I did perineal massage with DS #3 and didn't find that it did anything to help. But he was also my 3rd baby so I am sure things were pretty stretched out down there without the massage.
I had an episiotomy with DS #1 and the pain afterwards was awful. I tore with DS #2 on my episiotomy scar, but was in no pain. In my opinion, tearing is much better than being cut.
Chase-13, Trey-11, Layton-9, Zander-5, McKay-3, Declan-1, Keely born 9/6/2012
I tore with DS, and I didn't handle it very well. I'm hoping to try and avoid it this time if I can. I didn't do perineal massage, just couldn't make myself do it, but based on most of what I've heard, the jury is still out on whether or not it actually helps. Everything seems to say "it can't hurt, but it might not help." However, there ARE things you can do to avoid tearing with your next that doesn't involve perineal massage (don't let them give you an episiotomy again though! It's better to tear, your OB was wrong). Midwives know to use counterpressure as the baby is coming out and I imagine an enlightened OB would know to do that as well. Hypnobabies teaches to "breathe" the baby down rather than actively pushing, and I know from DS' birth when I HAD to stop pushing for a while to try and get his heartrate back up, he descended on his own anyway. I think if I hadn't pushed him out at the end and just let him work his way out, I would have avoided a tear. I was so "done" by then I just pushed him out fast and I'm sure that was why I tore, or at least tore as badly as I did. I've also been told that delivering in an upright position (squatting, kneeling, standing, etc.) helps reduce the chances of tearing. So I plan on trying to get myself into an upright position (although with DS I didn't want to be anywhere but on my side lying down, so we'll see how it goes). I know I may likely still tear since I already did once, but I sure am going to try and avoid it! It is nice to know that tearing along a scar is easier to handle than the original tear. Good luck to you! I have some similar concerns and I hope we can both avoid a tear this time.
Anyway, good luck!