I recovered from a 4th degree perineal tear, which is basically the worst in terms of tears. Which also means it is the longest and hardest recovery. If you did not have this degree of tearing, this advice can still be relevant to you, just in a lesser form!
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This is an excerpt from my eBook, "The Postpartum Party".
When you have a 4th degree tear, you basically tear all the way through your sphincter muscle, which pretty much leaves you with one large orifice. Depending on your delivery and your doctors method, you will most often end up with an extreme amount of stitches. Somewhere in the 40/50 range. This is a long recovery road, and very hard to get advice for because it does not happen to everybody. I know that personally, none of my friends had endured this extent. Some will compare their 3rd degree tears to yours, but let me tell you that there is a HUGE difference between the two. This is a 3 step process I used daily which basically healed me up within a 2 week period. Not bad for completely reconstructing my entire sphincter muscle and vaginal opening! (Sorry, too soon for the graphic-ness?)
You are basically going to be bed ridden for 2 weeks. Not as intense as if you had gotten a cesarean, but for the most part you need to “rest” as much as possible. I suggest getting everything you may need for the baby close to your bed and keep it there! If you’re like me, the mess and clutter may really bug you! But what’s important right now is healing as quickly as possible. If we do not heal physically, we cannot be there full force for our newborns and family!
Some things you HAVE to have on deck :
Warm Showers + Vaginal Rinsing
Yeah, it’s as weird as it sounds!
The next 2 steps are related and honestly the key to my relief and healing magic. If you’ve read my blog post on Self Care for the New Mom, you’ll see that I talk about how sometimes I take a hot and steamy shower, and I just sit there.
Yes. I literally sit in the shower.
It is extremely relaxing and super relevant to your recovery! Get the shower hot (but not too hot) and sit down for a minute. Relax. Take advantage of this time without a baby in your arms. I know it kind of hurts to sit right now, but I promise once you get in a comfortable position, it’s so soothing. Now, this next task requires a removable shower head. Once you are over sitting there, or it is too painful at this point, stand up and shower like normal. When you have completely cleaned yourself per your usual routine, take the removable shower head off and aim it up towards your vagina. Make sure the shower head is not on some super jet power setting when doing this. You want a lower setting. You also do not want it to be burning hot, or ice cold. Find a nice happy medium temperature. It’s going to feel extremely uncomfortable the first couple of times, but it is seriously a huge key aspect in cleaning that area. Blood and residue you did not know or think was there, is there. And this will help it come out. Do this for about a minuteor two, nothing crazy. Once you are out of shower, be sure to be cautious when towel drying, as to not get one of your stitches caught.
SEE WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT "THE POSTPARTUM PARTY" ...
You Will Love This!
"This was a perfect "after bedtime" read. The humor was great and it was a smooth read. My favorite section was taking care of yourself physically because I struggled with this most. I don't want to give away too much, but I will tell you how amazing this is! I plan to re-read this with each kiddo. Filled with great reminders!"
- Haley @ The Unfiltered Momma
I wish I had a pregnant mom list to send it out to!
"It's a great book, and you should be proud of it. NO ONE has ever explained to me the whole condom ice cube thing, So it's really valuable that you explain that in the book! I think it's a really encouraging read for anyone who has suffered a bad tear!"
- Carly @ Mommy On Purpose
Happy recovery, mamas!