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A personal account of elective caesarian

(76 Posts)
Booboostoo Fri 10-Jun-11 09:33:03

I appreciate this can be a heated topic, but having just recently (12 days ago!) given birth by elective caesarian, I thought it might be interesting to share my experience. It's an entirely personal account and I strongly believe in everyone's right to make their own medical choices, whether they be for an unassisted home birth or for an elective caesarian.

My OH and I chose a caesarian based on research we came across that seemed to indicate that although an unproblematic natural birth carries the fewest risks, an elective caesarian is less risky than either an emergency caesarian or a natural birth with complications, and since no one can guarantee an unproblematic natural birth we went for the next best thing, an elective caesarian. We were lucky to find a sympathetic doctor (incidentally his wife had had a previous natural birth result in an emergency caesarian, with the baby being deprived of oxygen and having, as a result, serious mental disabilities - exactly the sort of scenario we were worried about) and we booked the surgery for 38 +3.

37 +3 and as luck would have it my waters broke! Not that I noticed as it was nothing like the movies, but popped into the hospital just to make sure, and before I knew it I was being wheeled into the operating theater! Slightly in shock at the speed with which it was all happening, but not much I could do about that!!! smile The epidural was fine, lovely anesthesiologist gave me a great massage first and then OH was allowed into the room on the promise that he would not faint! The baby was out after about 5 minutes, I did feel some tugging but it wasn't at all unpleasant, she breathed on her own straight away, was a healthy 3160grams and then she was placed on my chest for the remainder of the operation so time flew by. I had to spend 2 hours in the recovery room under observation until I could move my feet and then back to the room where the baby was brought to me, so that was lovely, and we started calling relatives.

I stayed in hospital for 4 nights, they left the epidural in for 48 hours for pain medication, I was up on my feet on day 2, taking walks on day 3. I did need someone to hand the baby to me for the first 2 days which was a bit of a shame, but I pestered the OH and the nurses. By day 5 I was at home, and by day 10 I didn't even need paracetamol anymore (I think that I needed paracetamol for so long was more of a function of having to be up and about sorting things out, if I had been able to rest a bit more I would have tried with less paracetamol). According to the doc I can start Pilates two weeks after the op, and then six weeks after the op I should be pretty much back to normal. The only restriction for now is no heavy lifting, but I couldn't do that towards the end of my pregnancy either so I can live with that!

All in all, this was an extremely positive experience for me and I would not hesitate to chose it again. Hope this helps someone else with making their own choice!

What a lovely, positive story

I had ELCS due to SPD 3 years ago. It was very relaxed, the anesthesiologist allayed my fears (I don't have an issue with needles but was vomiting a thought of one being in my spine!) I had a spinal block

DD was born after 5 mins but I wasn't allowed to hold her. There was a couple of complications (full true knot in the chord and a retained placenta) but neither of those were due to the CS. I'm glad I had the CS, as the knot could have caused a lot of problems had I delivered naturally

DevonDumplin Fri 10-Jun-11 10:43:05

Thank you so much for sharing this experience. Would you mind posting where you found such a lovely obstetrician? The ones I've seen have been awful and I have personal (same feelings as you), medical and emotional reasons for wanting a section!

TennisFan Fri 10-Jun-11 10:50:17

Well done, I too had an ELCS with my DD - and it was a great experience like you describe.
I had emergency CS with my first DS and was fairly certain i wasn't going to try the 'natural' method with DD.

There were various junior doctors along the way who wanted to know why i was going elective - but frankly i told them it was none of their business.

I too had great recovery - your story will hopefully help others in similar situation

buttonmoon78 Fri 10-Jun-11 10:52:14

What a well timed (from my point of view) story! It sounds like everything worked out exactly as you'd hoped, despite it happening a little earlier than anticipated!

I'm 33wks pg with #4. I've had 3 natural deliveries with #2&3 both back to back so pretty hideous. This time I'm creeping towards 100% wanting a section and as baby is currently breech it looks like I might get one (I've no intention of going through ecv again).

Enjoy your DD - they grow so quickly! Last time I concentrated on enjoying ds as he was rather than looking forward to the next stage all the time. It made it much more enjoyable and i fully intend to do the same this time, esp as it will def be the last one!

Booboostoo Fri 10-Jun-11 11:20:33

DevonDumpling: I am afraid we had to come all the way to Greece to find him! (OH and I are both Greek, so not as weird as it sounds!). We live in France where an elective c-section was a no-no (the French seem to have a national policy against elective c-sections and they all stick to it, even if you go to a private clinic) and then they also refused to collect cord blood, so we gave up and went to Greece very last minute.

Thanks so much for sharing your lovely story and i'm really glad your decision worked for you... I thought I should mention though that another 'impact' for a CS apart from no heavy lifting is that you probably shouldn't be driving a car for 6 weeks either. You may feel fine but in the UK most car insurance companies don't cover you in the 6 weeks after a CS (so i'm told) and as you shouldn't drive uninsured.....

All the best for a wonderful life for you and your family.

fruitybread Fri 10-Jun-11 11:48:48

Just wanted to add - it's always worth checking with your insurance company, and no one should drive before they feel completely up to it -

But my insurance company had no time 'ban' on driving post CS, and didn't need anything from a doc or consultant etc to okay me. They said it was the same as any other situation involving an op - it's up to the driver to use their good sense and judgement. When I had my appendix out, no one said anything about not driving for a specific time, for example.

(I'm in the UK and had a very positive planned CS birth).

seoladair Fri 10-Jun-11 12:27:18

What a lovely message. I'm totally sold on the joys of elective c-section. I had my first child by elective c-sec 4 weeks ago. I loved the operation - it was painfree and joyful. The recovery has been so easy. I feel almost completely recovered, and could push the pram, go for long walks and lift heavy things after 2 weeks. I am having to hold myself back from doing too much. Getting out of bed was mildly difficult for a few days after the birth (as it engages the tummy muscles) but really not a big deal at all.

My mum was very encouraging of my decision to have an elective, and she says my recovery has been much quicker than hers was after two low-risk vaginal births. She had epidural, forceps and stiches with me, and had to sit on a rubber ring for 2 weeks after the birth! She had no pain relief or interventions with her second pregnancy, and said the memories of the birth were horrible. I have wonderful memories of my c-sec, and when I think about it, I well up with tears of joy!

happystressedmum Fri 10-Jun-11 12:38:38

I wanted to post my positive story too! I have had two elective c sections and both times were a doddle to be honest. I arrived at hospital around 7.30am where my DH and I read the papers and chatted for an hour or so why they came and did various checks and monitored babys heartbeat. The around 840am they took me down to theatre which was very relaxed with the radio playing etc, Had the epidural which was painfree and then DH came ini with his 'greens' on and sat with me. After some slight tugging - not painful at all they asked what we thought we had and then they held up my beautiful DS who they wrapped up and gave to my DH and I could kiss him etc. My DS was born at 9.28 and I was back on the ward bf him at around 10.30am. Family came to visit and I had regular checks re blood pressure and painkillers (although I never felt any pain). At around 4.30 they asked me to get up and have a bath and I thought they must be joking but they were not. I walked although assisted by a nurse to the bath and it was the best thing I could have done as I felt great (although lots of blood which alarmed me in the beginning but was told all very normal). I could then get up and pick up my son and was able to walk to get breakfast in the morning and was perfectly fine. I was only in hospital for 2 nights and then went home and felt absolutely fine. Both my experiences were similar and both extremely positive. I would like a third if I can - am ttc at the moment and most definitely would book an elective c section. The first time I did have to 'fight' somewhat but I never gave in and made my case very well and have a right to choose.

happystressedmum Fri 10-Jun-11 12:40:36

Just to say my car insurance had no time ban and I was driving and fully insured at 2 weeks after c section.

I take back my bit about the car insurance then - i was told that in a NCT class!

fruitybread Fri 10-Jun-11 14:00:05

knitter, to be fair, I think a few people on MN have reported being asked by their insurance companies to get their doctor's 'permission' to drive (usually just in the form of a verbal ok, which seems rather informal to me, but hey ho) -

So maybe it varies. The sensible rule of thumb is not to drive until you are absolutely sure you are well enough to do it (capable of emergency stops etc). Women recover at different rates from CS, so will vary as to when is good to drive again.

A mate heard the same thing in a NCT class, btw - 6 weeks no driving - I think, whatever their merits, NCT classes often give a very negative picture of CS recovery. The same friend was very surprised when she came to see me 4 days after DS was born by ELCS, as she thought I'd be bedridden for a week, and unable to hold my baby. Not true.

WidowWadman Fri 10-Jun-11 20:30:02

The car insurance thing is a bit of a myth - most insurances are happy as long as your doctors are ok for you to drive. A CS is nothing to report to the DVLA and legally carries no driving ban.

That said. my CS was 15 days ago and I probably will give it at least another week or so. I was driving 4 weeks after my first CS, too.

happywheezer Fri 10-Jun-11 20:43:39

I had my second elective 4 weeks ago now, on the NHS and from my experience, whether you have a positive birth story depends on where you have your baby.
1st section was lovely, great recovery I was in no pain at all throughout even in recovery. I stopped taking painkillers after 5 days walking around the block after 5 and driving at 2 weeks.
2nd one a bloody nightmare. The section was lovely. I had a drain fitted, which they took out without painkillers,hardly any painrelief apart from paracetamol and voltrol, 6 hours after delivery. could hardly walk and yet had to walk 200 metres for my food, no checks.
I was glad to leave after 2 days even though I could hardly walk. The recovery was much tougher because of the shit care that I received.
you need morphine!
But I'm still pro section-just not at the hospital I was at.

WidowWadman Fri 10-Jun-11 20:53:08

I had only paracetamol and diclophenac both times and coped fine. No need for morphine. But everyone is different, I guess

Chynah Fri 10-Jun-11 22:37:09

* I think, whatever their merits, NCT classes often give a very negative picture of CS recovery. *

My NCT did the same, no driving for 6 weeks,not able to hold baby, unable to walk upstairs unassisted rubbish!

I have had 2 briliant ELCS (no medical reason for either) - fab recovery both times,out and about straight away, minimal painlillers (paracetamol & diclofenac) and back out running at 5 weeks post CS both times. Drove car at 2 weeks and 8 days respecively and could lift my toddler as long as I did it carefully after a week.

1944girl Sat 11-Jun-11 01:10:43

I am very very jealous of all you girls who have posted on here!.
I only wish you could ask for a section 41 years ago.Unheard of then completly, and it was proved after I had two EMCSs I certainly had a medical need.
Things have certainly got better.

fruitybread Sat 11-Jun-11 11:28:48

That's a kind post 1944 girl - it made me feel rather sad... but yes, I am very grateful I had more birth options than I would have had a couple of decades ago.

sloathy Sat 11-Jun-11 11:43:44

Thank you for these posts. I had an EMCS with my first DS 6 weeks ago. I found the labour (up to the point of the c-section) very traumatic and invasive (DS had to have a clip on his head and also blood samples taken from his head, i was up in stirrups a lot of the time, he was back to back, serious heart decels, the epidural stopped working etc etc). The c -section was a relief in the end and the only time that I felt calm. I have already started to think about the next one and my initial instinct was to go for an ELCS but then the "guilt" kicks in and I was starting to feel I ought to try harder and go for a VBAC - but these posts have made me feel more confident about wanting a ELCS.

1944girl Sat 11-Jun-11 18:49:59

Thankyou fruitybread

PeppaPigandGeorge Sun 12-Jun-11 10:04:33

I could have written this thread! I had a very positive ELCS followed by a very negative EMCS where the hospital tried to push me into VBAC. My reasons for choosing ELCS with the first one were pretty much the same as yours - yes, natural is great if it goes well but if it goes wrong it can be catastrophic.

I only stayed in for 2 nights with my first one, a lot longer second time round (though this was as the baby needed to stay in, I would have been fine to leave).

darleneoconnor Sun 12-Jun-11 10:15:08

I think you have to be careful about posting about your birth in Greece on a UK website. There are huge differences in care/proceedures in different countries and the exact same birth in 2 different countries is likely to be a very different experience.

Booboostoo Sun 12-Jun-11 12:22:12

Well as I said daleneoconnor it is a personal experience of one birth, it's not a generalisation about all caesarians or an attempt to convince anyone to do the as I did. The reason I posted is that many people are a bit negative about EMCS and it's worth having all view points aired. As it turns out I am quite surprised to see loads of other people on this thread with similar positive experiences.

Mumsnet describes itself as a 'global online network' so I don't see why Greek experiences are precluded. My experience of UK healthcare (20 years of it) is that standards of healthcare vary hugely from one area to another, so under this reasoning no one could post about anything anyway as someone else could have an entirely different experience in another part of the country. A friend in the north of the UK was left alone overnight to fend for herself and her baby following an emergency C-section and chucked out of hospital the next morning - under these conditions she did suffer a lot more than I did, but I don't think this is a Greece-UK issue.

fruitybread Sun 12-Jun-11 13:15:38

I agree it is probably worth mentioning where/when births are, as practices and attitudes towards birth/women do vary from country to country - but there's also a huge range of policies/staff/experiences from hospital to hospital in the UK, too. No one birth can be held up as universally 'true' anywhere.

And the the OP does point out at the beginning that it is an entirely personal account, which is saying the same thing.

FWIW, I had a very similar ELCS experience to the OP in the UK - although I was only in hospital 2 nights, had no problem holding my baby, and was up and walking/showering the same day, which I hadn't really expected. Slowly and stiffly, but it really wasn't a big deal.

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