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Life after a third degree tear...

(20 Posts)
HelloDC1 Mon 14-May-18 10:19:48

So I gave birth to DC1 almost 3 weeks ago smile All went fine, text book labour and delivery, but unfortunately I had a third degree tear which needed to be stitched up in theatre afterwards.
I’ve followed Doctors orders since then - lactulose/lots of water/pelvic floor exercises/letting air get to the stitches/keeping meticulously clean etc but I do still have a few questions! If anyone who has been through the same could answer them I would really appreciate it (I know it’s very personal!)

1.How long did it take for your stitches to dissolve?
I feel like mine may have, although I do still get itchy at various times day and night (I’m wondering whether the maternity pads are contributing to this though, I’m the same with sanitary towels).

2.When were you able to have sex again?
A fortnight ago I never had any intention of letting DH near me again grin I’m now starting to feel like my libido is making a slow return, however I don’t want to cause any damage if I’m not fully healed yet (also waiting to start contraception again)

3.Is there any way of knowing whether my pelvic floor exercises are making a difference?
Would I be able to tell myself? Will it help if I insert a finger while doing them? Sorry I know that’s TMI, just want to make sure that what I’m doing is working.

Thanks in advance for anyone who can shed any more info on these! I’m just desperate to know whether there’s still life in me after the joys of childbirth confused

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Childrenofthesun Mon 14-May-18 10:29:28

I had one after the birth of DD2 (VBAC). I didnt know exactly when the stitches dissolved but I think it was quite quickly. Everything felt a bit "lumpy" down there for a long time. It all healed really well though and 5 years on there is no scarring or anything.

Pelvic floor exercises are crucial. Are you having a check related to the tear? I was given an appointment with a continence midwife 6 weeks post-partum and thought I'd been doing my exercises well but she tested my muscles and they were incredibly weak. She gave me a plastic tool that you insert yes, really to make sure you are doing the exercises properly. It was really helpful and at a follow-up appointment with my muscle strength had returned.

As for sex, it was months and months, but more because I was exhausted than to do with the tear! I have never felt any pain though.

whatisthisimleaking Mon 14-May-18 10:44:36

I'm not sure when the stitches dissolved. I didn't dare look! grin

We didn't successfully have sex for seven months but my internal tear was the worst. A couple of things I did however was insert vaseline as suggested by a doctor. My friend was told to use baby oil. And I used to have lavendar and milk baths. They both have healing properties and it felt rather luxurious too.

Pelvic floor exercises. If you have a wee and do a pelvic squeeze it should stop your wee flowing. That means you're doing it right.

HelloDC1 Mon 14-May-18 21:36:28

Thank you both very much for your replies  I do appreciate it (and you’ve given me some hope)

@Childrenofthesun Yes I feel like my stitches have dissolved but wasn’t sure if it was too soon! It all felt very swollen and bumpy, but seems to be fairly smooth now, can’t feel anything that I think would be a stitch...
I have an appointment for 12 weeks post birth (the end of July) where I’m assuming I’ll be given a proper examination. I would love to go to this and be told that I’ve made a difference by doing the exercises! I do have Kegel balls that I used prior to pregnancy, would I be able to use these do you think?

@whatisthisimleaking It’s so funny that you said that - I dug out a little hand mirror the other day and then didn’t dare look! grin
Some great tips there with the Vaseline and baby oil, I’ll certainly be making sure to have plenty of lubricant and wine on hand the first time we attempt sex.

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BendydickCuminsnatch Mon 14-May-18 21:42:12

I had a 3rd degree tear with DS1 3 years ago, we moved soon after so I didn’t get the follow up appt (at 12 weeks?) so it wasn’t classified as 3c until later on. I had a year of pelvic floor physio to help regain my bladder control and it really helped (I wasn’t seeing myself constantly, don’t worry, I just had to rush to the loo daily! Still can’t do jumping jacks). So if you do encounter longer term issues like that I’d definitely seek help - it’s there but it might not be offered.
Stitches - not sure, didn’t notice so can’t have been too bad
Sex - few months
Pelvic floor exercises only do so much, you need to strengthen inner thigh muscles, lower abs, lower back, buttocks etc. See first point about physio; and also there’s a great home workout you can but called MuTu, which was recommended to me on here, which focuses on post-partum pelvic floors and diastasis recti!

Definitely recommend a haemorroid pillow to sit on but you might be past that stage by now!

My second baby in November was ELCS as my risk of tearing to the same degree was actually heightened! Next baby will probably be 6 years from original tear if things go to plan, so would hope for a VBAC and maybe even home birth.

Congratulations on your baby 🙃

Whatififall Mon 14-May-18 21:54:00

I had this after dd in 2010.
Can’t remember about stitches.
Sex was 5 months or so.
I had appointments with birth injury physio and given the plastic aid that a pp mentioned.
Consultant appt for 6 week check up rather than GP.
Vaginal/rectal scan at 12 weeks and again at 26 weeks.
I was advised that any future births would have to be elcs at 38 weeks to prevent future tearing and it was also v unlikely my pelvic muscles would ever regain the strength to carry full term.
I felt very well looked after by the medical team and now 8 years on I’m just pleased not to be incontinent! As for the thought of any more babies - it still makes my insides hurt 😂

BendydickCuminsnatch Mon 14-May-18 21:56:35

Ah yes I had the vaginal dilators too! Blocked them out of my mind 🤣 they did really help, but how undignified!

HelloDC1 Mon 14-May-18 22:26:47

Thank you all for even more replies!

Seemed to take everyone a little while for sex - do I just need to put it to the back of my mind for now?

Also.. vaginal dilators? What fresh hell is this? Dare I google? grin

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HelloDC1 Mon 14-May-18 22:27:41

Also, out of curiosity, how many of you went on to have another child after suffering the tear?

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BendydickCuminsnatch Mon 14-May-18 22:30:08

I did but as I mentioned, Caesarian. I was allowed a vaginal birth and would have had a specialist midwife to help avoid another tear. I met with the Birth Choices midwife who ran through loads of things with me and determined my own personal chances of having another tear.

HelloDC1 Mon 14-May-18 22:33:24

That's interesting! Thank you @BendydickCuminsnatch smile

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triangulum Mon 14-May-18 22:36:36

I had a third degree tear with DS1. It was a fairly traumatic birth. Recovery was ok, I'm fine now, 4 years on.

But I only got pregnant again with DS2 after speaking to a midwife and ensuring I would be allowed a C-section. I didn't want to put any more 'pressure' on an already very damaged area. I felt incredibly luckily that it was fixed so well and that I hadn't suffered any lasting issues. I was not willing to jeopardize that. She said I could have a section.

Got pregnant with DS 2, section agreed with the consultant at 14 weeks. DS delivered early at 38+5 and It was a brilliant brilliant birth and I'd totally recommend it smile

Rogue1234 Mon 14-May-18 22:38:04

I had a 4th degree tear and felt healed relatively quickly. At my 12 week follow up they checked my pelvic floor, and made me do my exercises to check I was doing them properly. I hadn't dared have sex yet by the time that appointment came around (I wasn't still in pain but was too scared), but the lack of pain when they examined me helped me get over my fears.

I was referred to a pelvic floor physio, who told me to do pelvic floor exercises when standing, lying and sitting, as they have strain on them in different ways and in different positions. Also concentrate on the release - I hadn't realised but when I was doing them quickly, I wasn't releasing properly in between clenches so I wasn't exercising them properly.

It's still really early days for you. That feeling of vulnerability after such a bad tear is awful, especially combined with a body that is recovering from pregnancy, and a newborn to look after! Take things slowly and don't forget to look after yourself as well as your baby flowers

freckleface12 Mon 14-May-18 22:44:19

Hi, HCP here! The NHS has an app called "Squeezy." It was developed by physiotherapists and you can link it with your own physio if you start seeing one. It costs £2.99, but it's really useful. You can set your own pelvic floor exercises and it's got some info pages too. Good luck with everything! thanks

justforthisthread101 Mon 14-May-18 22:46:56

I had a third degree tear with my first and was very tender and sore for about 3 weeks. Had sex at about 11 weeks. Went on to have my second 16 months later, another vaginal delivery and a small tear. I healed really quickly and remember thinking, ‘oh, this is what it’s supposed to feel like!’

HelloDC1 Mon 14-May-18 23:16:08

Oh you're all wonderful! Making me feel that there is hope  thank you all so much for taking the time to reply, I'm just so sorry you all had to go through this too. It's bloody awful most unpleasant.

@freckleface12 I will definitely get that app, great recommendation, thanks smile

@Rogue1234 any more tips on the exercises?

Seems it's not uncommon to be referred to a physio after the 12 week check. And there I was naively hoping that I'd go and they'd tell me everything was good as new, if not better than before grin

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timeisnotaline Sun 03-Jun-18 00:27:13

A physio is very helpful for telling you if you are recovering muscle strength. I had a 3rd degree and was in an aftercare physio program for 6 months. Some stitches didn’t really dissolve for months and were lumpy and tender. Sex was about 8 months after I think and I needed to use the vaginal dilators for things to work again, must have been stitched a little tightly. No ongoing issues however, exercise etc all as per normal.
The physio program did some tests and okayed me for a vaginal birth next time which is any day now. I’m hoping it goes much much better!!

HelloDC1 Sun 10-Jun-18 12:48:08

@timeisnotaline that's helpful, thank you! I feel like everything has healed well so far smile nothing feels unusual down there, very little to no discomfort and have comfortably had sex since giving birth.
Would you mind me asking how long it's been since your tear if you're due to give birth again? If you could come back and let me know how your post-tear VB I would really appreciate it (although I'm sure you'll have your hands full!). I do occasionally wonder whether I dare have DC2 at some point....

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timeisnotaline Sun 10-Jun-18 15:36:55

I just had dc2 last week, 3 years after dc1. no pain relief because there wasn’t time. I had a second degree tear which is a completely different story, seems fine to me! It was however along the same line as my 3rd degree tear so will consult an obs before trying vb again for a third. Struggling with a bad headache but everything else is pretty fine.

HelloDC1 Mon 11-Jun-18 07:28:42

Congratulations on your newborn, I hope you're all settled thanks
And thank you for coming back with an update, I'm pleased you didn't have the same again, it gives me hope! Fingers crossed you'll heal well smile

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