By tears I mean rips…not tears as in sad babies. And if you happen to be my dad and you wandered over here by mistake? GET THEE HENCE PAPA! Same goes to most men. Probably all, but maybe there’s a med student trolling Baby’s First Year. Regardless, strap on your postpartum ice packs ladies we’re about to board the TMI express!
There has been this weird moment in each of my pregnancies where I looked down at my swollen belly and thought “There’s only two ways to get this thing out of me and both of them hurt.” No matter how you delivered your baby, vaginally or by c-section, medicated or unmedicated, you’re really never going to be the same below the belly button. There are those few women who have Gumby vaginas that don’t tear, rip or require episiotomies…but I only have one friend who managed such a feat and it was on her third baby.
I didn’t want an episiotomy, the whole argument about rough skin healing better than clean cut skin seemed to be a valid one. Turns out I didn’t really have to worry about it anyway, both of my babies came shooting forth from my loins so quickly there was no time to cut, only catch. Unfortunately in my case, birthing a baby in three very quick pushes resulted in a second degree tear in both directions. There were so many stitches down there I couldn’t sit for weeks. It was by far my least favorite part of the whole multiply and replenish process, and remember, I barf for nine months straight. Once Vivi came along I tore again, this time only a first degree tear and for whatever reason I healed up like a champ. It’s either because I did a whole lot less moving around with my second (I demanded things be brought to me) or I got infected with my first. Of course there’s option three…my vagina done got tougher.
Fast forward four or five years after my first and I was thick and heavy in the throes of endometriosis. If you’ve had it? You know how bad it can hurt right before and during your period. If you’ve never had it? Imagine those bum stitches you received flaring up like a flaming torpedo three days a month. Or at least that was what happened in my case. Getting surgery to rid myself of endo is one of the best things I ever went through. (However, Lupron…the follow up treatment? NEVER DO IT. EVER.) I still remember dancing around a hotel room on the first day of my period since my surgery singing “I HAVE NO PAIN! IT DOESN’T HURT! THERE ARE NO CRAMPS!” It truly was spectacular.
In those first few weeks postpartum so many people ask how the baby is. Or how an older sibling is adjusting, or maybe your significant other. Rarely are the parts that put forth this life into the world taken in to consideration. I however take them very much into consideration. If you’re my friend and you’ve had a baby chances are you’ve heard a whispered “How’s your bum?” or “How’s your section incision?” from me.
Obviously it’s not information you voluntarily give up in most social situations, but if you’re like I was, those dozen or so stitches down there are at the very forefront of your mind. “The baby’s OBVIOUSLY FINE. What about my hamburger haunches down here?”
So … do you have an episiotomy, tear, section, Gumby vagina story to share? Sure it’s been almost six months, but I still feel a bit of gratitude every time I can sit without pause or wipe without fear. *ehem*
Photo Credit: Ganesha.Isis