When I gave birth to my first I was supposed to have a midwife hospital birth, but I got pre e and had to have an OB. Once I got to the hospital (labored 12 hrs at home) they began their assault of routine procedures on me. I had so many vaginal exams during the 3 hours I labored until my son was born, I lost count- I would say at least 20 by 3 nurses and the OB. They had no respect for my privacy nor my pleading with them to stop while they literally held me down. They sent my husband out to the car to get some stuff and while he was gone they held me down again (I was not wrestling against them but I was crying and screaming- I guess they figured I was just a typical mom freaking out from the pain and fear of labor- but it was mostly the pain and fear they were causing that made me scream and cry) and the OB very roughly shoved his hand inside me and broke my water without my permission- I was only 3cm. I was discouraged by one of the nurses- while moaning through a contraction she actually said If you cannot get through these they are only going to get worse! I was told nicely to be quiet, repeatedly. They nearly forced me to have drugs, which I firmly said no to many times over, they were going to give me Stadol against my will when I cried out that I needed to push, so they put it away.
But the worst of it was when I was just about to give birth, the one nurse began perineal massage. I hated it, I did not know her, did not trust her and it made me feel awful and gross. Not only that but she became so forceful in her motions, she was actually pulling on the opening with strength, trying to stretch it out for me. I suppose she thought she was doing me a favor, but I was begging her to stop and crying ow ow. She likely thought it was my reaction to the intense contractions and baby descending. It hurt so horribly, and it felt so wrong, she was causing the ring of fire, not my baby, I think she may have even started me tearing, at least it sure felt like it. They had me flat on my back with my feet up and purple pushing. Thankfully, the OB was on coffee break and my midwife happened to have just finished another delivery down the hall and heard my screaming, so she came to my rescue, better late than never, and she calmed me down and got the nurses off me and caught my son, for which I am eternally grateful- he was born in loving hands and not that OB who likely would have sliced my perineum. Anyhow, I pushed 15 mins and ended up with a horrible 3rd degree tear, as well as 2 tears in the vaginal wall that went all the way up. I was in AGONY for weeks, and almost wished I had a cs to prevent all that happened that day, and all the vaginal pain I was suffering. While in my recovery room they forced me to wear a frozen pad on my perineum constantly, it hurt SO SO bad, I honestly think I was suffering frostbite on top of it, as they kept putting fresh frozen ones on me, no breaks from the ice for about 24 hours when I finally realized my body was my own and took it out, as well as removing my own IV because they refused to (even though it was causing pain and sucking blood into the IV bag- they were pumping a very swollen pre e woman full on needless saline after birth!!!!).
My 2nd (homebirth) and 3rd births were attended solely by midwives and they did not massage me, they were so gentle with catching and let me push of my own need- I had no tearing at all despite those babies being over 1.5 lbs bigger and pushing for only 2 minutes and 5 minutes respectively.
I just had to get that off my chest! It has been over 8 years, but sometimes I can still remember how it felt when she was ripping my vagina open.
And I shudder. Why did they do that to me....
Oh mama, I am so sorry that you had to go through that--and so glad that you decided to speak it out.
I have seen just the kind of 'perineal massage' you are talking about--usually in the hospital, once by a hb mw. I believe that you are right--it can cause tearing. Those delicate tissues, so violently handled, start to bruise and break down even before baby is putting much pressure on the area. Thus, a woman becomes so much more likely to tear when the baby does start to crown--and tear worse than she might otherwise have done--after that kind of so-called 'massage'. It is horrible!
And I too am so glad that you have had some healing, healthy births since that terrible day for you. What you went through then was wrong, in so many ways. And ONLY wrong--there is nothing helpful about the way your birth was 'managed' by those people, no evidence to support what they did and of course, certainly no support for treating women with such violation on an emotional level!