Came back to update - another VBAC, only a small 2nd degree tear!!! Baby was even larger. Took lots of care and my time pushing, slowly and breathing deeply. Paused through many contractions with no pushing and just let baby move down slowly (that fetal ejection reflex really kicked in if I relaxed) until it was time to do the hard work. Then was careful and slow, but still powerful pushes; especially when getting her head past my pelvis. I still had a partial bulging bag in front, so we went ahead and ruptured and then she came down nicely and turned. When head crowned (I made sure to use a large mirror so I could see exactly what to do), I stopped and let the stretching happen several times. Nurse held hot compresses to my bottom for counter pressure, and other than that there were no hands/fingers on my perineum at all. Listened to Hypnobabies Pushing Baby Out track on repeat with one earbud in and never took it out. It was my best birth ever! I would have cried with joy if I had gotten a 3rd degree this time too ;) I highly recommend Hypnobabies to prepare your mind ahead of time, and seeing a PT for pelvic floor strengthening/relaxation/alignment. She had seen lots of tears/scars and told me how excellent mine had healed, how to do extremely gentle perineal massage and that she expected no more than a 2nd degree tear this time, if any.
(btw mercii, I was unmedicated when I had my big tear, and didn't even know it happened; I also had no ring of fire, I really didn't feel anything other than the pressure of pushing (I needed to push so hard, in positions that the baby would move down in - and they were not ideal positions; we tried everything for a few hours. The recovery is very hard, and my MW told me right away it would be similar to a c/s recovery or harder, and she was right. It's certainly not the worst thing that could happen, but of course no one wants any lingering effects from an anal sphincter tear)
Good luck to anyone making a decision - I think it's a difficult process and as long as you are comfortable with your decision then it means it was the right one for you. You know your body and yourself better than any Dr., statistics or anyone giving advice.
@ Ninabear: How did it go? I just joined this forum, very late, but I am very curious. I, too, had a 4th degree tear, the result of a sunny-side up baby and forceps and I am heavily thinking it all through when we go to have our next one. The more I think about it, the more I want to try, but I fear my husband would rather play it "safe" with a c-section, though we all know the amount of risk and complications involved with that! I think that had he been born in a typical way, I wouldn't have torn, or no where near as bad at least...but he echos the words of our midwife/doctor who said that I needed a c-section the next go around. So...how did you do?
Hello again! I posted in this thread years ago, I had a 4th degree tear (hospital birth) with my daughter, and a 3rd degree tear (home birth) with my son. I'm pregnant again, and hoping for a better outcome!!!
This time I'm going to try birthing on my side and breathing the baby down. With my son he came out in one huge push, this time I want to slow things down. I'm going to start the hypnobabies home study program to train myself to calm the heck down cause I get so anxious at the end of labor.
It was encouraging to come back here and read the stories of women who were fine in subsequent births! Maybe this will be the healing experience I'm looking for. It sucked because with my son, I had to go to the hospital for stitches, and walking into the hospital I felt like a million bucks (despite having the big tear!). I could BARELY walk out after over an hour of being stitched up. It's the stitches and healing afterwards that are so hard - I had a small taste of what it would feel like to be free down there without so many stitches on that short walk inside, and now I want a recovery like that!!!
Yes, I had thoughts like this too, but honestly, another vaginal birth might heal, rather then hinder. If anything, the c-sec might just be more pressure down there,without your body getting the chance to heal.
I was in the same boat, and after my second baby (almost 10 lbs!) I was so fricken ecstatic I chose to birth the way I did. (At home, and no one touched me) I literally felt great after her birth. I pray this for you as well.
All of that took place almost 5 years ago and I am pregnant with baby #2 ! I'm older now and much more knowledgable about overall healthy living. I plan on doing a home birth this time around and was worried I would run into trouble and would have to be wisked away to a hospital.. But ladies, you have inspired me! Thank you for sharing your war stories (lol) it has given me a newfound strength and I am determined to have a healthy, fulfilling, peaceful birth