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Any advice please?(7 Posts)
I've name changed for this as it's very personal.
I had a baby in September 2015, it was a very long drawn out labour, but ended with a fairly straightforward vaginal delivery. I had a few minor tears that required stitches. The midwife did that in the birth centre and that was that. I kept them clean like she told me to, and thought all would be fine.
My husband kept checking them to make sure they were dissolving as they should, and then about 4 weeks after the birth we noticed there was a problem. My inner labia had fused together- there was a tiny hole at the top and a tiny hole at the bottom. I couldn't use a tampon or have sex, even if it wasn't too soon after the birth.
I told the doctor at the 6 week check and she basically accused the midwife of stitching me together (clearly not the case), and she gave me cream. The cream was horrible and did nothing at all, so I went back and saw someone else, who referred me to the gynaecologist, where I had to have an operation to separate it. So I had that done and had to wait for the stitches to heal. It took a while to get the appointments through, meaning for months after the birth my husband and I were not able to have sex, or even do anything else related to down there.
After it was all healed we started slowly, as I know sex is often painful after giving birth anyway. But because it had been so many months, it took a long time to be able to have sex without any pain. It was only July last year it stopped being painful every time, so nearly a year after the birth.
The main problem though is this (sorry for TMI): before I got pregnant I had no problems getting turned on. My husband wouldn't have to do anything and I'd be ready for it. But since all that happened, i often struggle to get turned on. I know after a baby your hormones are all over the place and things like that, but our lo is nearly 17 months now, so that shouldn't still be causing problems. I'm still just as attracted to my husband, and want to be sexually active, but my body seems to find it so difficult these days. I never used to have any problems. I'm worried it's still to do with what happened to me. I know I could go and see someone about it, but I feel like I've been poked and prodded around down there enough, without having to go through more. My husband is convinced he is to blame for it even though he's not.
Any advice at all? Has anyone else had such difficulties so long after having a baby?
I really sympathise. I had a third degree tear after the birth of my first child, and as a result we didn't have sex for a very long time. When we eventually tried it was excruciating, like I was losing my virginity again. It was a combination of scar tissue (which doesn't stretch easily) and lack of use (for want of a better phrase!) making my vagina shrink, I think.
It took a lot of time to stop being painful. At least two years.
As for finding it difficult to get turned on, I think that's understandable. Not only have you had a lot of physical trauma and pain in that area, I think it's difficult mentally as well. Sex stopped being nice and I think it's difficult to get a more carefree mindset going again. And add in all the tiredness of being a mother, that makes things difficult too.
Try not to pressurise yourself. You're not broken, you've just been through a lot. In the past you didn't need foreplay, but now you do
Yes it took 6 months for it not to hurt after dd1's birth (attempted ventouse and forceps then emcs). It was 1 year + before I started relaxing enough to enjoy it more.
I still have times after dc3's birth 3 years later when it does not feel right, because I had a emergency hysterectomy and my cervix removed, things will never been the same down there again.
My advice is to start slow and gentle. Do not start being sexual with one another with the view that penetration is inevitable. Get to the stage where you enjoy self pleasure first, then foreplay then progress to full intercourse. Use lots more lube. Try to have more sexual activity of whatever kind around the peak part of your cycle for arousal.
Also if you are breastfeeding this changes your hormones and can affect your vaginal lubrication and sex drive. This is totally normal and will change as you reduce the number of feeds/stop feeding.
It might also be worth opening up to someone about your feelings re: the stitching, op and discomfort. If you can talk about your fear of it being painful it might help you relax and trust that now with things physically fixed it won't hurt. Each positive experience (no matter how small) will help rebuild that confidence too.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Goodness, what an extremely traumatic experience.
Also , the way you describe it, you sound very brave and stoical. But a problem like that isn't 'just ' a physical thing, it is psychological and emotional thing, too.
Even with the most straightforward birth it can take a while to regain a sense of your sexual sense again. Touch becomes so much associated with the baby, feeding, cuddling, to the point of having demands made on your body. You need time to make the transition from mummying to feeling sexual.
Much bigger transition in your case.
Be very slow and gentle with yourself. Would it help to start with masturbating? All on your own, no one else around. Just touch your clitoris, with lube? Then maybe read some women's fantasy erotica, like the Nancy Friday collections. Just to get yourself going or re discover your ability to have sexual pleasure.
Also I would consider counselling. You could go and talk (alone) to your GP and ask if there is provision and you can be referred, but also if you look at the Relate website for your area it will list counsellors and there may be ones whose experience also list sexual issues. (It tells you).
What a stressful time you've had op. And for a prolonged period.
I had fourteen stitches internally and of the perineum, due to tearing. I found afterwards as others said, that the scar tissue that remained gave a loss of sensitivity and therefore a loss of feeling leading to natural lubrication. I was also terrified by the experience of having it all happen.
It was such a personal area that I felt a bit traumatised by it all. Can you imagine the amount of trauma a man would go through if he had his penis cut open and stitched from top to bottom? Yet we seem to accept it's part of the process and that we have to move on.
It takes time to heal physically and mentally. Others have given great advice, I would follow. Use time together to massage, enjoy feelings of closeness, foreplay etc. You may need more time to get aroused, there are other ways to orgasm and feel intimate.
My DP likes to use a grape seed oil and massage me around the inner thighs and vulva. It's a lovely slow build.
And get a good quality lubricant for times when you are ready to have PIV.
It will be much easier if your DH is prepared to really back off and understand that you need a lot of time, gentleness and baby steps to recover. Massaging you with no expectation of sex, and really meaning that. When you might feel ready, lots of slow gentle foreplay. Use lube.
This isn't a 'forever' problem, you will regain your sexual self and response in due course, but slowly, slowly, no pressure, rather than quick fix.