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Please help re catheter for c section (poss sensitive/trigger)

(45 Posts)
HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:06:13

I have chosen to have a c section due to past abuse. I was terrified that a vaginal birth would be triggering and traumatic due to the vaginal examinations, the loss of control and the exposure of the pushing stage if that makes sense.

My concern re the csection now is the catheter. I can't cope with the idea of them doing it when I'm numb. I need to know what they are doing. Also the idea of being so exposed and having it done in theatre with lots of people around is filling me with dread. I have been so anxious about it, I'm making myself ill.

I want to ask to have it done before I go down to theatre hopefully with only one midwife present. Is there anyone who knows if this will be possible? I need to know that if I freak out, there will be time to calm down before my baby is born. I desperately need it to be separate from my baby's birth. I know it will be physically uncomfortable/painful but I can deal with that.

Is there anyone who has had a catheter fitted and could explain to me step by step what happens so I can try and prepare myself a bit? Will I be able to ask to be covered with a sheet to stop me feeling so exposed and vulnerable?

I'm having signs that labour is approaching and this issue is stopping me from being excited about it. I'm falling apart to be honest because I don't know how to cope with it. Any help/advice you can give me would be very gratefully received.

VivaLeThrustBadger Thu 26-Sep-13 15:11:14

Yes, you can ask your midwife to do it before theatre. It's not something be been asked to do before but I'd do it if asked.

What happens is, quick wipe down with some water and cotton wool. Labia parted slightly to see where the catheter needs to go. Catheter inserted, there's a little valve in the tubing and some water is squirted into the valve which inflates a little balloon in the tubing to keep it in place.

You can definitely have a sheet over you while its done. Even in theatre I put a sheet over the woman's stomach so she feels less exposed. However in reality there are more people milling about in theatre and even with a sheet over your abdomen there's a limit to how much you're covered. So ask to get it done beforehand.

Good luck.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:14:41

Thank you so much. How long does it take? Will I have to lay with legs apart for very long?

I just don't really know how to cope with it and just keep crying when I think about it. Bringing my baby into the world isn't supposed to be like this.

VinegarDrinker Thu 26-Sep-13 15:17:34

You can absolutely ask for it to be done before you go to theatre.

However you should know, if you are worried about being exposed in theatre, that at the end of the op it is usual to part the woman's legs and clean the vagina out with swabs (some places also offer a painkilling suppository at this stage).

Have you had a chance to speak to whoever will be operating?

It really should easily take less than two minutes. Once it is in, it will not be obvious, unless it gets bumped about.
Good luck xx

VinegarDrinker Thu 26-Sep-13 15:18:18

Meant to say, I am sure adjustments can be made, but better to discuss it in advance if possible.

I found once I was numb, apart fron sensations around my stomach area, I did not have a clue what was going on down below.
You will be far too occupied with your baby, to worry about your nether regions.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:21:37

I've got an appointment next week to meet the anesthesiologist so will ask questions then. Can I ask them not to do the swabbing in theatre? Or not at all? How essential is it? I can't deal with them doing things like that while I'm numb, I need to know what they are doing.

BlackberrySeason Thu 26-Sep-13 15:23:39

I had a catheter in labour (vb) because I was unable to urinate at all. I had no catheter on my birth plan but tbh it wasn't very uncomfortable and they did it so well and fast that I didn't even really realise it had been done.

JuliaScurr Thu 26-Sep-13 15:24:38

I have had UTI every single time I've had a catheter. Make sure you have anti-b prescription beforehand in case you get UTI.

best wishes

fuckwittery Thu 26-Sep-13 15:26:38

I had a morphine suppository inserted too..... I think you could ask for an injection or morphine drip instead.
Maggie, I think its the people doing things to the OP that she is unaware of that is a v sensitive trigger. Whilst they can tell you what they are doing, I see no reason why the clean out and the suppository if you choose to have it cant be done privately by a midwife out of theatre or on the ward. You dont have to consent to the clean out at all, I'd ask about risks if you dont have it xx

VioletHunter Thu 26-Sep-13 15:32:18

I was given the choice of having my catheter inserted on the ward in private before the op, or in theatre where it would be numb but obviously people are around. I chose to have it in theatre but it would have been fine to choose the ward.

You are quite exposed during a section though op. They lift your gown up to your chest, although they do cover you with drapes, and as a pp said at the end they swab you down below (you have to do this to prevent infection) and insert a painkilling suppository. You could refuse that I guess. I think it would be very difficult to avoid being exposed at all, although they do try to keep your dignity preserved as much as possible.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:32:21

Thank you fuckwittery, I can't find any information about it online so I will have to ask them about the risks. I think i can cope with it being done privately in recovery/ on the ward if it needs to be done, but the idea of it being done in theatre when I can't even see what they are doing and all those people around is terrifying.

Thank you so much for all replies.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:36:51

Violet - I have a mental health team involved and they have written up a plan in which it requests that I am covered at all times unless medically necessary. I know there will be points where I will be exposed, but I'm hoping to not have to have legs apart or touched there in theatre. Is that realistic if I can arrange to have the swabs done afterwards?

ExitPursuedByADragon Thu 26-Sep-13 15:39:55

I had a catheter put in when being induced and it was just a bloody relief to empty my bladder to be honest. In theatre you will be numb from the waist down and won't have a clue what is going on with your bits.

I hope you manage to get some reassurance.

Good luck.

VioletHunter Thu 26-Sep-13 15:41:18

You'd have to ask your surgeon I think. What if you were still in theatre, but everyone left the room for a moment apart from the person doing the swabbing? At that point they've taken the drapes down so you can see what they're doing, although you are still numb.

valiumredhead Thu 26-Sep-13 15:44:26

I had mine done about an hour before I went down to theatre-it was so quick I want sure it had been done.

Good luckthanks

valiumredhead Thu 26-Sep-13 15:45:46

I'm pretty sure I didn't have a pain killing suppository.

valiumredhead Thu 26-Sep-13 15:48:56

Oh and just to reassure you,I had a while team for me and another for ds who was prem in the theatre, it was pretty crowded. At no point did I feel undignified or I didn't know what was happening. They talked me through everything they were doing.

hellymelly Thu 26-Sep-13 15:50:28

I had some issues around being examined, interference etc, probably not as bad as yours , but enough to make me frightened. I would have been really unaware of what they were doing, as I couldn't see or feel it, but the Surgeon talked me through each step and asked my permission for things and was very respectful and kind. The second c-section I knew what was happening so didn't have the running commentary, and in fact I think it would have been fine first time without it. I can't remember when they put the catheter in, I just remember them coming out, but I do know I didn't feel it and that having it taken out is a two second tug, no pain, not invasive.
The legs apart bit in theatre wasn't all that long, they mopped up some blood, they put in a morphine suppository, it was quite fast. The stitching was the bit that took longest and that was legs closed obv. They have to lift and move your leg as you can't, which frightened me, but they did ask me and it was about as good as it could be really. I had my babies in UCH and the team each time were really great.
Someone will come and wash your vulva at some point after surgery. (you are bleeding onto a pad thing on the bed, or at least I was) That I did not like as the midwife told me she didn't like doing it and hadn't done it often before, (!!) and she asked me to do it myself, which I somehow managed to have a go at, lying on my back! I imagine you could either ask for this not to be done, have your partner do it, or have a wipe there when the catheter is taken out.
I understand how you are feeling, but the baby is such a big focus that it does help you shut off from the scary bits even though that is hard to imagine now. You will get through it and be fine, especially with a well briefed and sensitive team.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:53:13

Violet - that would be better if they can't do it away from theatre afterwards.

Valium - thank you that is really reassuring.

I am really glad I started this thread as I will be able to ask about all these things now. Thank you all so much.

originalpiratematerial Thu 26-Sep-13 15:53:26

It's a long time ago now for me, but I had to have a catheter for all three of my deliveries (vaginal) as for some strange reason I just could not pee whilst in strong labour. First time around, I was appalled at the suggestion of a catheter and kept refusing but eventually it got so uncomfortable and the midwife could see my bladder bulging so I had no choice really. It was FINE - took seconds to insert, wasn't uncomfortable, and once it was in I really didn't notice it.

All the very best for your birth and I hope it goes really well.

springlamb Thu 26-Sep-13 15:53:45

I too had issues regarding what was being done, although for very different reasons. I met with the midwifery staff a week before my C-section and we were able to work out a plan. We also did a walk-through of all the places I would be on the day - ante-natal ward, theatre, recovery, and then the (single) room where baby and I would then be taken. They were very good.
On the day, I had my partner by my head and a midwife standing sort of at chest level where she could see both sides of the screen. She was tasked with telling me exactly what was being done, who was doing it. The surgeon was very good too and kept up a running commentary of what he was doing all the way through.
If they have agreed to the C-section for psychological reasons, then they are sure to be responsive to any other requests you have for the same reasons. Try to make sure everyone around understands there are issues.
After my first C-section, I ended up with PTSD, my 2nd (7 years later, with baby an unplanned blessing) was a walk in the park!

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:57:23

Helly - thank you that's very helpful. I would rather clean myself up so will speak to them about that too. I really hope I will just be able to focus on my baby and that will help me cope, but it's really helping to hear what will happen so I can feel more prepared. Thank you.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:59:00

Thanks original and spring.

humphryscorner Thu 26-Sep-13 16:01:49

goodluck heffalump flowers

I had one when I had ECS and didn't even know about the vaginal clean! shock hope every things smoothly for you, im sure they will!

RubyrooUK Thu 26-Sep-13 16:09:14

I had a section in March due to a previous botched vaginal delivery leading to some pretty nasty injuries.

I didn't have issues with people doing necessary medical things to me while I was numb but I did want to know exactly what was happening at each stage (this gave me a sense of control that had been entirely missing from my first birth where the doctors and midwives had panicked and argued over me).

I explained my situation to the section team. I explained exactly what had happened before (which they also knew from reading my notes) and I found them very kind. For example, the epidural for my previous birth had been very painful and I was reassured by being talked through every step. During the operation, the consultant made sure he kept telling me what was occurring (within reason) and the anaethetist stroked my hair and kept me warm when I shook.

Although I felt very very negative beforehand and shook uncontrollably at the start of the section to think that anyone would be touching me again, I found that being talked through each stage along with the calm professionalism of the team made me able to trust them.

I really hope you find that too.

(For what it's worth, I may as well mention that I freaked out at the epidural being in after the surgery - I couldn't bear it when I stopped being numb - and the midwives got authorisation from the doctors to remove it early too.)

I haven't been through your experience so I can't speak for you, but I found I was able to trust in the team doing my section which really helped my anxiety over what was being done to me.

Andanotherthing123 Thu 26-Sep-13 16:10:19

Just wanted to say that I've had a catheter inserted without pain relief and it really, really didn't hurt one bit. In my c-sections I've had it done after anaesthetic but when I had one for another reason with no pain relief I was truly surprised to find it was fine.

Hope you have a nice birth and all goes well for you. Am sure the team looking after you will do all they can to make you feel more comfortable as they'll understand just how hard this is for you.xx

Ireallymustbemad Thu 26-Sep-13 16:11:01

Just another one to say I had the choice of having it done in the pre-OP ward in privacy with just the mw or in theatre with everyone there but numb. I chose numb as I thought it might be uncomfortable and knew others had seen it all before. That said I have no triggers or reason to worry about it. The important thing is I'm another one who was given the choice. I'm sure you'll be able to ask.

Good luck.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 16:15:53

Thank you so much for all your replies. It is so reassuring to hear that those of you who have been anxious for whatever reason have felt reassured by the midwives and doctors. Thanks very much for telling me about having catheters fitted too. I really do feel the more I can know beforehand, the better I will cope in the moment.

I am seeing the anesthesiologist next week, and having the pre op appointment. Do you think I will be able to ask about all these things then? Or will I have to wait until the day and speak to the midwives then?

Can I ask if you have discussed your worries with a midwife from the delivery ward? I am not a midwife, but I was a nurse, and I can say without equivocation, that I would have done everything possible to make things as easy as possible for someone with your needs.

As a nurse, my first thought is that it would be helpful to you, if you had a midwife to act as your advocate during the whole process - one person who knows your concerns and the background to them, who can accompany you all the way and mediate between you and the rest of the medical staff, someone you can trust, who will carry out as many of the necessary procedures as possible for you. Maybe having just one person doing that for you, someone you had got to know beforehand, would make things a bit easier for you.

I will be sending you lots of supportive thoughts.

Madratlady Thu 26-Sep-13 16:20:36

I'm a nurse and regularly put in catheters. Especially in younger women I can pop one in in a couple of minutes no problem. They should tell you exactly what they are doing, step by step, as they put it in too. It might feel a bit odd because the urethra doesn't usually have a tube up it, but shouldn't be painful.

I see no reason why you can't ask the anaesthesiologist but do talk to the midwives about your concerns as well.

Rainbowshine Thu 26-Sep-13 16:24:22

Hi OP, I thought I would add that when I had a catheter, there was a lot of checking it afterwards, e.g. How much urine was being passed, was it still in place. You could address how they will deal with this in your meetings too, so you are able to feel reassured that will also be dealt with in accordance with your needs. Good luck, and flowers

ConfusedDotty Thu 26-Sep-13 16:25:50

Hi. I have recently had a catheter, although it was nothing to do with giving birth, it was for major surgery and being bed bound.

Really it doesn't hurt and it was very quick. The nurses are very understanding and if you let them know you are nervous they will be more so.

You can't even feel it once fitted and the removal is a couple of seconds and also painless.

Good luck in the birth of your beautiful baby.

valiumredhead Thu 26-Sep-13 16:29:02

Oh don't forget that the anaesthesiologist will be up your head end and chatting to you etc. the surgeons kind of get on with it down the business end, but it was the anaesthesiologist who talked me through everything. Yes bring it up at your next meeting. I didn't have a midwife in theatre with me do can't comment on how helpful they would be normally.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 16:30:39

Stgd - I haven't come into contact with any midwives from the delivery ward, but my community midwife is aware, the consultant has written a letter to go in my notes and the mental health team have written their care plan with an explanation and requests too.

Would I be able to explain things to a midwife on the day or is there some way I could speak to one before? The only thing is, if I were to speak to one before, there is no guarantee they will be on shift if I go into labour before the c section date. It would be fantastic if I could arrange that though, an advocate sounds brilliant.

Thank you madrat and rainbow smile

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 16:33:50

Thanks confused, I'm glad it's not too horrible having it done without being numb!

Valium - hopefully the anaesthesiologist will be able to answer some of my questions then and perhaps put me in touch with someone else to answer the rest.

valiumredhead Thu 26-Sep-13 16:38:53

Tbh it was the anaesthesiologist that seemed to be 'to dog' in my case so I would tell them any concerns you have.

VivaLeThrustBadger Thu 26-Sep-13 16:39:22

Heffalump, you'll be able to talk to your midwife on the day. To be honest when you get there you'll probably find they have a bit of an idea about you. But any details re your wishes they may well not know so do talk to them.

When I look after ladies who are having elective sections I start work at 8am, the same time they arrive. I have to get the 2 or sometimes 3 women all admitted and ready for theatre for 9am. So I don't have lots of time to read through notes. But I will always ask women if they have any questions or specific wishes. If someone had quite a few things like this to discuss I'd be more than happy to take the time to talk it through.

valiumredhead Thu 26-Sep-13 16:45:20

Top dog

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 16:46:07

That's brilliant Viva. I can't fault the midwives I have come into contact with so far, I seem to be quite lucky with the service in my area. Hopefully this will continue and I will have a good experience on the ward.

Thank you so much for all the support on this thread. I started it in tears and terrified, but now I feel much more prepared. Thank you.

Heffalump - I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to talk to the senior midwife on the delivery unit to discuss your worries and needs, and how best these can be met.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 17:01:45

I will ask when I have my pre op appointment next week if that would be possible. Thanks sdtg.

Anothermrssmith Thu 26-Sep-13 20:08:54

OP I have no experience in what you've gone through but had a catheter fitted a couple of years ago when I had surgery, it was fitted after I was asleep but removed the next day on the ward by a nurse. I just wanted to say when she removed it I was told exactly how it would be removed, I only had to move the blankets aside so was still pretty covered up, was sitting up rather than lying down so could see everything,i didnt have to spread my legs, just part them slightly and it didn't hurt at all. It also was out in less than 30 seconds. I hope between now and the birth everyone you see puts your mind at rest and everything goes exactly how you want on the big day x

hellymelly Fri 27-Sep-13 00:21:53

For my second section I had a meeting with the consultant anaesthetist a few weeks before I was due.( I'd had a crash after the first that was really frightening and wanted some insight into why, I was really worried it might happen again). Anyway, I am sure given your reasons for a c-section that it would be easy to arrange a meeting, then you could go through all your questions point by point. I think you would find it really helpful . The mental health co-ordinator should be able to sort it all out for you. It was hugely helpful for me as he had more information than the midwife had been able to give me, and he was also able to put a plan in place so that I was watched very closely to make sure there wasn't a repeat.
The more you feel listened to and the more information you have the better you will feel. You don't need to feel at the mercy of the medics, if you get help now with all your worries then hopefully you will feel that your birth is shared with them rather than controlled by them. I do hope so! I am wishing you the best of luck.

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