The scariest cut
The fear of an episiotomy can be worse than the experience.
By Shannon Richards
When you first see those two blue lines on a home pregnancy test (and you have gotten over the freaking out, the excitement and nervousness), you start to think about the realities of being pregnant, going into labour; of having a baby. Then the worry hits, the normal worries and the irrational worries. My irrational, over the top worry involved having an episiotomy.
Article originally in Parent24
I knew that I wanted a normal birth, the thought of a C- section scared me to death. I knew that I would have an epidural so this didn't scare me too much. What did scare me? What kept me up at night and had me crying in the shower with dread? The thought of an episiotomy. The thought of having scissors used on me 'down there' still makes me cross my legs tightly!
Tearing vs. cutting
I spoke to everyone I could, my gynae - who assured me that it was a last resort and not done on a whim; my midwife, who discussed the pros and cons of an episiotomy over tearing (FYI: an episiotomy is a clean cut, easy to stitch and heal from. A tear, while it’s often small and not a big deal, can be third degree and require a general anaesthetic to repair. While tearing is often favoured as it's not a sure thing that one will tear, doctors often prefer to cut and my mother- who told me (through gritted teeth) that it wasn't sore and heals very quickly - I knew she was lying!
And so I worried. I considered a C- section purely to avoid the dreaded cut, only to be reminded about the much bigger cut. I worried and stressed and then labour day arrived, and it was taken out of my hands. I had a very long birth which resulted in one exhausted mommy who was really battling to push. I needed some help in the form of forceps and with that comes an episiotomy. Without fanfare the doctor said, "I'm just going to help you out here a bit, with a little cut". I held my breath, closed my eyes and it was over without me feeling a thing. My healthy baby was born without complications and it was only when I was getting stitched up that I realized what had happened. I had been cut - and I had survived it!
Relief and recovery
The after effects of an episiotomy aren't fun, but the after effects of birth aren't either so that's ok. Salt in a warm bath is the most amazing pain killer, and I made sure I bathed at least twice a day. A cooling pad is also an amazing relief. The first few days were fine because I was swollen from the trauma of birth but as soon as the swelling went down and I felt the stitches it was quite uncomfortable. This only lasted a day or two and it is just uncomfortable, not painful.
The long and short of it? An episiotomy is not a fun procedure, but let's be honest, not much about birth is. The end result though? The deliciously squishy newborn: tiny fingers and toes and sweet smells- that is fun. And it makes it all worth it.
What scares you most about giving birth?
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.