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Giving birth with a leg in plaster

(82 Posts)
Owchyleg Fri 30-May-14 12:29:01


I broke my ankle in two places last week and had to have surgery on Monday. The lower half of my leg is in plaster and I am can't put weight on it for 6 - 8 weeks, this will be followed by 6 weeks in a cast boot.

I am nearly 33 weeks pregnant and now am adjusting to the fact I will have to give birth in a plaster cast.

My dd who is nearly 2 was a normal midwife led birth. As a result of the accident I am now Consultant led.

I haven't found much advice online about this and I wondered of any mumsnetters have any experience of this or anything similar? Aibu to still hope for a natural delivery?

Andrewofgg Fri 30-May-14 13:09:57

What a rotten thing to happen. As a male and not a health care professional all I can offer is congratulations on the baby, every joy in the new arrival in spite of your problems, and masses of flowers.

And one hint: Make OH work himself to a frazzle helping you!

Kveta Fri 30-May-14 13:12:55

wasn't there a poster, maybe mawbroon, who had this problem?

for some reason, her name springs to mind, might be worth searching!

you poor thing though sad

5madthings Fri 30-May-14 13:16:52

Oh God what a nightmare.

Why does it make the birth high risk?

I van see it affects mobility, birth pool obviously out!

But can you sit on birth ball and mobilise with help?

I think you need to chat with your midwife and see how best you can be supported in birth.

Bean bags, lots of cushions, birth ball etc to gel you be in a position you are co
fortable and safe in.

FrancesNiadova Fri 30-May-14 13:24:51

I'm so sorry owchyleg. I dislocated my ankle with a trimalleolar fracture 3 years ago. I'm currently in plaster again, non-weight bearing after having it fused. I'd always thought a broken ankle meant home the same day with a cast on, but no. I got flown into major A&E, 10 days in hospital, 3 years on crutches & now I've had it fused. From what you've said, it sounds like you've done a, "proper job," too.

You'll be non-weight bearing or only standing weight. When you get your boot on, you might find that your balance has gone. My nerves & tendons had been severed during my fall, so my balance completely went, to the point where I was taught to balance on 2 legs & catch a ball again! This could have big implications for you carrying a baby.

You'll know that you'll have to keep your legs raised. Let your midwife know asap, as you might need some special or extra support.

Oh, & just to share the picture, before my accident I was referred for uterus fibroids. My appointment clashed with whilst I was in hospital, so they wheeled me from the ward to the gyne dept. The consultant looked at me & said, "Well dear, we'll never get that in a stirrup!

Good luck, you'll have to put your feet up now thanks

fluffyraggies Fri 30-May-14 13:35:52

SIL had to give girth with one sprained ankle and the other leg in plaster.

She managed with lots of help in the birthing room and a few huge bean bags. No chance of the water birth, which she was hoping for sad


mawbroon Fri 30-May-14 13:51:39

OMG, this is almost exactly what happened to me!

I had surgery at 34 weeks pregnant - they wouldn't give me a GA or any type of sedation so I had to lie there wide awake whilst they worked. I took my iPod so that I couldn't hear it all and tried to ignore it as much as possible. Were you the same?

Originally, they told me 6 weeks non weight bearing, but it only turned out to be 3 in the end. Or rather 3 after surgery, it was 9 days after the accident before I got my surgery.

I was supposed to still be in plaster at the time of the surgery, but the very sympathetic female ortho consultant put me in a removable boot to make things easier at the time of the birth. I got myself a Limbo cast cover which was extremely useful, indispensable in fact!

I was to be consultant led anyway because I had previous CS and a bicornuate uterus. His plan was continuous monitoring, coming to hospital early, possibly going to a EMCS sooner than otherwise etc etc etc. When he said that, I thought Fuck That and wrote my birth plan saying that I wanted as few interventions as possible, birthing pool, immediate skin to skin and so on. The midwives followed my plan pretty much, although I did have to have DS2 lifted out with forceps, but it was not an aggressive forceps delivery like you sometimes read about.

My Limbo cover fitted over the removable boot, so I was able to wear it in the birthing pool. It was a bit weird because it made my leg float, so I lay on my front in the water, but that wasn't really here nor there.

One thing I really disliked was that ortho and obstetrics agreed that I should inject myself with blood thinners to reduce the DVT risk. I am not squeamish, but I really didn't enjoy injecting myself every day. I would be a rubbish druggie wink

At first, they were not going to give me crutches, but I persuaded them to at least let me try them. I found them easy, but apparently not everyone does. The physio taught me how to hop up and down the stairs, but I limited myself to only doing this once a day as it was really hard work! We only have an upstairs bathroom, so my midwife organised a commode. A bit grim, but hey, I had to pee somewhere!

DS1 was not very impressed, he was 4y 4months at the time and was being sent here there and everywhere to be looked after. I could deal with him much better once I was weight bearing, but the upset at the time and then adding insult to injury by bringing home a new baby really took it's toll on him, wee soul.

I am looking back at it now 4+ years on, but I have not forgotten how bloody hard it was at the time. You will get through this, but it might be a bit crap getting there.

FrancesNiadova Fri 30-May-14 14:21:09

Well said Mawbroon. I'm injecting into my stomach & I sent DH, (bless,) for some Emla cream. You put it on an hour before & it numbs the area. So owchyleg, that could be a possibility if you have to do the injections.

If crutches are difficult, what about a Zimmer frame? I had a mastectomy just over a year ago & the crutches hurt under my arms. The Zimmer uses different muscles and is more stable more to bling up

The limbo thing is a good idea. I bought one with a tight rubber seal at the top. I found it too painful to pull over my cast. With a bump it would be even more difficult. They do make ones that are easier to get on & off I'm now using a binbag

It sounds like you had a tough time Mawbroon, I'm glad it all went well for you.

Good luck owchyleg.

FrancesNiadova Fri 30-May-14 14:22:55

Oh, also, the hospital have lent me a frame to put over the loo so I can use it easily. It's so ignoble isn't it-

Owchyleg Fri 30-May-14 15:00:55

Wow Mawbroon, your experience sounds so similar to what I am going through. My surgery was also undertaken with a spinal anaesthetic as a GA was considered too dangerous. I was very frightened prior to the op but the procedure itself was actually ok. I couldn't feel anything and the anaesthetists kept chatting to me keeping me distracted.

I have to have the blood thinning jabs twice a day at the moment. Currently the district nurse is coming over and administering this. I am like you, v squeamish about doing this myself although I think I will have to soon as I have to keep up the injections for many weeks to come. Post birth in fact. That is I think the main reason I am now consultant led as they need to make sure there is a gap when I stop taking the jabs prior to labour due to the risk of haemorrhage but start again soon after to reduce clot risk! I plan to be an natural as possible though and will defiantly get the limbo thing you mentioned.

How was your pain? I was in agony the first 24 hours post surgery as they were really cautious about what I could take. I'm now on tramadol and paracetamol, to be reviewed in a couple of days time.

Francisniadova, I have the Zimmer frame, I'm finding it easier than crutches but currently only moving from bed to bathroom.

mawbroon Fri 30-May-14 16:32:58

Actually, now you mention it, there was a gap in taking the blood thinners. I had to have them for a while after surgery, I don't remember exactly how long, but maybe 10 days or so? Then I had to start them again after the birth, again I don't remember exactly how long for. Normally they are injected into the stomach area, but I was told to use my leg instead. I was black and blue all up and down my legs, probably due to my rubbish injecting technique! It was fine when I had the sort of trigger syringe thing, but one day I opened the bag from the chemist to find normal syringes. I just had to get on with it really.

Pain wise, it was absolute bloody agony for about 5 days. The worst pain I have ever experienced. I had a couple of tiny doses or morphine in the hospital (I was in 3 nights) and was sent home with Tramadol and something else, can't remember what it was. I did notice when I was on the ward that I was hardly allowed any drugs compared to the other patients who were having loads of other painkillers that I wasn't allowed. After the first 5 days, the pain really settled down and was very manageable after that.

There are lots of practical tips for coping whilst non weight bearing. I used a rucksack if I wanted to carry anything from room to room and I made sure I always had the house phone and mobile on my person at all times just in case I fell or anything and needed help. I didn't do this, but I have read of people who use an office chair to get around by resting their knee on it and pushing. Once the worst of the pain was over, I didn't actually want to sit around doing nothing all day any more. I did online shopping and worked out easy things to cook. I shuffled things along the worktop in the kitchen instead of carrying them and set myself little challenges like today I will get the tea ready and DH will serve it up which was the impossible bit.

Bit TMI but I also got horrendous constipation, I presume from being pregnant anyway, but also from the lack of movement and I also got piles. I had avoided them in my first pregnancy, and I will never know for sure, but I suspect I would have avoided them if I had been mobile.

You might want to think of places to go out and about when you feel ready. My first trip out was to Ikea for a cup of tea. We live about 10 mins away, but it seemed like a giant expedition. Be prepared for the looks that people will give you. They clock the plaster cast, then they clock the massive pregnant belly and they either look away, look shocked or give a pitying look! I also used a wheelchair a couple of times in the supermarket and that gives a whole new perspective to the world!

Owchyleg Fri 30-May-14 16:40:28

Post operation, It really is the worst pain I have ever experienced. It was almost unbearable for 24 hours until the tramadol kicked in. Do you remember if you needed to take them after the initial 5 days of intense pain? Gosh it's great to speak to someone who has been through pregnancy and a broken leg. I know what you means about the looks. I've only come into contact with people in hospital so far but so many people have been commenting and looking distressed on my behalf.

I am also having my legs injected. Bruises aren't too bad yet but I suspect that is because the district nurse is injecting rather than me (I am a complete wuss!)

Owchyleg Fri 30-May-14 16:45:14

Thank you everyone by the way for your comments and support. X

mawbroon Fri 30-May-14 16:50:56

Gosh, no I don't remember exactly how long I took the tramadol etc, but I do remember that the reduction in pain was drastic, and all of a sudden I didn't need the painkillers any more. I hope you experience this too because the relief is marvellous! I do actually remember enjoying having the spinal because it meant I was completely pain free for the first time in around 10 days! I remember lying in the hospital whimpering with pain waiting for the night doc to come and prescribe more morphine.

How much metalwork do you have? I got a plate up the outside with 6 screws in it and two long screws into the other side. I had completely broken the end off the outside bone (can never remember which is tib and which is fib LOL). I got mine out in the end, but that's months away for you so don't worry about it at the moment!

How did you break it btw? I was walking in the snow. I have no idea why, but I started falling sideways, but my foot stayed put. I heard crack crack on the way down and knew for sure that it was broken. I had flashbacks for a few days after too. It's the only time I have ever had flashbacks which I think illustrates that it's a pretty traumatic thing to happen.

How are you managing with showering etc? We only have a shower over the bath so I had a bit of a rigmarole going on with a stool in the shower. I could do the actual getting in and out bit myself, I just needed somebody to hand me my towel/dressing gown at the beginning and end. Once I was weight bearing, I could stand in the shower and get in and out as normal.

How much help do you have around? I had to get my Mum to come and stay with us for the last week or so before I went into labour (at 40 + 3) because I couldn't actually reach the straps on the boot to get them fastened and unfastened! Oh, and where are you? If you are anywhere near me, I shall come and bore you with tales of broken ankles and birth grin

I'm away out just now, but will check in later. Feel free to pm me any time too x

Owchyleg Fri 30-May-14 17:01:26

I broke the fib in half, also a piece broke off the talus bone, the ligaments were torn and the ankle was dislocated. I had a metal plate inserted and when fixed with screws and pins (don't remember how many, I will ask when I go to clinic on Monday). The consultant mentioned I may want it removed at some point, I think I will cross that bridge later....

I fell down one step at home and went over on my ankle. I looked down and saw my foot at 90 degrees to the rest of my leg. Thank goodness my partner was around (he works away a fair bit), he took one look at it and turned pale. He called the ambulance and they arrived 40 minutes later. It didn't hurt too much at first. I think I was in shock.

Unfortunately we don't have family living close by. My parents have both passed away. My sister lives about 4 hours away and has her own family but has been wonderful and has been here to stay twice already. She helps look after my little girl the days she isn't in nursery. My MIL lives about an hour and a half away and has also been brilliant. She has been here when my sister hasn't been. I'm very lucky to have such lovely family.

lifelorn Fri 30-May-14 17:23:06

I broke my ankle, luckily I was not pregnant - but they did not use a cast just told me to keep off it.
I found crutches fine, but not up and down stairs the major problem was getting a cup of tea or food whilst on crutches. I had a wheeled office chair (no arms) which I used as a scooter, kneeling on injured leg with poor ankle resting on edge of chair. With a few amendments plastic bag hung over back and travel mug I managed really well. Even vacuuming!
Good luck

mawbroon Fri 30-May-14 20:13:00

Oooh, that's not nice seeing your foot like that. Mine was inside a big walking boot and didn't look too bad when the paramedics cut my sock off, but I could tell it wasn't right either! 40 minutes waiting sounds stressful sad I only had to wait 20 minutes, but it was lying in the snow, and then another 20 mins of a nearby 4x4 pulling the ambulance out when it got stuck in the snow!! Like you, I didn't actually have that much pain at first. It was fine if I lay still, but ouch it was bloody sore any time I tried to move it after that.

You will have loads of swelling even after however many weeks they leave the plaster on for. I couldn't see or feel any of my metalwork for several months afterwards. It was only when the swelling came right down that I could see the screws sticking out and they were rubbing on my shoes and boots which was painful. Getting the metalwork out is a walk in the park compared to the original surgery. I even watched them do it!

I'm serious about offering help if you are anywhere near me. I am in Scotland......

mawbroon Fri 30-May-14 20:59:48

This thread prompted me to look through some old emails. Would you believe that at the same time as I was going through this, another mumsnetter was experiencing exactly the same thing. We had surgery on the same day and our babies were born one day apart!!

Something that I wanted to mention was that I had arranged for my midwife to come to the house for my routine appointments. She was more than happy to do that and it saved traipsing over to the docs surgery every week or so.

Owchyleg Sat 31-May-14 22:02:40

Thanks mawbroon. We live in wales so not close to you but thanks for the offer.

The pain seems to be subsiding and I have an appointment in trauma clinic on Monday so I'm keen to see how things are healing. A long road ahead but moving in the right direction.

mawbroon Sat 31-May-14 23:45:26

I'm glad to hear that the pain has lessened a bit for you.

I had and x-ray just about every time I went to the clinic. I have just remembered the lead apron thing that they used to put over my bump!

Wales is a bit far away x smile

Owchyleg Sun 01-Jun-14 08:08:29

Yes! The lead apron. I wore it for the op as well as the x rays (well there were X-rays as part of the surgery).

I'm 5 days post surgery today. The pain has definitely subsided, not really as overwhelming as it was a few days ago. My limbo leg protector arrived but I don't have the courage to maneuvere into the shower yet (it's a shower over the bath).

I'm 33 weeks pregnant now, I think the realisation that birth is happening relatively soon is starting to sink in. I still can't work out how I will give birth like this. Hopefully I will be at least in a boot by then. With my DD I was so mobile, pacing round the whole labour, in and out of the bath and then the birth pool. It all really really helped. I can't see how I will be doing any of that this time. Oh well there is still time to find a way I guess.

Generally I am feeling a lot happier than I was this time last week when I was dreading the operation. I was so nervous. I cried and cried as they took me down to theatre. I think it was the fear of being awake and safety for baby. I'm just so glad that is over.

Hazchem Sun 01-Jun-14 08:21:23

I've just been reading a book called birth skills. It has lots of suggestions for active birthing with suggestions for how to adapt them if you can't move how you thought you would. One of the key techniques she suggests is using stress balls which you tap, push or bang together during contractions. She suggests that if you need to lay down on your side getting someone to tape the top one to your hand helps keep it in place.

Owchyleg Sun 01-Jun-14 08:30:47

Thanks hazchem. I will check out the link.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 01-Jun-14 09:17:39

5 mad-your balance gets shot to bits with a leg in plaster, very hard and probably unsafe to sit on bean bags and balls.

OP-you must be really worried,I had a similar accident and it was bad enough and I wasn't pregnant. Hope you get lots of help xxx

JsOtherHalf Sun 01-Jun-14 10:00:09

Would this handsfree crutch be suitable for you?

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