When I was pregnant, I was really scared about tearing. In my head I could imagine it all, and even though as a midwife, I knew how it all worked and how it gets fixed, I could not shake this feeling. I felt like my poor vagina was never going to be the same.
I held this feeling way in the back of my mind for most of my pregnancy, it seemed silly to talk about it, it’s just one of those things I had to do. Plus, I was planning the big home birth (amidst many raised eyebrows) and I was giving all my bravery standing up to that decision, I couldn’t fall apart over my perineum (was it going to fall apart? Eek.)
At 34 weeks we decided to try some perineal massage. I say ‘we’, it was my husband doing it because I couldn’t really get into the right position without looking like a stranded beetle and I wanted to try to relax.
As soon as he started, I freaked out. Suddenly all that fear spilled out “It hurts now so how the fuck am I supposed to push this whole baby out? I will definitely tear, ALL first time mums tear!” Big panicky sobs of fear and pessimism.
Once I had let it all out, we tried again the next day. It felt a bit easier, and continued to feel easier over time. That negative Nancy started to go away and I started to listen to my hypnobirth track when it said that my body could open slowly without harming me. Even if deep down I thought “Yeah, right”.
So on the day, when I felt the stinging and stretching of my baby starting to crown, I was slow, I was calm. Every new stinging sensation was my body saying “Wait, give me time to adjust”. I was in tune with myself, when my midwife said “push”, I said “no, this needs to be slow”.
All that fear and worry was turned into the energy and passion I needed to focus and make sure that my birth was going to go the way I had hoped. So my baby boy came into the world slowly, after a speedy labour, and even if I had torn, I could not have cared less at that moment.
But what about your vagina, I hear you ask? Not a scratch.