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Infected episiotomy, stitches opened-moral support needed

(26 Posts)
johnnycomelurky Wed 02-Feb-11 23:06:14

I had my beautiful little boy on Saturday with the help of ventouse and an episiotomy. Well as thread title suggests I woke this morning to find my stitches had opened. Been seen by midwife and GP and now on antibiotics and have been told they don't restitch but leave it to heal up on on its own. I would just like to hear from some others who've been here and have healed because right now I'm finding it really upsetting to have such large wound in so delicate a place. Also any tips on helping healing along would be great. I just want to get this into perspective because right now it seems huge.

eyebrowqueen Wed 02-Feb-11 23:14:28

This was me five months ago. I was desperate for it to heal and felt so vulnerable. I've almost forgotten about it now! Didn't need a restitch and it was a third degree epi/ tear. I saw a tissue viability nurse who advised me to eat well and clean often. Lots of people advise baths. I advise showers, (water spraying on the wound) and airing as often as poss.

It will get better I promise.
Congratulations by the way

WillYouDoTheDangFanjo Wed 02-Feb-11 23:14:46

Oh gosh you poor thing. I have no experience with episiotomy at all but I wanted to bump this up for you and make sure you get lots of support.

Congratulations on the birth of your baby! Complications are rotten in the early days, I hope you are being well looked after.

eyebrowqueen Wed 02-Feb-11 23:19:54

Ps in case it's not clear- my wound also opened and was infected. It felt like forever but after 6 weeks to 2 months it started to feel like it was closing up. Tissue viability nurse was v helpful and told me it would take quite a while to heal

wilkos Wed 02-Feb-11 23:30:56

I had a second degree tear with both my children which was stitched after birth

stitches unravelled 48 hours after dd arived (cue massive panic attack and ringing of maternity ward thinking innards were going to drop through hole) but they refused to restitch and I healed up fine

with ds they fell out after 24 hours, and once again healed up fine

obv. not an episiotomy with infection but just wanted to reassure you that if they don't think they need to restitch they are probably right and you will heal just fine without

and also although it seems HUGE, it won't be!

congratulations by the way smile

johnnycomelurky Wed 02-Feb-11 23:34:00

eyebrow thank you that's so good to hear. It just seems so scary (and gross) at the moment.

crazypanda Wed 02-Feb-11 23:39:27

hi,don't know if they still use them,it was alost 14yrs ago,but i had a bead thing to hold me together instead of staples,and my cut was infected,it began to heal in the middle,it took lots of different antibiotics,but it did get better.i do sympathise i really do,look after yourself.

cardamomginger Thu 03-Feb-11 08:44:22

sad so sorry. it is very upsetting and i really feel for you. i had dc1 4 months ago and my tears opened up and became infected, so i know what this is like. i was on several courses of antibiotics before things healed up - so if you end up having to have more than one course, don't worry, it is quite common. have they taken a swab? if not, get them to do that so they can check that the antibiotics are specific to whatever bugs are there. i had several swabs, and having them done is not nearly as bad as i thought it would be. promise! i know it's scary and upsetting, but have a look every day with a mirror. if you familiarise yourself with what things look like (degree thatthe tear is open, how red things are) then you will spot any changes quickly and can go back to the gp asap. check for any discharge and smell. keep things as clean as possible. others here have sat in salt baths several times a day. i was told to use just luke warm water from the shower (on low - no power showers!!!) to wash with. pat dry with a clean cloth. NO SOAP!!! when you do a poo, hold a clean maternity towel over the cut. this will make sure nothing gets into the wound and will give you a bit of security. after a poo i wiped my bottom with baby wipes - don't wipe the cut - as it helps to make sure everything stays clean and then i showered off after that. you're probably bleeding a lot, but it's a good idea to go without knickers if you can - the air will help. make sure you are on good enough painkillers and take them at regular intervals before the pain has a chance to kick in. paracetemol might do the trick - but if not get the gp to give you something better. if you are bf, make sure they know this before the prescribe for you.
it takes a while for things to heal, but they usually do heal ok. i didn't need to be restitched. but if things do not heal up as you would like them to or you feel concerned, press for a referral to a gynae. as you gave birth so recently, you probably still come under the care of the labour ward for things like this, so maybe give them a ring as that might be a quicker way to see a gynae. after things have healed, see how it feels. if it's feeling tight or a bit hard ask for a referral to an obs/gynae physio - they can help the scar tissue by using ultrasound to make things softer.
it all feels like it's awful and i felt that my body was compltely ruined - but you will be ok. have to take DC into hospital overnight this morning, so will be a couple fo dyas before i cna post again (not that I am being arrogant enough to think you need more of my advice, but i know it can be unsettling if you want to ask something else and you don;t get another post, iyswim...). good luck and CONGRATULATIONS!!!! XX

eyebrowqueen Thu 03-Feb-11 10:16:21

Jonny, Yes I know it well. And it's not like you can really tell everyone about it either. 'Sorry I don't want visitors as I feel like my insides are falling out and I want to stay at home because of my horrible open wound...!etc. '

You will get lots of good advice on here but find your own way with it - as I said, some say baths but I found mini showers much more effective and so on. But be assured you are not the only one by any means and honestly time is the best healer (sorry for the cliche!)

johnnycomelurky Thu 03-Feb-11 10:55:31

Thank you all so much for the advice and reassurance. Feeling less freaked today, managed a decent level of sleep last night thanks to DH being a star with DS and tbh I think that's helped. Am currently airing and DH had a look and said it looked better than yesterday so may brave another look myself.
cardamom I hope everything is ok with your DC

breatheslowly Thu 03-Feb-11 12:18:26

That was me 5 months ago too. I second everything Cardamon said and particularly about the swab as the first lot of antibiotics I was prescribed wouldn't have been the right ones, but luckily the hospital insisted on a swab. I guess the question of a restitch depends on the severity of the episiotomy. I had a 2nd degree episiotomy/tear, but I think it was quite deep. My GP sent me back to hospital and I was eventually seen by a urogynecologist who decided to do a repair once the infection was clear. This seems like a good idea in my case as otherwise the muscle wouldn't have all joined back together again. After my repair the skin layer opened up again and that has been left to repair itself which took about 8 weeks.

I really think that you should see a gynae - your GP is not an expert in that kind of wound and a midwife is not a doctor.

I found that I was in a really dark place when this happened to me. I had fantastic support, but it was still a miserable experience. There is light at the end of the tunnel and my DD is wonderful.

johnnycomelurky Thu 03-Feb-11 13:52:42

Thanks breatheslowly I did have swab and will know tomorrow if on right antibiotics. I just missed call from the GP so not sure if she's had a rethink or just got swab results back early but she's now in a meeting until 2.30. I have no idea if muscle is involved but GP didn't see any. Thanks for advice and I'm glad yours got better.

HeroShrew Thu 03-Feb-11 14:05:08

oh crumbs, I've been there. my tips?

- accept ALL offers of help. Childbirth floors people who have no complications, but if you have an infection in your system you're just not going to have the energy to cook / clean etc AS WELL AS look after your baby and heal yourself

- echo breatheslowly - ask for a referral to a gynae. My GP was young and inexperienced and the look on his face when he saw my undercarriage was not helpful. See someone with expertise and experience.

- do NOT look. Seriously.

I was feeling much better after about three weeks, completely healed after 10 weeks and had resumed marital relations after 3 months grin You will heal!

microserf Thu 03-Feb-11 15:18:24

i've been there too, and my stitches had to be taken out. i nearly went mad with all the antibiotics, some of which made me sick as a dog.

gentle washing and lots of air is what i recommend. get referred to a good gynacologist and him/her monitor how the wound is healing. this is what i ended up doing and it made me feel much better - i was sooo miserable until i got some help, so i really feel for you!

mine healed fantastically in the end, no restitching required.

erm the advice on not looking is quite good, best to have the specialist have a look and sort it out!

johnnycomelurky Thu 03-Feb-11 23:24:33

Thanks hero and micro. My GP arranged for me to be seen by consultant gynae back at labour suite so was checked out and am now under her care there. So feeling much more optimistic now. Just trying to relax about it and not let it get in the way of these early days with DS. Today's been much better. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions too.

Sillyoldme Fri 04-Feb-11 20:10:40

I had exactly this scenario:

- lots of shallow baths with tea tree
- sit with no pants on

Gets so much better after tge antibiotics kick in

BlackSwan77 Fri 04-Feb-11 21:28:30

I also had the exact same experience, johnnycomelurky (congrats on the baby BTW!) Emergency forceps delivery and episiotomy, 4 days later my stitches broke down and I went to A&E as there was a lot of blood loss. When I was told they couldn't restitch, it was the blackest moment of my life. I honestly didn't think I could cope being sent home with an open wound and dealing with a new baby.

10 weeks later I have been on 3 courses of antibiotics despite my best efforts to keep the area as clean as possible, and I think it's very very common for open episiotomies to get infected no matter how hygienic you are. However I don't think I was airing myself as much as I could have, so my advice is to go to bed knickerless every night!!

When I was told the wound could take months to heal, it was very depressing indeed, but the time does pass quickly. You're so busy looking after the baby that before you know it, everything is feeling better. I promise you'll get through it.

I couldn't look at the wound with a mirror until 9 weeks later, by which stage it was 80% healed. I'm glad I didn't look when it was totally open and infected, though I did think that advice about keeping an eye on it to monitor any redness/swelling was a very good tip. You've got to be brave though!

Now onto the next hurdle - having sex! Doesn't bear thinking about!!!

johnnycomelurky Sat 05-Feb-11 06:24:43

Thanks blackswan I'm doing as much airing as I can during the day but I'm still losing a fair bit of lochia so can't figure out how to do knickerless nights without much mess. Got some pads for the bed so maybe I just need to stop bring squeamish and have a go. Been advised to shower it which stings but I already feel like the regular cleaning and airing is helping.

SpiceWeasel Sat 05-Feb-11 07:51:50

Just wanted to lend some support, this happened to me too. I won't sugar coat it, it really sucked at the time. I'm not sure that I would recommend looking as I was really traumatised by that. However, how it looked then is no relation to how it looks now. It did heal up.

raby81 Sun 06-Feb-11 15:08:12

I had a very similar experience. I was told to wash with aqueous cream and have a bath each day with 2 cups of salt in it, worked wonders.
I also agree that it is better not to look to begin with.

Now DD is 5 months old and it feels pretty much back to normal. oh and also, remember to keep up the pelvic floor exercises. They really are necessary!

CoteDAzur Sun 06-Feb-11 15:16:53

Don't wear panties, just wrap towel around yourself.
Wash after every visit to toilet & dry with hairdryer not towel.
Don't look!

Once it is healed (i.e. covered completely with skin), you will need to take care of the scar tissue with a specific scar cream such as Contractubex.

Good luck. I know how horrible it is sad

RufousBartleby Sun 06-Feb-11 17:56:41

Johnny - I had an infection and an episiotomy break down. Mine was restitched under general anaesthetic, and from reading the other posts on here I think I then healed faster than some people who were left unrepaired. I am left with some lasting problems, but I think this would have happened regardless of whether I'd had the later Op. If you are not happy about not being repaired I would challenge this.

In terms of looking after yourself I was told by the consultant not to bathe as this softens the wound, but to shower, not to pour water when weeing for the same reason, but to keep as dry as possible (I found leaning as far forward as you can helped) not to use any products on it, and not to use a hairdryer to dry it as apparently this can cause any infection to spread.

Wish I had seen her earlier as before I had been using hairdryer, salt in baths, tea tree the works (as recommended by midwife!) Really wish I had had the right advice about hygiene to start with. Also make sure your iron levels are okay as you won't heal properly if they are not.

Lastly, I really feel for you, its really awful

johnnycomelurky Mon 07-Feb-11 22:13:46

Rufous the gynae I saw also said to use shower around every four hours which is what I've been doing. She said hairdryer ok but noy necessary just need to air as much as possible. It seems to be working as it feels better than it did.

Coming to end of antibiotics and see dr again on Wed so should know if looks like infection gone then.

Thanks for all the help, I really do feel much better for hearing about all your experiences and knowing that it will get better in time.

Pals115 Sun 29-May-16 11:36:59

Hi all,

I was reading this thread for moral support. But still I am so much worried,because my story is totally different! confused
I had my baby boy on march29. Had episiotomy and around 10 stitches. I was healing normally, untill April 19, when my gynec pulled the last thread of my stitches(which was outside on the skin) , which according to her, was healed from inside.
After that, I had no issues /no pain..so I resumed normal household work, only to find out 1 week later, that there was a hole near the stitches shock and pus discharge from that hole. That hole was actually made due to that last thread pulling by my gynec.i was once again in bed, had antibiotics n some ointment to apply on hole. Phew! The hole was closed in a week n also pus discharge stopped in 2 days.

Its not d end! Again after 4 days, I.e. Almost after 2 months of delivery, I found that my stitches have opened! And I think it is again due to pullothat thread near d last stitch..I am again bedridden n very much worried, irritated, frustrated.
Pls help me..what to do.. I am airing as much as possible, applying ointment and medical powder alternatively. What else I can do..

Pals115 Sun 29-May-16 11:37:58

How much more time will it take to heal on its own?

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