I delivered my baby in January 2019 in Austin, first in our family to be born in the US but little did I know his birth is something no one in my family will ever forget!
My pregnancy was a pretty healthy one with no health issues to me or the baby. Everything was wonderful till the day I had to be forcefully induced a day before my due date because my amniotic fluid was a bit low. Since my body wasn’t ready to be in labour. I had to be induced 4 times before it got ready.
First two times with foley balloon but because my cervix was way high up, it was very painful and didn’t work. Then they gave me a vaginal tablet which didn’t work either and finally the next day around 9 am they gave 2 oral tablets.
At about 12 I felt a little bit of a gush down there and so called the nurse to check if my water broke. She came after a long time only to tell me she didn’t think so. Since this was my first pregnancy I blindly trusted my labour and delivery team. In no time, I started getting this weird pain in my pelvis, which I assumed were the onset of contractions. I was told the team will keep visiting me frequently to check on my progress.
At 2 my doctor checks me and tells me I have dilated to about 1.5 cm and may take upto 24 hours to be ready. But as time went by, my contractions kept getting stronger and harder but the nurses would tell me they are not strong enough for us to see you frequently as it always takes time with first time moms.
At about 5 I couldn’t take it anymore and I asked for an epidural. The anesthetic was in the room and told me to communicate with her so she knows if she has done it properly. But because I was in so much pain and was exhausted I could hardly speak up and my husband helped me talk to her. To which she wasn’t happy about because she couldn’t understand why I didn’t have the energy and was in so much pain as my labour had not even started yet. When she injected the epidural into my spine, I thought there was something wrong because I didn’t feel the way I was supposed to. Again the anesthetic just wouldn’t get it how I could not feel how I was supposed to and irritatedly she called her Boss. Next he walks in and he talks to me very politely and sympathetically unlike her and after understanding the situation from my husband decides to redo the epidural. We start all over again with me still in a zombie state but the 2nd time I guess it worked because my pain had suddenly vanished. This took about an hour and then my doctor decides to give me a visit to see how things are going.
She thought she would just randomly check my cervix but she was shocked (and so were me and my husband)to see that I was fully dilated. This meant that I was in active labour all this while but nobody thought they were real. She told me to take a break for an hour before we start pushing. I was relieved and took some time off. My husband too decided to step out before the actual magic begins.
At about 7.15ish, l&d nurse is in the room giving me a quick run by on how to push. I was now ready and excited to push as I was painfree and and fresh from that break. I start pushing with all my might to which the nurse encouraged and I pushed harder. The doctor and my husband soon followed and now I had a lot more people in the room to help me and encourage me to keep pushing.
At about 8.15ish the doctor told me that my baby’s heart rate is dropping and we might have to do an emergency c section or use forceps. Of course we wanted to stick to natural delivery so without thinking twice we said forceps as that’s what the childbirth classes were all about and the society norm is that you are strong only if you have the guts to do it naturally. Within minutes my little bundle of joy came out crying into this world. I was so overwhelmed because I had never seen or experienced something as beautiful as my baby. I was being stitched up as I was frantically crying whilst holding him tight. My doctor just mentioned in between that I had a little more than 3rd degree tear to which I had no knowledge or awareness of till much later.
My hospital stay was alright, had severe tailbone pain and was sore down there and severely constipated due to heavy dose painkillers but nothing mattered because of the baby. I went home 4 days later severely constipated but was assured that it’s not a big deal and that’s normal.
I struggled in the bathroom and came out screaming and crying in the kind of pain I had never ever experienced in life. After quickly running to the pharmacy, my husband got me stool softener to help me ease my discomfort. I was told to take 2 pills at the same time. Soon after, I had stool leakage, incontinence and diarrhea and everything worsened the pain.
After a lot of pleading, an available Obgyn decided to see me. After I told him about my condition, he didn’t check my stitches just simply asked me to increase my fiber intake and gave me a different painkiller.
At 2 weeks when I had my check up, my doctor was checking my stitches but noticed they had come off and there was an ongoing infection. I was quickly referred to a specialist without saying too much. We visited the specialist and she assessed me. She told that she will have to remove the infection first called debridement and then she will resutre them. When she removed the infection, she understood what the condition was.
A week later I was called for my next surgery. After she was done, she told my husband, that mine was actually a 4th degree tear and my anal sphincter was damaged. I was told to have lots of fiber and fiber medication to avoid both constipation and diarrhea because both were very risky for me at that point.
The following days after this surgery were challenging as the pain and discomfort wouldn’t go down until months later. At first, I lost all control of my pelvic muscles, couldn’t sit on the pot and had to stand and do my business in the shower. Later walked like Donald duck and a penguin, started sitting only after one and a half month that too not on the bottom but sideways.
Soon after I could kind of sit on the pot but had to keep a chair in front so I could stand and do my business but in the pot. After about a month and a half things were improving but the pain was still consistent. Tissues would come out from the perineum, the bottom and apparently everything was normal since my damage was so bad. Everytime I noticed something different and would call the specialist, I was always told that I am very brave and my case has been an exceptional one so my recovery will take really long as compared to others.
Things started to get better but in March there were several places where there was over healing of tissues happening. After burning the tissues frequently on our visits, the specialist decided to again stitch back everything to put the tissues back inside. In June 2019 again got the surgery done and all the dreaded pain alongwith it. The surgery helped a bit but not completely. There were 2 open spots that had over healing and wouldn’t heal at all. After burning the tissues again I was referred to a Wound Specialist. My first appointment with them was in December 2019 and finally they helped me with this ongoing issue and my open perineum was sealed completely in February 2020.
So it took 13 months for me to just heal from the wound. Hopefully pelvic floor therapy will help me further. I am still not comfortable having intercourse and even though it’s December 2020 the last time we had intercourse a few days ago, I stretched a little too much and got a small cut in my perineum.
Till this day when I remember all of this, I wonder how many people go through this every year and yet nobody ever talks about it. I don’t know if it was my OBGYN’s negligence or my lack of awareness on forceps delivery that led to such consequences or I was truly an exception.
If it wasn’t for my husband, my mom,dad and best friend who helped me go through this traumatic experience, I would have never come out of it. Words can’t express how blessed and lucky I am to have them as my family.
Sniggy ~ Austin, Texas USA