Her Bad Mother

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mary Shelley Had NO IDEA

I really, really wish that yesterday could have been one of those days that I posted something profound and/or heartfelt and/or intellectually stimulating. Because, god knows, I don't want to come off as just another stupid, narcissistic mommyblogger who suffers from some terrible delusion that people want to read about what she thinks or - gods forbid - about her children or her depression or whatever trials and tribulations related to motherhood that she thinks - wrongly - might interest anyone other than herself and possibly maybe four or five other similarly deluded women who've gone off their meds. But, dammit, I went and blew the wad on thoughtfulness last week, and then went and spent my remaining brain cells railing against misogyny yesterday, so whaddya know? You're just going to have make do with my vagina.

Nope. Not a bunny, not a reindeer, not Glory Hole with Chewing Gum (Triple J Truck Stop- Yuma, AZ, 2003), not The Wind In My Vagina, not a minimalist profile of a very sad donkey (all actual suggestions, please to go read and pee yourself.) No: these are my hideous nethers.

That was a picture of my lady parts, artfully sketched by my doctor. Although I suppose that we might say that it was less art than it was artifact of doctorglyphics: it was an attempt by my doctor to explain to me how it was that yes, things can get worse than a fourth-degree tear sustained in an emergency delivery! That fourth-degree tear can end up with a botched repair because the surgery was performed so hastily and under such trying circumstances. Yep: botched repair. Sloppy stitchwork. Sewn up wrong. Ripped and slashed in birth and then stitched up roughly into some hideous, half-healed, scarred-up mess. Monster-nethers. Frankenvulva.

Click to enlarge, if you dare. MWAH-HA-HA-HA.

I don't know about you, but I don't recall anybody ever telling me, ever, that the vaginal delivery of a baby could result in varying degrees of genital mutilation. Which, you know, is probably not surprising, given that stories about ripped anal-sphincter muscles just wouldn't do much for the sales of those glossy pregnancy magazines. And I can't blame my mother for not telling me, nor the Canadian education system for neglecting to cover the subject of SEX ORGAN DAMAGE in middle school sex-ed. Because, yes, that would probably have scarred me for life, and my parents and my teachers and the architects of sex-education programming in the province of British Columbia knew it. So, it's no wonder, then, that I had no way of knowing that after giving birth I would, indeed, end up scarred for life.

Of course - of course - it was all worth it, the miraculous gift of my beautiful son - my beautiful progeny - being more than ample recompense for the damage sustained to my birthing parts, which did, after all, just do the job that Nature intended them to do (not, however, particularly effectively. JUST SAYIN) yadda yadda blah. But still. My joy at the gift that is my son does not in any way mitigate my frustration with ongoing nether-discomfort, my distress at the possibility that I will go through the rest of my life with a Frankenvulva and my determination to get it fixed and put the damage behind me (figuratively. The damage is, after all, literally behind me, and, also, below me. But whatever. Details, schmetails.) So. Is he going to hear about this at his wedding? HELL YES.

(Not really. Not unless I'm drunk, that is. Which is a possibility, I suppose. A good one.)

(Anyone who had any illusions about me being some kind of gentle and gracious soul is really, really disappointed right now, I guessing.)

(There's no way to close this kind of post elegantly, is there?)

(The end.)

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Blogger SSF said...

Delurking to say that this post is the only thing that comforted my still-lingering feelings of 'wish-I-could've-experienced-childbirth vs.-having-my- (now 3 and 5 year old) babies-pulled-out-of-me-in- surgery'. So you certainly deserve a HUGE pity party with lots of your favorite comfort foods and thanks for helping me get over mine ;-). Heal well. Your kids are adorable. I love your writing. Thanks for blogging all this.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm sorry.

(Said through giggles - your writing makes me laugh).

And really, if you can't laugh about it, what else is there? Besides wine.

And I have been raised and live in BC - they don't cover that stuff in sex ed.

I think HBF should buy you a spa day for that. Just sayin'.

12:43 AM  
Blogger flutter said...

you could bow, I suppose. That would be elegant...

12:49 AM  
Blogger Petunia Face said...

Holy mother of god and all that is anal! That was the funniest, most honest post about childbirth I have ever read. Dubious distinction, I suppose, as you are the proud owner of that perineum a la Miro. But still. Thank you.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Alana said...

Oh man. You're taking me back. With my first I tore pretty badly and needed stitches. A week after delivery the stitches came apart and I had to go into my OB's office and get them redone. (You know, with shots of Novocaine in the perineum first. Good times.) I actually referred to it as my "Frankenpussy" but that's cause I'm all street like that.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. But yeah, been there--not because of bad stitches, but just bad healing. I still am unhappy with the midwife for asking me, "Do you want to see a mirror?" during the birth. I should have looked away--I'm now permanently emotionally scarred as well. :P

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll share TMI too, that I didn't tear BACK, I tore UP! So, when the doc wanted to stitch something...anything...he tried to stick his hand back up there to get all Betsy Ross in my hoo hoo. After my baby with the 19cm head came barreling out, I NEED a ham-fisted derfwad trying to go back in like he's digging for gold.

I screamed. I swung. Needless to say whatever was broken STAYED broken.

Hope you and your new vulva are very happy together.

1:47 AM  
Blogger sugaredharpy said...

My, it looks like your doctor was playing the graphical version of HooHaa Exquisite Corpse.

How fun for you!

2:12 AM  
Blogger mama speak said...

I too have a similar story; only no pix to remember it by. I keloid scar & that type of tissue doesn't actually heal when it's keloid...special. So I got the 2nd experience w/shots and "laser clean ups" and such. Big Fun! But that was w/my first kid and no such issues 2nd time around.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Rachael said...

I read about fourth degree tears when I was pregnant and I flipped my lid just a little. OMG. You are funny, but just... I'm sorry dude. Frankenvulva. Geez. (Hugs) to you and your genitals.

2:20 AM  
Blogger Tootsie Farklepants said...

Man! And I felt bad for my SIL who broke her tailbone during delivery. Dude! You blew out your taint!


2:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I just had a Fenton's repair to restitch what the original doc stitched up wrongly (apparently he put in a seam which I didn't actually NEED, thank you very much, but apparently with bruising that severe, it's very hard to do it properly...) Recovering from stitches with a newborn is one thing; recovering from stitches while chasing an over-active and very mobile nine month old is quite something else... I feel for you. Try not to leap too wildly over the childgate in hot pursuit. You will regret it.

I also don't remember reading about the vaginal mutilation, funnily enough. I read a bunch of natural birthing crap about how my body could DO this and about birth being a sexual experience. Dear oh dear, what a giggle... Am signing up for the elective c-section next time around, I am fed up with people playing cross stitch with my undercarriage. Time for my midriff to step up...

3:38 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Wow. I am now very thankful that I endured a slice n dice in my nethers for birth #1 which took ages to heal and still gets a little unhappy with too much sexor almost 14 years later. Why am I happy about this? Because otherwise my currently pregnant self would be in the corner, fetal position, thinking OMGOMGOMGOMG after looking at the picture of your hoo-ha. Which I may go do right now anyway.

3:53 AM  
Blogger Sass said...

It really brings home the fact that genital mutilation is NOT a cultural norm anywhere.

What gets me is that after all that, you still hauled your frankenvulva all the way to Blogher... gulp. Are you superhuman?

Ha ha - after surgery will it be 'SUPER-Vulva'?

3:59 AM  
Blogger Bronwyn said...

I think you should ask for a bionic vulva.

People keep telling me these stories about ripped nether regions and pooping uncontrollably in front of strangers. I may never have children now.

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to tell you, I feel your pain. (Literally). With Linus, a forceps delivery left quite the horrible after effects.

Let's just say that, more then 6 months later, I FINALLY got to see an OB and he had to cauterize STILL OPEN WOUNDS.

Good times.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Karen Bodkin said...

You are not alone. I'm saving (seriously) for a designer vagina from LA. Not kidding. Did I mention I was serious? Every month it is a problem in terms of pain - for the last 4 years. Fun huh?

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot to add (I'm Ms Fenton's Repair) that my consultant drew something very, very similar even though my problem was different. I swear to God, I think they teach them how to draw a vagina (lots of vague fold-like lines), and then they just do crazed squiggles trying to explain what went wrong.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Mama Smurf said...

There's something to be said for good old fashion C-Sections!

8:08 AM  
Blogger tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

Oh man! I had SO hoped it was a picture by Wonderbaby!!

Are they able to do the repairs? You poor thing. I'm so sorry having a vaginal delivery has ended so twisted for you...

8:15 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

The second child to find her way out of my girl parts decided to do so in about two minutes landing smack on the living roonm floor and DESTROYING my pelvic floor muscles.

The pregnancy with the third child created the awesome medical creepiness know as a a cystocele and a rectocele.

I'm 26--My girl parts are 85.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Blooming said...

Actually, I did explain the vagina-disintegrating-into-pieces aspect of childbirth to my sister when one of her friends got pregnant. So far, it has been an effective method of birth control.

(And I'll listen to your vagina talk anytime.)

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My smallest baby was 9lbs. the biggest 10lbs 11oz. My poor perineum was ripped to shreds three times, infected twice and is now fine. Yes, babies can and do rip us to shreds and it hurts like hell. Some women actually end up with their bowels torn open which is not a good thing.

Getting it fixed sounds a like a good idea. And take care of yourself sweetie.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch. OUCH! AND OUCH!!!!!

I thought it was bad when my post op meeting with my doc involved him applying ACID to my nethers to get rid of "granulation".

Granu-what now? There is not supposed to be a silo in my crotch. It isn't meant to resemble a beach. There ought to be no pebbles in my poochie.

Still. I must declench my bits (locked in sympathy).

However. OUCH.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Amy Urquhart said...

THIS is why I continue to read blogs written by moms...the education I'm getting is far more valuable than anything I could have learned in school, or even from my friends over coffee. That, and the writing is painfully funny.


9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooh, ouch! I feel your pain! With my first, I had a borderline 2nd/3rd degree tear (the midwife wrote 3rd, then scratched it out and wrote 2nd. i think so she wouldn't have to get a docotr to stitch me up). It didn't heal. The stitches fell out, still a gaping wound with scars at the edges. They reopened it with silver nitrate. I *think* I kicked the (male) doctor in the head when he applied it, since he had told me "this won't hurt at all."Bastard.

With my second, that giant-headed kid (9lb 11oz 22 inches - I had to bring my own hat to take him home in since the ones at the hospital didn't fit) managed to tear one of my labia in half. horizontally. And I had wiiiide internal tears (as opposed to the perineal tears of the first). There are extra, um, folds where he repaired the tear. They're prone to infection. I have a feeling that I'm headed for labial cosmetic surgery. sigh.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Dodi said...

OMG! That is hysterical!
So glad I found your blog because it made me realize that coffee can, indeed, shoot through your nose!

9:24 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

The critical theorist in me asks the philosopher in you: what do you suppose it means that you describe your mangled lady parts as a) below 'you', or b) 'behind' you?

a) obviously, yours is a logocentric self :-) Working the up/down, north/south binary, 'you' are the civilized north, while down south ... the wild jungle!

b) this might just be a bad pun. As a literary critic, I have to allow for those sometimes.


9:30 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Oh, and here I was foolishly toying with the idea of a VBAC. Thanks for helping me off the fence!!

And sorry about your junk. That really sucks.

10:00 AM  
Blogger caramama said...

Oh my. That just sucks sucks SUCKS! I am really sorry.

I've also never been so happy to have my still-aching-16-months-later C-section scar.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catherine, STOP what you are doing RIGHT NOW and call a colo-rectal surgeon. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Or loonies, or whatever you Canadians have for dollars.

I had this injury, and I had the surgery to repair it last November (search "Frankentaint" on my blog.) I am not usually so bossy, really I am not, I am just praying to jeebus that you read this comment because this surgery is SERIOUSLY A LITTLE CRAZY and I'm sure you're not stupid (I was), but, um, there is much to know about the repair for this injury that my doctor never told me, and the world is FULL of women whose doctor never told them either. Please feel free to email me at 2shews at geemail dot com.

Sorry to be so dramatic. You can go back to whatever you were doing before now.

10:17 AM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

Only good thing about a c-section is that the vajayjay was spared the second time around. (It wasn't so lucky the first time. You know it's gonna hurt when your midwife tells you that you have a perinneum of steel.)

10:26 AM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

P.S. The first part of that comment - the OMG, THAT SOUNDS AWFUL! part, got deleted by baby and I didn't notice.

Plus, since I'm here again anyway, I'll just let you know that pretty much the first thing my m-i-l ever told me about my future husband was that he ripped her 'from ass to tea kettle.'

So yes, bring it out at the wedding.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Nic (NotPerfect) said...

I'm 25 and I think this post was the best sex education I've ever had. I'm sitting with my legs crossed all day in honor of you.

I don't know why the US bothers with abstinence only education. A little drawing on blackboard would be WAY more effective.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Oh, soul sister. I had the same issue and later came "unstitched" because of shoddy work. I called it my frankengina. I wrote a whole post about it but never published it because holy hell it was bad. And when I finally got in to see the doctor she was all "OH MY GOD!" which is not good and she ended up cauterizing (yeah, CAUTERIZING) the wound. Wasn't as bad as I expected though and now? Pretty much good as new. You'll heal and frankenvulva will too. Well, frankenvulva will. Your mental scars from seeing your friend so badly beaten will last awhile.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Oh. No.

I preferred the minimalist reindeer interpretation over your reality. I hope the doctor who attempts to make things right got an A+ in home ec.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry to be getting such a chuckle out of your problem, but the whole post was hilarious. Anyhoo, can they fix it? If you said something about that in your post, I missed it. Couldn't read too well from the tears rolling down my face.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Issa said...

Holy crap. Am wanting to schedule c-section now.

It is kinda funny that your doctors picture passed as a WonderBaby drawing. Doc needs an art class or something.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Overflowing Brain said...

Yow. If it makes you feel better when my mom had my sister she was cut from opening to opening (I'm sorry, it's my mom, I cannot discuss real anatomical terms) and they left a sponge inside her for 2 weeks. So I mean, at least frankenvulva doesn't smell like a dying animal.

That's got to make you feel good, right?

10:52 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I had similar issues with my parts after Giggles was born. Things were an issue for a long time. When I got pregnant with Chicken my new doc was horrified that it was like that. So when Chicken was born (very quickly and tearing lots) They were able to fix most of the damage done. Things are much better now.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really grateful to have found someone with a similar problem. Perhaps we can become BFFs as we bond over our shared affliction.
What? No, not THAT affliction! I mean our shared addiction to parentheses! (I'm thinking about starting a support group.)

(I know this comment is a little off topic, but what is left to be said about your vagina that hasn't already been said?)

11:03 AM  
Blogger The Other Laura said...

Aaaargh! It takes talent to make such a nasty sounding injury sound a little funny.

(I still think you're a gentle and gracious soul.)

11:09 AM  
Blogger Amelia Sprout said...

I was really hoping that wasn't it, but crap. Ouch. Get the surgery to fix it, or whatever you need, and I hope to god your healthcare system realizes you need it without question. I'm rethinking another one. Last one big, stuck shoulders, episiotomy, and she was early.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ouch i so thought that was a wonderbaby pic.so docs can't write legibly or draw so's you can understand what looking at...when i had baby # 2 the doc had to sew me up because i tore and I.COULD.FEEL.EVERY.SINGLE.FECKING.STITCH .ow!and he said to the nurse can she feel that? hell yeah i felt it.hope they can repair your hoo hah catherine

11:13 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Frankenvulva. You slay me!

I didn't tear, but I did have an episiotomy with BubTar's delivery. I swear, I can sense the weather changes with the scar in my vag. Weird.

Lovely addition to the "Things No One Will Ever Tell You for Fear You Will Not Procreate" also known as the "Things I Will Tell My Friends Only After They've Gotten Knocked Up".

11:43 AM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...


I just don't know what else to say.

I'm sorry maybe?

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My nether-regions are clenched in horror..even though I've had the tearing and the stitches and the too-quick baby, the thought of willingly going in to have it fixed makes me clench..tight..

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn. That is terrifying. I ended up having emergency c-section with twins so I'm glad that they didn't do that to my lady parts. OUCH!! I think there would be some investigating into the medical background of one crappy-stitch-sewing surgeon. And then possibly some recompensation because that should just be just plain illegal what they did to your lady parts. I'll say it again...OUCH!!!

11:49 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

Loved your rant on misogyny! Perfumed, lactating cows unite!

After my first boy, I had a tear (nowhere near like yours), but the stitches (done twice) wouldn't take because of the "delicate" nature of the skin in the area (labia). After my second boy, the unrepaired tear ripped more, and again could not be healed by stitches, I became resigned to my permanently damaged sex parts.

My doctor said that there is actually a vaginal plastic surgery industry (many porn stars apparently use it along with boob surgery) if I was interested.

Still trying to sort that one out. How do you claim that one on your insurance?

11:50 AM  
Blogger heels said...

When my midwife was stitching me up, the birth attendant peeked over her shoulder and said "Hey! It looks like a smiley face!"


11:54 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Vicki - my doc says that it wasn't so much surgeon-error as it was the fact that the surgery was done under extraordinary circumstances - outside of an OR, in a big hurry, with me unaesthetized (I KNOW. They gave me superficial freezing and TYLENOL) and much bleeding and mess. Oh, and? Quoth my doctor "It would all have been very swollen and ragged down there and so difficult to direct a needle" AWESOME.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh God. I'm pregnant with my first child now, and AFRAID. Very afraid. Do not want Frankenvulva. I hope yours feels better very soon. So are episiotomies a good thing? I read an article about how they're the most overperformed, unnecessary surgical procedure in the US, but if they help prevent even worse tearing, I might have to consider it. Gah.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Hmmm. Can't decide if my c-section incision re-opening and the kidney stone were better or worse than if that had happened to me. Ouch!

12:19 PM  
Blogger Maman said...

Elegance is over rated.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...


"The critical theorist in me asks the philosopher in you: what do you suppose it means that you describe your mangled lady parts as a) below 'you', or b) 'behind' you?

a) obviously, yours is a logocentric self :-) Working the up/down, north/south binary, 'you' are the civilized north, while down south ... the wild jungle!

b) this might just be a bad pun."

The answer is b), but since you asked...

The Socratic philosopher in me responds that "I" am a being with a tripartite soul - reason, spirit and appetite - and that my higher self (reason) exists above my lower selves (spirit and appetite), and that even these lower selves are in the most important ways separate from my body which is, after all, entirely controlled and directed by my soul. In that way, I can say that my (physical) life-giving parts are 'beneath' me - in all sense of the word, given that these parts are also meant to be subservient to me (the control by my soul over my physical being is after all what makes me human) - if we understand 'me' to be the soul-filled being who loves and pursues wisdom.

But actually, I was punning.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hoo Ha Hangman.

I gave birth to two pinheaded girls, thank you God, so the damage wasn't quite as technicolor. BUT, though my first labor progressed with the speed of a mollusk-- seriously, it was like she was stopping at every Starbucks in the birth canal-- apparently she was also wearing spurs because in the sweet afterglow/stitching up process, my Dr. casually remarked that she "nicked my bladder" and he would have to "do a little internal repair". WTF?

I didn't think to ask for an artist's rendering, though, dammit.

I am truly sorry you are having to deal with this, even though I sat behind you at BH and made goo-goo eyes at the delicious, so-worth-it Jasper. Ask him, he'll remember. It was special.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

So are they going to fix it??

12:51 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I'd say if it can't be fixed and continues to be uncomfy, there is more than a good chance of you being drunk freuqently and it coming up at all SORTS of charming occasions...

But really, OUCH. I can only imagine not only the discomfort, but how appalling, to consider what is usually thought of as a pretty-ish part being unprettied by hurried stitching. So very, very sorry!

But - CAN it be fixed? And would it really be much better in terms of comfort? And then, would you want to reopen and start healing over? That would be a very , very tough call, lady. Gah.

Sending you frozen rolled-up washcloths (I've hear they are helpful - TMI?), wine, and hugs.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

You just made me feel really good about my c-section...thanks!

12:58 PM  
Blogger zchamu said...

Oh. Oh... oh.

OK, I have a question here.

I totally get how it was an emergency delivery, bombing down the highway at 300 kmh, crowning on the side road, etc. etc. so I totally get how the damage happened.

But what I do not get is.. how they botched the repair? Surely once he was out they could have taken their time a little bit and done the job correctly?

All's I know is, my vagina has just written a letter to its lawyer demanding an injunction against any and all possible "natural" childbirth attempts (should the opportunity ever arise, of course.)

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell?!!!
I am never ever gonna do that!

What am I thinking??!Of course I will! I want to have children some time.

No!! Please, no!

I'll somehow trick my doctor to give me a C-section. Or bribe the baby to come out gently (with the help of some lubricant or something!)

But seriously, that is really scary stuff.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Right now? I am so fucking glad I am done birthing.

Can you say scarred for life??

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMIGOD. I just died ten times reading this. I had a similar experience of trauma to the nether regions. My doctor didn't draw a picture, though, and now I feel slighted!

2:25 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

It is with pleasure that my first visit to your blog puts me face to face with your most holy of holy! This was equal parts hilarious and painful, and I'm going to look forward to coming around a lot from here on out!

Also, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my place the other day. I appreciate it!

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I found you through my google reader.

I can't believe someone botched your stitches like that! I haven't read through your past blogs, but did you have a really long recovery time? My goodness! I thought I was sore and took way too long with the stupid sitz bath thing, but you must have been in agony! I hope you are healed and back to normal soon.

2:54 PM  
Blogger CaraBee said...

I would not have guessed that drawing was your lady parts. As a fellow 4th degree tearer, I feel your pain. Or really, I feel my own pain but I get you. Totally.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE this post and had to LOL at the fact that i was sure that was a drawing your daughter had made for you!

I very much wanted to be the friend that told it all like it really is regarding natural childbirth because of ALL those things that no one tells you . . . (the fact that you crap in front of complete strangers, for example!). I was so shocked by so much regarding birthing and the period afterwards that I thought it was my duty. Then I decided that if I were to do that then none of my friends would ever have children! Now I kind of feel out the waters before sharing anything. . . I mentioned to one of my pregnant friends that it would be a good idea to have someone around the house post-birth to do things like help her in and out of bed/the tub and she seemed incredulous as to why she would need help. i didn't have the heart to explain how a newly ripped arsehole complicates all kinds of movement!! Perhaps i should just forward a link to your post!!

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to guess 4th degree tear on your last post (because I had one of those), but vulva had a nicer ring to it.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Velma said...

I had a pretty big repair with my first, but the worst part about it was the lack of anesthesia.

Oh, yeah, and the asshole doctor's joking query as to whether I wanted the "girlfriend" or the "wife" repair. But then I tore him a new one, so I felt better.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Whit said...

... but has your doctor ever been to Yuma?

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. My best friend had the same thing and it really scarred her mentally.

It is one of those child birth things that does not get a lot of attention.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Genie said...

When I was born my mother's OBGYN was out of town and she had to use a Chinese doctor who spoke little English and sewed her up crooked. She has what looks like a permanent hemorrhoid and if she laughs too hard she farts uncontrollably. I'm pretty sure that wasn't in the pregnancy manual.

I hope they can make it all better now. I wonder if you could insist on a plastic surgeon for something like that.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn it. I was pulling for a reindeer. I'd imagine that the only thing worse than having a funked up vagina is a bajillion other people telling you about their funked up vagina. So I'm just stopping by to say hi. And that you and your son appeared to be very lovely in the New York Times.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Sugar Jones said...

I had my first child vaginally and sat sideways for about a month. So when the doctors came in to say C-Section for the next one, I raised my hand and said AMEN and pass the cutting knife! The following two were very scheduled and very tear-free. Modern Medicine is a wonder sometimes...

6:10 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

If it makes you feel any better at all, I had nearly the same thing done to me as a cure for "painful intercourse." Right down to the poor stitch job and a raging post-surgical infection. It was, by far, the most intense pain of my life. The worst part for me was that I'd had elected to have the surgery, because of a so-called "defect" in my anatomy that made sex very, very painful. Uh, no. I was not normal before, but I certainly have Teh Frankenvulva now.

Now I'm pregnant, and scared sh*tless that I will rip the incision line again now that it has FINALLY healed. Been there, lived through that. Hope never to go there again. I'm so, so sorry for your pain.


6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never. Having. Children. EVAR.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HBM, I love how you can make such a horrible situation so funny.

But these comments? Are freaking me out. I think I need to go throw up a teensy little bit. And I've given birth twice (and had the whole stiches/tear thing once...though not anywhere near as badly as you...so, so, so sorry.)

7:38 PM  
Blogger MsPicketToYou said...

i was right after all -- it's a sad man with a papaya stuck on his head.

(at least that's what I am telling myself about a similar scary "diagram" i was given after birth number one.)

8:16 PM  
Blogger Alli Worthington said...

My vagina sends yours get better soon wishes.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting this out there. No one tells us these things, and I've always felt like such a failure for not giving birth vaginally (not by my choice but still--FAIL) and this makes me greatful for what I have.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting this out there. No one tells us these things, and I've always felt like such a failure for not giving birth vaginally (not by my choice but still--FAIL) and this makes me greatful for what I have.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Katie Schwartz said...

Oy vey, does that sound like big unfestive vadge fun. I'm so sorry. I thought menstruating while baking enough bread to supply Brooklyn was a challenge.

They'll get it right the second time and you'll have a vulvarific nether region. Still.

At least you still have the box God gave you and a beautiful spawn.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Thea said...

oh. my. God.

(I'm going to go thank my lucky stars now that my doctors managed to stitch me up properly after my children's ginormous heads came charging out. Whew.)

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thought it was something that Wonder Baby drew?

Seriously. I'm not kidding.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Phoebe's Phriends said...

Wow, that is serious birth control right there. Save the drawing so that when your daughter is a teen you can show it to her and tell her that if she has sex, THAT is what will happen.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Ah yes, welcome to the "Sisters of the Frankenvulva" club. We have our own handshake, did anyone show you yet?

Fourth degree tear, sulcus tears inside, stitches opened up less than a week after the birth. Had to heal from the inside out, rather than outside in. And now I'm lopsided down there. And instead of diving right in, there is more of a ramp as an entrance. (TMI? yeah, probably) Fortunately, eight months later there is no more pain, although it does still feel a bit odd during The Sex.

If I choose I can have it repaired. Hubby asked if I could get a bionic pussy, better than it was before, stronger, faster...

Oh yeah, he's a laugh a minute...

8:43 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

I KNEW IT! I knew that's what it was.
And welcome to my world. My consolation - which isn't much, right now - is that it WILL heal. Really. About ten months of now, you'll be feeling much like yourself again.

8:43 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...




8:53 PM  
Blogger MrsDesperate said...

Ouch! I so relate. Had a third-grade tear AND an episiotomy when giving birth to my first. Really poor public health care, treated like a piece of meat. To make it worse, a hunky surfer-dude student doctor got to sew me up, while others came in to take a look at the horror. Was never having sex again, let alone another child. Got pregnant again by some miracle ... but this time I went private, had really good care. The midwives were great, helped me a lot, and the obstetrician could see I was going to tear again, but just cut along the original scar line. It stopped it from getting any worse and recovery was not as painful as the first time. All I can say is that a supportive birthing team makes such a difference. Hope your HooHa's lawyer can help give you some decent closure (sorry, but I couldn't resist!

8:56 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

Feeling absolutely no satisfaction at all in being right.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Suburban Gorgon said...

Oh, god. I thought the picture had been drawn by your daughter.....

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only made it to the "tearing forward" comment and I had to put my head between my legs. Childbirth isn't for the faint of heart. This is one of the first times that I'm grateful to have had two c-sections...

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend had a similar problem and what helped her (I'm not sure that you are up for it) was having her second child and having it tear and get sewn back up correctly the second time. Yikes!

9:41 PM  
Blogger moplans said...

I knew that was a drawing of your girly bits. I just thought wonderbaby did it.
doctorglyphics indeed.

I think I got what Kristen said....but no one medical bothers to tell me things like 'hey you have a fourth degree tear' or 'lookout you're heamorrhaging'. I have to read it in my chart later.
I didn't get any drugs either and despite my repeated "I can FEEL that' no one cared. So I feel you and I am totally thinking that line about being in a rush is total crap. It is important to take the few extra moments on someone's lady parts. They'd saved so much time in your delivery what was the rush with the repairs?

10:04 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Lisa - well, they couldn't give me anything but topical freezing and Tylenol (which, can I say? WTF. LIKE THAT HELPS) - so I COULD FEEL IT ALL OMFG - and there was mucho bleeding, so that, apparently, was the hurry. Also, doc said, the swelling from the trauma made it hard to stitch. But also - the two attending docs were RESIDENTS. Not full doctors. One of them cut his finger stitching me up. So methinks there was some junior fuckuppage.

10:13 PM  
Blogger sam {temptingmama} said...

My God. Frankenvulva. I never laughed so hard!

Two words my friend.

Vaginal Rejuvenation.

Oh, and now that I've seen a diagram of your hooha, I'm going to think about it constantly the next time I see you! LMAO!

10:31 PM  
Blogger Pooks said...

Moments like this make my agnostic side come out, GOD BLESS! Since I had an emergency c-section with my first, I'm now DEFINITELY leaning towards a scheduled c-section with my hypothetical second.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Hm. OUCH just doesn't cover it, does it?


10:42 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Pooks - if I were ever to have a third - WHICH I AM NOT - I would schedule a c-section in a heartbeat. A HEARTBEAT.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Maggie, Dammit said...







11:08 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Now I never want to have kids.. well, again that is, and not vaginally either, well they were c-section, but still. You scared me. Sorry bout your nibits, that sucks.

8:46 AM  
Blogger moplans said...

The facking residents (TWO??) did this to your girly bits. Ok now I am like the others with head between my knees.
I HATE residents. Yes I know people have to learn, and god knows many have learnt on me (hello epidural puncture) but at my frankenpussy reconstruction at least the very senior experienced doc was working WITH the resident.
Though at one point she (the doc) made a comment that she had no idea what she was doing and I (stoopidly ) in my desanguinated state made some comment about how it wasn't even the resident who was confused and how impressed I was with that.

wow. vag drawings bring out the oversharer in me. like sam this is all I will think of when I think of you from now on.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Aurelia said...

I haven't read all the comments, but speaking as someone who had the frankenpussy from hell after my first vaginal birth, it gets better.

The first year was meh, but after a few years, I couldn't see the scars and everything was feeling like new.

It's been twelve years and the only reason it isn't completely perfect still was because I hit menopause, and without estrogen things slacked off again down there.

Seriously, get some vaginal estrogen cream from the Doc and use it, and do kegels, sure, but also massage the cream into the scars.

Even the anal scars will heal...I also highly recommend using some cortisone cream. And no it won't interfere with breastfeeding, honestly.

Yeah TMI from me, sorry, but I felt like you needed to hear that it really isn't permanent.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to have a c-section, after having plaaned the whole natural, birthing centre thing. My two friends from my antenatal class who did actually manage the vaginal non-medicated thing comforted me with tales of their tears. One of them tore forwards, ie not towards her anus, but towards her urethra. Ouch. The other's daughter had her hand up by her face, and so she tore quite substatially. That was 17 weeks ago,and both times she has attempted to have sex since then, it has torn again... ouch!!

12:55 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

HBM - my friend, who also had a vaginal birth with large amounts of damage and so much blood loss she was millilitres away from a transfusion, is also thinking that she might look into scheduling a C for the second. Can't say as I blame either of you! Me, I'm going that route, too, after a C with pumpkinpie.

12:56 PM  
Blogger clueless but hopeful mama said...

Oh my. I so feel you on this one. After Zoe was born I was SO TERRIFIED to look at my third-degree tear undercarriage. When I finally did (two weeks post birth), I cried. I could laugh or cough for the first month without my whole flapping undercarriage laughing with me. It sucked. HARD.

I did have some amazing PT. The very nice lady used her finger to rid me of scar tissue (NOT PLEASANT but important to keep sex from being NOT PLEASANT forever.) and then some biofeedback to get my muscles up and running again. It took awhile but things are more ship shape these days.

Good luck and for 'gina's sake, please keep posting on this. The world needs to know!

3:56 PM  
Blogger iheartchocolate said...

I KNEW IT! I didn't know it was yours, or about the booboos, but I knew it looked like an episiotomy.
Why does that make me so proud?

Terribly sorry about all that, I cannot imagine. I've had the stitches, but not the new accessories. I hope it heals quickly and you are back in business soon.

This was a hilarious post, in spite of the sensitive issues involved. Just had to say that.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Indy said...

No one told me either. Luckily, I had to had a c-section. Went for one for #2 since I had heard from friends how well they recovered. Good for you for putting it out there.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Avonlea said...

Ouch!! Yeah the rush is because of the blood loss potential. Right after the forceps assist birth of my son, my OB said, "Oh, shit!" Then, she reassured me while hurriedly sewing me up before I completely bled out. I lost about half my blood in a minute or so. Mine was 'only' a second degree tear, but still could have had dire consequences without quick sewing.

12:59 PM  
Blogger moplans said...

Just 'cuz I like the docs to keep their stories straight: I had a 4th degree tear, lost two litres of blood and it took twenty minutes to a half hour to sew my bits back together. Something I apparently should be grateful for and up to this post was not.
thanks hbm.

do I win the commenter most obsessed with vaginal repairs award?

1:44 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm de-lurking to commiserate. Frankenvulva sounds eerily familiar because I had something very similar happen with the birth of my first child.
So, I found the post about your son's birth. It brought back so many visceral memories from my daughter's birth, I started feeling faint. She was born within a similar time frame - my OB called it "precipitous labor" or somesuch euphemism.
I saw stars. While reading your post. And my daughter turns 10 soon.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

Oh ouch!
I thought having a v-bac with my second would be better than a c-section. My second came flying out and it took the midwife an hour to sew me back together. I couldn't walk for a week, but I could hold my toddler.
I was fortunate. Part of why it took an hour was because she was very fastidious, even got another doctor to assist, and both being women, they wanted to make sure they did it right. (They knew what they were dealing with.)
I'm really sorry for what you're going through. Mine was all internal, so pretty straight forward. I can't imagine the diagram made you feel any better about the situation.

12:49 AM  
Blogger gwendomama said...

i am so sorry to have missed out on the smarties. you canadians have the best candy EVAH.

impressive, very.

my friend had a similar situation. she was in the hospital, but they couldn't stop her baby's fist from making an entrance through her ass hole.

yes, really.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Mitzi Green said...

jesus tap-dancing christ.

that's really all i can say as i contemplate the horror.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We must have had the same doctor. Fourth degree hack/tear, botched sewing, wicked scar, leading to months without sex and desperate fear of pooping. Yeah...sounds like the same M.O.

2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My vajayjay would send yours flowers or something, but she's too busy trying to crawl back up into herself. She's having great difficulty, seeing as how my legs are crossed. very. tightly....

Hugs to you and your girl junk! Feel better soon!


12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm worried you may have been hacked. When I read this blog, I get a basic authentication request for my twitter account, unsolicited.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had my 6 week postpartum visit today (2nd baby) and had open wounds cauterized and felt some sort of odd comfort in reading your experience with this. You're like my Franken-vaj sistah. I'm seriously re-thinking baby #3. Yikes. Thanks for the awesome and honest blog post. Made my night.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I can't believe I hadn't heard about you and this story when I was dealing with this (wow, how lucky for us to be part of the same club).

Had the left side of my labia tear off from clitoral area during emergency forcep delivery (about 3 inches)....um..ok...and then (get this, seriously)...they didn't notice...and I went home with baby....and naturally it got infected...and then I had to find out in the ER....lovely.

I healed (sortof) but it took MONTHS....and i mean MONTHS. My babe is now 15 months old and I am JUST beginning to stomach the idea of another pregnancy (beginning!).

PS - I saw the pictures of Home Depot love today....*le sigh*!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Al_Pal said...

That's some birth control, alright. ;p
Hope your bits are feeling much better now!

7:06 AM  

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