Tears and Tears

Tears and Tears.  Words that sound the same, but mean very different things.  Tears (torn) and Tears (crying).  For me, there is a huge correlation between these two homophones.

When you have a baby vaginally, there is a risk that you will tear.  Recently, I came across a website that shows diagrams of vaginal tears in childbirth.  This slide show is an essential viewing point for anyone who wishes to understand visually the physical trauma of a tear.  Feel free to view here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vaginal-tears/PR00143

Although vaginal tears are common during vaginal birth, the severity of the tear and the “how to” of the repair differ.  In her blog, Dr. Amy-The Skeptical OB, Dr. Amy Tuteur talks about the ability to midwives to repair tears during vaginal birth. You can read her take on tearing here http://skepticalob.blogspot.com/2012/02/vaginal-tears.html.

As a recipient of a third degree tear in a hospital setting, I am curious about the ability of my doctor to repair my tear during my forceps assisted vaginal birth.  According to the mayo clinic slide show, the repair for my tear should have been a bit more extensive and done with a little more care.  Maybe it should have even been done in an operating room rather than at the foot of my delivery bed.  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vaginal-tears/PR00143&slide=4

Tears often follow tearing.  For me, the physical pain of the initial tear as well as the physical and emotional consequences that follow such a trauma created lots of tears.  It is my hope that midwives and doctors understand the long-term ramifications of diagnosing and repairing a tear correctly.  My tear was not repaired correctly, nor was I given the postpartum support necessary for the tear I sustained.  Luckily, I managed, on my own, to get to a rectal surgeon, and ultimately, to Interstim, to treat the incontinence issues that began with my tear.

Thanks for reading,



  1. Meg Said:

    Hey Lauren, I also had a bad tear, 2nd degree (nearly 3rd, they had to call in concultant to check me). I found I was treated as if I should be running around. Nurses grudgingly helped saying “you’ll have to do it yourself at home”.(Subtext: you lazy bi**h) There was the assumption that as I had a vaginal birth, by asking for help to move around I was just being lazy.the nurses after the first night just started ignoring my buzzer and I was left totally alone, they would not let my husband stay. It was a huge contrast to the care I’d seen friend with emerg. ceasars get in the same hospital.I think this isolation and neglect is a huge part of my trauma.

    • peace4lauren Said:

      Hi Meg- First of all-sorry about the tear…it’s definitely not an optimal outcome from a vaginal birth. Secondly-I am sorry about the neglect you felt. I too, felt that there was not enough understanding after the tear of the complicated healing process, both physical and emotional. There DOES seem to be some sort of disconnect to how women are treated in recovery after a c-section and a vaginal birth. Wounds are wounds-no matter how you got them, and need to be treated as such. Thanks for your comment.-Lauren

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