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Another episiotomy question...

I didn't have an episiotomy or tear (MW performed perineal massage), so I don't know what that feels like and I'm curious.  In the post below I see that a lot of people said that it wasn't that bad as far as recovery goes, but how bad is it when it is actually happening?  I'll be going med-free and don't know what the chances are that I will be so lucky to not suffer a tear or have to have an episiotomy yet again.  I have to admit, the thought of feeling myself tear or be cut down there totally scares the crap out of me.  Is the pain of tearing/being cut worse than contractions (I would imagine not... or hope not anyway)?  Worse than pushing?  Be honest.  You won't scare me into having an epi just to avoid this, so I want to hear.
Ava Caroline 8.27.07 I Charlotte Grace 5.18.09 I Lila Katherine 1.20.11

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Re: Another episiotomy question...

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    The pressure the baby's head puts on your perineal area just before birth acts as a natural local anesthetic.  Even if you are going completely natural, a tear or episiotomy will be more numbed by this natural process.  I remember feeling a lot of pressure and some stinging, but nothing that would cause me to freak out over the pain.  The pain of contractions and pushing are worse.  The good news is that if you did not tear with the first one, you most likely won't tear with subsequent pregnancies unless the baby is significantly larger. 
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    I had an epidural, so I didn't feel a thing when it was going on.  However, once the epidural wore off, I did feel like my "area" was turned inside out.  That was from all of the swelling.  A mw in my practice checked it the next day because it felt so strange.  I stood in the bathroom and she got on the floor and looked up.  She said it looked fine.  I had a hard time walking around for about a week after delivery.  I had a 2nd degree tear/episiotomy, and more stitches than my OB would tell me.  I will tell you he stitched me for about 45 minutes. 

    I was given a bunch of motrin, cortisone cream, and epifoam.  I did have a vicodin the next night because I was in a lot of pain and needed to sleep.   The epifoam was WONDERFUL for making it feel better, and my little squirt bottle was also helpful for "cleaning up" down there after delivery.  I still don't feel completely normal, and I asked about it at my pap smear a few weeks ago.  He looked at it and said I have a ligament tear on my labia, which is why it doesn't feel right.  If I bend the wrong way at my hips, I feel a little tug.  It doesn't hurt, but it's not normal.  I think the ligament tear would have happened regardless of how much tearing/snipping he did. 

    To be honest, I was scared of having an episiotomy and of tearing.  But the fact is when it came time to push/deliver, I just wanted my baby out.  Whatever it took.  I did have an epidural so I didn't feel it then, but like I said I definitely noticed afterwards.  As for avoiding it, I would do your kegels and have the perineal massage done again.  Also, I've heard that women who push too hard can wind up with bigger tears because the baby comes out too quickly and it doesn't give time for everything to stretch properly.  I tried not to push too hard during delivery, but when those final pushes came I really needed Brandon to come out!!!

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    Thanks ladies!  I don't know why I didn't even think about this very much before I had Ava, so I wasn't scared of it happening, but I sure wish I hadn't thought of this time!  This was very helpful and informative though.  KEL, I was also careful not to push too hard, and my MW was great about reminding me of that too.  She even told me not to close my eyes or squinch my face up when pushing - she said that doing that focused the energy on the wrong area and didn't help any.  Perhaps that played a part in not tearing (along with the perineal massage) so be sure you remember that next time too!
    Ava Caroline 8.27.07 I Charlotte Grace 5.18.09 I Lila Katherine 1.20.11

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    I'm going to try...  however I know that my baby will probably have a larger head so who knows what will happen.  DH and I are both 95th%ile + in terms of head size, and so is DS.  So genetics are not in our favor for what comes out first.  But who knows... 
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    Pretty much what Kel said. I didn't feel the episi at all and my epidural had pretty much worn away. I was really scared of the whole thing but didn't even know what was happening. I'm sure you remember the exhaustion after labor-- it really just knocks you out to the point where you don't even know what they're doing down there.

    I had a lot of swelling since I pushed for 3 hours. I had a 3rd degree episi and the recovery was pretty painful, but much better after about a week. The worst was in the hospital. The stitches combined with the pain was so bad it took me about 15 minutes to get up and out of bed and into the bathroom. That passed after about 3 days, though, and I was able to walk with a little pain.  Like Kel said, if you have a tear or cut, they send you home with all kinds of goodies-- cortisone, ice packs, squirt bottles, etc.

    I wouldn't stress it much. Since you didn't tear with Ava, I think it would be fairly unlikely you'd tear with this baby unless she is much bigger. Perineal massage helps a lot, supposedly, and I wish I had had a MW to help me with that!

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    Honestly, I tore badly, and didn't feel it happening.

    2nd degree tear toward the anus, another 2nd degree tear "upwards" from the vagina, and a cosmetic tear all the way to the anus. Does that make sense?

    Anyway, I had a forceps delivery, so there was no option of an episiotomy. I never felt the tear happening, and from what I've heard from women who've had an episiotomy, my recovery (in regards to the tear) wasn't that much worse.
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    Well, I'll be honest even though I'm in the minority. My episiotomy was the most painful part of labor and delivery for me. My epidural did not take and so I felt it, then the doctor continued pulling and stretching to get the baby out, and I had a hard time pushing as hard as I needed to because it was so painful. However, I had a 9 lb., 3 oz. baby and she was a tight fit anyway, so getting her out was more difficult all around than getting a smaller baby out would have been.
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    Even though I had an epidural and couldn't feel contractions, I was in a tremendous amount of pain from the pushing/pressure.  But to be honest, I have no idea if I felt pain from tearing or not.  There was so much going on down there, that I have no idea what pain was caused by what. 

    That being said, the worst pain I felt all day was being stitched up.  Even though I got a local, I could feel them stitching me up and it hurt like a mother.  It was over quickly, though. 

     As I said before, my recovery was *very* easy.  I really had no issues whatsover. 

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    I don't remember the pain from being cut because I was too focused on getting her out!  My epidural had worn off and I could feel all of the pressure while pushing.  The pain I remember was afterwards when the doc was stitching me up. OUCH! I was like, "I can FEEL that!" LOL
    ~Amanda
    Mom to Lily Gayle 4.25.06 Charlotte Kathleen 3.27.09 Samuel Thomas ~8.4.12~
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    My epidural had worn off when I was pushing, so I felt all of it.  I couldn't tell specifically when I tore (I had a 2nd degree), it all just hurt a lot.  I felt it when I was getting stitched up, the local hadn't kicked in yet, but the pain of that was a lot less than the pain of pushing the baby out!
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    imageRose.9.6.03:

    Even though I had an epidural and couldn't feel contractions, I was in a tremendous amount of pain from the pushing/pressure.  But to be honest, I have no idea if I felt pain from tearing or not.  There was so much going on down there, that I have no idea what pain was caused by what. 

    Ditto this.

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