milk, and butter

Fold egg mixture into flour mixture until just moistened. It’s very important that you do this by hand and be gentle, too much mixing and air will get into your egg and the cornbread won’t be fluffy and light.

Gently folding egg mixture into flour mixture

Cornbread batter mixed until just combined, with little lumps

Pour into prepared baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Cornbread batter spread on baking dish

Sweet and moist cornbread out of the oven, golden and fluffly with a crack in the middle

Easy peasy! Let me know if you tried this recipe or how you make your cornbread, I’m always open to learn and improve! Remember to give every recipe your special touch. See ya next week!

There are a million recipes for Cornbread but this one is my family favorite. Give this Sweet and Moist Cornbread recipe a try, you won't regret it!

Sweet and Moist Cornbread

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup whole milk (you could also use 2% milk)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking dish (a 2-qt oblong glass baking dish works too).
  2. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Mix egg, sour cream, milk, and butter in another bowl.
  4. Fold egg mixture into flour mixture by hand and until just moistened.
  5. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Kid Friendly Chili

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since my last post, but the minute I think I figure out this motherhood thing, my little girl goes through another milestone, regression, teething, etc and I’m back were I started. I can’t complaint I’m loving every part of it, watching her grow into this beautiful, intelligent and opinionated little girl is so amazing. I’m constantly trying to keep up with her and now that she’s a toddler she’s eating whatever we are having for dinner, so I’ve had to adjust a few of my recipes in order to make them “kid friendly” without sacrificing flavor.

One of my husband’s favorite dishes is my chili. The first time I gave it to Emi, she was about a year old and she loved it!! Even now that she has started to be a little picky with her food (she’s 18 months), she still loves mommy’s chili, and whenever she eats all of her food without making any trouble is a good day for this momma *pat on the back*.

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I’m all for experimenting with the recipes we try, so I’m giving you a great tasting MILD chili, you can use this recipe as it is or adjust it to make your own signature chili, either way I’m sure you’ll impress some friends and family with it. Bonus point: You could cook this on a slow cooker too.

Note: I usually take a picture of every single step but this time I failed to take a couple ones at the beginning. I always try to make my recipes as simple to follow as possible, so I don’t think you’ll get lost.

Let’s get started. You’ll need 2 pounds of ground beef, 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 diced white onion, 1 diced green bell pepper, 8 minced cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon mild chili powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin, 2 teaspoons white sugar, 2 teaspoons oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 12 oz can tomato juice, 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes (or regular diced tomatoes), 15 oz can tomato sauce, 16 oz can kidney beans (drained and rinsed), 16 oz can pinto beans (drained and rinsed), shredded cheddar and sour cream for topping.

On a large skillet or pot (I like to use my dutch oven), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat and brown your ground beef with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, until it’s cooked through and all of its juices have consumed, about 10 minutes.

Add the diced onion, diced green bell pepper and minced garlic to the pot and stir until onion is transparent (if you decide to use jalapenos now is the time to add them), about 3 minutes. Add cilantro, mild chili, cumin, sugar, oregano, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp ground black pepper and stir. Cook until fragrant about 1 minute.

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If you decide to finish cooking on your slow cooker now is the time to transfer the ground beef mix to it. Add tomato juice, petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans and pinto beans to your pot or slow cooker. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

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If cooking on the stove bring to a boil and low heat to medium low, cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If using the slow cooker cook on low for 7-8 hours.

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Serve hot with shredded cheddar and sour cream on top, and a piece of cornbread. Next week I’ll share my recipe for the sweetest and moistest cornbread IN THE WOOORRLLLD, stay tuned!

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Hope y’all enjoy this chili as much as we do and remember to give every recipe your special touch.

Kid Friendly Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef, turkey or venison
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black ground pepper
  • 12-oz. can tomato juice
  • 28-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 16-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded cheese and sour cream, for topping

Instructions:

  1. On a large skillet or pot (I like to use my dutch oven), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat and brown your ground beef with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until it’s cooked through and all of its juices have consumed, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the diced onion, diced green bell pepper and minced garlic to the pot and stir until onion is transparent (if you decide to use jalapenos now is the time to add them), about 3 minutes.
  3. Add cilantro, mild chili, cumin, sugar, oregano, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp ground black pepper and stir. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. If you decide to finish cooking on your slow cooker now is the time to transfer the ground beef mix to it. Add tomato juice, petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans and pinto beans to your pot or slow cooker. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  5. If cooking on the stove bring to a boil and low heat to medium low, cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If using the slow cooker cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  6. Serve hot with shredded cheddar and sour cream on top. Enjoy!

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Chicken and Beef Stir Fry Noodles

I love my Grandma Susy, every time I went to her house she would always have some delicious chinese food for us. She’s the best I cook I know, even better than my mom, oops sorry mom! If I had to pick my favorite recipe from Mami Susy it will be hands down her Stir Fry noodles.

ChickenandBeefStirFry

I didn’t cook a lot in Ecuador, just enough to survive when my parents were out of the country, that’s why I always thought it was super difficult to cook chinese food but it turned out to be pretty easy. This recipe is not a 100% true to my grandma’s recipe since I couldn’t find some of the ingredients here in the US but even though I made some minor changes to the recipe it still tastes amazing!!! When I made it for my husband he was really impressed and now it’s one of his favorite dishes (he hasn’t tried grandma’s original Stir Fry so he thinks mine is the best… my poor innocent husband)

Let’s start! First you’ll need 6 oz of fettucine pasta (I know this doesn’t scream chinese but I couldn’t find some quality Lo Mein or rice noodles when I moved here, and the fettucine worked so good the first time I decided to keep it that way), 1/2 pound of flank steak thinly sliced, 1/2 pound of boneless chicken thighs thinly sliced, 3 stalks of celery chopped into sticks, 2 carrots chopped into sticks, 1/2 green pepper julienned (could use any other bell pepper), 1/2 white onion julienned, 1 tsp umami seasoning (ajinomoto, you can find it on the Asian food section of your local market), 2 tsp cornstarch, 2 tsp granulated sugar, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp canola oil and 2 tbsp oyster sauce (you can find it on the Asian food section of your local market).

ChickenandBeefStirFry

There’s one more ingredient that is kind of hard to find here in the US, maybe if you have a Latin market near you there’s a chance your could find it. “Wait did you just said Latin market?” yep! there’s a sauce called “Salsa China de Soya” (Chinese soy sauce), even though it translates to soy sauce, it’s thicker than regular soy sauce and has a bitter taste. If by any chance you are able to find it buy it!! it really takes this and many other Chinese dishes to another level, mine was brought from Ecuador. But if you don’t have it don’t worry your Stir Fry will still be delicious.

ChickenandBeefStirFry

Keeping it real with the dirty bottle

I forgot to tell you that I finally have a Kitchen Aid!!! *cue angels singing* It was a Mother’s Day present from a good friend of us #bestmothersdaygiftever #besidesmychildofcourse

ChickenandBeefStirFry

Back to recipe, I like to cook my pasta while I do all my chopping, it saves time and since I usually use the same pot to cook everything else clean up is a breeze (one pot meal anyone?), so cook your pasta al dente according to package directions and chop chop chop.

ChickenandBeefStirFry

Next add 1 tsp of cornstarch, 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of soy sauce to the beef and stir to coat. Do the same for the chicken. In a big pot or wok, heat 2 tbsp of canola oil over medium-high heat and stir fry the chicken and beef. Once they’re cooked, add the carrot sticks and cook for 2-3 minutes.

ChickenandBeefStirFry

Then add the julienned pepper and onions and stir fry for 2 more minutes.

ChickenandBeefStirFry

Finally add the celery sticks and stir fry everything for 2 more minutes.

Then add the julienned pepper and onions and stir fry for 3 more minutes.

It’s time for sauces! Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tsp umami seasoning (ajinomoto) to the pot and stir.

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Now add the noodles and 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, mix everything and turn off the heat. If you were able to get the “chinese soy sauce” now it’s the time to drizzle 1-2 teaspoons and stir, stir, stir (after all is a STIR fry haha *drumroll*).

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Taste and adjust soy sauce (savory), oyster sauce (sweet) or “Chinese soy sauce” (bitter) to your like. Serve and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if you want, or just eat it out of the pot like I usually do, ahem… only because I’m adjusting seasonings.

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Now a couple of tips: You could add as many vegetables as you want, sometimes I use whatever I have laying around my fridge (zuchinni, broccoli, all-color peppers, sky is the limit). You could also add shrimp and/or pork, just marinate them the same as the chicken and beef, and cook the shrimp towards the end, before the celery it’s a good time. Which brings me to my other point, DON’T overcook your vegetables, you want crunchy vegetables so cook them starting from hard (carrots) working your way to soft (zucchini, celery). Finally don’t be shy with the sauces!

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I really hope you like this recipe as much as we do. It’s so nice to share with you something that brings back so many good memories. Love you and miss you Mami Susy!

Have a great weekend everybody!!

By far the best and easiest Stir Fry recipe out there. Pin now!!

Chicken and Beef Stir Fry

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 6 oz of fettucine pasta (could use Lo Mein or rice noodles)
  • 1/2 pound of flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound of boneless chicken, thighs thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped into sticks
  • 1/2 green pepper, julienned (could use any other bell pepper)
  • 1/2 white onion, julienned
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped into sticks
  • 1 tsp umami seasoning (ajinomoto)
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce

Optional: 1-2 tsp of “Salsa China de Soya” (Chinese soy sauce), toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Cook your pasta al dente according to package directions.
  2. Add 1 tsp of cornstarch, 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of soy sauce to the beef and stir to coat. Do the same for the chicken. In a big pot or wok, heat 2 tbsp of canola oil over medium-high heat and stir fry the chicken and beef.
  3. Once the chicken and beef are cooked, add the carrot sticks and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the julienned pepper and onions and stir fry for 2 more minutes.
  5. Add the celery sticks and stir fry everything for 2 more minutes.
  6. Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tsp umami seasoning (ajinomoto) to the pot and stir.
  7. Add the pasta and 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, mix everything and turn off the heat.
  8. If you were able to get the “chinese soy sauce” drizzle 1-2 teaspoons and stir.
  9. Taste and adjust soy sauce (savory), oyster sauce (sweet) or “Chinese soy sauce” (bitter) to your like. Serve and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Notes:

  • You could add as many vegetables as you want (zuchinni, broccoli, all-color peppers, etc).
  • You could add shrimp and/or pork, just marinate them the same as the chicken and beef. Cook the shrimp towards the end.
  • DON’T overcook your vegetables, you want crunchy vegetables so cook them starting from hard (carrots) working your way to soft (zucchini, celery).

 

448 days later I’m back!!

Hello everybody! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about posting again, the other day I was brave enough to open my WordPress account and I noticed I’m still getting some traffic, that really lifted up my blogging spirit and I decided it was time to start writing again. I’m a little scared though, it has been more than a year since my last post but I’ve always found a lot of support from the community here so I’ll take a chance.

First of all I had a baby!!! Emi is the best thing that has happened in my life, how could I know that I was capable of loving this much someone so tiny. Motherhood is such a blessing and I’m so grateful that God allowed me to experience it, but it is a lot harder than I expected.

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I’m doomed, she’s too cute, I can’t resist!!

I knew it was going to be hard but a part of me thought: “I got this”, “I’m prepared”, “I took all the classes” “look at those moms from the commercials, I can’t wait to give my baby a bath, have some quiet time and cuddle with her before she sleeps through the night” then reality hit me (damn you Johnson’s commercials!)

Let’s start from the beginning, first I got pregnant (that’s kind of obvious but just in case you missed health class or never had “the talk”) and I didn’t have that pregnancy glow everybody talked about, hell I’m still waiting for it to kick in. I was going for a Blake Lively pregnancy look, instead I looked like the Ghostbusters’ marshmallow man. Pregnancy was a little tough, I had a lot of morning sickness, afternoon sickness, night sickness, 3am sickness (see where I’m going) I even had and exorcist episode in the bathroom one day, not my proudest moment. When the “all-day” sickness finally got better I had a couple of good months but more on that later, I don’t plan to tell you about my whole pregnancy right now, there’s no time (I do have a baby remember). By the end of the pregnancy I was a sweating, hungry, swollen, breathing fire “lady” and I was more than ready for my baby to be born.

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Me at 9 months pregnant (check out my awesome photoshop skills)

After three false alarms the day finally arrived. It ONLY took me 23 hours to deliver my sweet baby girl (see what I did there? haha) kuddos to me! I did it! Now I can enjoy my beautiful baby… maybe not so fast. I had an assisted delivery with forceps which ended on a 3rd degree tear, but I’ll save that lovely story for another time, I just have so much to say about it and I’m trying to keep things “light” for this post (considering I started writing it a week ago, there’s so much one can do on nap time)

So far this blog has been mainly about cooking and sharing recipes, but I think it’s time to explore a new direction. I will still be posting recipes!! I love to cook and somehow I’ve managed to entertain my little one while I do it, so we are good. I feel as a first time mom I have so much to share and even though there are a million blogs about motherhood everybody has different experiences and I want to share mine in case someone out there is going through the same things I’ve been. I want to be able to help someone understand they’re not alone, it’s okay to feel they way you’re feeling.

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Just two BFF’s having a blast

That will be all for now, I just wanted to say hi, hopefully next post will be a recipe!