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Help me decide between an elective c-section and another "natural birth"

(16 Posts)
Artichook Sun 17-Mar-13 19:23:42

DC3 is due in 8 weeks and I am really, really not looking forward to labour for a third time. I know the NICE guidelines now allow you to request a c-section and I am considering doing this but I would welcome advice.

My first labour was induced at 38 weeks due to sudden pre-eclampsia. I was in pre-labour with prostin pains for 48 hours, then I had my waters manually broken in one of the most horrendous 5 mins of my life. Active labour last 14 hours but I was already exhausted from the prostin. Baby was positioned oddly and I could not push her out, hours of pushing were followed by forceps, episiotomy, huge tear, massive bleed, blood transfusions and months and months of pain down there and a weak pelvic floor.

My second labour was much better but still long. I was not induced but pre-labour kept me awake for 14 hours before active labour started. Actice labour took 9 or ten hours and I often felt very nauseated which was incredibly stressful as I have a phobia of throwing up. I did not need instruments and pushed quickly but DC2 was 10lbs 2oz and I tore along my original tear lines. My pelvic floor was not worse but it was still not great. I was exhausted and run down for months after (but that may have been down to sleep deprivation as much as the birth).

The idea of another long labour and tearing again and further damaging my already weak pelvic floor is horrifying. I am expected to have another big baby and there is not much I can do about that. Both DCs had 99% heads so if this is the same I am sure I will tear again. So I am thinking c-section. I know it is major surgery and I don't relish the stay in hospital and post-surgery pain. But is the post surgery pain worse than post tear pain? And at least my pelvic floor might be spared further trauma.

In my situation what would others do?

lola88 Sun 17-Mar-13 19:38:40

I had a very bad labour with 3rd deg tears and 13mo later i'm still not healed completely physically or emotionally so for my second i will be opting for a section. I am terrified of exactly what happened to you the second time and tearing again i just couldn't cope. I have 2 friends that had sections 3 weeks after i had my 'natural' labour and they were up and about before me and also healed months before me.

For me it's not worth it i'd rather have a section and be able to plan for my recovery and enjoy my baby which i don't feel i did with DS

TuttiFrutti Sun 17-Mar-13 21:52:43

In your situation I would choose a cs.

I have never had a natural birth so can't compare the two, but have had an emergency cs after a long labour and an elective cs, and neither was as bad as what you've been through. With the emergency, the cs was the least bad bit, and the pain post-op not as severe as the labour pains. With the elective, there was no pain at all, just a bit of discomfort, and much easier than having a filling at the dentists for example.

MyDarlingClementine Sun 17-Mar-13 23:40:34

I had a c section second time round, maternal request and my PF is fantastic, its been a wonderful un expected bonus really.
I also loathed hospital first time round even though only in for the night but this time, although I was dreading it - I actually really enjoyed it and was sad to go!
I had no pain, expcet a stabbing pain in my side - intermittently. when it was bad - it was bad but it didnt last long and apart from that, which went from v bad to bad to annoying in about 10 days, I was pain free.
The pain in my side was nothing compare to the pains etc of labour.
Now 5 months on, I definalty feel more intact and normal than I did after my VB four years after it!!!!

atrcts Mon 18-Mar-13 07:45:35

Am in a similar position to you, (rectal) damage after forceps and episiotomy didn't heal properly so needed cauterisation 8 weeks after birth etc.

This time round I have asked for CS because it had taken me 2 years to recover and it would be a no no-brainer to choose that again over a 6 (ish) week surgical recovery.

I kind of know what to expect with aches and pains when turning over in bed and trying to sit up, having trapped wind post op etc, as I had my appendix out not that long ago, and while I recognise a CS is a deeper muscular cut, I still have had a taster of abdominal surgery recovery so it won't be a massive shock to me.

The whole idea of a surgical recovery over 2 years pain and pelvic floor disruption is something I welcome! wink

Artichook Mon 18-Mar-13 08:43:37

Thanks for all the replies which are swaying me toward the c-section. I was lucky in the although my tearing was extensive it was 2nd degree only. Still hugely painful though. The re-tear second time round was stitched up by an angle of an obstetrician who saw all the damage for my first labour and did some repair work while she was there. So second time it was a lot better and that's what makes me wonder whether I should give "natural" birth another try, but there are no guarantees it won't be difficult again and that is so scary.

Another complication is that so far the hospital have brushed away my concerns and my asking about a c-section. All they have offered is early induction to try to avoid another 10lber. The last thing I want is another induction. So much for maternal choice.

k4mi Mon 18-Mar-13 10:59:45

Hi Artichook,

I too am having similar thoughts following the recovery from DD1. I had a v long labour (back to back) ended up on the sunroom drip with epidural and and a 52 hr labour. By the pushing stage I was exhausted (but could feel again as Epidural work off) but I was so exhausted it took ages. My daughter was also in an odd position, quite a big head (90th centile) and v short cord which can make their entrance hard. I ended up with a 2/3rd degree tear. Recovery took 10 days to stop feeling like I'd been run over and 3 months to 'heal' but to be honest I still feel there's some sort of scratch there at times. Also I have lost some feeling in that region which is upsetting altho pelvic floor seems fine.

Based on this I'm considering a c-sec for my next pregnancy (hopefully later this yr) because altho I'd like to give natural birth a second chance is much much rather be able to enjoy sex and go to the toilet without any issues for the rest of my life. Don't get me wrong I know that c sec isn't easy however I have three friends who had an elective one and tell me recovery and birth was all as expected and seemed a lot easier emotionally than what i went through. Other friends who have had emergency c sections have had a tougher recovery however so I realise it's not a simple decision but you have to go with whatever makes you feel most relaxed.

Also by law you are now allowed to request a c sec. Go back to your hospital or midwife and ask to speak to a consultant. If you explain your previous births and say you have both emotional and physical concerns about going through a natural birth again I think they have to offer to at least listen to you. Do not let them fob you off. I realise all hospitals are different but I felt a lot of pressure from mine during pregnancy for induction which I refused but they made it difficult which I know is hard to deal with when pregnant but stick to your guns if it's what you want. Good luck.

rainrainandmorerain Mon 18-Mar-13 23:50:42

atrcts, as you mentioned it, I found my planned cs a lot easier than having my appendix out. Nothing was wrong with my appendectomy, I think it was just that after 2 days of acute appendicitis, no food and little water, and the exhaustion that comes with being in pain for that long, I found recovery took a while.

Whereas my planned cs was in good health, after a fair night's sleep etc - recovery was much better and faster than I expected. I think an emergency appendectomy has more in common with an emcs, iyswim.

mumnosbest Tue 19-Mar-13 00:06:14

i've had 3 cs. the 1st was after a very long and painful labour so was a relief and although painful recovery only took 3-4 wks. the other 2 were completely different though. apart from the pain after you really are limited in what you can do. hard enough with a newborn but more so if you have older dcs. i couldn't roll over or sit unaided for a couple of days. walking and lifting baby was a killer. you really do need peole around you to help and remember you wont be able to drive for 6 weeks.

i found my 3rd cs very painful and as my tummy was 'curvey' the wound didn't heal well and kept getting infected. I finally felt recovered at 8 months!

mumnosbest Tue 19-Mar-13 00:07:45

sorry that's all very negative. it's just all still fresh and i wish i'd had the option to have a vb.

rainrainandmorerain Tue 19-Mar-13 07:56:15

mumnosbest, sorry you had such a miserable time(s) with your cs's.

I just want to correct the oft repeated myth of 'you can't drive for 6 weeks'. Not true. You should only drive when you are recovered and ready, obvs! and some women prefer to check with their gp - but as I am being booked in for my 2nd cs, the written advice from the hospital is 'drive when you feel able to, and when you are confident you can do an emergency stop.' It tells people to check with their insurer, but says there is no reason to wait until 6 weeks unless you want to.

This is Uk btw.

SoupDreggon Tue 19-Mar-13 08:03:37


Although my story is
DS1 - 10lb 1oz, third degree tear, ventouse, 23 hours labour
DS2 - 8lb 4oz, lesser tear +episiotomy, 20 hours labour
DD - 8lb 11oz, home waterbirth, tear, 9. hours labour.

So it can be positive! I've healed well each time and had very little pain from the tears/repairs afterwards. I was terrified by the idea of a CS and was a single parent for DD though which obviously coloured my personal choice.

ImNotCute Tue 19-Mar-13 08:12:12

I had an elcs 2nd time after bad third degree tear 1st time and have never regretted it. I had quite a bit of pain first few days after the cs but then recovered quickly. I made sure we had lots of family help planned for first couple of weeks after cs.

I found the midwives I spoke to at routine appts brushed off my concerns, but once I got an appt with the obstetrician specifically to discuss birth options it was very different and they helped me make the right decision after explaining risks and benefits of both. Good luck with whatever you decide.

emalushka Tue 19-Mar-13 08:14:12

Have a c section. If it was me, this is what I would do. Currently 38 weeks and absolutely dreading and fearful of giving birth again (3rd time). I would love to have a c section.

atrcts Sun 31-Mar-13 02:54:17

Thanks rainrainandmorerain for telling me about your appendicectomy recovery compared to your CS experience - gives more hope that it really WILL be manageable!

scottishmummy Sun 31-Mar-13 03:13:12

I wouldn't ask online strangers,I'd book discussion with mw.your queries v specific
You'll get range of opion here all subjective,none necessarily right for you
Read up,but also book mw appt.this isn't one for the mn jury I'm afraid

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