Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications, experience, or professional qualifications of anyone posting on Mumsnet Talk and cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you have any serious medical concerns we would urge you to consult your GP.

4th degree tear, feeling sad.

(43 Posts)
PeanutButter1 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:06:35

Hi all. I had a 4th degree tear after giving birth in February. Labour was going so well but he ended up back to back. Forceps. Blah.

I feel so sad and cheated.

He's great and I've been doing better. But today I got hospital report and while it could be worse, seeing it all in black and white has brought it all back.

I have 'poor anal resting pressure' - I guess that refers to the constant feeling I have of not quite being 'cleared out.'

I feel ok most of the time but now and then feel cheated and sad and hopeless. I just need some perspective and some hope I'll feel normal again.

I haven't had any continence issues and after a rocky start me and my son are bonding more and more each day.

My friend was also my midwife and that's confused feelings of anger/blame at the hospital. They seemed to think I didn't want a c section under any circa and I never said that.

I feel so confused and sad right now. I'll be ok but I just needed to vent. This time last year I was so happy and hopeful and positive.

Thanks x

GherkinsAreAce Thu 25-Jul-13 22:43:12

He is lucky to have you as a mummy!

I don't know of this helps, but my yoga-birth / pregnancy yoga teacher, who was one of the fittest, best prepared and calmest mothers to be ever had a c section. Some babies are just not positioned in a way that will allow hypno/yoga birthing to be of any use.

PeanutButter1 Thu 25-Jul-13 23:03:10

That really does help, Gherkins, thank you. It helps known I really really tried and did my best. I'm lucky that I live in a country where he was delivered safely and I had transfusions and antibiotics and good care was available to me. Xx

I'm still known for meeting the one who had the terrible labour, but I promise it gets better. It won't hurt like this forever.

Writing down your birth story might help. Keeping a diary is a good idea too.

Take care of yourself and give some serious thought about talking to a GP about how you're feeling, they might be able to put you in touch with people who can help

MairyHoles Thu 25-Jul-13 23:13:21

I have never had a 4th degree tear but had 3rd degree tears with both my eldest children, for me it was horrific and I felt like everyone got sick of listening to me moan and somewhat dismissed how I was feeling or sympathised by saying "i know, I needed stitches too". I still suffer from incontinence like you describe, having to go back to the loo later on. I had a debrief after my second and I felt it helped. The hospital are unlikely to apportion any blame for risk of a lawsuit, so it may well give you more insight into what happened. In my case both my children were back to back and both had the cords round their necks requiring assisted deliveries, so seeing the ctg (?) reassured me they had to get the baby out quickly and it wasn't my fault. It will get better, I promise.

onelittlepiglet Thu 25-Jul-13 23:28:55

You poor thing. No wonder you are feeling overwhelmed and sad.
Quite apart from the physical recovery, the psychological impact of a bad tear is awful. Give yourself lots of time and don't feel like you are being unreasonable. This is about you and your feelings and not what you 'should' be feeling.

I had a third degree tear which came as a big shock to me as I hadn't even really considered that I might tear badly! Stupid really but I just didn't. I was whisked off to theatre for stitches leaving Dh with dd. it was not the start I imagined, especially having to have a spinal block and so being paralyzed from the waist down for several hours after a natural pain-relief free birth. It has taken a long time to get over it and I cried many times during the first year or two about it.

I had some physio which I found invaluable (if rather embarrassing and shocking at first - wasn't quite expecting to have to have someone's fingers up me while I practiced my clenching!). The physio was a wonderful woman and let me cry on her several times and talk about it. She had also had a difficult birth (in a different way) and so completely understood the feelings and upset it can cause. It was more physio and counseling!

Going to the toilet was also not right for quite a while, but it did heal up well and I have been back to 'normal' now for a good long time. I do have to be careful to eat enough fibre though. Do go and see your doctor if you have any concerns at it - feelings or anything else. Don't put up with it not being right - it can bring you down so much worrying about this.

Sex (not that we did it much...) didn't feel right for well over 18 months and I would say it has only got 'good' again in the last 6 months. DD is 2.8. Take it slowly and at your pace. It helps to have a very understanding Dh...

Keep talking - if you want to talk about it then do. Don't bottle up the feelings and if it helps, definitely ask your gp about counseling or look into it privately. It might help you make peace with it.

Take time to recover, be kind to yourself and if anyone gives you grief, remind them what a massive thing you have been through! It really is a big deal to recover from especially when looking after a new baby.

Good luck and congratulations on your new baby - give him a lovely snuggle! Xx

PeanutButter1 Thu 25-Jul-13 23:36:25

Oh thank you, onelittlepiglet. Every kind message is making me cry! I haven't really cried much in a while so this is probably a good thing.

I have a lovely and kind husband who just wants me to feel better.

Sigh. It's all so overwhelming, isn't it?

I think I'm definitely going to seek out some kind of ongoing therapy.

Thank you all so much. I joined mumsnet a couple of hours ago and it really has been worth it already!

Xx

GherkinsAreAce Thu 25-Jul-13 23:38:38

There is so much support on here, Peanut. MN was a lifeline for me when I had my mmc and the ability to get anonymous support 24 hours is amazing smile

cravingcake Fri 26-Jul-13 04:50:09

I'm another who had a 4th degree tear. Totally understand how you are feeling.

I had counselling after being diagnosed with ptsd & pnd and it really helped. It gave me a safe space to talk things through.

Some people in real life just dont get how horrible it is. Even simple check ups are intrusive and uncomfortable.

Regarding when you say you feel like you failed, you did not fail. You delivered your baby safely with assistance. Can you try to imagine how you might have felt if you had laboured, got to 10cm and then had a c-section? Would you have felt like you had missed out on a natural birth (obviously you couldnt predict the tear) and then felt like you had failed that way? I know this is something i would have felt, even with the months of recovery and pain. A lot of the first 8 weeks or so after my DS was born is a complete blur for me, due to sleep deprivation & pain killers.

I'm now expecting another baby and will be having elcs. During my booking in appointment the midwife said that i could go through my notes from my previous birth if i want to. I have already done this but its nice to know the option is there to do it again.

PeanutButter1 Fri 26-Jul-13 04:57:44

It sounds like we've had very similar experiences, cravingcake. Yes, those first weeks are just a blur of pain and no sleep! I forced myself to stick with bf after not being able to for a week (we were kept in hosp for a week due to tear/blood loss but also my baby had suspected infection, so was on antibiotics/had x-rays/lumbar puncture. On top of that I couldn't produce milk and had approx 1532 different people come round and show me how to bf!)

Recovering from major surgery a challenge but it's compounded by having to look after a baby and just never sleeping!

Congratulations on second pregnancy, wish you all the best. Good to know they are being sensitive about your first experience. Xx

GherkinsAreAce Fri 26-Jul-13 06:00:26

Peanut if you managed to bf at all after your experience I am in awe. It is notoriously difficult to initiate bf after a traumatic birth.

ListWriter Fri 26-Jul-13 06:35:10

Hi peanut. Another one here with a birth like yours. All the yoga in the world didn't stop a back to back birth, forceps, 4th degree tear, infection for DS, transfusions etc. DS is 21 months now and it does get better. You need to give yourself time. I really valued the debrief - for us, they said they hadn't realised DS was back to back and if they'd have known, they could have tried to turn him. Things turned badly so quickly at 10cm dilated, it was good to have the reassurance that forceps and not emcs was the way forward.

Counselling has also helped me deal with it but I must admit I am hesitant about getting pregnant again even tho next any birth would be by elcs. You just have take each day as it comes.

Take care and congratulations on your baby and the breastfeeding. Well done!

Notafoodbabyanymore Fri 26-Jul-13 06:48:26

My first child's birth was traumatic for other reasons, ended up with an emcs and was gutted. I can relate to feeling like a failure, I know I did, especially when breastfeeding was a nightmare too. I just felt like my body had failed and I had failed. I actually started hoping that the other people around me having babies would end up with an emcs too, so I wouldn't be the only one who was rubbish at having babies! blush

The early days were a blur for me too, and I struggled to bond, but she's 3 1/2 now and my best mate. It took me about 18 months to get to the point where I felt at peace with it all, and I can honestly say I feel fine about it now. The birth reflections at the hospital really helped.

I've also had a second dd recently (vbac, 2nd degree tear) but in comparison so much easier.

I hope you get the physical and emotional support you need to move on from this and really enjoy every minute with your lovely baby.

PeanutButter1 Fri 26-Jul-13 08:11:18

Wow, thankyou everyone. Can't tell you what it means to hear these similar stories. I might try and find out why emcs didn't happen - think they wanted to try forceps as a first method.

I thought I was mentally moving on but I think I really need to make my peace with all this. I wish all of us didn't feel that ridiculous sense of failure. One of my bfs had a 'perfect' labour and another is due soon. It shouldn't bother me that I'm the 'weak' one, it's so childish of me and nobody has called me that.

I really want to re-frame it so that in future my boy's birthday is about him and not me!

I'm not evangelical about bf but it be and a focus for me and I thought it might 'prove' my body wasn't totally useless and I hadn't failed him yet again. I bloody love formula as without it he'd be dead! My husband fed him from a tiny cup for that first week. Obv its great for the baby, but realised that bf was more about me being desperate to create a bond and 'succeed' at something (NB: i do not rationally think not being able to bf is a failing. None of these emptional responses have been in the least bit rational.) Our egos are funny things.

Wow, writing this all out is helping a lot. Thanks for listening. Xx

PeanutButter1 Fri 26-Jul-13 08:14:00

Sorry for the myriad of typos. To clarify: my slightly insane focus on trying to breastfeed was more about my ego than anything else. I don't think people who don't want to or can't breastfeed have 'failed' at all - just wanted to clarify!

In fact, reading this whole thread I'd like to say you're all bloody amazing. X

GherkinsAreAce Fri 26-Jul-13 08:24:28

Peanut, bf him was obviously important to you and it is wonderful that you had the determination to make it work. My bf who had the 3c tear was unable to bf her son who simply wouldn't latch. With better support maybe it would have worked out but it is so hard after a major tear. I think you did wonderfully.

xx

onelittlepiglet Fri 26-Jul-13 13:22:12

Just to say - your body is not useless! I also felt like this and in low times still do, but your body is an amazing thing and sometimes tears do happen. My dd shot out of me in one go and took everyone by surprise which is why I tore - no one could have known that would happen.

You have carried your son safely for 9months and given birth to him and your body has done an amazing job. Your body is now providing food for him as you are breastfeeding and at the same time recovering from major trauma - you are awesome!
Xx

Matildathecat Fri 26-Jul-13 15:53:30

One littlepiglet is right, you are totally amazing and you will recover.

As a midwife can I say that looking after friends and family is a nightmare. The worry is always if something goes wrong what if? Is your judgement clouded at all? I bet your friend is devastated. A tear like that is extremely uncommon and she probably blames herself. BUT...it's not her fault.only a doctor does a forceps delivery or makes the decision whether to progress to cs. It's not really the doctors fault either, probably. Sometimes these things do happen.

I agree a debrief is an excellent idea. Not with your GP but most units will have a senior midwife who does this and can go through your labour notes and explain anything you aren't sure about. Not as a fault finding exercise but to make sense of it. They may also be able to provide access to a counsellor. Contact the Head of Midwifery to request an appt.

I hope you will in time talk to your friend and accept what happened.i bet she is horrified and mortified.

Finally, enjoy your little one. If you ever choose to have another baby you will have a totally different experience.

Best wishes.xx

PeanutButter1 Fri 26-Jul-13 21:05:22

I'm so grateful you are all taking the time to write. Thank you.

I feel a bit brighter today - still not great but I'm really hoping my physio appointment on Wednesday will help explain my injuries and if there is any scope for further recovery. I'm dubious any muscles can get better after 5 months but you never know.

I will arrange a debrief soon. My poor midwife friend was utterly devastated. I haven't really spoken to her at length since (not unusual as she's actually a mate's mum), though we've exchanged a few FB messages. I don't blame her as I believe she always had my best interests at heart.

X

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now