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A Mum's Story: My Perineal Refashioning

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Why I Chose To Write This Article

I had my first baby at the age of 22 so really I was in my "prime" for giving birth and expected to bounce back pretty fast, but the reality was very different. Before I was full term my bump was measuring three weeks larger than expected and I was sent for a growth scan. Now I know I am not alone in this experience as I have spent hours trawling through articles and websites for moms and I've read dozens of stories similar to my own; the growth scan was where everything started to go wrong. After the scan I was informed that my baby wasn't growing properly, was extremely small and needed to "stay in for as long as possible".


Two weeks later I struggled to give birth to my 9lbs 6oz baby boy and ended up with an epidural I didn't want, a traumatic birth in theatre with forceps and a very distressed newborn.

At this point I would like to encourage women out there who are having growth scans to listen to the midwives and doctors together and trust their own instincts over these growth scans as they are, apparantly, notoriously unreliable.

After becoming a mother I dedicated every hour of every day to my baby and even though I was extremely unhappy with my post-baby body I was too ashamed to confront my body issues and certain I wasn't going to find anyone who could help me fix it.I decided to try to get past how I looked - after all, being a mother is about caring for your child first and foremost and I didn't come first any more.

But 5 years on I went to the GP and we ended up discussing the way I had been left and there and then I decided I wanted to fix it - I wasn't happy and it was time to move forward. I was offered a perineal refashioning and after the pre-op assessment I tried finding more information on the procedure and recovery and was shocked at how little I found! Nothing but very basic aftercare information that was pretty much just common sense. I had the operation today and I am writing this for others who are considering the same procedure.

What is a Perineal Refashioning or Fentons Procedure?

After childbirth it is common for women to have episiotomies, tears or at least some degree of grazing which can leave painful or unsightly scar tissue. This can make even the most beautiful mom feel like "damaged goods" and have a detrimental effect on her self esteem and sex life.

If there is scarring which hasn't healed properly within 6 months of giving birth your gynecologist may suggest a Perineal Refashioning, sometimes known as the "Fenton's Procedure" where the scar tissue is removed and you are carefully re-stitched to allow the whole area to heal properly, this time with less scarring as the procedure is significantly less traumatic than after childbirth, where the risk of infection is much higher.

The refashioning happens whilst you are under general anesthetic so you won't be aware of what is happening, and you wont feel a thing.

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Healing Cream for After Surgery

Before Your Perineal Refashioning Surgery Check List

1. On the day of your surgery you should have a quick shower before leaving the house for the hospital. You won't be able to shower for 24 hours after surgery as the stitches are dissolvable and need to be kept dry as much as possible.


2. Pack a small bag with boredom busters such as a book, headphones, pen and pad etc as the wait for going in to theatre can be long and you'll be less nervous if you can give yourself things to focus on.


3. Make sure you have child care or help with your child for at least 24 hours after you've had the surgery as you ideally should be on bed reast for two days, ony getting up for short periods of time and doing no chores - making dinner and housework can wait, just focus on getting better.


4. You will usually be out of surgery the same day as the procedure is very quick (usually between 15 and 40 minutes). Ensure you have a family member, other half or friend who can be with you for at leat 24 hours after the surgery as the anesthetic won't wear off completely for a whole day.


5. Transport needs to be either a car or a taxi and you obviously cannot drive yourself so make sure you have someone who can bring you home from the hospital.


6. Before your surgery, make sure you have some sanitary towels and comfortable knickers as you will experience bleeding for at least a few days after you have had surgery. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about unless the bleeding becomes as heavy as a period.


7. Invest in some healing cream, such as the arnica cream above as this will promote good healing and I speak from experience when I say it is well worth the money!

8.) Make sure you have paracetemol and ibuprofen at home by your bedside as you will want to take the full dose of ibuprofen for the first 48 hours to bring down swelling. Please note that you will have bruising and some swelling after surgery but it generally is not as bad as when you have given birth.

What To Expect: Perineal Refashioning

Before you go into theatre the nurses will take your blood pressure and talk to you a little bit about your medical history including when you last had something to drink and eat as you shouldn't eat or drink anything on the morning of your surgery - you will probably have more information on this at you pre-op assessment. You will also speak to a doctor/surgeon who will take you through any questions you may have at this point and finally, you will speak to the anesthetist who will talk you through the anesthetic and recovery.

When it is time for you to go into the theatre you will be dressed in a hospital backless gown and given a bed to lie on. At this point you will also be given special hospital socks which will need to be kept on for 24 hours to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

You will most likely be awake as you go into the theatre, as this is where they will put a needle into you hand and administer the anesthetic. You will start to feel light headed and sleepy - don't worry this is a lovely feeling and I was asleep in seconds from this point. You will be hooked up to a drip and be monitored closely throughout your procedure. The surgeon will then improve the muscle tone of the vagina, remove scar tissue and restitch you as neatly as possible. When the surgery is over, you will be brought round and you will be numb "down below" for a few hours so don't worry about pain upon coming to. However, I will say that, after 5-10 minutes when I was fully "with it" I couldn't believe the pain I was experiencing around my tailbone! Apparently because of the position they have you in to do the procedure tailbone pain does happen sometimes. A cushion helped and lying on my side helped too - this pain stopped after a few hours and the hospital will also give you a mix of painkillers to take as soon as you mention any discomfort.

After a few hours I had to brave my first trip to the toilet to have a wee and we all remember that from after we had our babies! Fortunately I had lots of water so the urine was very diluted and it didn't sting at all. I also braved a little peek and I was amazed at what a fantastic job the surgeon had done! Yes I was bruised and had new stitches which were going to need lots of care, but I reminded myself that this was something I wanted so that long-term I would feel better about myself.

I got lots of advice from the nurses which I will pass on:

  1. Take painkillers regularly
  2. No showering for 24 hours
  3. REST for 24-48 hours
  4. keeping your legs up will help the swelling go down
  5. After a few days you may feel like you want to start applying some cream such as arnica cream to aid the healing process
  6. Use sanitary towels but never tampons for the next 4 weeks
  7. No sex for 4 weeks - even if you think you "look recovered" as there is a lot of internal healing that won't have had chance to heal before this time and you really don't want to set yourself back!
  8. Have some cold gel compresses handy, as this will help reduce bruising and swelling and help your body to heal as quickly as possible.

© 2014 Anna

How Helpful Was This Article?

Anna (author) from chichester on September 16, 2014:

Haha it's true - everything is new and exciting at that age :) it's lovely

Nick Deal from Earth on September 15, 2014:

I wonder what I had to play with as a 4 month old - probably a cardboard box or something...

Fay Favored from USA on September 15, 2014:

I have a four month old nephew who I know would like these toys. The Lamaze toys are so colorful and are perfect for any infant to toddler. Good selections.