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Who took ages to recover from childbirth? Help and advice wanted from survivors!!

(179 Posts)
godivas Fri 26-Sep-08 22:29:06

Hello everyone, I actually read old posts about this but wanted to hear more details since I am really despairing now.

I gave birth to ds1 10 months ago. Total trauma in the delivery room. No episiotomy. Ventouse and 3rd degree tears.

I have so much going on down there still that I started wondering if I will ever recover from this.

Sometimes hurting on the outside, sometimes aching on the inside, sometimes a feeling as if my soft tissues are burned off at the enterance. Sometimes I feel as if I was hit by a bus on the perineum. Sometimes I am totally fine.

Anyone experienced such complications and pain like this for months and months after the delivery?

franfoxy2003 Fri 26-Sep-08 23:22:27

i tell you what after i had my ds i felt like when i was stood up everything was going to fall out. I had good delivery, no tearing etc but still had that feeling, 2 and a half years on i still get it and its a horrible feeling it feels like loads of pressure inside and it hurts, feel like i have to move or everything will fall out! probably should see doc, both of us that is

notsoteenagemum Fri 26-Sep-08 23:36:10

I grazed with DD and it took about 2 years before I stopped feeling 'gritty' especially during sex.
I had no tear, graze or stitches with DS and was fine after about a week. I did think that tearing was supposed to heal better than an episotomy though.
Go and see your doctor, I never did but I'm sure they should be able to help you.

theautomatic Sat 27-Sep-08 10:11:22

I had a third degree tear as well (amazing how many of us out there have had one, awful) and it took me about 2 years to feel normal again. I saw every specialist going (on the NHS and privately) who kept telling me everything was "healed", certainly didnt feel like that. I think when you've undergone such huge trauma it can take time to heal. Godivas- hope things start to improve soon, did you have any tests afterwards? I know in some hospitals they give women who've had bad tearing extra scans to check the muscle and I've even heard of women having physiotherapy.

godivas Sat 27-Sep-08 11:00:49

I have been to several specialists who assured me that even though the trauma to the whole area was extensive I was on the mend. Given time, they said, I should be fine. But I don't think doctors get enough feedback from many patients who haven't recovered even after months and years. That is why I am interested in hearing other women's personal experiences.

franfoxy2003, have you had an ultrasound check-up recently? Are you sure this is not organ prolapse? Cystocele and Rectocele are the keywords you can google. Hope it's not that though, however I heard that it feels like things are going to fall out if you have organ prolapse.

theautomatic, I think I am going through something similar. Doctors telling me I have healed but the pain goes on. I have good muscle tone, front and back. So I have been told. And it feels like it too. No incontinence either, which is I am grateful for. Mine is more the tissues hurting. If you get the time to tell me details about your recovery and how "wrongly" you felt before you felt "normal" again (and how normal is that really?) I'd really appreciate it.

notsoteenagemum, I was wondering now that you don't feel gritty do you feel recovered really?

Thank you all!

biggreypants Sat 27-Sep-08 11:34:32

Godivas I totally understand your desperation it really is the most horrendous feeling to be sore in your most sensitive place!
I had a vbac 5 months ago and bitterly regret it at the moment sad
I did not have bad tearing like you I had a long laceration to the labia and a split along its edge (which looks hideous to me)
and I just feel so sore still.
I cannot take my mind of it, its the first thing I think of when i wake which makes me feel very anxious and panicky, and then its on my mind all day, its an area that when you feel sore there you just cannot forget sad
Just wanted to let you know you are not alone its really shit isn't it!

biggreypants Sat 27-Sep-08 12:05:38

oh and I also have this horrible feeling that when i'm sat on a chair and I cough I can feel i can feel the soft tissues around the entrance pushing out ( this has improved since the birth thankgod) This really turns my stomach to feel it!
anyone else have this ? does it go away with time?

Minniethemoocher Sat 27-Sep-08 12:13:16

I had a third degree tear, and appalling after care. It consisted of a consultant sticking his finger up my bum at my 6 week check up! Very sophisticated treatment...

I was in a lot of pain even 6 months after, went to see my GP who told me that it was nerve damage. It took over a year really to recover, and I have never really felt the same down below.

You have my sympathies, it really is awful.

You may not be surprised to learn that I am have an elective section for baby No2. due in 6 weeks.

Lotster Sat 27-Sep-08 14:36:00

You poor thing. Your experience sounds awful Godivas.

I would definately call myself a survivor, seeing as I'm currently 4 months pregnant for the 2nd time, which once I didn't think would be possible physically or mentally!

I felt in such a state I was unsure I'd ever be able to have a sibling for my son. My forcep birth ended in a bad 2nd degree, which got infected, bursting stitches and causing awful scarring. I then had several injections in the scar tissue to resolve it, before finally (after a serious complaint by my GP to the hospital to pull their bloody socks up) having a perineal repair (Fenton's procedure). They send me home with an opening (sorry if TMI) the size of a gnat's, and a pack of dilators to "stretch yourself back to normal." I nearly lost my marbles at this point. Also, this first op was botched, stitches in wrong place, and I had to have another, leaving me better, but not before another agonising infection, and by this time my son was a year old.

I had some really dark days, where I felt my whole life had become medicalised, that I was a pathetic mother who couldn't do anything (lifting was out of the question for such a long time), and that I could never do it again, or ever feel the same.
I just felt broken, and that everyone must be so over my complaining.

I don't say this to be all "woe is me", but just wanted to say to you that there are times with these problems after birth where it all feels so unfair, that the doctors just want you to go away, and on top of it all it's SO personal that you don't know who to turn to, or even feel confident enough to fight for the treatment you need. Which is why you must. I had to fight tooth and nail to get better and now I'm pregnant again. My GP also referred me for some cognitive therapy for the resulting PSTD which surrounded the whole experience and I'm so grateful to her for letting me know I was important, I was a good mother, and getting me to a place where I was looking back on it, rather than unable to stop living it.

Perhaps your GP can refer you for physio, and to the hospital's perineal clinic for a really good investigation, or maybe cortisone injections can help to break down some painful scar tissue?
I also found massaging everywhere that hurts with wheatgerm oil really helps too.

My friend told me a sad story this week. Her mother admitted that she had a prolapsed after my friend was born. She was too embarrassed to ask for any help, her marriage broke down because of it, and that was why they divorced when my friend was 11. She later had a hysterectomy she's sure was the result..

My point is if you are in pain you simply must bang down the doors. Just because you doctors tells you your muscle tone is good and you have healed, you are still IN PAIN and they must help! People go to their GP's all the time for so much less.

The very best of luck to you. Reaaaally sorry to waffle blush

tiredemma Sat 27-Sep-08 14:38:16

shock at these horrific stories.

This is what I have chosen to do my dissertation on.

theautomatic Sat 27-Sep-08 16:45:30

Godivas, happy to share my experience with you. I found the whole labour experience pretty OK and remember feeling proud of myself after I gave birth. Was looking forward to a cup of tea and cuddling new baby. However, 5 mins after giving birth the scene was like something out of casualty, the room was full of doctors and I was rushed into theatre to be "repaired", god how I hate that word. It took 4 hours to be stitches up and I remember the surgeon and another doctor arguing about whether I needed more stitches. Felt traumatised and violated. Was told had sustained such bad tearing because my baby came out with her arm over her shoulder. Personally I think the midwife screaming at me to push when I didnt need to played a huge part, there was no controlled breating and panting which I've since read plays an important role in preventing tearing. It was only when i got home after spending 4 horrendous day on the postnatal ward (though thats another story) and googled 3rd degree I realised the horrendous seriousness of the problem. No-one had actually told me what a third degree tear was and possible consequences. I remember sobbing in tears to the health visitor when she visited me 2 weeks after giving birth, I was in constant pain, couldnt walk properly and couldnt sleep because of the sheer ongoing pain. She booked me into see a woman gp who disdainfully told me I had a water infection. Several weeks later, feeling suicidal went to the gp again who told me I'd be unlikely ever to feel normal again because of the extent of the damage. Left gps in tears and had my worst christmas ever. I'm sure everyone whos been through this knows how impossibly hard it is to look after a newborn while being in pain and yet people seem to assume you bounce back from the birth quickly (maybe you do if you have a birth without sustaining a tear/stitches).

Eventually paid to see a private gynae who removed some excess scar tissue. Didnt help matters, still in pain, couldnt sit down without discomfort, couldnt walk properly and sex was out of the questions...

Saw a NHS gynae who told me I was healed and said it would take time to get back to normal. By this time I was back at work and couldnt cope with the pain. Seemed to be battling constant infections (had pelvic inflammatory disease twice) and could feel what felt like internal stitches pulling my insides all the time.

To cut a long story short, time is the only thing thats helped. I do feel much better now but do find I have niggly pain sometime and swear there are undissolved stitches inside me. Saw another gp about that who dismissed the possibility though I've heard that this is a known problem- stitches which are meant to dissolve but dont.

I am learning to live with things now but sometimes I do feel down. I think of my healthy body before childbirth and how different it is now. I wonder why me? I feel bitter the first years of my daughters life were ruined because of the pain I felt. Have since read that other women get appointments to perineal clinics automatically if they have a 3rd/4th degree tear and other women are offered injections to ease scar tissue, see a physiotherapist and are invited to attend ultrasound to check the muscles are Ok. (have since paid to have this done but was to scared to go back for the results when the consultant told me he could see significant damage from childbirth but to come back next week for the full results).

Sorry this is so negative, its still raw after all these years and i think its disgusting that some women are left by their hospital to just get on with it and have very poor if any followup care. Its great if you live somewhere where they take 3rd degree tears seriously, but if you dont you have to fight for any semblance of care.

On a positive note things have imporoved for me and have learnt (sorry if tmi)that regular sex helps to keep my muscles working. And I am trying to conceive number 2! Will insist on a c-section though..

sorry this post is so long, got carried away!! Cant really talk about this in real life either.

sarah293 Sat 27-Sep-08 16:47:41

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godivas Sat 27-Sep-08 22:22:43

biggreypants, I have that feeling too, especially when I blow my nose! It's horrible! It's impossible to think about anything else when one's most delicate place hurts really... I have it on my mind even when I wake up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, so I know how you are feeling... I find myself wishing I had a more serious sickness in any other part / organ of my body, just not down there!

lotster and theautomatic, you have no idea how much I appreciate the candid information and the details. It's absolutely invaluable. I have been reading a lot on mumsnet recently (I just wish I discovered this site before I gave birth) and I have learned so much!!

I don't have a problem banging down the doors to see specialists. I like the encouragement though! I live in a Scandinavian country where I have been buggered during birth but my GP here has no problem referring me to specialists as long as I am asking for it, but I kind of lost faith in the doctors here. I sometimes think because it's such a small community no doctor here even wants to admit that anything wrong was done to me (they are bound to know or even be friends / ex-colleagues / uni pals with the wrong-doers)

I am from a southern european country originally where, as long as you are paying for private doctors and hospitals, you get taken seriously and excellent care is provided. I have been going to doctors since the delivery, but I decided that next time I go I want it to be the right type of doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating vaginal trauma (good luck to me finding one). I also want to have a list with specific topics on it such as Fenton's, scar formation, internal lacerations, steroid injections, perineoplasty etc. (everything I learned on mn and from you guys!) I don't like being poked with a speculum for no good reason, so I feel the necessity to be more informed this time around to get efficient results.

That's why I ask in detail so that I will know what to expect from the specialist.

riven, I am very sorry to hear about your pain but I must admit I am excited for you! I hope they can discover whatever it is that is causing you so much pain still. I know I ask too many questions but did you remain in agony for all these years despite the fact that you seeked medical help before?

godivas Sat 27-Sep-08 22:29:54

minniethemoocher, I forgot to say, I am so not surprised you are going for an elective section this time. That's what I wanted the first time too actually, I was terrified of normal childbirth and the doctor held my hand and said "you will be so happy at the end if you choose to give normal birth", she convinced me, I feel soooo wronged... And definetely not happy. Would you mind telling me if you still have pain down there sometimes, is this what you mean by "never felt the same again"? Especially during sex still, god I am so scared of that!

Minniethemoocher Sun 28-Sep-08 09:46:40

Godivas, I have had medical care in a southern european country, private and excellent! As to the NHS.....well I am not well off but I am using our savings to have a private c-section, just to avoid NHS "care".

It is hard to describe what it feels like down below, different, I can still feel a ridge of scar tissue on my perineum 5 years after. It is stiff and rigid, not elastic, if that makes sense....I had internal tearing of the vagina too and that feels different as well, a bit like biggreypants describes.

Sex life has got back to normal, no pain but it took a long time. The GP told me that it was nerve damage causing the pain and also fear of pain.

So sorry that you were talked into a "normal" birth and that you have suffered such horrendous consequences as a result angry

So relieved to be having an elective section, couldn't give birth vaginally again, just TOO scared!!!

godivas Sun 28-Sep-08 15:12:07

I don't expect to feel normal again, ever. But I am very glad to hear that sex life went back to normal, I am very concerned about this. Hope it works out the same way for me too... Thank you very much for the information minnie!

Lotster Sun 28-Sep-08 16:26:52

I must say, it's weird how sex actually provides physio sometimes! I find my scar tissue much less sore for a few days afterwards.

After all rubbing scar tissue is what breaks it down. Makes my muscle tone feel weaker though... Hate doing flipping pelvic floors too.

sarah293 Sun 28-Sep-08 16:33:34

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theautomatic Sun 28-Sep-08 16:46:08

Riven- your point about how you considered divorce to avoid sex struck a chord. I thought the same for ages. I told myself it wasnt fair for dh to be trapped in a sexless marriage but luckily, for me, he said he'd rather be married to me even if it meant no sex, rather than find someone else.

Good luck with your procedure, hope it goes well.

biggreypants Sun 28-Sep-08 17:08:07

Oh Riven I know your story well have seen many of your posts sad

you WILL get better, they WILL fix you.
There is only so much bad luck someone can have and this is now your turn for some good luck smile

Be brave you are a very strong lady and you can get through this.
I will be looking out for your posts telling us all about your rampant sex life grin

kama Sun 28-Sep-08 17:18:45

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sarah293 Sun 28-Sep-08 17:36:01

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godivas Sun 28-Sep-08 21:22:08

riven, Very sorry to hear about your daughter. after all you went through you so deserve that operation going well and fabulous.. Hope you tell us about it later.

keirao Mon 29-Sep-08 16:40:11

Are some of you really suggesting that sex is actually good for recovery? I am afraid of trying, given the amount of pain I still have (8,5 months after birth) but one of the gynaes I saw actually did tell me that sex could help the surrounding tissues to heal, like gymnastics (to regain strechiness I guess)! But another gynae looked like he's never heard of anything like that.

MrsMattie Mon 29-Sep-08 16:43:26

Hi godivas. Different experience to you, as i had a c-section with my son's birth, but I felt like I had been hit by a truck for a long time. C-section scar, stress incontinence, a bloody great Bartholin's cyst, hideous mastitis - I really felt like my body was falling apart, to be honest. Didn't have sex for a long time on any regular basis, and to be honest, it took well over a year for me to feel anything less than ill, and closer to two to start feeling normal again. DS is now 3.7 yrs old and I am 32 weeks pregnant with no.2... glutton, punishment etc grin

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