ELCS with second pregnancy: is recovery THAT bad?

(43 Posts)
lifesobeautiful Tue 16-Apr-13 21:50:58

I just cannot decide between a VBAC (apparently I'm a good candidate because I got to 10cm dilated last time after an hour and a half) and choosing an ELCS.

I always thought I wanted an ELCS, as I'm a total wimp re: the pain of child birth, am nervous that my narrow, straight hips will mean intervention and tearing, and that I believe (although correct me if you think I'm wrong) the risk to the baby is slightly lower re: oxygen deprivation.

But I'm now considering a VBAC because I'm very anxious about the longer recovery time making things hard on my DS - we play lots of very physical games and jump around all the time. And I also don't like the idea of being stuck at home unable to drive for six weeks.

What I want to ask is, for those of you who've opted for an ELCS - is the recovery as bad as the midwives/consultants (who are pushing me to have a vbac) are saying? Or did you find it better than expected? Or worse? Any advice/stories would be much appreciated.

beautybox2 Tue 16-Apr-13 21:58:23

I found it easier with my c -sec, I stayed in hospital for 3 days, and had some lovely moments with my DS, I have such fond memories of it just being us in hospital bonding together smile
Second I gave birth vaginally I was able to because my DS was breech and my DD wasn't. They had me out of hops within 3 hours, and I sooo wish I'd had that one on one time with my girlie, those first few days are so precious and I feel I missed out, I came home to my 2 year old boy and my mum, it was very challanging. I found recovery easier with c sec than my VBAC although so glad to say I've experienced both!! And my second was with no pain relief or gas and air and a 5 hr labour!

oscarwilde Tue 16-Apr-13 22:13:13

Had similar quandary (only 7cms FTP) and chose ELCS as devil I knew. Baby no 2 was fairly fast labour (though back to back again) and ended up with VBAC. 6lb6 baby, G&A only, forceps for one push with only a couple of "small internal tears needing stitches". 10 weeks before I felt normal ish and pelvic floor is still week 5 months on. I'd go for the ELCS myself. I certainly wasn't running anywhere under 10 weeksgrin

MyDarlingClementine Tue 16-Apr-13 22:23:17

read lots of threads on here, some say they are up doing karate after two days, others strenuous exercise after two weeks and driving and others three months of being careful.

I took it really really carefully for two weeks, literally doing nothing except lifting baby. I had intermittent pain but nothing on a scale of CB. If you had lots of support that would be good.

i was really scared about infections, hernias etc....at the time but now i am through it, it was def preferable to labour.

i guess you need to aks yourself - if for you you do find yourself in pain how ill you cope?

It was certainly frustrating at times not being able to move properly, shuffling off the bed, trouble sitting up etc....

lifesobeautiful Tue 16-Apr-13 23:26:31

Thanks everyone - and hello again Oscarwilde - you were helping me with advice my DS moving into a big bed! Mydarlingclementine, what does CB stand for? (sorry in advance if it's obvious and that's a stupid question!)

Beautybox - I hadn't thought of the extra bonding with new one...am so focused on not upsetting DS... Being able to bond with new DD i a really good reason for ELCS. Thank you.

lifesobeautiful Tue 16-Apr-13 23:46:18

Sorry Oscar - actually think that was a different thread!

RubyrooUK Wed 17-Apr-13 01:06:25

Honestly? I found recovery MUCH harder with a ELCS. I had to have one for medical reasons with DS2 and I was shocked at my immobility. I would never, never have elected for one if I didn't have to have one in retrospect. (Although the birth experience itself was great and amazingly peaceful.)

Bear in mind that I am very much a "get up and go" person and was up and out days after my forceps birth with fourth degree tear. But after my ECLS, I literally couldn't turn on my side for a week or do anything with my toddler for a couple of days. After that, I could sit on the sofa briefly and smile at him weakly while feeling like absolute shit.

After the first week, my recovery has been very good though and at five weeks post-birth, I can do everything except pick up my toddler (as a precaution as he is very tall and heavy). I have no pain now. So I suppose actually it hasn't been that bad at all, I just didn't expect the levels of pain and immobility at first.

So I personally found ECLS much harder initially, but fine after a week or so. I do wish though that I had known it would be so hard at the start and I might have had more realistic expectations. I thought since the joke is "too posh to push" that it would be much easier in recovery.

But I know everyone is different, so obviously others might have totally different experiences. I don't think I am very well suited to giving birth, regardless of the method!!!! grin

(Disclaimer: the children are great though.)

lifesobeautiful Wed 17-Apr-13 10:20:34

So Ruby did you actually have to lie down for a week after your ELCS?

lifesobeautiful Wed 17-Apr-13 10:20:59

I mean, was even sitting up difficult? aaargh - that sounds horrible...

RubyrooUK Wed 17-Apr-13 10:42:55

No, I could get up the morning afterwards to walk around and sit on the sofa, but I found everything was very painful for me and I got tired very quickly. I wasn't really capable of playing with a toddler.

It was more that I couldn't turn over in bed on my left side for a week so I kept getting stuck on my back and DH had to help me! blush

But I do think that I probably expected too much. And I did seem to have a very painful recovery compared to others, so I may have been unlucky.

The birth bit was great though and I was fine quite quickly - it's just the first part I found really bad.

TuttiFrutti Wed 17-Apr-13 11:43:36

I think recovery times vary a lot depending on how young, fit and healthy you are and also how the op goes and the skill of the surgeon. I had an elcs and recovered very quickly, never had any pain ( just minor discomfort) and I was driving after 3 weeks and going for walks with the double buggy after 2 weeks.

The " not driving for 6 weeks" thing is an urban myth. Ring your insurance company and see what they say.

I did take it easy for the first 2 weeks though, chose to stay in hospital for 5 days and my dh had 2 weeks paternity leave, which helped me to recover.

ShowOfHands Wed 17-Apr-13 12:03:25

I've had two emcs and found the recovery fine both times round, no painkiller needed, no discomfort. Second one was particularly fine because I had an easier labour beforehand. DS was born at about 3pm, I was up and about by dinnertime (albeit gingerly at first), caring for him alone. Was back to normal v quickly, doing a school run after 4 days and running again by 2 months.

It's a bit of a lottery but it can be v straightforward. My two best bits of advice are get up asap as it aids recovery and keep on top of painkillers if you need them.

lifesobeautiful Wed 17-Apr-13 12:47:02

Thanks so much everyone. I'm leaning heavily towards keeping my ELCS appointment then. My mum's around to help a lot, DH will be taking two weeks of paternity leave, and I have various cousins and friends who've offered to help with toddler entertainment. I recovered very well the first time....I suppose if I have a big change of heart and decide to try VBAC I could cancel closer to the time. THANK YOU so much for all your advice and experiences.

noblegiraffe Wed 17-Apr-13 12:54:11

My hospital notes said you shouldn't drive for 6 weeks. I phoned my insurance company and they said I had to stick to whatever I'd been recommended. The midwives said they couldn't overrule the hospital but my GP looked at my scar and declared me fit to drive after 2 weeks and did a print out for insurance purposes.

My recovery from my EMCS was tough in comparison and I didn't really feel ready to drive till 6 weeks. My ELCS recovery was bloody marvellous.

RubyrooUK Wed 17-Apr-13 13:36:31

Ah, Tuttifrutti, I was chucked out of hospital after 24 hours with paracetamol as my painkiller, so that may have also had something to do with my slow recovery. I think I would have been much better if I had been in hospital for five days without a weeping toddler begging me to get on the floor and play Lego!

I am pretty fit and healthy most of the time and was carrying a heavy toddler to the end of pregnancy and working past 38 weeks so I think I was just shocked by how painful and slow the recovery was, given that. I had the top surgeon at the hospital carry it out too.

Judging by the other people on this thread, though, I may have just been unlucky. Or had an unusually quick recovery last time (despite three days of labour and a crap forceps delivery with tear) which gave me unrealistic expectations this time!

Good luck OP - hope it all goes brilliantly either way.

lifesobeautiful Wed 17-Apr-13 13:41:22

Thanks so much Rubyroo - i know several girls who struggled to recover from their CS, which is why I was panicking about the ELCS...so you're not the only one who's struggled with it. But I think probably I'll go with it - I found the first two weeks of motherhood tough enough without having a potentially horrible natural delivery...think i'll just go with the devil i know and hope I'm lucky!!

WillowB Wed 17-Apr-13 20:48:38

I think it's all very subjective.
I had a crash EMCs after a couple of hours of labour. Was able to get out of bed about 5/6 hrs later to go to the loo etc. catheter was taken out then as well. The midwives had to pass DS to me for feeds. Stopped painkillers by day 3 and went home.
Went out for a gentle 20 min walk on day 5. Driving 2 weeks later.
I would definitely have an elcs next time.

MyDarlingClementine Wed 17-Apr-13 23:43:43

cb - child birth meant - labour.

lifesobeautiful Thu 18-Apr-13 07:25:44

AHhh - CB - duh! Thanks Willow. Totally made my mind up on ELCS now. (Though am so indecisive at the moment who knows what I'll be thinking at the time!) Thanks again everyone.

TwoTearsInABucket Thu 18-Apr-13 10:39:16

Had EmCS with 1st baby. I recovered very well, the wound healed very nicely and was walking into town after four weeks, although did get tired. I had 4 days in the hospital afterwards but that was for other reasons.
With 2nd baby I had a VBAC which went great with just gas and air until I had a third degree tear. It took at least 5 weeks to properly get off the sofa as the tear got infected.
Am now pregnant with number 3 and will definitely be having an ELCS.
Just thought I would add my experience as further back up!

lifesobeautiful Thu 18-Apr-13 18:22:12

Your experience much appreciated TwoTears! (Though sorry for horrid experience..) Defo going for the ELCs!

fgr Thu 18-Apr-13 22:17:41

I have had 2 elcs and on both occasions have been up on the same day and walking the dog with baby in a sling on day 5. Age not a factor as ds2 was my fortieth birthday present to myself!

lifesobeautiful Fri 19-Apr-13 09:59:12

Oh that's good to hear - thanks FGR. Feeling very confident about my decision!

bonzo77 Fri 19-Apr-13 10:08:52

Another easy recovery after a 2nd CS. turned down all pain relief apart from paracetamol and ibuprofen. No pain killers needed after day 4. Driving after 2 weeks. Riding after 5. Mobilised far more quickly after (had a good incentive as baby in NICU and I hadn't seen him), and was very careful to sit/ stand up straight instead of huddling up.

lifesobeautiful Fri 19-Apr-13 10:24:26

Thanks Bonzo! Did you contact your insurance company before you drove - or did you just do it? And did they advise you to not slouch?

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