Did you need to go to theatre when you had your baby? Either for C-section or for recovery? Please share your experience here:(23 Posts)
I am a midwife wishing to improve the experience that women receive when they go to Theatre (whether for a section, planned or otherwise or for stitches) and in Recovery on Labour Ward.
I would appreciate any feedback or comments about any positive or negative experiences that you have encountered while you were having your baby.
Thank you for taking the time to reply, I value any feedback.
My first (emergency) CS was absolutely flawless. Kind staff, immediate skin to skin, the anaesthetist calming me down and really comforting me and reassuring DH. He was amazing and (apart from the new baby) really made the experience memorable and wonderful.
My second was a semi-elective CS, planned with a couple of days notice for oligohydramnios and reduced foetal movement. It was shit. really shit. I should have complained. I was sent to the wrong place (labour ward instead of OT suite), and then told off by the MW there for going the wrong place and for being early. Was then escorted to the correct place where I was told off for being late, though noone was ready for me. The anaesthetist came in and bitched loudly at the staff for not being ready, and was rude about the hospital in general. She then allowed a junior anaesthetist place the spina, which she did badly after several attempts, again whilst telling me off for shaking (I was cold and nervous). The canula placement was equally traumatic, and was leaking. She was having problems with my BP (hypo). She really should have re-sited the canula to give better access, but she administered whatever meds were required into the leaking canula. causing me a lot of pain. when she complained she stated I could choose between the pain in my hand or my BP! She also wanted me much more numb than I had been for my previous CS (first time round I had been able to feel pressure and touch sensation, but no pain, this time she wanted me to not feel any touch sensation), which meant higher doses of anaesthetic, and therefore more problems with my BP. I needed someone to stand up for me. DH didn't feel he could (his wife was on the table with a baby about to be born and sent to NICU [we knew this]), the consultant anaesthetist was clearly a bully and I guess the staff were scared to say anything, as she was more senior than the registrars doing the surgery and waiting to receive the baby. Even after the repeated fails at placing the spinal (DH said there was a lot of blood and that other members of staff looked a bit surprised), and the comment made about choosing between the pain from the leaking canula and my BP, noone stepped in. Actually, I think that is exactly the role of a midwife in theatre. I really should have complained. It was 18 months ago.
Emergency c-section. Asked for skin to skin but had to wait half an hour before i could hold my baby. Otherwise felt safe / well looked after.
My first was an emcs due to the midwives not noticing that the heartbeat was weak because it was the other side of me, because my dd was back to back and got stuck. And then no one noticed that my epidural had worn off and so I was trying to push a stuck back to back baby out with no pain relief.
It was a horrific experience, not what you want for your first at all.
Luckily my second was born perfectly normally and very quickly! I did however tell anyone that would listen during my pregnancy that I was having a elcs this time and definitely not going into labour. I changed my mind half way through and just decided to go for it. Happily it all worked out well.
I don't why the midwife made such awful mistakes during my first. She was lovely and very experienced.
I don't know why
My experience was fantastic.
If there is one thing in hindsight, that I would have liked, it would be to have it mentioned that if I so wished I could have the screen removed or taken down.
My second was an emcs. I'd been pushing for ages and nothing was happening and his head was not in reach(!) I'd had had no pain relief so was getting anxious and very tired. I was taken to theatre where it became very frightening as suddenly the midwife who had been looking after me vanished, dh was gone and I felt abandoned and in horrendous pain. Eventually the anaesthetist started to talk to me and try and calm me down so she could get the epidural in - difficult to keep still when your body is contracting every 30 seconds!!
All calmed down considerably when DH came back and i felt slightly more in control. Staff were wonderful afterwards.
Next baby I was convinced the same thing would happen but it didn't and we had a successful VBAC
I had to go for stitches. I was a pretty positive experience, I had already bf the baby and she was left on DH. A midwife kept me informed how they were doing, which was thoughtful.
I had an ELCS with my DS a few months ago. Very positive experience.
It really helped that my hospital gave me a lot of information, so I knew what was happening and what was coming next. It definitely eased my nerves. I got a little booklet explaining step by step what would happen when I booked my ELCS (at 17 weeks) and then I got even more information at my pre-op appointment.
I also had the same midwife from when I went in at 7.30am, right through my operation and into recovery and it was lovely and I felt like I could ask questions etc.
1. taken to theatre after 14 hr induced labour 1st dd, 3rd deg tear, retained placenta, needed manual removal
the theatre people never spoke directly to me, I was shivering with cold and had to ask twice for some kind of blanket, no one explained what was going on, my perception was that they were all peed off to have to do extra work on me
2. ELCS all went well, the theatre team all fell silent as ds was born and the atmosphere was reverent - wonderful experience. so kind.
3. ELCS #2 was utterly terrifying; the nurses lost the surgeon, lost my notes, nearly brought in the wrong husband..... the anaesthetist was wonderfully kind, explaining what was going on, I wanted to know what was happening all of the time... at one point I asked ''So..have I survived?''
please remember people are terrified and need kindness and compassion.
My first was an emcs. The worst thing was not knowing what had happened to my baby. I heard her cry once and then nothing. No one said anything to me. It was only when I asked that I was told that the midwife and paediatrician were looking after her. I still have no idea what they were doing. It felt like ages before she brought over to me.
My second elcs was great. Everyone told me what was happening and I saw DD2 as soon as she came out.
My first pregnancy resulted in an Emergency C Section 6 days overdue as a result of feotal distress.
After 12 hours of contractions I was panicked and exhausted when they told me I needed to go to theatre and I don't feel like they communicated with me enough. I had doctors, students and the midwife all prodding at me trying to insert a catheter, cannula's and undressing me and I was only getting scraps of info about what was going on or why so I was terrified! My DP had to try and is speak to them for me but was basically fobbed off as they were busy prepping me. The CS went as well as could be and DS was fine thankfully so turned out well in the end.
Afterwards I did complain about how my DP and I seemed to be an afterthought in the room and would've liked more information about why everything was happening and not being clawed at by what seemed like a million people when I felt massively vulnerable, even a reassuring comment or smile from the midwife would have helped.
My second pregnancy was a partially planned C Section, I didn't want one but DD was breech so opted for this as couldn't stomach the thought of an emergency again.
This time my midwife was lovely, as was everyone else, they were great keeping me informed of what was going on and reassuring me that all was going well. The surgery and recovery were also both fine.
My DD1 was born by EMCS after a disastrous induction. She was brow presenting and I've since been told it would have been impossible to deliver her vaginally.
In contrast to the dreadful midwives who handled my induction, the theatre team were great. The anaesthetist was an incredibly caring, attentive, empathetic man and the consultant and his registrar were both excellent at explaining what was happening. I lost a very large amount of blood whilst still on the table and though I felt terribly ill whilst it was happening, the team were so calm and efficient that neither myself or my partner had any inkling of how serious my condition was for a while -- which was definitely the right thing. I even had skin to skin with my daughter until the PPH made me too ill to continue. At that point my partner had her under his scrubs instead! Postnatal ward experiences were much worse sadly.
Will be having an ELCS this time in a couple of weeks. I'm at a different hospital so I hope that the theatre experience will be at least on a par to last time.
I had a pretty awful EMCS with DS1: very real doubts about the survival of either of us, 5 attempts at a spinal because it was deemed too risky to give me a general, then having to be given a general anyway, a lot of rushing and panicking from all sides.
Thankfully we both came through it and 8 years on I have made my peace with most of it. The thing which I still find distressing though is when I woke properly following the CS I had no idea whether or not the baby had survived. There was no baby beside me (understandably), I couldn't reach or even see the call bell, it was approx 6am and my curtains were round the bed so I couldn't see any staff. I did eventually realise that I had a second hospital bracelet on and when I read it knew I had had a boy- still didn't know whether he was alive though. I had to wait a further hour for a midwife to come round to learn that he was okay.
When I spoke to the midwife about it (when I was pregnant with DS2 and found out the gender at the 20wk scan- to her surprise) she said they would have told me when I came round in recovery, but I still don't remember coming to in recovery. It hadn't occurred to them that I wouldn't remember. I was also quite upset that I was one of the last people to know I had a baby boy and had to find out from my hospital bracelet, hence wanting to find out the gender with DS2.
Anyway, long story short, please consider that patients who have had general anaesthetics may not remember what you tell them in theatre and may be very distressed to wake up with no baby beside them.
With DS2 we ran out of Gas and Air on the way to theatre (another EMCS), I had a suspected scar rupture and was in a lot of pain- I had no other pain relief. Maybe carrying a second tank on the bed maybe a good idea in such situations.
Emergency c section. No idea I had a choice in anything, no idea I could have skin to skin. Just told I was tired and so they were going to give me a c section. Baby whisked off (was fine) to another room. So I was left on my own being stitched up with no idea about baby other than people telling me he's fine.
Very disconnected about the whole thing.
Ward care awful, discharged myself 24 hrs later just to be able to sleep. My notes were taken off me straight away so even almost five years later I don't know what happened, I don't even understand really if the c section was a result of something 'wrong' with me or if they thought if had long enough (15 hrs). I spend every day in pain as a result of the section for which the doctors can't resolve.
I recently had a planned c section although only had two days notice. It was thoroughly positive thanks largely to the care, attention and communication by the staff involved. They were lovely. My consultant did the ok and he was brilliant - quick and so amazingly competent. Just what you need really! My only problem/thing is change as that he inserted a drain, fine going in as I'd had the spinal by them but getting it out 24 hrs later was horrendous. I don't know anyone else who has had one for a section so not sure what that was about but the pain was awful.
Other than that it was really positive, just what I needed after a complicated pregnancy.
I had to stay on for a week after the op and was given a private room for the whole time which also really helped.
The hospital was the Royal Oldham and I have to say the care I have received ante and post-natally from them has been exceptional.
High forceps with spinal in case they had to do a section. Was lovely. Great Western in Swindon. The anaesthetist was lovely and got everyone to introduce themselves before they started and talked me through it all and explained how to push as hard as possible even though I was numb. He was brilliant.
Only criticism was no one really explained amything to DH about how to put his hat in, where to sit, what he couldn't touch. Everyone was really busy so understandable but he was quite frightened.
My experience in theatre (with DC1, went in for ventouse and when they started to rummage around they found that he was asynclitic and pretty firmly wedged in, so proceeded to EMCS without actually trying ventouse) was great from my point of view -- everything was well-explained, the team were lovely, it was all very calm and professional.
The only issue, I think, was that apparently (I didn't find this out for some time) no one explained anything to DH, so from his point of view we'd gone in for a ventouse delivery and then suddenly I was being prepped for surgery and he didn't know why and whether there was a full-on emergency.
Oh yes, and while the transfer to theatre was being arranged (which seemed to take forever) the epidural had worn off (was topped up again in theatre) and they'd taken me away from the gas and air. It bloody hurt, especially as I was on a trolley on my back.
I had two ventouse deliveries in theatre - first after 35 hours of labour and meconium being observed, so the idea was I'd probably need a CS but would try a ventouse. Had epidural already. Staff were really calm and explained everything (though in fact 'it would be a good idea to get him out' was 'yeah, we seriously want him out in the next few minutes for definite' as I was told later)
The staff were all great, I'm deaf so one chap who I could understand lipspeaking was assigned to my head end - his job seemed to be to tell bad jokes until he suddenly said "excuse me", jabbed my thigh and continued "just stopping the haemorrhaging". I had very bad SPD and they were very careful to keep my legs as together as possible. Only issue was I then threw up lots and couldn't sit up myself, which was terrifying as I was lying down on my back and thought I would choke - though they hauled me up within seconds.
Recovery - great as they helped me puke for half an hour, decided to put ds on me so I could try skin to skin and feeding him, but then ds stopped breathing, just as DP had left the room to get changed and not yet returned. Lots of staff did Stuff and got him breathing again, but all I could hear was a young woman screaming "where's the resusitiere? Why is there no resusitiere in here?" Once ds was taken to SCBU, the lead midwife came to assure me that you don't have resusitieres in Recovery because you have oxygen and everything separate with expert staff there to use them, and the student would be appropriately bollocked. I think I then heard that... Thankfully ds was fine, though 3 days on the ward with him on antibiotics wasn't fun.
Second time after 17 hours the consultants asked what happened last time, noted there was an empty theatre next door, and decided we could just use a ventouse again. This time DP was given a huge pile of cardboard hats for me to puke in and told to shout if he needed help lifting me. Two staff spent about 45 min debating and stitching me up beautifully. Recovery was well over an hour (more vomit) but again staff were great - and so was postnatal care that time.
Was wheeled off to surgery minutes after DD was born for retained placenta and stitches. I was so exhausted I was barely conscious but the anaesthetist was lovely and made an effort to explain things and chat to me. The consultant however, completely ignored me, didn't speak, didn't make eye contact, didn't explain what was happening even when he was discussing with the midwives how mich blood I'd lost (lots).
DP was left on his own for over an hour with a minutes old naked baby with no idea what to do. I had the presence of mind as I was wheeled off to shout 'take your tshirt off, she needs skin to skin!' So he sat shivering under an air conditioning unit with no top of trying to keep her warm.
When I got back we were whisked down to postnatal ward, DP was told to go home and they tucked the baby into bed next to me with a pillow to stop her falling through the bars I couldn't move due to spinal anaesthetic, couldn't reach the buttons for the bed or call button, couldn't reach to pick the baby up and daren't sleep incase I squashed her. It was all very unnecessarily stressful.
For our first child, labour went pretty well until I was 10cm dilated and ready to push. At that point, DS's heartrate dropped right down, the doctor was called in and they transferred us across to a more medically managed birthing room where they delivered DS with forceps.
The birth went wrong really quickly. As soon as DS was born, he was being resuscitated on the table across the room. I had suspected third degree tear, and was bleeding and vomiting everywhere as they tried to take me down to theatre to get stitched back up. Poor DH wasn't allowed to go with either of us. I think it was half an hour later when he could get to DS but I was in theatre for 2 hours.
I ended up with a fourth degree tear, DS with an infection and we were in hospital for nearly a week whilst we both recovered. We were in different wards at first though, me on the recovery ward with everyone and their babies. (And the Bounty lady who had no idea whether it was safe to approach me or not as I had no signs of a baby!) DS was down a couple of really long corridors and I couldn't get there on my own. Eventually (day 4 I think), we got moved into a different ward and were there together in a private room.
In the main ward, they didn't change my bedsheets for days because when they came to do it, I was in with the doctors. I felt so ashamed when my family came to visit, sat there in a pile of bedclothes dry from all the blood. It was horrible.
Some of the midwives/nurses were amazing but some were awful. One hadn't got the canula in right and left me sat with the blood transfusion bag for 4 hours, when I was desperate to get down to the NICU to see my son.
Another bad one: once we had moved into the special ward together they tried to arrange for DH to spend the night on a camp bed. No camp beds were left so it was just me and DS. I was struggling with all birth injuries, desperately trying to breastfeed and look after him through the night. I was wearing not very many clothes, trying to get the hang of breastfeeding but DS wee'd all over his sheets and I pressed the buzzer to get some help. There was a lock on the door so I had used it to preserve what little dignity I had. When the nurse arrived to bring me the sheets, she really laid into me for locking the door because of the fire risk. I get that she might have had a point, but it was not what I needed right at that precise moment! You wonder why they had locks on in the first place...
A couple of very lovely ones... After getting fed up with the first blood transfusion, I tried to escape out of the ward to see my son with the bag of blood still attached. A midwife saw me, stopped me and wouldn't let me get out. She tried to unhook me from the blood, but blood went everywhere, all over the ward floor. She took me away into a toilet and when I explained (through all my tears) what had happened, she was really kind to me and said it would be OK. She'd torn twice badly through childbirth and it had been OK. She let me see DS but I had to promise to stay put for more transfusions the next day.
And the lady who came and found me in theatre to tell me DS was OK, he was breathing again and DH was on his way down to see him. I remember her reeling off a load of numbers at me, I didn't have a clue what she was saying. It was such a relief to know he was OK.
And another nurse who was horrible and lovely. She told me off for being pushed in a wheelchair to get down to DS (I was in so much pain but she said I should be 'mobilising' and the doctor would be really cross if they saw me). So I used to get my husband to push me to the ward doors, then I'd get out as though I'd walked the whole way. She was really nice after that.
I really just wanted someone to tell me it would be OK or at least to talk to us. The surgeon said don't give birth again, one of the midwives was frustrated with me when I couldn't urinate less than 12 hours after giving birth, the tear specialist was away on holiday the week I was in... We never saw a paediatrician until DS was discharged... It wasn't until six months later at my debrief that they confirmed he'd been back to back but they hadn't actually realised until he popped out the wrong way up.
Hmmmm... I seem to have written an essay. I always meant to complain properly but I never have.
I went to theatre for stitching of a 3rd degree tear. The staff were lovely, but I'd improve three things:
1) I was expected to sit up with a rounded back to get the spinal in. Very painful with a 3rd degree tear, in the end they let me lie on my side but surely it would have been common sense to do it that way to start with.
2) I'd been told how long I could expect the spinal to last, and of course I started to get anxious as that time approached. It would have been good to have reassurance that they'd definitely finish before the spinal wore off.
3) I hadn't been warned about the uncontrollable shaking, it was very unnerving.
DS was delivered using forceps and a little while after he was born it became apparent I was losing quite a bit of blood. A doctor tried to investigate but swore about the lighting (was delivery suite at 3 in the morning so a little dim). I got taken off to theatre feeling v confused leaving DS and DH in the delivery suite. Had an epidural and nice person (don't know what her role was) kept going between theatre and delivery suite to let us know the other one was ok. My legs were put like this ---- which was a shock to see and as I had SPD didn't exactly help but I can see me bleeding to death would have been awkward as well. The main thing for me was the contrast in lighting and being all confused that my baby wasn't there. The staff were fine it was just disorientating.
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