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.

 

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!