Karen’s story

My story began in October 2010, with the birth of my first child. My baby became distressed and I was given an episiotomy and she was delivered using forceps.

Sadly, I was not adequately assessed by the doctor after delivering and had sustained a substantial 4th degree tear. I was superficially repaired and sent home.


Slide showing NICE classification – from the presentation given by Teresa Arias from King’s College at the MASIC launch meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine on 22 March 2017


6 days later in excruciating pain and having started to pass faeces via my vagina, I was readmitted to hospital with my baby.

After ride in an ambulance I was then transferred to another hospital where a team were assembled to reconstruct my perineum.

I was in hospital for 6 days, mostly confined to bed rest. My husband’s paternity leave was consumed with caring for me and visiting hospital.

I was on bed rest for 8 weeks and very weak. I became socially isolated and soon became depressed. Unable to take my baby out for a walk, play sport, ride horses or sit for long. Why me?

Too soon I had to return to work as I was self employed. I did so with a mountain of pain relief. After suffering panic attacks I finally sought the counselling I needed.

Today, I still attend hospital appointments for my ongoing issues of pain and incontinence. However I have learned to manage my symptoms and have gone on to have a second child by Caesarean section – a walk in the park compared to my first birth experience!

My passions are horse riding and sport which I have returned to and as long as I follow a strict diet and exercise regime of pilates and pelvic floor exercises, I can do them with a smile now.

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