I was in labour for 3 days and ended up with a hormone drip and epidural. Eventually, the midwife used forceps to help deliver the baby, and I had to have an episiotomy.
The entire experience was traumatic from start to finish, and I suffered a big blood loss in the process. I was so devastated, but seeing my beautiful baby boy made it worth it.
The aftermath of childbirth was just horrendous. I couldn't even shower myself and eventually when I had the courage to look down there, I cried because of the appearance and the scar I now have. Only now, over 12 weeks later, am I beginning to feel just slightly normal.
Even trying to talk about my labour now it makes me tear up. I still get really anxious whenever I think about it, to the point where I would seriously consider a caesarean if I were to have another baby
If I were able to repeat my childbirth experience or indeed to have another baby, the key thing I would change is to try to do perineal massage both more often and earlier in pregnancy. I did attempt it in the final weeks of pregnancy but I struggled at first and after some initial embarrassment sought help from her husband.
It’s one of those things (like flossing your teeth) that you don’t want to do but know you should. If I were to have another baby, I would start perineal massage earlier and do it more often – anything to reduce the chance of tearing during delivery and to avoid going through another horrific childbirth experience
Looking back on my pregnancy I noticed a real stigma in society around the subject of perineal trauma. When I was pregnant, I asked friends about their personal experiences with childbirth and whether they had suffered from any tearing during labour but found it a topic they were often too embarrassed to discuss openly.
I also believe there’s a serious lack of information and resources available to help women understand how to carry out perineal massage. For instance, I wasn’t informed about this by my midwife and instead did my own internet research to find instructions on how to carry out perineal massage.
By sharing my story, I hope to educate other women on how they can try to prevent tearing during childbirth themselves and hopefully have a more positive birth experience.