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Struggling to cope with a crash section

(35 Posts)
SneezySnatcher Mon 15-Apr-13 20:48:40

Hello. I am writing this at the suggestion of other posters. Just looking for advice/reassurance I suppose.

My waters broke at 9am on Friday 12th April (40+6)I was given a time for induction the next day and went home. Labour started that evening and by 1am I was getting strong contractions every 3 minutes. The hospital is twenty five minutes away and, as my first labour had progressed well, I decided to head in. When I got there the MW checked me and said I wasn't in labour or dilated at all (I'd been checked at an appointment that week and was told I was 3cm). I was very disappointed but went home, despite the pain.

When I got home the pains were constant and agonising but because I 'wasn't in labour' I stayed home. I called the MW who said to try and stay home until my induction appointment at 10am (eight hours away). Eventually, after truly wanting to die, I went in at 8am to be examined and told I was at 5cm. Luckily there was a shift change and I got a different MW who gave me G&A and let me in the pool. This really helped deal with the pain.

Everything was going brilliantly until around 10.20 when my MW told me to get out of the pool immediately as there was a lot of blood. A quick examination showed a placental abruption and from there it was total chaos. I had several people working on me at once putting in canulas, giving me anti-emetics, pulling off my wet clothes.

I was convinced DS and I were going to die so
I said goodbye to my DH and was taken to theatre and put to sleep.

When I woke up I was told DS was fine but in NICU as he didn't breathe for 3 minutes. I was given a blood transfusion as I'd lost 1.5litres of blood. Luckily we are both fine now but I feel completely traumatised. It was only reading a thread today I realised I had a wound which would need caring for blush

I keep going over things in my head:
What if I hadn't gone in until ten as the first MW suggested? I'd not have even been seen for a while but my section happened at 10.25.

Were the constant contractions and pain a warning that things weren't right (I managed well with DD's birth so I knew what to expect). Should I have stood my ground rather than go home?

The consultant said its very rare to have an abruption after a straightforward first birth and with no complications - so why did it happen?

I was told another minute and we both could have died - I'd have left DD with no mummy.

I was also completely unprepared for a section so I feel really clueless about aftercare etc. nobody has checked my wound or told me what to do/not to do.

I'm not really sure what I'm asking but I needed to get it down. I am so impressed with the doctors and MWs who saved us but I'm struggling to cope.

I'm also feeling very guilty about DD (just 3) who is being passed around relatives while I'm in the hospital (this is night 3) and DH is helping me out. I'd really hoped for as relaxed a transition as possible.

SneezySnatcher Mon 15-Apr-13 20:52:28

Just wanted to add some positives! DS is gorgeous. BFing like a pro and sleeping well.

DD is gorgeous and adores him already - nobody else exists when he is in the room.

DH is a rock.

I am very lucky!

Exhaustipated Mon 15-Apr-13 21:00:59

I haven't had any experience of placental abruption but I really didn't want to read and run.

Firstly, congratulations on your new DS smile

I just wanted to say that sounds like an incredibly stressful thing to have happened - well done you for getting to hospital when you did. You have both come through it which is the best possible outcome but it will take time to process. Give yourself time, and just know that your reaction to this is completely understandable. You may want to seek out counselling/birth review service in the future, but for now I would just try to be in the moment with your baby and DD, talk to DH, cry if you need to.

Try not to worry about your DD - you will be home soon, and she will be fine.

I had a home birth planned with DD (2nd DC) but ended up with an ELCS for breech. It wasn't anything like what you've experienced, but I know having a difficult second birth/recovery is tough, as you've got two children to care for. Seek out and accept any and all offers of help.

Take care, be gentle and kind with yourself. You've been through so much, and done so well.

Exhaustipated Mon 15-Apr-13 21:04:03

Sorry, just re-read that and 'incredibly stressful' sounds like a silly understatement. Just wanted to sympathise and send you lots of flowers

AJBthesecond Mon 15-Apr-13 21:15:35

Congratulations on the birth of your son! But I am sorry to hear his exit was far from ideal.

Debriefing after this sort of experience is a really good idea but wait a little while. Allow yourself a bit of time and distance and relish your new bigger family. Wait a few weeks but when you feel ready contact the hospital and ask them to get your notes and explain the whys and wherefores and answer all your questions.

And in the meantime rest as much as possible (with a new baby??!) and accept any offers of help with housework, childcare, cooking, shoulders to cry on etc. As for wound care just keep it clean and dry, and wear massive pants so the elastic doesn't rub. And ask someone to check it before you go home.

Jellykitten1 Mon 15-Apr-13 21:19:56

Firstly, congratulations on your DS and well done with the BF too. You sound like a fantastic mummy.

There's so much to your post.

Your birth experience would leave anyone shaken. To be told you are a minute from death sad - that is quite a shocking piece of information to process. I'm sure that when you are ready, you can arrange a meeting with the MW to discuss your labour and birth in detail, so you have chance to ask these questions.

The section is also a shock, particularly a crash/EMCS as the mental preparation isn't in place the same as an ELCS. Your MW or consultant can advise on the proper care plan, but personally, I was advised to keep the wound clean and dry (I used a hairdryer on low heat gently to the area after showering), swept a cotton wool ball dipped in weak teatree & water solution to keep the wound sanitised, wore very big pants! and avoided any kind of clothing that rubbed or pressed on the scar. It kind of takes care of itself, but if it doesn't seem to be healing nicely, or you are at all worried about it, get it checked out by a doctor. It will look not so pretty for a good while but all of a sudden at some point not so far in the future, you will realise that you can hardly see it/have hardly thought about it for aaaages smile

Your DD will be having a whale of a time with relatives & Daddy and won't remember these few days when you weren't here smile she will be bowled over when you come home with DS too. Please don't feel guilty, you have nothing to feel guilty about. When you are stuck in hospital everything seems magnified because it's not your usual environment, you are more vulnerable and more prone to worrying.

You are doing marvellously well. The main thing is that you are ok, DH is ok, DD is ok, DS is ok. You are all fine. Everything else can and will sort itself out. Hope you feel better soon x

DreamingofFour Mon 15-Apr-13 21:20:57

Congratulations on the new baby, and commiserations on what sounds like a total nightmare. The first days are an emotional rollercoaster for anyone - and no wonder they are after all you have been through. Having an emergency CS is really really disappointing when you have previously had a vag delivery - my Emergency CS was with fourth baby so completely unexpected. I was devastated at the time (it came after 1.5 hrs of second stage) but must say that I have got over the disappointment with time ( it took about 6 mths). I, too, kept going over the story in my head, just the thought that in different circumstances we both might have died (I had a PPH) was really upsetting (and still is). So I think it is completely normal to not have accepted the whole thing yet- you have years to adjust to the fact you had to have a difficult CS, so don't pressurise yourself to adapt to it all now.
One thing I also found was that you can't rely on your previous experience because having a caesarian wound instead of a seriously sore vagina is unknown territory. Meant that I felt like a 'newbie'. here is what I found about the scar: I kept taking pain killers for a few days and treating it carefully (pressing a pillow onto it when I sat up etc) for a few weeks. My husband actually looked after me much better than after the other deliveries (I think because it was 'surgery'). He did all lifting, all driving (for about four weeks) and I really did lie down and sit back. Meant my recovery wasn't bad. Getting up from lying down the most difficult. In the early days you can pull on your pyjama legs to sit up in bed(if you see what I mean), or turn on your side first. But quite soon the wound got less painful. Don't pick up the 3 year old - you can still give then attention but it must be different sort of attention.

having baby 2 is always really difficult for the relationship with the older child, one has incredible guilt, but just tell yourself that a sibling is the best gift you could give them and it will be a great joy to them both in the long term.

Also in the longer term I think you would find it helpful to de-brief with a midwife and your notes (but allow yourself a few months before you do this). I am guessing that nothing you did made any difference, but I do understand how scary those 'what if's' are. especially when you are awake at 4am and start thinking dark thoughts.

Hope this helps, good luck!

LucyLight Mon 15-Apr-13 21:27:46

Hi, Congratulations on both your lovely children. It sounds like you are all really resillient and your 3 year old is probably loving the attention she is getting with the relatives. It probably doesn't feel like being passed around at all to her - although it will be to you as you wanted her with her.

I am going to offer 2 bits of advice and of course it is totally up to you if you decide to take them. (Sorry it is a bit of a long ramble)

I agree with Exhaustedipated that it would be useful to get some help at some point to work this through. (I offer this as someone who works in this field and I would suggest something that could help you to work it through and resolve , rather than keep going through the story and reliving it). I also agree that at the moment just take the time to enjoy the new baby and your DD and your new family. I alway felt like the four of us made a family .... You will know when and if you will want to do this.

Also, it is worth raising this with the NHS Trust as an issue, when you feel ready. (I used to also work in clinical risk in the NHS - an eclectic career I know). It may be that you feel comfortable to raise it with the team or if not ask to speak to the Director of Nursing or such like. They should be reviewing it anyway and if not you can prompt them to think about it. I am guessing that you really want to understand what happened, ensure that everything possible was done/answer any questions that remain unresolved for you & ensure that whatever learning needs to take place does.

Asked to be involved so they can listen to it from your perspective. If you can find a way to do this in a way that it open and not angry, most clinicians would value your view and welcome the opportunity to learn from your experience and improve it for others. I don't intend to be 'fluffy' - this could turn this into a more positive experience for you and be potential helpful in the future. You also don't have to do this right now and can do it when you are ready.

I hope this is helpful and congratulations once again and no one would think that you didn't think you were lucky. One of each is fab - the only downside is the the inability to pass down clothes wink - althought my DS does like having his nails painted by his elder sister!

SneezySnatcher Mon 15-Apr-13 21:38:44

I have been nothing but impressed by the care I receiver both during and after the section. From the moment my MW was concerned about the delivery everything and anything was done to save us. The whole staff worked together and knew exactly what to do. I have every intention of writing to everyone I can think of to ensure they are recognised.

I wouldn't say I am angry about being sent home. I do think, however, that the first MW could have listened to me when I said the pains didn't feel right (especially as a second-timer). I think strong, unceasing contractions in early labour can indicate abruption. Luckily I eventually plucked up the courage to go in before I was 'allowed'. Perhaps someone with a first labour may have just thought it was 'supposed' to feel that way. I definitely think a debrief in the future would be a good idea.

LucyLight Mon 15-Apr-13 21:58:04

Sorry if I mistook what you said. I am glad you had great care and it would be great if you spoke to them about what was brilliant and what wasn't. They would appreciate the recognition.

Hope all goes well and is as straightforward as possible from now on!

Mummybookworm Mon 15-Apr-13 22:07:20

Hi Sneezy. Congrats on the arrival of your DS. I used to work in the local maternity unit and there was a "birth afterthoughts" service. I don't know if your local hospital offers this, but it would be worth asking. I hope you have a pain free and speedy recovery.

LilyAmaryllis Mon 15-Apr-13 22:16:20

Congratulations and well done for getting through that drama. You've done brilliantly. Top marks to the medical team in the emergency too, from the sounds of it. I'm not surprised it all keeps running through your mind.

SneezySnatcher Mon 15-Apr-13 22:36:11

Sorry, Lucy! That wasn't really to you, more that your post prompted me to think about it! DH and I already wanted to do something to show the team how much we appreciate what they did. Mentioning any negatives would come later as a separate issue. I'm sure the first MW did everything right, it's just I'm looking back at it wondering if these were early warning signs. Hindsight is always 20/20!

lollipoppi Tue 16-Apr-13 12:55:49

Hello sneezy.
I had a similar experience (12 weeks ago)
2nd baby and went into maternity when I felt the pains were really strong, to be told I was 2cm!!

Being my 2nd baby (the first was born within 4hours so no time for pain relief) I knew my pain threshold and flat out refused to believe them that I was only 2cm!
I was told to go home (I didn't) I knew something was wrong, I begged them to let me stay and examine me again, they did and said I was 2cm!
The pain was like something I have never experienced before, not like labour, and not something I wish to experience again!!

I was crying/screaming in agony and begged them to listen to me, please please believe me something is wrong. Eventually they put the heart rate monitor on and baby's heartbeat was 54bpm sad

From then, all hell broke loose, they broke my waters which was just thick with bright red blood rushed me for an emergency c-section, but when I got into theatre I had gone from 2-10cm (in about 90 secs) and was pushing, dd was born after just a few pushes in theatre.

DD is 12 weeks now and absolutly fine, but it is something I think about! Several times over, all the questions going round in my head, why did it happen, why would nobody listen to me!
Sorry I've no advise, but just wanted you to know your not alone

Congrats on your baby grin

SneezySnatcher Tue 16-Apr-13 13:21:30

lollipoppi so it does seem that a great deal of pain in early/latent labour can be a sign of problems. I understand it must be hard for MWs to evaluate and obviously they can't keep every woman who claims to be in pain, but it's frightening what would have happened to us if we hasn't stood our ground.

I'm not pleased its happened to you, but glad I'm not the only one!

3littlewomen Tue 16-Apr-13 13:36:41

Hi sneezy and congrats on the addition to your family.

Whilst i had a slightly different reason (cord prolapse) I too endured a crash section with GA 6 years ago during the birth of my DD. We were so lucky to have a live baby at the end of it, and thanks to the wonderful staff we have watched our mad youngest DD grow into a spirited schoolgirl.

It took me a longtime to get over the "what-ifs", years I would say. My consultant gave me the opportunity to talk to him and ask any questions - but ultimately I always tried to focus on how lucky we were.

I think real closure on the stress came a few weeks ago when we had an appointment with him for the baby i am now pregnant with. smile DD walked in, gave him a big hug and thanked her for saving her life and told him how much she loves her life! He was chuffed and very proud, and very touched by her hug.

You sound like you have lovely support around you, my DH got very stressed and shocked by what happened to me and perhaps he would have benefited from a de-briefing also. He is very keen for me to have an elcs this time round as he cannot face the thought of us all going through that again.

Try to put worrying aside, and deal with any complaints totally separate to feeding back your gratitude. Best of luck with everything, 3LW

lollipoppi Tue 16-Apr-13 16:29:22

Sneezy I would 100% say that a lot of pain in early labour is a sign of placental abruption.
I suppose if it was my 1st baby I wouldn't know any different and begged for an epidural grin but as my 2nd I knew it was all wrong.
The only way I could describe the pain is to say its like a constant contraction at 10cm!!

Looking back, there are a lot of factors that could have been picked up on .... 1 wk before the birth my MW picked up on a deceleration in the Hb, I was sent for monitoring at the hosp, which also showed low heart rate but nothing was done about it, if I would have had scan it would have been noticed straight away.
I also complained of a pain in my right hand side 2 days prior to labour, they took a urine sample but came back clear, I've since learnt this is also a sign, I also had a small bleed but nothing was done.

It's upsetting to know there were lots of opportunities to pick up on the abruption and I wouldn't have had to go through that, but I just keep looking at my beautiful DD and all the upset and worries goes away.

It just makes me a little more grateful to be doing the 12am/3am/6am feeds wink

lollipoppi Tue 16-Apr-13 16:32:39

Ps, wishing you a speedy recovery from your c-section xx

Mama1980 Tue 16-Apr-13 16:37:57

Hi sneezy, congratulations again. So glad all is well now!
Just want to send a virtual hug really and thanks
I agree a birth de brief is a good idea mine helped me somewhat (as you know I was unconscious after for a while) so I would definitely ask for that in your position.
As a aside I was told that excessive pain in early labour, or even not in active labour can be sign of abruption. The drs asked me every two hours about pain levels for weeks before my abruption to pick up on any signs. If it would help you mention this and have them explain their rationale at the time/ why they felt all was fine when you felt it was 'different.' X

LucyLight Tue 16-Apr-13 16:55:32

Sneezysnatcher - no worries and glad all is getting better. I wrote after both mine and got letters of almost surprise that people wrote nice things. I agree that 20/20 vision is easy in hindsight and that's why they do reviews so they can learn. I have a view (some people call naive) that no one goes into health care to do a bad job - just sometimes with all the stresses and busyness of the day things don't always go right. Do hope all goes well from now on x

MyDarlingClementine Tue 16-Apr-13 22:39:51

Hi Sneezy,

only read your posts....first of all congratulations!

yoga pants/mother care -
large size knickers/asda

v shaped feeding pillow to rest baby on

one of these !!

take things really easy, no lifting or bending, no cooking, standing for long periods....

1944girl Tue 16-Apr-13 22:44:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyDarlingClementine Tue 16-Apr-13 22:46:25

syrup of figs for constipation

tiredandiwanttogotobed Wed 24-Apr-13 22:42:54

Hi Sneezy reading your story and I could be reading about myself. 6.5 wks ago I had an EmCS due to a placental abruption, ante-partum haemorrhage and fetal distress. The MW initially wanted to send me home, thankfully they didn't after I explained I lived an hour away from the hospital.

Pre CS the surgeon tried to rotate DD inside me as she'd gone back-to-back, this was really traumatic and agonisingly painful, so much so I was begging them to stop. I heard the emergency bleeps of all those present go off for me, next thing I know my bed was being pushed to theatres at top speed. DD was born 15 mins later. DD needed help to breathe for 4 mins, then spent 12hrs in NICU being tested for brain damage-fortunately she did not have this.

I had to have a blood transfusion due to 1-2litres blood loss. I too was really traumatised after this (despite working as a nurse in a critical care area), I confided in the MW that I could have died and the best piece of advice I got was "Yes, but you didn't. Don't dwell on that, dwell on your healthy DD" Quite blunt but it worked for me. I also wrote a thankyou letter to all the staff for their care.

My DS was passed from friend to child care and back, but he had a wail of a time so don't feel guilty. Hopefully someone has checked your wound by now, and you are recovering well.

Hope you feel better soon flowers

InvaderZim Wed 24-Apr-13 22:59:02

I too had a crash CS (cord prolapse) although mine was under far less stressful conditions than yours - I was being induced, had ARM, wasn't even properly in labour!

Actually when they said what was going to happen I felt very calm, like all the what-ifs were taken out of my hands.

Yeah, I know DD could have died, I still wonder why they broke my waters when she wasn't very engaged, but it try not to dwell on it. If we decide to have another I will definitely get a notes debriefing.

Take it easy! Having a crash c-section is hard on the body. I ended up having a chest infection too. sad

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