Oh! Oh! Oh! *waves hand frantically* I can do this one!
I had second degree tears with both of my UC births. With the first, I had midwives do my prenatal and postnatal care, they just agreed not to be there for the actual birth. When they came afterward, they asked me if I wanted to be stitched or not. I said I did. It ended up being pretty awful. I had a lot of pain after sex for years.
With this last birth (in March), I tore again - 2nd degree, into the muscle just like the first. My body really steamrolls my babies out. I couldn't get anyone to stitch it for me, so I decided to just let it heal on its own. I kept my legs together as much as I could, lay down as much as possible without sitting on it and took very good care of it.
I washed it twice a day with soap and water, sprayed it with 1/2 water and 1/2 witch hazel in a peri bottle every time I went to the bathroom and I also used an herbal salve on it but I don't think the salve did much good.
The one thing that I cannot recommend to you enough - the thing that really made all the difference - was an herbal sitz bath. I felt it was too much to do and didn't start one until about 10 days later. So stupid. I wish I had done it from day one. Nothing helped heal me like that herbal sitz bath did. Nothing. I could feel how much it was helping every single time I did it. It was amazing. The herbal sitz bath had comfrey in it as well as sage and rosemary and some other herbs, but the calendula is really the most important ingredient. Get some! I took my sitz baths in the evening before bed, but if I had started from day one, I'd have taken two per day.
With any luck, you won't tear at all. I did kegels and massage with my first and still tore. Then I read that it's bad to do massage because it can create small fissures which make you more likely to tear. Honestly, I have to very, very strongly disagree with any advice that is so abnormal. It's just not something that animals or humans in a natural condition would do so it feels very wrong to me. I just can't see how it would help, but some women do swear by it. It didn't help me.
With my second birth, I did no kegels and no massage. Still had a 2nd degree tear. It's okay to tear in my opinion. It's natural. Even animals tear. I guess nature never saw fit to prevent tears since they do heal up fine if you take care of them.