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will I stretch?

(30 Posts)
music Mon 30-Sep-02 20:52:24

I wonder if anyone out there can set my mind at rest. Basically I had a very traumatic borth with my baby lying back to back, ventouse, hands and rotational forceps were used. Oviousely I had an episiotomy, which they seem to have stitched quite tightly. Any way this was all 6 nonths ago, and we havn't even tried sex yet, as I feel far too tight with only my finger inside. I am finding it hard to believe I can possibly stretch to the right size, it was a diagonal cut and there seems to be a tiny bit of spare skin left at the very bottom, with one side of me stretched quite tightly towards the other. Sorry to be so graphic, I hope this doesn't scare anyone, but it's driving me insane with worry.

Chinchilla Mon 30-Sep-02 21:54:11

I was the same, and didn't get any'lubricant' (sorry) until 8 months, when I started my periods again. Have you had one yet? I was EXACTLY the same situation as yours above, and can reassure you that everything is now alright!! I also had really tight stitches, and was convinced that I had been stitched up wrong. I saw a doctor for another gynacalogical reason, and she suggested using KY jelly until things kicked back in. She also told me that I MUST have sex, or get some counselling, otherwise it would become too big a problem in my head! I basically told her that I was fine thank you very much, but inside I was as worried as you.

When we did do it again (at about 9 months, for reasons other than just the above stopping us), it was fine but a bit strange! BTW, stitches can mean that it takes ages to feel normal again 'down there'(!) Don't rush yourself. If you are still convinced that something is wrong - see your gp, as worrying is not going to put you in the right mood!


Changed Mon 30-Sep-02 22:04:13

I had a similar sort of delivery with my first and sex was out of the question, mentally rather than physically for over a year. My end stitch hadn't kept the skin together properly so I actually have a larger hole (sorry for being blunt) than I should have but this didn't seem to stop the tight feeling that you mention. I have since had another vaginal delivery (very straight forward this time) and I tore along the scar. The midwife decided to let it heal naturally this time and it was actually less uncomfortable. I do still feel a little tightness and discomfort during sex but also find that this can be pleasurable sometimes. I think you need an understanding partner who will allow you to go at your own pace and in a position which best helps you. I still feel that I need to be in control of the situation and this usually dictates the position that we use. Extra lubrication can be helpful until you become more confident, we used to get a little bottle but I can't remember what it was called - something like Feminelle, it was kept near the condoms in Superdrug.

If things don't get any better you can have the wound restitched, though this would mean going through the pain and embarrassment again. I have heard of women having this done though and being happy with the result. Try to relax as I'm sure that this will be half the problem (I know its easier said that done when you know that it will hurt). It does get easier, I promise.

Katherine Tue 01-Oct-02 08:40:13

Would just like to echo the other advice here. I tore REALLY badly after my DS (It was a really rushed delivery and I was in such a state that I just pushed and pushed till he popped out which tore me to pieces). The stitching took ages and was SO painful (why don't they use analgesia?). Afterwards I felt tight and uncomfortable for AGES. In fact it wasn't until about 8mths that I could even contemplate sex. At first it felt difficult as I was scared of it hurting but we used gel and it improved. Once we got going again it was fine.

Incidently after DD I had a really tiny tear which healed naturally but I still felt tight. I was hoping the action would begin much sooner this time but as with DS it wasn't until I cut right down on BF that things got more comfortable. I actually wonder if its the BF hormones rather than the tearing which makes you feel tight.

SoupDragon Tue 01-Oct-02 11:02:24

I had a 3rd degree tear plus an episiotomy for the delivery of DS1 ("Star gazer", 10lbs, 37cm head, ventouse... OUCH!) This was followed by, I believe, up to 2 hours of repair work in theatre under a spinal block (this is my memory anyway: DS born at 4am, didn't get to see him til I was in recovery at 7am).

Anyway, everything did eventually get back to normal. Sex was still painful 7 months after but time, patience and understanding sorted it out.

I think BF hormones affect the lubrication rather than the tightness. My theory is the tightness is mainly psychological and the longer you leave it, the worse your mind makes it out to be. HOwever, it's best to get checked by a doctor to be sure everything's fine in case there was a problem with the stitching.


susanmt Tue 01-Oct-02 14:36:30

Oh Soupdragon you have just made me smile about my dd's delivery 2yrs8months ago for the first time! They have always referred to her as a 'face to pubes' baby which I thought was really horrid, and 'stargazer' sounds SO much nicer.
I had a second degree tear, she was 9lb12oz, she was back to back and I had a ventouse in the end as well. I can't beleive that they wouldn't use analgesia Katherine, that sounds awful - I had a local plus gas and air while I was stitched.
I was really nervous about sex but we managed it about 4 months - I was glad we didnt leave it any longer as I was starting to obsess a bit!
It is pretty rare that you wont stretch, and like the others have said, a little extra lubrication goes a long way! Hope you get things sorted out soon music.
Incidentally my second birth was pretty much textbook, with a small tear along the line of the old one which wasnt stitched and I kind of feel like I am back to 'normal' now, as compared to the time between my babies!

musica Tue 01-Oct-02 14:54:32

Has anyone else heard of the 'husband's stitch' which is common in the States - the midwives put an extra stitch in so that it is good and tight for the husband the next time they have sex (presumably to compensate for the stretching due to the baby...) - and we live in a liberated time?

PamT Tue 01-Oct-02 16:07:46

I haven't heard about the husband stitch but did see a programme a few months ago about having everything tightened up inside when the pelvic floor and vagina walls had lost it. Lots of american women paying over the odds to have a painful op so that they could please their husbands again. I did feel sorry for the ones who had lost bladder control because everything had collapsed and could see their point but there were some who were just having cosmetic surgery to make themsleves look better down there!

Bozza Tue 01-Oct-02 16:10:51

I too saw that programme PamT - in fact I think there was even a thread about it at the time. One of the shortfalls of the programme IMO was that it was mixing up medical necessity with cosmetic surgery.

mears Tue 01-Oct-02 16:13:15

I remember hearing about the so called 'husband's stitch' as something of the past. I doubt if they would get away with that in America due to litigation.
It is certainly not done by midwives or doctors that I know of. The aim of the game is to repair the damage as carefully as possible ensuring stitched are not too tight.
When resuming sex it is important to make sure that there is plenty of lubrication such as KY jelly. I also think a bit of alcohol helps
Seriously though, if there is persistant pain or you are concerned about healing that has or has not taken place you should see your GP and be referred back to your gynaecologist for specialist advice.

SoupDragon Tue 01-Oct-02 16:18:54

Susanmt: Stargazer does, of course, assume you've delivered lying flat on your back which is not the recommended position. Still, I like the expression too - glad you smiled!

I thought the "husband stitch" was an Urban Myth where the husband says to the stitching midwife "stick another one in there for me will you?"

susanmt Tue 01-Oct-02 20:04:36

Yep, flat on the back with ventouse 'up there'.
They pretty much had to lift me (and I am no lighweight!!!) from the floor to the table to get her out!

Clarinet60 Tue 01-Oct-02 20:17:10

The same happened to me after a ventouse and I was also repaired under spinal block.
I expected to stretch back to normal when I had ds2, but he was a C-section! So that blew that idea out of the water and I'm pretty much waiting to see. ds1 is 3 and sex is now just a dirty word. I couldn't have the operation to repair matters, it would just bring back all the trauma. Ultimately, I don't know the answer.

music Tue 01-Oct-02 23:43:13

thankyou loads to everyone who's writing here, it's amazing how much better it makes you feel just to listen to women who understand. Quite often people seem too embarrassed to be able to talk about it and I don't think they know what to say, probably too horrified to be honest with you, you know what I mean? Well last night, I came to the conclusion that my dilema is not knowing if they stitched me wrong, or if I'm still a bit swollen and tense. My bf thinks It's probably the latter, I am hoping the doctor will be able to put my mind at rest, so I can 'move on'. I have realised now though, just how traumatised I am from what happened to me, thinking maybe that until now, I've been so full of love and happiness from my daughter(who I consider is the best thing that's ever happened to me)that I've not stopped to think about it all really. Not sure how to get over it really, as far as sex is concerned, maybe councelling would help.................

SoupDragon Wed 02-Oct-02 09:01:42

Music, I think being reassured by a doctor that there is no physical problem will help a lot.

Just try to relax and trust that everything will return to normal eventually - they must or there would be an awful lot of only children out there

Chances are that your first time won't be great. I'll stick my neck out here and say there are probably few women who did enjoy the 1st time post baby or didn't find it uncomfortable (can't comment on post c-section though)

Hopefully finding out from this thread that you're not alone will help a lot too.

Good luck!

(and there's no WAY I'd disscuss this face to face with anyone - I'd be far too embarrassed!)

monkey Wed 02-Oct-02 12:49:22

I had a lot of stitches and found sex very painful. Can't remember how long we waited. I went to the doctor who sain I might need to be re-stitched, but frankly that filled me with horror. I had a 2nd opinion & the doctor said it could take up to a year for it all to settle down (I think I discussed it with him at 6 & 8 months). He also suggested lots of lubrication, even if you don't think you need it, he said that bf would slow down recovery time, and finally he said to persevere & not avoid sex, as it would become a psychological problem as well (it already was).
Most times I had to really force myself - never pressured by dh - I thought it would never improve, but miraculously it did.

Now all is fine, but I'm seriously considering an elective caesarian next time (if there is one) because I can't imagine going through 11 months of pain again.

music Thu 03-Oct-02 11:16:48

I have gone back to not thinking about it again now. Maybe that's the right thing for now. Seem to have overdone it last week anyway, so I've not been feeling too good as well. I am still breastfeeding quite a lot as well, so that's probably not helping. Absolutely dreading that doctors appointment.......

music Thu 03-Oct-02 11:17:27

I have gone back to not thinking about it again now. Maybe that's the right thing for now. Seem to have overdone it last week anyway, so I've not been feeling too good as well. I am still breastfeeding quite a lot as well, so that's probably not helping. Absolutely dreading that doctors appointment.......

musica Thu 03-Oct-02 11:21:31

music, (we must be related) - I hope this all sorts out - I remember being really worried after ds because everything seemed so different, and for a while I couldn't face sex because I was convinced it would hurt. But I think it is down to breastfeeding a bit, because as that wound down, everything else became more relaxed, and it was fine, iykwim. Hope the doctor's appointment is ok!

music Mon 07-Oct-02 14:00:15

thanks musica, maybe we are related! I think I am quite nervous that it would hurt, as we did try ages ago, and I was shocked that I felt so tight, so that is stuck in my mind now, and also the doctor tried to give me a smear-test at 8 weeks after birth and it hurt so much she couldn't do it(not surprising in hindsight, don't know why I even let her try) I was very upset and cried. Also, she confirmed that they had stitched me up tighter, but seemed to think I would stretch.(the very thought fills me with horror!) Well, I suppose these events won't have helped, but equally I think my body must not be ready for sex yet anyway. will write again soon......

music Sun 13-Oct-02 23:36:08

Doctors appointment is tommorrow, dreading it.

agaazaa Mon 14-Oct-02 10:39:36

Dear Music

I read your message and it is somethibg I could have written 3 years ago when DS was born. I had sex after 4 months - painful, but it gets better. Almost a year later things improved.

It does get better, do try KY etc, not very passionate, but it helps.

I used to put t-tree in the bath.

Honestly it does get better and I do laugh about it now to my friends, but things will improve. Don't be nervous about doctors appt it will help you.

SoupDragon Mon 14-Oct-02 10:52:43

Music - hope your doctors appointment goes OK!

Willow2 Mon 14-Oct-02 22:36:43

How did you get on?

music Tue 15-Oct-02 22:47:03

Thanks for asking, Willow2, soupragon and agaazaa. The appointment went well. Doctor didn't ask to 'look' at me, which was a relief. She remembered me from the postnatal check, said that it hadn't looked like something that would need any 'correction'. PHEW! MUCH RELIEF!! She said sex will be painful at first, but after that I will be in a different cycle of thinking so not stuck in this fear. I think I have a lot of trauma about what happened, so that's what everything (sex) makes me think of. Also I'm still healing, so obviousely that's no turn on. But the doctor pointed out that nothing bad (tearing or anything awful) would happen and that was nice to hear. Basically I could try sex, so now I don't feel so grim about it. Shame in my head I want it, but don't think my body's ready for it. How did you manage 4 months Agaazaa? In fact, how does anyone do it so soon after a difficult labour? Is it because you want it to be over with to move forward, or is it pressure from partner? Well anyway, sorry about the book I just wrote, but I'm so happy to have found this site!

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