Thursday, September 20, 2007

Negatively, permanently altered: a research study

Probably most adults alive have had the unfortunate idea planted in their heads that birthing babies can damage the "Pelvic Floor". This is a nice way of saying the baby, by sheer nature of it being "so big" supposedly wrecks/ruins/breaks/stretches/cracks/permanently blows out the vagina/coochie/pussy/whole down yonder of the mama, and that this is just our lot to bear as women and one of the sucky things about life. Lots of comedians with their ugly analogies about squeezing out grapefruits from their nostrils and bowling balls and lots of misogyny in the locker room.

What a difficult subject, and what historical road bocks we have to uncovering the truths! First of all, we have the sad fact that most women who we know and who are still alive in America, who have borne children, did so in a hospital. If we interview all of them and discover how many of their births were overmanaged, lithotomy-position, legs up in the air, flat on their backs, purple-pushing against their bodies and against their wills and against gravity and God knows what else kind of perineal disturbances were involved--scissors, sewing needles, stretching (the well intentioned perineal massage which has been shown to be very very damaging unnecessary and off base) forceps...we would be already facing such a large control group that it would be kind of hard to figure out what to even use as a control group.

Then factor in that noone wants to talk about this.

Then factor in the subjectivity and media-fueled mystery and self hate and all the taboos that surround the entire subject of women's bodies. (Ack! My study is so doomed before it even gets conducted!)

And what of our great grandmothers, and great-great grandmothers, who birthed with midwives, but in the era where "Hot water!" was called for--for the unfortunate purpose of holding hot, hot, often salt water soaked cloths against the perineum of the birthing mothers...in an attempt to help stretch the vaginal opening, what they did was to perform essentially, a waterlogging and destroying of skin and sometimes muscle tissue, which had permanent consequences for the women on which this service was performed. Plus, lets remember that a woman of this era, even if she were alive to interview, would be socailly conditioned to be very reluctant to discuss something so private with us.

So, does having a baby have to be destructive to our selves? To our sexual futures, our reproductive futures, our ability to be continent and whole? If so, why would we be designed so poorly, or does that direct us back to that same old bit about "humans have such huge skulls, so it is hard to fit out of the pelvis...."

Here is an excerpt from another Sara Wickham article, in discussing the rhombus of Michaelis, a portion of a woman's back that is meant to move and shift during labor:
I think we need to get women to understand that, although epidurals are great for pain relief, they actually get in the way of a spontaneous second stage and vaginal birth. In many cases, the reason they've got an epidural is that the baby wasn't in the best position when it started, and the baby in the less suitable positions needs all the space he can get to turn around in. The OP baby needs the rhombus of Michaelis to move backwards so he has room to turn round so he can come out as an OA baby. The woman should then get out without having her pelvic floor damaged. Pelvic floor damage is a major worry for women, but if they can be in an upright position with their weight well forwards so that the rhombus is free to move, very little damage is done to their internal anatomy.

So, now on to me, and my experiences. Specifically with my homebirth of my 3rd child, Casey.
This was my only birth that was not in a hospital bed, and to say that I was in an "upright position" is putting it mildly. I was everywhere! Early labor I waddled between the hot shower and the floor, the birthing pool, and the floor, walking around the house, leaning over, always forward, always forward, to work through each contraction. To lean backwards would have been as unthinkable as choosing to hang upside down on monkey bars while pooping. Truly. I wish I had a lovelier analogy but I do not.

I rocked and rolled that baby on down, and the VAST majority of the labor was spent with me on hands and knees, the only position even close to bearable for the proper descent of a child with a 15 inch head and a 17 inch chest. I pushed when I wanted to, my midwife did not coach or boss me in any way, and no one touched me whatsoever down there. My body slowly accommodated my baby, and it couldn't have been more natural, the whole sequence of the thing.

I know I have said it again and again, that he weighed 11 pounds, and this time I have a point: I have seen those little glances especially from a few men, when the tale comes out that I had such a big baby. that little look--the one that thinks, for a spilt, shameful, rude, curious second, I wonder if she can swallow whole chairs with that blown out coochie.

But the area that I am wanting to examine today is the somewhat unknown fact, that for many women, if given a chance, birth does not have to do this to us. I always hoped it was true before I had babies, and now I know it to be true. When given the safe space to birth our babies, our way, our bodies are not cheap pieces of elastic, as Ina May puts it in her Guide To Childbirth book. We are not lemons, and birth is a normal part of life that we are built to do. So why would having our baby be so intrinsically damaging? I don't think it has to be, even for big, big babies. So check out what I wish I could do:

I may never get to interview women and ask them about their "pelvic floors". But if I did get the opportunity to travel through the ages and ask every mother about this very thing, here is a sampling of what I would need to know before any conclusions could be drawn that baby-having, in and of itself, was a Destroya of Vaginas.
__________________________________
"Does vaginal birth negatively and permanently alter the pussy?"
(Ok, I would probably have a way more professional title but whatever, I am just a bloggin' mama, typing the way I talk, if only to my bestest friends)
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Was your birth induced or spontaneous?
:::
Was your labor "managed" or completely natural?
:::
Was your pushing stage "coached" (counting, being told to push or not to push by attendants)?
:::
Were you instructed to hold your breath or pant or blow against your instincts?
:::
Was anything applied to your perineal area, such as oils, fingers, hot cloths prior to crowning?
:::
Was anything done to your perineal area during crowning, such as episiotomy, counter pressure, internal manual manipulation by attendants?
:::
Did you have a forceps or vacuum extractor used inside of you?
:::
Was your third stage (birth of placenta) "managed" or spontaneous?
:::
Was your placenta manually removed?
:::
How big was your baby?
:::
After the birth, were stitches, sutures or glue applied to your perineum?
:::
After the birth, were you given instructions to actively perform any activities such as sitz baths, blow drying, sunlamps, applying oils or creams to the perineal area? Did you do so?
:::
Were you pressured to have a bowel movement as a condition of your being allowed to leave the hospital, and if so, were you given any medications to accelerate this process?
Were you encouraged to force a bowl movement with either medications or conditions and threats?
:::
Were you able to rest off of your feet for as long as you felt necessary after giving birth?
:::
Do you feel that you were able to resume sexual relations only when you felt 100% ready to?
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is permanently, negatively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth? How so? Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is exactly the same as before you gave birth?
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor has been positively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth? Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?
_______________________________________________
Well, that's my big study. Does vaginal birth have to drastically change our bodies, and how much of a role does managed medicalized birth play a role?
If I remember correctly from way back in science class, it is now my duty to form a hypothesis, so I am going to venture to guess that a managed birth, on any level, plays A HUGE ROLE in the postpartum and permanent resultant state of the pelvic floor.
Because for me, my Casey didn't do any harm at all. (and yes, my lover shares this belief.)
;P

10 comments:

Kelley said...

Here's my part in your research:

Was your birth induced or spontaneous? First was induced, the other two were spontaneous.

Was your labor "managed" or completely natural? nope

Was your pushing stage "coached" (counting, being told to push or not to push by attendants)? nope

Were you instructed to hold your breath or pant or blow against your instincts? I breathed the contractions away of my own accord with my third baby becauase I was trying not to have him in the backseat of my new van. Other than that, nope.

Was anything applied to your perineal area, such as oils, fingers, hot cloths prior to crowning? nope

Was anything done to your perineal area during crowning, such as episiotomy, counter pressure, internal manual manipulation by attendants? nope

Did you have a forceps or vacuum extractor used inside of you? absolutely not

Was your third stage (birth of placenta) "managed" or spontaneous? I think all of them were spontaneous.

Was your placenta manually removed? No, I think I pushed them all out.

How big was your baby?
8 lbs 2 ozs
6 lbs 13 ozs
7 lbs 11 ozs

After the birth, were stitches, sutures or glue applied to your perineum?
I was stitched after the first one, forwards and backwards, because of spontaneous tearing.

After the birth, were you given instructions to actively perform any activities such as sitz baths, blow drying, sunlamps, applying oils or creams to the perineal area? For the last two, nope. But with the first, I used Tucks pads to help with the swelling and pain down there. It did hurt pretty badly.

Did you do so? Only with the first one. After that, the only thing I did was use the little water bottles you get to clean off with after going to the bathroom so you don't have to wipe sore areas very hard.

Were you pressured to have a bowel movement as a condition of your being allowed to leave the hospital, and if so, were you given any medications to accelerate this process? Nope.

Were you encouraged to force a bowl movement with either medications or conditions and threats? Nope.

Were you able to rest off of your feet for as long as you felt necessary after giving birth? I could have with my first, but I didn't. I tried to jump right up and bee super mom immediately. So stupid! With the others, I stayed down for as long as I wanted.

Do you feel that you were able to resume sexual relations only when you felt 100% ready to? Interestingly enough, I wanted to resume having sex long before I was able to do it comfortably after my first was born. All the others were not a problem at all.

Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is permanently, negatively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth?
Not really, however, I was pretty messed up for a long time after my first baby. Not permanently, but it was many months before I felt back to normal down there. No problems since with any of the other babies.

Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief? Yep.

Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is exactly the same as before you gave birth?
No, but the changes aren't negative.

Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor has been positively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth? Yes, but I'm not sure how to explain in what way.

Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief? Yep.

I hope this wasn't too much information. I do find it interesting that the only birth that was induced (with cytotech, even) and ended in a water birth was the only one where I ended up with pelvic floor issues. I hurt for months afterwards, and actually all the problems surrounding the birth helped me end up with post-partum depression for the first 8 months of my son's life. Thankfully, that experience has not been repeated since, and won't be ever again.

Leigh said...

Grrrrl, have I told you lately how freaking amazing you are? Your posts continue to rile me up, make me think, and have me shouting HALLELUIAH! I forsee a birth culture book authored by you in the future.

Housefairy said...

Kelley, you are awesome, and thank you for actually participating in my fledgling study. I think this is the stuff we alwasy leave out of the birth story, but it is a big part of it.

Off to write a little "addendum"

Housefairy said...

Thank you Leigh!!!

I was hesitant to write this one, but that usually means its worthwhile, to someone, maybe lots of someones :)

Rixa said...

Okay I really should get to bed...but I saw that my friend Kelley filled out your survey and so here I go:
Spontanous birth, completely natural labor (unassisted birth)
No coached pushing stage, just followed my body's cues. I didn't really have much choice!
No breath holding or panting. Lots of spontaneous grunting/roaring noises.
Nothing applied to perineum. As she was crowning I had my hand over my tissues, not really pressing, but kind of supporting everything and feeling what was happening.
No manipulations of perineal area (the beauty of a UC!)
No forceps or vacuum.
Spontaneous birth of placenta 2 1/2 hours after the fact, no manual removal.
Baby was 7 lbs even.
I had a 2nd degree tear and chose to have stitches.
No instructions on perineal care. I wish I'd had a peri bottle for rinsing off, and I wish I'd used ice packs right away to help with the swelling and soreness.
No bowel medications. First BM came 2-3 days after the birth and was no big deal.
I rested in bed as long as I needed to.
Sex: resumed it, very hesitantly, after a few months and it hurt (not in perineal area, but more inside) so I am still being careful. Less frequent than dh would like but that's life, right? I think nursing full-time also affects sex life so I can't isolate one factor from the other.
My pelvic area in general is different. Hard to say if it's good or bad, but definitely different. Things feel, for lack of a better term, slightly "rearranged." Cervix is still in the same place, just some of the internal tissues and vaginal walls seem different than before the birth. Dh says it feels the same to him.

Okay, must go to sleep now.

Anonymous said...

I have birthed 6 babies without epidural, and with various degrees of intervention. I have known I had 2 OP babies, based on doctor's pronouncement, one was turned by the OB and the other turned herself. I believe I may have had 2 others OP based on the way I felt in labor. The times that were damaging to me were when I was coached to push (the first birth I pushed only 15 minutes and had a 1 stitch episiotomy...but tore my labia in so many places I now have a hole where I was not stitched together properly). This hole in my labia made me very shamed for a while...I felt somehow deformed. Now, I just deal with it. The nurse in this case had asked my husband to step back and let me "push with my body" and then barked counts to me, curled me up and I pushed with all my might...and tore terribly. My next 3 births I was in the hospital only 2 hours or less before baby was born. I only pushed a few times and they were out...two not caught by the OB but one with no one catching (baby on bed flopping around) and the other with nurses catching. This 6th birth was my worst. After never having to push very long, they had me pushing before I was fully dilated (why didn't I refuse?), and baby was OP. I had been on feet with monitor, but when nurse checked dilation I was flatback and baby's heart decelled. I was turned to the side, and heart stayed down. I refused to obey and sat up, but that was it, I was not allowed to do what I wanted to do...shower, and be on feet, go pee, none of that. I had cervical checks with fingers holding my cervix open through contractions (flat on my back) and turning me on my side to "make baby happy." She had me pushing on my back with feet on stirrups (nurse said, "you'll love the stirrups"). I argued about being on my back pushing, and she said, "your baby cannot come out unless you are on your back, your backbone will get in the way, you can curl forward, and the baby will go over your backbone." I really knew she was either uneducated or lying to me at that point...because I've had several babies while sitting up more than a 45 degree angle, actually none were on flat back...none. Eventually, I was in a ball on my side in pain (more than I recall ever having)not able to move or speak without squealing when the OB finally checked me and proclaimed baby OP and floating high (duh, I'm a grand mulitpara and babies stay high for most of us until the point of birth, anyone know how to read?). He then said, "you need to squat." I almost kissed him, saying, "I can get up?" At this point I'd been pushing the baby for 1 hour and 20 minutes with nursie checking dilation every 10-20 minutes...and the nurse said, "this baby has to be bigger than you expect, I bet it's a big baby." 10 minutes later after squat, hands and knees, left side, right side, up hugging the bed, and back on left side with leg on one stirrup, the baby came out in the caul bag intact with a different nurse catching. She only weighed 7 lbs 11 oz. So much for big baby. My instinct to get up (and the thought that back lying and side lying was bad for my baby) was right on. I felt the baby burn my labia a bit, but have no damage there really to speak of. I do now have a bigger hernia than I did when I went in to labor that day (with all the directed freaking pushing against my body). I also feel lucky I had previous babies as her internal checks were actually hurting my perinium, and I felt that burning while she did that. She would have ripped me had it been my first baby. Ugh. I feel my vagina is okay from this, but I actually cannot stand to look at pictures of the baby and of me in the delivery room (I cry) and I have a thing about skinny long haired brown eyed energetic women. I feel they all look like controling nursie, and it's like post traumatic stress disorder or something. But, I didn't get a c-section because I sat up once and because the OB came and checked me and let me move (I didn't want a male OB to do this, and maybe if he'd checked at the early stages I would have been free to move...darn).

Sorry so long on this, I've been dealing and sharing around the blogs to get it out. Not many want to hear it around here...

Dawn

Anonymous said...

Oh, I need to answer your questions...
Baby 1, 2, and 6 had labor managed. Pushing stages coached in these. Counting, yes (blah). Breathing was coached first time because I was tensing up in transition and panting helped. 2nd don't recall breathing instructions, and 6th the nurse said, "remember your breathing, you've done this enough times...listen to me, breathe...you can do this" (yeah, if you freaking get outta my face).

I was instructed to hold my breath in this birth, but I did not hold my breath. I was not pushing with the urge, and I could not hold my breath. It hurt too much, baby was OP so I was basically pushing baby into my pelvis at the wrong angle. Yeah!

Betadine 1st time, and episiotomy so meds injected just before head came out. Hubby says I had betadine 2nd time, and definitely this time (she swabbed me with plastic under my bottom with bed unbroken). I was not to shake my legs when contracting on my back as I would break the sterile plane (I peed and pooped in that sterile plane when I was allowed to move and when she had me push...she hadn't let me go to the bathroom for over 4 hours). Fingers past perinium into cervix stretching it, and told to push down into her fingers as she pushed them toward my rectum that was full of poop. They didn't do this any other time. This time when crowning they didn't think baby was coming out so no one had hands on my vagina. Episiotomy 1st time...

no tools, just hands 6th time.

1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th managed placenta told to push. Ob tugged 6th time as I was bleeding, but I pushed when I saw him do it...I had a clot behind he had to get out to stop blood flow.

size in birth order
6 lbs 12.5 oz
7 lbs 9 oz
7 lbs 13 oz
6 lbs 11 oz
7 lbs 8 oz
7 lbs 11.4 oz

One stitch with 1st, many stitches on my sunburst tear on 2nd with silver nitrate at 6 week exam as I didn't heal right. The rest have had "skid marks" but no stitching.

After care included sitz bath (they gave me from the hospital this little toilet accessory), and ice packs with peri bottle. Same the 2nd time, after that just ice packs and peri bottle. Tucks came at 4th birth along with ice packs. This birth is the only one I didn't feel swelling so I didn't use ice packs, tucks, or anything.

Bowel movements were never forced. I was given stool softeners which I have taken. I have had no problems with the bowel movements most times except with my 5th. I don't know why but it hurt so badly I would be afraid to go. I had a D&E for miscarriage just prior to that pregnancy, so I think my cervix was sensitive and pooping really hurt internally, but I am not sure.

I've always tried to rest. With my 5th MIL had me doing too much and I began bleeding more heavily, but husband told her to quit it, and I finally stopped spotting at 6 weeks. This time we have really no help at home, but my oldest is 11...so I rest most of the day as I can (we homeschool). People have brought food and a few have taken my younger ones during the day so that I can rest and teach from the couch. It's been working better than I thought, but we'll see how I feel (we're only in week 2 now).

I did feel really down after #2 about my labia. I had a hemotoma, and all the tearing. Sex hurt at first for a while. I do know I am more lax there than I was in the first years of marriage. However, I think pregnancy makes me very into sex (I love 2nd trimester sex) and birth has allowed me more freedom in sex than I had before I had babies. I have more pleasure than I did...as a young wife.

My husband has never complained about sex being bad. He does last a long time I've noticed, and wonder if he doesn't feel sensation that would help him go faster...I multi-o sometimes and it helps that he goes longer. He is able to ejaculate though, usually we switch to him on top to finish.

Dawn

CreepyUCMama said...

Ok, here goes mine then. =)
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Was your birth induced or spontaneous? Spontaneous
:::
Was your labor "managed" or completely natural? Natural
:::
Was your pushing stage "coached" (counting, being told to push or not to push by attendants)? Nope, did whatever I wanted.
:::
Were you instructed to hold your breath or pant or blow against your instincts? No, thank God.
:::
Was anything applied to your perineal area, such as oils, fingers, hot cloths prior to crowning? No way, that vagina is mine, hands off. =)
:::
Was anything done to your perineal area during crowning, such as episiotomy, counter pressure, internal manual manipulation by attendants? Nope again.
:::
Did you have a forceps or vacuum extractor used inside of you? No way.
:::
Was your third stage (birth of placenta) "managed" or spontaneous? Spontaneous
:::
Was your placenta manually removed? Nope.
:::
How big was your baby? 20 inches long and 8 pounds even.
:::
After the birth, were stitches, sutures or glue applied to your perineum? Nope.
:::
After the birth, were you given instructions to actively perform any activities such as sitz baths, blow drying, sunlamps, applying oils or creams to the perineal area? Did you do so? No one told me to and all I did was hang out with some frozen pads because they felt good.
:::
Were you pressured to have a bowel movement as a condition of your being allowed to leave the hospital, and if so, were you given any medications to accelerate this process?
Were you encouraged to force a bowl movement with either medications or conditions and threats? No, but I didn't talk to anyone who could have made me, unassisted births are awesome.
:::
Were you able to rest off of your feet for as long as you felt necessary after giving birth? Again, I did what I wanted when I wanted, felt great.
:::
Do you feel that you were able to resume sexual relations only when you felt 100% ready to? Absolutely.
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is permanently, negatively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth? How so? Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief? I had a labia tear that didn't go back to normal so it looks a little different, but beyond that everything is swell and the mister seems just as happy as before.
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is exactly the same as before you gave birth? Not exactly, hence the labia tear I mentioned above, but it's not different enough to matter.
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor has been positively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth? Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief? I'm just happy I got through a vaginal birth and did just fine. I don't really see it as altered, just experienced. =)

CNH said...

I am going to do this for all four, feel free to replicate and delete! ;-)

Was your birth induced or spontaneous?
Induced
:::
Was your labor "managed" or completely natural?
Managed
:::
Was your pushing stage "coached" (counting, being told to push or not to push by attendants)?
Yes
:::
Were you instructed to hold your breath or pant or blow against your instincts?
Yes
:::
Was anything applied to your perineal area, such as oils, fingers, hot cloths prior to crowning?
Yes
:::
Was anything done to your perineal area during crowning, such as episiotomy, counter pressure, internal manual manipulation by attendants?
Yes
:::
Did you have a forceps or vacuum extractor used inside of you?
No
:::
Was your third stage (birth of placenta) "managed" or spontaneous?
Managed
:::
Was your placenta manually removed?
I am not sure, I would think it was 'helped' by cord traction
:::
How big was your baby?
8 pounds 9 ounces
:::
After the birth, were stitches, sutures or glue applied to your perineum?
yes
:::
After the birth, were you given instructions to actively perform any activities such as sitz baths, blow drying, sunlamps, applying oils or creams to the perineal area? Did you do so?
yes and yes
:::
Were you pressured to have a bowel movement as a condition of your being allowed to leave the hospital, and if so, were you given any medications to accelerate this process?
No but I was given stool softeners

Were you encouraged to force a bowl movement with either medications or conditions and threats?
No
:::
Were you able to rest off of your feet for as long as you felt necessary after giving birth?
Er, not really. But I only had one child at that time, so far more than I do today!
:::
Do you feel that you were able to resume sexual relations only when you felt 100% ready to?
No. We waited 6 weeks and then DH was 'ready'. I tried but after one very, very painful attempt and many tears, we waited again a long time.
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is permanently, negatively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth?
Yes

How so?
I had a large episiotomy to allow the birth of an OP forehead baby. I was sore for months, could barely move after the birth, felt as if I had been hit by a mack truck, basically. I was tender and swollen. I cried every time I went to the bathroom for at least 3 weeks. It was horrible. I never thought it would be the same, and well, it's probably not but it's been 5.5 years so I no longer remember what it was like before.

Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?

We talked about it once, and he agreed that things felt different after Gabe's birth. As he's pretty big and I am very small inside, it wasn't traumatic for us.

:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is exactly the same as before you gave birth?
NO
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor has been positively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth?
No
Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?
I dont really know. The man who wants sex is not stupid enough to talk about what he may not like about my "new" vagina.

Birth 2

Was your birth induced or spontaneous?
induced
:::
Was your labor "managed" or completely natural?
managed
:::
Was your pushing stage "coached" (counting, being told to push or not to push by attendants)?
yes
:::
Were you instructed to hold your breath or pant or blow against your instincts?
yes
:::
Was anything applied to your perineal area, such as oils, fingers, hot cloths prior to crowning?
yes
:::
Was anything done to your perineal area during crowning, such as episiotomy, counter pressure, internal manual manipulation by attendants?
yes
:::
Did you have a forceps or vacuum extractor used inside of you?
no
:::
Was your third stage (birth of placenta) "managed" or spontaneous?
I believe again that there was cord traction
:::
Was your placenta manually removed?
no
:::
How big was your baby?
7 pounds 4 ounces
:::
After the birth, were stitches, sutures or glue applied to your perineum?
No
:::
After the birth, were you given instructions to actively perform any activities such as sitz baths, blow drying, sunlamps, applying oils or creams to the perineal area? Did you do so?
yes and yes
:::
Were you pressured to have a bowel movement as a condition of your being allowed to leave the hospital, and if so, were you given any medications to accelerate this process?
NO
Were you encouraged to force a bowl movement with either medications or conditions and threats?
NO
:::
Were you able to rest off of your feet for as long as you felt necessary after giving birth?
No, I had an 18 month old at home
:::
Do you feel that you were able to resume sexual relations only when you felt 100% ready to?
Yes
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is permanently, negatively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth?
Not from this birth, no

How so?

Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is exactly the same as before you gave birth?
Pretty much
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor has been positively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth? Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?
No and see above

Birth 3

Was your birth induced or spontaneous?
spontaneous
:::
Was your labor "managed" or completely natural?
completely natural
:::
Was your pushing stage "coached" (counting, being told to push or not to push by attendants)?
No
:::
Were you instructed to hold your breath or pant or blow against your instincts?
No. I was given gentle guidance by my MW, as pushing was very intense for me. I was terrified of tearing along that old cut.
:::
Was anything applied to your perineal area, such as oils, fingers, hot cloths prior to crowning?
I believe my MW had her hand on the baby's head.
:::
Was anything done to your perineal area during crowning, such as episiotomy, counter pressure, internal manual manipulation by attendants?
Some counter pressure I believe. Nothing that was bothersome, obviously, because I'd have to watch the video to be sure.
:::
Did you have a forceps or vacuum extractor used inside of you?
No
:::
Was your third stage (birth of placenta) "managed" or spontaneous?

I would tell you spontaneous, but upon reflection, I suspect she was doing some light cord traction while I was nursing and not paying attention.
:::
Was your placenta manually removed?
No
:::
How big was your baby?
9 pounds
:::
After the birth, were stitches, sutures or glue applied to your perineum?
No
:::
After the birth, were you given instructions to actively perform any activities such as sitz baths, blow drying, sunlamps, applying oils or creams to the perineal area? Did you do so?
No and No
:::
Were you pressured to have a bowel movement as a condition of your being allowed to leave the hospital, and if so, were you given any medications to accelerate this process?
Homebirth, so no
Were you encouraged to force a bowl movement with either medications or conditions and threats?
No
:::
Were you able to rest off of your feet for as long as you felt necessary after giving birth? Yes, a couple days was all I needed!
:::
Do you feel that you were able to resume sexual relations only when you felt 100% ready to?
Yes
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is permanently, negatively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth?
Not at all

How so?

Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is exactly the same as before you gave birth?
Yes
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor has been positively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth?
Not really
Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?
See above

Birth Four

Was your birth induced or spontaneous?
spontaneous
:::
Was your labor "managed" or completely natural?
completely natural
:::
Was your pushing stage "coached" (counting, being told to push or not to push by attendants)?
No
:::
Were you instructed to hold your breath or pant or blow against your instincts?
No
:::
Was anything applied to your perineal area, such as oils, fingers, hot cloths prior to crowning?
:::
Was anything done to your perineal area during crowning, such as episiotomy, counter pressure, internal manual manipulation by attendants?
No
:::
Did you have a forceps or vacuum extractor used inside of you?
No
:::
Was your third stage (birth of placenta) "managed" or spontaneous?
Eh. Both.

This was my unassisted birth. I had a MW apprentice come after the birth and she did uterine massage and encouraged me to do cord traction because the placenta was 5 hours in coming. Sigh.
:::
Was your placenta manually removed?
No
:::
How big was your baby?
8 pounds 9 ounces
:::
After the birth, were stitches, sutures or glue applied to your perineum?
No
:::
After the birth, were you given instructions to actively perform any activities such as sitz baths, blow drying, sunlamps, applying oils or creams to the perineal area? Did you do so?
No and No
:::
Were you pressured to have a bowel movement as a condition of your being allowed to leave the hospital, and if so, were you given any medications to accelerate this process?
No, home birth
Were you encouraged to force a bowl movement with either medications or conditions and threats?
No, home birth
:::
Were you able to rest off of your feet for as long as you felt necessary after giving birth?
I was bounced back pretty much the next day
:::
Do you feel that you were able to resume sexual relations only when you felt 100% ready to?
Yes
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is permanently, negatively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth? How so? Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?
No, nothing negative. It wasn't even swollen at all 24 hours later!
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor is exactly the same as before you gave birth?
Pretty much
:::
Do you feel that your vagina, perineum, pelvic floor has been positively altered, whatever that means for you, since giving birth? Does your lover (if applicable) share this belief?
See above

Housefairy said...

To all brave and fantastic Mamas who actually answered my questions:

YOU ROCK

I dont know what else to say. This is too cool.