Short umbilical cord

(6 Posts)
TheMummyBean Thu 10-Jan-13 14:26:09

Hi everyone,

With my first baby I had to have an emergency c-section under general anastetic after 21 hours of labour due to her being back to back and having a short umbilical cord.

It was such a traumatic experience for both my husband and I (and bubba). It affected me greatly after as I didn't want pain relief and was determined to have a vaginal birth - I felt as though I had failed.

2 and a half years on we are planning on baby number two, but the subject of the birth has already come up between my husband and I, of which we disagree.

I would very much like to try my hardest to have a vaginal birth this time round, but my husband is petrified of going through what we went through before.

Being under GA meant I missed the first 4 hours of Belle's life, let alone her birth - I'd hate for that to happen again! But I don't want to put the next baby under the stress, trauma and distress that Belle went through.

Has anyone experienced having a c-section under GA due to a short cord before?

If you produced a short cord the first time is it likely it'll happen again?

We were told at the time it's rare, with only 5% of births having to be delivered by c-section due to the cord being too short - but will it happen to me again? Is it my body?

My husband would much prefer me to opt for an elective c-section but I really want to experience giving birth.

It angers me when people think having a c-section is the easy option, it's not, especially if you had no choice in the matter.

Any advice on the subject of short cords and having a vaginal birth after already having a c-section would be much appreciated!

Kindest

Shell

EyeoftheStorm Thu 10-Jan-13 14:37:34

DS1 had a short cord - we were going to bank his cord blood but doc said it was too short to get any.

My experience was slightly different as I had elective c-section because he was breech and remained so for whole pregnancy. I wonder now if that was anything to do with the cord being so short.

My doctor said he wouldn't do ECV as I had a tight (?!) womb. In hindsight that was a fantastic decision as I would hate to think what would have happened if the cord had been ripped away.

Your experience sounds horribly traumatic. I'm not surprised you're worrying about second time round. All I would say is that I've had 2 c-sections and they were calm and lovely experiences because I knew what was happening and had a measure of control. I'm sure I would not feel the same about an emergency one under GA. But you do have a choice this time and you do have some control.

I had a VB for my third child who decided to arrive at 30 weeks. It was the single most awful experience of my life and I don't think I'll ever really get over it. I add that just because some people get lucky and get the birth they want and some people don't. It's not about how prepared you are or how much you want it; it's just down to what happens on the day.

But to get back to your question (sorry) - neither DD1 nor DS2 had a short umbilical cord so I guess it is just one of those things and all babies form and grow in a different way.

Teapot13 Thu 10-Jan-13 18:01:33

It sounds like the GA contributed to the trauma before -- I would assume for an elective you would have an epidural and you could have your baby on your chest while they sew you up. That would make a big difference for me -- you wouldn't have to miss the first hours of the baby's life.

FloweryBoots Wed 16-Jan-13 12:53:11

My DS was back to back, and when finaly out was pronounced to have a very unusually short umbilical chord which had presumably also contributed to him getting stuck. I was lucky that we didn't have a C section and he was born by forceps and vontuse, but it felt traumatic at the time. I had flash backs for a little while after and have had concerns now I am pregnant with number 2. When DS finaly came out, he was actually absolutly fine, despite us being warned he may not be breathing and may need resusetation - his heart rate had droped very low before being born and was not picking up at all. The chord ripped when they pulled him out, but though there was a bit of a rush to clamp everything, there were no ill effects to me or baby caused by the ripping.

I have been told there is no increased likely hood of this one having a short chord just becasue last one did and that it is very unusual. When I raised some concerns about giving birth again with the MW she arranged for me to see a consultant to go through all the notes from the last birth as I never had a de brief last time (and regretted it). The consultant then also arranged for me to see a specialist support mid wife (which actually I didn't do through my own choice - didn't feel I needed to) and last week I also had an appointment with the consultant midwife on the delivery suite who went through the notes from last time with me again, answered lots of questions, was able to give me lots of reassurance, and worked with my husband and I to write a birth plan for next time. We also got to tour the unit so I had been able to have a good look at where I'd be going to give birth (different hospital to last time as we've moved). All this has been amazingly helpful to both DH and me. In fact, everyone I've spoken to regarding concerns about giving birth again has actually recomended a home birth! Guess that is because my main concern is that being in a similar environment and in labour again will trigger the flash backs so staying at home might make me more comfortable.

Basically what I'm saying is I've had plenty odf support becasue of the concerns I had after what to me felt like a traumatic time last time round and it has all been really helpful, and should be there for you too. My husband has always been involved in this process, not just because we wanted him to be, but because the staff we were dealing with appreciated it was as much for his benefit as mine as he was traumatised by our last experience too.

At the end of the day though, in your position I'm sure I'd want a VBAC and my husband would probably feel much like yours (initially mine was suggesting I just demand a c section saying I would surely not be turned down given our last experience, until he realised how I found that idea more terrifying than the alternatives!). In that situation, I think I'd just end up saying it's my choice and he'll just have to deal with it grin. Not easy though. Could you see if you can speak to a MW before you start trying so you and your husband can go through what happened, why your concerned and start getting some oportunities to discuss options for birth before you're pregnant?

TheMummyBean Mon 21-Jan-13 10:00:42

Thank you all for your advice. Floweryboots - You have promoted me to call my health visitor to see if I can arrange for someone to go through my notes. Our hospital offers something called 'Birth After Thoughts' which I didn't take advantage of at the time, but turns out I can still use. I have spoken to them and they are arranging an appointment! Thank you so much! They asked me why I had waited so long and I explained that my husband and I had put the trauma in a little box, and have only now opened those boxes after discussing baby number 2! Here's hoping this will help, both of us! Thanks again ladies xxx

FloweryBoots Wed 23-Jan-13 16:06:25

Really hope the After Thoughts service is helpful to you. Glad I prompted you to make a call, wish I'd gone through everything earlier! Good luck with everything.

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