Tell me about your experience being stitched up after birth - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Birth and Beyond > Tell me about your experience being stitched up after birth
Redifer's Avatar Redifer 04:52 AM 06-09-2008
With my first, i had an epi, so i felt nothing at all.

with my second, I went natural. i had a decent 2nd degree tear. I felt every single stitch. The ob didn't seem to believe me that the local anesthetic was taking no effect, even after several shots. Local anesthetics nearly never work on me, but I guess she thought I was imaginging feeling it?

leerypolyp's Avatar leerypolyp 12:24 PM 06-09-2008
I wanted to point out that you can always have reconstructive surgery done on your labia/perineum if you feel it's warranted. I don't think a lot of us know about the option, but it's there.
zoebugsmom's Avatar zoebugsmom 12:38 PM 06-09-2008
I tore quite badly during both my dc's births. With my dd I don't remember much. Her birth was pretty traumatic and I lost a lot of blood. I do remember that they called in an ob from the practice (almost 4th degree tearing requires and ob here) and he was the dr that I couldn't stand. I think I only had a local, but again, I don't remember much. I healed well according to my then midwife but sex was uncomfortable for a long time afterwards.

With ds it was completely different. I had changed practices and really liked the ob who stitched me up. I had 4th degree tearing and it took a long time to do but my dr talked to me the whole time, made me laugh and seemed amazed by my pain tolerance. I only had local anesthesia and they freshened it up whenever I needed them to. I was actually scolded for not asking for more pain relief. I healed well and haven't had any discomfort in my girly parts since healing.
ElkMtnsMama's Avatar ElkMtnsMama 01:14 PM 06-09-2008
My daughter came out with both hands pressed to the sides of her head, and I tore pretty badly. MW sewed me up, after injecting lidocaine locally. She did either 7 or 10 stitches; I can't remember for sure. There wasn't really much pain involved with the suturing itself, though there was a lot of pressure and pulling, which was pretty uncomfortable after just having given birth. She did a great job with the stitches, and I was mostly healed after two weeks, though the area was a bit tender for another couple of months after that.

I sat on a boppy nursing pillow for a few weeks after the birth to keep pressure off of the area, and had to be careful about how I sat on the toilet and how I moved when I walked. I rinsed the area with a peri bottle each time I used the toilet, using a weak povidone iodine solution. After several days of this, I switched to rinsing with an herbal tea with some comfrey to speed up the healing. Managed to pop out one of the stitches by being too active in the first few days, but I ended up healing alright.
mbhf's Avatar mbhf 01:37 PM 06-09-2008
I was stitched up after my first and second births. First I had an episiotomy, and they gave me some sort of local anesthetic. It was done by my MW at the hospital. My second I had a small tear, I think 2 stitches? I did not have any pain relief and it was really awful. I could feel the thread being pulled through. It was done by my MW at home. I was offered local anesthetic, but my mw said it was either one poke (the shot) or 4 pokes (the stitches) and I didn't figure 4 pokes would be so bad. With my third I had a small tear but I declined stitches.
Romana's Avatar Romana 02:28 PM 06-09-2008
I wasn't properly anesthetized for my repair and it was awful. The doctor doing the repair didn't believe that I could feel pain, but I could. I had a number of stitches - about 10-15 or so (don't know for sure as I didn't ask). The indignity of yelping and kicking my legs (and being subjected to unnecessary pain after complaining) after the birth like that still really upsets me.

It was not just pressure or the feeling of the thread going through. I could feel everything for more than half of the stitches. It was pretty awful.

Talk to your HCP ahead of time about making sure the local has taken effect and listening to you. I know my midwife would have listened. My doctor told me it was "just pressure." Like I can't tell the difference. :

Healing wasn't bad. The stitches were uncomfortable until they fell out, about 10-15 days after giving birth. It was just a little tender and awkward until then, and after then felt like new.

ETA: If I had still be holding my baby when getting stitched up, I doubt it would have been as much of an issue for me, because she would have been a fantastic distraction. As it was, they had taken my baby to the other side of the room for weighing, evaluation, etc.
hapersmion's Avatar hapersmion 02:57 PM 06-09-2008
I had a little second-degree tear, eight stitches. There was some stinging and pinching with the shot and stitches, but I wasn't really paying attention. It did seem to take FOREVER. The baby was born at about 8:30, and I was going to call my mom after getting stitched, but I didn't get to call her until after 11. I think I walked around a good bit somewhere in there, though, there was more going on than just stitching. The stitching still took longer than it had too, though, because the midwife got the thread tangled up.

I healed up pretty much perfectly, can hardly tell a difference from before the baby. (This was all done by midwives at the Farm.) I never knew at the time that some people don't get stitched up - the midwives may have given me a choice, but I don't remember and I wouldn't have had any idea what they were talking about. So I kind of wonder now what things would have been like if I had skipped the stitches. *shrug*
jocelyndale's Avatar jocelyndale 03:20 PM 06-09-2008
I don't really remember the actual numbing agent or stitching--I was preoccupied with DS. My OB was gentle and used as few as possible.

I had to be careful and not scoot on my bum, which was hard because I had horrible sciatic pain in my hips, making it hard to stand or crawl across our bed.

I took 15 minute hot epsom salt baths (up to three a day), which seemed to help with the healing and soothing. I also soaked flannel cloths in a comfrey calendula infusion, then froze them. I stuck them inside my pads.

The stitches dissolved, though I pulled out a couple poky bits. As the skin healed, I often felt a pulling sensation.
Liquesce's Avatar Liquesce 05:14 PM 06-09-2008
Originally Posted by Ooey View Post
can you explain what a "pressure epi" is?
I think she means a sort of a mock episiotomy where the practitioner applies pressure to direct the tearing that's happening anyway? But that's just a guess.
DocsNemesis's Avatar DocsNemesis 09:30 PM 06-09-2008
The stitches were easy, it was the episiotomy with NO drugs that killed me! The stitches took about 20 minutes and I was impatient and want to see my baby (who had been taken to the nursery ) but they didnt hurt, just felt a little odd. I had had some sort of pain med at that point though I dont know what it was.

Ironically, despite having a huge scar, I didnt ever tear again, and no episiotomy. And my 2nd was bigger than the 1st, lol.
Eresh's Avatar Eresh 11:55 PM 06-09-2008
Usually pressure episiotomy is when they cut it while the baby's head is pressed hard against the perineum. The pressure reduces the blood flow and sensation in the area so you don't feel the cut. Sounds like it sure beat tearing upwards! I think one of the very few situations where an episiotomy really is called for.
luckymamato2's Avatar luckymamato2 01:33 AM 06-10-2008
I tore in three places and got 6 stitches. I gave birth at a freestanding birth center with a midwife. I was stitched up, by her, after delivering the placenta (maybe 30 minutes or so after the birth, possibly less). She gave me a local shot, but it didn't really work. OUCH! I was definitely taken aback at how painful it was, but like labor, I survived it. I believe I had one 3rd degree tear and two 1 degrees. Took maybe 5 minutes. I guess I am glad I "let" them do it - she didn't really give me a choice. I figure if it had only been 1 degree tears my doula might have suggested I not get stitched and keep my legs together as much as possible afterwards. The healing process was tough for a few days, but I'm not 100% sure that was because I had stitches.
crazyeight's Avatar crazyeight 01:36 AM 06-10-2008
Originally Posted by Ooey View Post
can you explain what a "pressure epi" is?
Originally Posted by Eresh View Post
Usually pressure episiotomy is when they cut it while the baby's head is pressed hard against the perineum. The pressure reduces the blood flow and sensation in the area so you don't feel the cut. Sounds like it sure beat tearing upwards! I think one of the very few situations where an episiotomy really is called for.
yes. while your feeling the ring of fire they just use a scalpel to cut just a enough to let the baby come out. i had researched and knew that cutting COULD cause you to tear MORE as the incision was started and i also had talked to the doc (who i had only met TWICE before delivery!), wrote in my birth plan etc that i didn't WANT an epi. i have to say that i was very lucky how it turned out. i agree that all epi's aren't bad! she explained to me that everything was turning white and mostly upwards so i could tear but it woud be excruiting and could cause incontence later etc. its funny how out of it i was but being prepared and the doc knowing and TRUSTING me was what really made me have a good outcome. i only realize now (with all the mdc info, having more time under my belt etc) that i had the best luck in the world with meeting my new ob. i could have had a HORRIBLE birth!
brackin's Avatar brackin 01:38 AM 06-10-2008
I had a second degree tear with DS. I recall a slight stinging sensation when the OB gave me the numbing shot, but that was it. And honestly, after an unmedicated birth with a rather large baby, the numbing/stitching seemed painless!
IntoTheRoseGarden's Avatar IntoTheRoseGarden 11:55 AM 06-10-2008
I had 4 stitches without local. It was awful. I screamed. I felt like a big baby, but it HURT!

I had an epidural, but it didn't seem to affect that area (which really seemed to help with pushing, so i'm not complaining.)
herbanmama's Avatar herbanmama 12:55 PM 06-10-2008
I had a few stitches for a barely second degree tear after my homebirth. I didn't feel any pain while tearing, and when midwife told I'd need a few stitches, I argued, "I did not tear!"
She injected a local, and stitched me as I nursed dd. Didn't feel a thing. A total non-event after 30 hours of labor.
riverside knitter's Avatar riverside knitter 03:08 PM 06-10-2008
I had what my OB described as a "true" shoulder dystocia that necessitated a significant episiotomy resulting in a 4th degree laceration. I also had a pretty significant hemorrhage. My doc spent well over an hour putting me back together. No clue how many stitches were involved, but presumably a lot since both my vagina and rectum were totally reconstructed. I was hesitant to have an epidural before going into labor, but man was I glad that I did given the reconstruction I required. Given the drugs and the blood loss, I was pretty out of it and don't remember much. I can tell you that my 1st postpartum poop was one of my most painful experiences to date.
momtoalex's Avatar momtoalex 01:15 AM 06-11-2008
I got 3 stiches, I think, after a natural tear. I remember lying with DS on the bed where I had just given birth, in total bliss, with my legs open, midwife with a light, putting stiches. I didn't feel anything, nor did I care. I really did not feel the tear or the stitching. DH watched the stitching but I didn't. It took a few weeks to heal. I stayed in bed a lot, walking hurt a little but not too much. Something was sensative there during sex for a little while but I don't feel any difference anymore. It looks fine too. DS is 1.5.
mamato3cherubs's Avatar mamato3cherubs 01:23 AM 06-11-2008
1st, dr in hospital cut episiotomy, resulted in 3rd, almost 4th degree tear. took over 30 stitches to repair. local shots of pain killer, repeatedly, but i still felt every stitch, although after the birth pain, it really didnt bother me so bad, i remember counting them as i felt them go in, LOL.

2nd, same dr, cut again, not so bad this time, local shot, didnt hurt so much this time, birth was great so i was in lala land anyways, i asked how many stitches he put in, he said, "dont know, not too many as i did them all with just one suture" so i think just 4 or so.

3rd, same dr, but he desided he learned something new, that cutting wasnt such a great idea, much bigger baby than my first, i had 2 small anterior tears, but i was still screaming from the pain of delivery that when he touched me i freaked out, so he said he wouldl skip the stitches he would have put. to do it over again, there is one of those that i really wish i had been stitched. never healed right.
battymama's Avatar battymama 12:29 PM 06-17-2008
I had i think 4 stiches, they were small tears but one of them was forming a flap of skin that the midwife didnt think would heal well without a stitch, so we decided to stich them all up whilst she was at it. I also had an internal tear at the front but that wasnt stitched up as it looked like it would heal on its own.

I had lidocane but for some reason it didnt take on one side, so it hurt, it actually hurt more than the labour for me, but again thats not saying much as it was pretty much pain free for me. My midwife gave me ural to take to alkalise my urine so it didnt burn to much, and i did warm herbal and salt sitz baths daily and within a week there was no pain, it only really hurt for 2 or 3 days, the hemeroids where worse. My midwife also used med honey on them because the flap of skin was pulling away even with the stitch and that stoped the pain, so i would recomend getting some if you can. The flap of skin ended up not healing at all, and died so i cut it off, but once that was gone everything healed really well, now i dont even realise i still have the stitches, and it seems to be healing well.
wombatclay's Avatar wombatclay 04:16 PM 06-18-2008
I wasn't going to post but since some other mamas mentioned the numbing injection not working...

With dd2 I had a 4th degree tear. It took about 30-45 minutes to repair and close to 200 sutures to do it. Initially I was given an injection of pain killer but it didn't "take" completely and there were large windows in the pain coverage. I was at a hospital and what they did was put in an IV of general pain medication (I joke that I had the birth without meds but once she was out I had both narcotics and pit). It made me a bit loopy but didn't interfere with breastfeeding and it made the suturing A LOT better/easier to handle.

So if, for some reason, you do need suturing and the 'caine injection doesn't work... tell them you need something more. You might even mention this to your care provider if you are home birthing so they know to bring more pain killers (or different types of pain killers since you may react more strongly to some) than they might otherwise. I know this is something I've dealt with at the dentist... there are certain meds I respond better to and I often need a slightly higher dose. Just let them know so they are prepared.

Happy birthing!
mytwogirls's Avatar mytwogirls 04:36 PM 06-18-2008
I have not read the responses but I will share my experience. I had a fourth degree epis. and the stitching was very easy and did not take long. I have a VERY VERY VERY good OB/GYN and he did it very quickly and simply. He kidded me "Good luck passing through airport security from now on, I am sewing in a penny too." I know I know, some of you would be totally offended and want to kick his butt, but is a very good friend so it was no big deal. I had NO problems afterward either, no infection, no horrible pain, no leakage and my vagina is completely back to normal as well. Have nothing to complain about really.
jaxxy's Avatar jaxxy 05:37 PM 06-18-2008
I had a tear. Not sure about degree or number of stitches but the MW and the OB took about 20 minutes to suture. I went to surgery an hour later for a D & C and the OB later told me that he tore some of the stitches on accident and had to re-suture. I could hardly walk for about 2 days and ice felt like heaven. The swelling started to go down about 3 or 4 days later but the pain lasted a few weeks.
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