Tearing During Childbirth
I want to take a moment to talk about a topic that I have yet to since giving birth, and that was tearing while giving birth.
Below are photos that I have never shown and include some pretty graphic images and blood, just as warning.
While giving birth to Wilder, I tore and ended up with a first-degree perineal laceration that was about 2 cm long x 1 1/2 cm deep. My midwife put in about five stitches. In addition, I also had symmetrical labial splits on both sides. Below you can see images of my midwife stitching me up.
I want talk about this not to infuse you with fear that if you have a home birth you will end up tearing and needing stitches, because that it not the case. I want to normalize how safe and prepared midwifes are for whatever may occur during a birth. I never once felt scared and although the actual stitching was a bit uncomfortable, it wasn’t nearly as painful as you would think. My body was still on an adrenaline high from meeting my baby and I could have lost an arm and it would have been ok. I was afraid of tearing before I gave birth and what I found, is that my fears made it a much bigger deal then it actually really was. I tore. My midwife stitched me up and it wasn’t traumatic. I wasn’t scared or feel unsafe once. I felt held and supported while being able to hold and support my newborn.
Our fears in life very well may pop up right in our paths, and when they do, they can teach us just how grounding faith can be. Walk through your fears, because it’s within mine that I’ve found the greatest joys in life.
Enjoy, my friends. 🙂
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Hi Danny, Thank you for your post
I am a student midwife in New Zealand and I had my homebirth last month!
I also tore, a two degree laceration and it was my worst fear going into birth. However my midwives were super wonderful and kept me calm as they sutured. I was surprised at how comfortable they made me feel!
I can’t wait to be qualified and look after beautiful birthing people and their whanau and make them feel as safe and secure as both your team and mine
I had symmetrical labial split on one labia and it never healed correctly so now my labia is split in half on one side. It used to bother me terribly but with time, I have accepted it as a beautiful reminder that my body gave me one of my greatest gifts, my daughter.
Same for me. Was 4 years ago and it still bothers me. But hoping one day it won’t bother me the same. No one else has ever said the same happened to them. My stitches burst, I didn’t realise because I wasn’t told I was stitched there, and it wasn’t in my notes so no one checked it 🙁 by the time it was apparent it was too late to fix (so I’m told anyway – they didn’t/don’t want to fix it)
Thank you for sharing this open and honest part of childbirth. Happy BIRTHday 🙂 to you and Wilder
Thank you for this beautiful, encouraging post. It is so lovely to see midwifery care being destigmatised. Very grateful for your generosity in sharing your experience, Danny!
Adding here that supporting the perineum is always the goal and the belief is the body tears in it’s vulnerable spot(s). In other words, episiotomies are only rarely done these days. deferring instead to the body to tear if and where it needs to. A repair done for a tear can be more complicated than a simple episiotomy stitch up but this method honors the body’s wisdom. Also, some tears are minor, from the wonderfully named “skid marks” to first degree tears that will often heal on their own without stitches. Danny’s next post has a lot about healing stitches, important information for any birthing person.
I just wanna say the photos of your birth team supporting you brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been a doula for 6 years and am in school for nursing with goals to be an L&D nurse because I want all birthing people to have this kind of love and care during the bringing in of their babies.
Thank you forever for sharing your story. I am better for witnessing and holding space for your story.
Love from Idaho,