Posts Tagged ‘Third Degree Tear’

Sunny Side Up

While looking at my medical records, I have made important mental notes about terminology with which I wish to impart my knowledge of in an effort to understand the causes of my trauma, the nature of my trauma, and the results of my trauma.

My daughter presented as occiput posterior.  Commonly known as “sunny-side up,” this presentation of the baby is when the baby is face down but facing your front.  The baby’s back of the head, the occipital bone, is forced against the mother’s tailbone. You can read more here:

Sunny-Side Up is not an ideal way to birth your child.  Unfortunately, the care I received during labor was not ideal either, thus compounding a sunny-side up situation.  My daughter was determined to be sunny-side up, yet I was still encouraged to push on for 3 hours, while she was in this position. Labor with a sunny-side up child is pure torture.  Instead of having some semblance or relief in-between contractions, it was actually worse between because that is where my daughter’s unrelenting head met my (now) relenting tailbone.  My hospital records indicate my doctor was out of the room during this time (in the rest area-according to my mother).  After 3 hours of the most painful pushing, the doctor tried to manually turn her by forcing both of her hands into me and twisting. (didn’t work).  Through the use of forceps, my daughter was then delivered.

The consolation…the doctor told me “you should add a pound for a sunny-side up baby, because that is what it feels like you just pushed out.”  So, does 8 pounds 14 ounces get to equal 9 pounds 14 ounces?  I don’t know if this was supposed to make me feel proud or angry at the fact that I should have OBVIOUSLY had a c-section.

Although there is nothing funny about sunny-side up positioning or traumatic childbirth, the following article from Jezebel has an excellent section about the sunny-side up experience in labor.  You can read it here: 

Thanks for reading,


Story Toppers

About three times a week I attend a water aerobics class.  Because this class is during the day, I find the average age of the clientele in this class to be about 65.  (But, boy, these Grandmas can move!).  Because of the geriatric nature of my watery exercise regimen, I am often bombarded with the phrase “Oh, but you don’t have to worry about that, YET!” while engaged in a social discussion regarding “senior” medical matters prior to or post workout.

One of the favorite topics of discussion seems to be the colonoscopy.  Phrases and snippets addressed to me include: “So and so isn’t hear today, she’s preparing for her colonoscopy…you just wait till that…” “Ughh, I hate the prep work, you’re so lucky you’re young.”

Little do these ladies know, a colonoscopy is the least of my worries.  I think I could wow them all with the amount of enemas I have needed to do, the amount of “awake” rectal testing I’ve engaged in, and the fact that I lost my anal wink at age 27 due to the stress of childbirth.

But the story that tops them all, the story that makes a colonoscopy look like a trip to Disney World, is the defecography.  I never even knew a test like this existed.  To my great “delight” I had the necessary procedure when trying to determine the exact nature of my leaking sphincter. 

Step 1-Give yourself two enemas at home.

Step 2- Drink a glass of Barium (i.e. liquid sidewalk chalk) without promptly throwing it up

Step 3-Have a catheter placed to drain you of all urine

Step 4- Flip over, have a device that looks very similar to a caulk gun push a caulk like substance up your rectum

Step 5- Climb up a ladder onto a toilet bowl that is placed in the center of the room

Step 6-Try to relax while two people hold in place 2 x-ray plates around your body

Step 7-Poop out the substance (this is especially lovely with your audience)

Step 8- Enjoy the video recording of your bowel movement for years to come!

Top that, Grandma.  (Just kidding, I love Grandmas)  And, as unpleasant as this test was, it WAS necessary, helpful, and diagnostic.  It also gives me a story topper to whip out during my aqua aerobics class, but, maybe, I’ll just keep it to my blog.

Thanks for Reading,


6 months

As of this past weekend, I have had my Interstim implant in for 6 months!  It is amazing how my life has been completely turned around for the last half a year.

The decision to have the implant was really a no-brainer.  I had exhausted the other “non-surgical” routes with little success.  The non-surgical routes of exercise, diet, and physical therapy are all components that serve to strengthen my Interstim now, but did little to appease the nerve function that I lacked prior to the implant.

Just for reference, the surgical route prior to Interstim was a scary prospect.  Before Interstim, my choice was to have my sphincter cut, then sewn back together tighter….repeat surgery every 5 years.  The prognosis of a successful surgery was limited, and there was a very real chance that more harm could be done.

With the sphincter cutting surgery as my only option, you can imagine my relief when my rectal surgeon recommended Interstim.  The surgery itself is low risk, and the prognosis of success is pretty high.  There was no hesitation for me to embark on this journey 6 months ago, and I cannot wait to see where it leads me!

Thanks for Reading,



Just Keep Swimming

One thing that I have found essential to my healing journey is exercise.  Exercise releases feel good endorphins, keeps my weight down, and allows me a great way to beat stress without medication.

Prior to my trauma, I thoroughly enjoyed swimming as exercise.  As a college level competitive swimmer, I was used to tough workouts and long hours in the pool.  As you can imagine, fecal incontinence and swimming laps in a pool DO NOT MIX.  In fact, there are signs posted everywhere that any fecal matter in the pool will result in a pool closure for all patrons.  Besides the obvious fact that a leakage would affect other’s enjoyment of the pool facility for the day; there was no way that I was getting into a pool if there was a chance that I could have an accident.  Obviously this proved a huge loss, emotionally and physically, as I thought about all of the times I would miss in the pool.

Through physical therapy, but, prior to my Interstim surgery, I gained some control of my bowels that would allow me a pretty good idea about when my leakages may occur.  It was at this time that I began to swim again, albeit cautiously.  Even though I felt good about going into the pool again, my plans could change in an instant if I was having a bad day with my sphincter.

Fast forward to now.  Interstim has allowed me complete freedom in the pool.  I no longer foster feeling of uncertainty and grief when stepping into the chlorinated goodness that was my second home prior to trauma.

It turns out that swimming is one of the best exercises I can do with my Interstim implant.  The low impact exercising has allowed me to stay in shape, engage in great workouts, and have fun again.  I could not have imagined this 6 months ago.

Thanks for Reading,


The Incontinence Issue

I never thought much about going to the bathroom until I couldn’t go effectively.  I guess that is how it is with most things you take for granted.  You don’t know what you have until it’s not there!

A third degree tear during childbirth caused my incontinence.  This tear was caused by many things.  The use of forceps, a large baby, and a sunny-side up position of the baby at birth.

Fecal incontinence is when your sphincter just isn’t working anymore and you tend to leak stool, have total accidents, and constant smearing.  This just is not fun for a woman in her late 20’s!  Not only is it not fun, it’s not talked about.

The shame of incontinence and the taboo of the topic is rampant in our society.  How many women do you know that are under 80 that talk about their bowel movements easily?  I’d like to take away that shame.  Fecal incontinence is a real problem for women with tears from childbirth.  It’s a real problem with a real solutions if you know where to look for them!

Testing and Treatment are available once you start down that right path.  A rectal surgeon, and a physical therapist are invaluable resources to get the ball rolling.  Testing, although not pleasant, provides you and your treatment providers with valuable information about where the weaknesses are in your sphincter muscle, possible nerve damage, as well as a host of other medical maladies related to sphincter function.  Treatment depends on exact damage diagnosis and will vary from patient to patient.  I found treatment in diet modification, extensive physical therapy, and most recently, medical intervention that implanted a sacral nerve stimulator to restore function of the sphincter.

More Details in Future Posts,

Thanks for Reading!


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