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been told have to have a c-section. Any tips?

(32 Posts)
MET128 Sat 21-Sep-13 21:36:53

Hi all,

I have been told that I have to have a c-section. I am REALLY not looking forward to it, the idea of being cut open scares me rigid! hmm

I wondered if anyone might have any tips for going into hospital/during op/ afterop & recovery?


Nevercan Sat 21-Sep-13 21:43:13

Buy big knickers and bit baggy trousers so nothing sits or digs in just above your pubic hair (where the cut will be). Make sure everything you need when you are back home like changing mat etc. is all close at hand - I found stairs difficult for the first few days. Apart from that accept plenty of help and just take things slowly.

polosareverynice Sat 21-Sep-13 21:51:47

I had a emcs so wasn't prepared at all for surgery, but the best tip for afterwards is to do nothing beyond holding your baby being careful when lifting them out of a crib/cot ( if someone is avaliable to help great) dont put too much pressure on yourself to get moving its fine to take things slowly. have your cupboard stocked with easy to prepare meals or things you can scoff one handed and get a thermos cup to keep cups of tea hot ( mine always went cold). use bio oil or similar before surgery as this helps minimise scarring and arnica from health food shops will help with bruising.

peachypips Sat 21-Sep-13 21:57:44

I had an emcs too. I just wanted to say that for me it wasn't a problem. I had no pain, healed quickly and well and you can't see my scar. I was up and about in a few hours and it was all absolutely fine!

BushCricket Sat 21-Sep-13 22:01:12

It is scary of course but absolutely fine. Both of mine seemed to be over very quickly - on a par with dental treatment in terms of discomfort IMO.
If I was going to have another tomorrow I would not be unduly worried about it in advance. It is a very routine operation.
Maybe some hypnotherapy beforehand if really anxious. Take the painkillers afterwards for several days at least if not a week.

ZingWantsCake Sat 21-Sep-13 22:08:15

you can ask for general anaesthetic, but you might regret "missing" the birth.

I had ELSC with DS4. had no choice as he was footling breech.

we could take our choice of CD to listen to which was lovely.
it was unnerving, but it had to be done. it was fine.

good luck

nearlymumofone Sat 21-Sep-13 22:22:38

don't be scared. I had natural birth with ds1 and c section with ds2. my recovery after the c section was much quicker. I was up and about that day and walking much easier after. the birth was a bit surreal but I'd do it again if there was a next time for me. Good luck

MotherOfNations Sat 21-Sep-13 22:39:58

I'm having my 5th c-section in 13 days. There really is nothing to be scared of.
Though there is no pain during a c-section you will feel a sensation very much like someone doing a pile of washing up in your stomach.
I've always been up and showered by evening visiting. If you feel ready to get up and shower ask a nurse to remove your catheter. Don't wait for then to offer. They won't.
Take pain relief when it's offered even if you think you don't need it. Trapped wind which manifests as a pain in your shoulder can be a real problem after cs. I've heard that peppermint capsules are great for this though I haven't tried them myself. Also be aware of the dreaded morphine itch. I asked to be take off the morphine drip after a couple of hours it got so bad.

TravailsInHyperreality Sat 21-Sep-13 22:45:51

CS are brilliant - your fanjo stays 100% intact!

Take it easy and all, but seriously, the recovery can be really speedy. And peanut butter takes off the sticky goo left by the stitches bandages. wink

bymoonlight Sat 21-Sep-13 22:49:57

Rest afterwards. Do as little as possible. Doing too much will only make the recovery longer.

I had an EMCS and will be having an ELC this time around.

I agree with everything polo has to say.

ShowOfHands Sat 21-Sep-13 23:12:48

A cs is nothing to worry about. Really, it's not scary. More than anything it's just weird. You'll have brilliant staff around you who do this many times a day. Their priorities are you and your baby and keeping you safe and healthy. A cs is not the poor cousin of a vaginal birth. You have choices within what's happening and it can be as positive and life-affirming as a vaginal delivery. You can choose your music, you can have the screens lowered at the point of delivery, you can have skin to skin straightaway. My DH even watched my second cs from beginning to end. It was a quiet, calm and very positive experience.

Everything will be explained to you first, you'll meet the surgeon and the anaesthetist well beforehand and they'll let you ask any questions but a quick run through...

Like I said, it's more weird than anything else. You'll be trussed up in support stockings, cannula in place and then you'll have the spinal put in. You sit on the side of the bed, hunched over a pillow, sort of pushing out your lower back. They'll give you some local anaesthetic which is like little bee stings and then they'll do the spinal. You can feel some pushing and pressure and the actual spinal taking effect feels like somebody pouring water down your legs. You'll then have time to lie back on the bed before the numbness sets in and you won't be able to move from about your chest down. You can still move your arms though, but they'll tuck them in under a sheet to keep you still and warm. Your anaesthetist from this point stays above your head, will talk throughout and will generally, ime, be lovely.

You'll be wheeled through to theatre where they'll check you're totally numb and do a little bit of prep. They will talk to you and tell you what happens next and then they'll start. They'll put in a catheter too but you won't feel that. There is no pain whatsoever but you can feel what is happening during the actual removal of the baby. Somebody once told me it feels like you're a handbag and somebody is rummaging in you for some keys. This is SO true. You do feel pressure and pushing, right inside you and up into your chest. From incision to the baby being out takes a couple of minutes. Really, it's very quick indeed and soon that baby is appearing over the top of the screen. You'll be so preoccupied with the new baby, you can have cuddles and skin to skin, you won't really be aware of the rest of it. It takes about half an hour to finish stitching all the layers but it whizzes by. You might feel odd, intermittent pressure on your legs. They put these self inflating boots on them and they encourage blood flow and circulation. It just feels like somebody squeezing your lower legs a bit. Apart from that, you'll feel v little during the stitch up.

Then you'll be wheeled into recovery and you will be looked after by a member of recovery staff but your anaesthetist will stay for a while too, just to check you're okay. You'll have the baby tucked in with you at this point and you can bfeed if you want. They'll give you some water too. You'll have a drip up rehydrating you (you'll have been nil by mouth for a while) but that first drink is lovely. You'll find too that you can move around by now. You can wriggle your feet and bend your knees and normal sensation returns really, really quickly. No pain though. They usually give you some morphine into your cannula and a suppository once you're stitched so you're painfree once feeling returns. Of course, if you have any discomfort, ask and they'll sort you out. I found I was quite chilly in recovery and also the spinal/morphine can make you a bit shaky. Plus all the adrenalin is rushing through you. Don't be scared if you feel shaky at all. It will pass and the anaesthetist can give you something to stabilise your blood pressure then too. You may be fine but it's worth knowing that you can feel a bit wobbly.

Once they're satisfied you're okay, they'll wheel you back to the ward. All this time your baby won't have left your side and it whizzes by so, so quickly.

They will encourage you to get up fairly quickly. Few hours post op if you can. I had ds at 3.30 and was up and sitting in a chair for dinner. It is best to get up and move around a bit as soon as you feel able.

What else?

You might have to self inject blood thinners for 7 days as a precaution. They're rolling this out in all hospitals but it isn't everywhere yet. It's fine, they'll show you how.

If you need pain meds (I never did), take them on time and don't let yourself get uncomfortable first. They'll probably give them to you and you can administer them yourself instead of having to call for them.

If you get pain in your shoulder, like you've slept oddly, it's trapped air from the op. It's common and your bowel will be a tad sluggish at first so you won't pass wind normally on day one. Peppermint capsules in water will remove the discomfort SO quickly. Just ask the staff.

They will monitor urine output before you can be discharged. You'll have to do your first 3 wees post catheter removal in a jug and record the amounts (you don't have to show anybody).

Catheter was in for about 6hrs post op for me both times. Soon as you can get up and use the loo, they take it out. Totally painless.

The earliest they tend to discharge is day 2, with day 1 being the day of the op but most places keep you in 2 nights as routine.

When you stand up at first, it'll feel like you're going to tear. It's just an odd sensation, not painful. Do stand up straight though and try not to hunch and shuffle. The feeling will pass.

Wear big cotton knickers which don't sit on your knicker line and sometimes a sanitary towel in your knickers against the wound can help you feel more comfortable.

Type of stitches depend on the surgeons preference. I had one long stitch with a bead at each end, removed at home on day 5 by the midwife. Again, this just feels weird.

Careful coughing and sneezing. They physio will show you how to brace yourself so you don't strain your incision. Physio will come and see you the day after the op to talk about recovery.

You will be advised to not do any exercise until 6 weeks and then only v gentle stuff. Proper cardio stuff will have to wait until 12 weeks. When you sit up too, use your arms, not your stomach muscles. Roll onto your side and push up on your arms and swing your legs off the bed. It just avoids you straining the muscles too soon.

Lots of fruit afterwards. Bowels will be a bit sluggish at first, so encourage everything to be soft and mobile as much as possible. Don't be afraid to poo though!

Nothing in the bath at first. No bubble bath. Bit of tea tree or salt fine though. Let your wound air dry or v gently pat.

I think I'll shut up now. If I think of anything else, I'll post again.

It's really not frightening at all.

RobotHamster Sat 21-Sep-13 23:18:42

SoH - fantastic post smile

microserf Sat 21-Sep-13 23:21:46

SoH - amazing post!

sonlypuppyfat Sat 21-Sep-13 23:26:32

I've not much different to add you've had some really good replys. I had a general and I don't feel I missed out on anything I had no problem bonding he was a little drowsy and I had a little trouble getting him to latch on. And a good idea is make sure you have plenty of food in!

cloutiedumpling Sat 21-Sep-13 23:39:37

I've had 3 c sections. My top tip is to check out the light fittings when you go into theatre. When I had my first c section I looked up halfway through the operation and could see my insides reflected in the shiny lightfitting above me. They'd changed the light fittings by the time I had DCs 2 and 3.

I'd forgotten about the morphine itch. I didn't have it too bad with two of the DCs but scratched myself so badly after one of them that I looked as though I'd been attacked by something.

I asked DH to talk to me constantly until the DCs were born. I wanted him to distract me from what was happening.

Choose a good CD.

If you need to sneeze, cough or even laugh for a few days after birth it may help to hug a pillow into your scar.

All 3 sections were very positive experiences. Good luck.

ShowOfHands Sun 22-Sep-13 12:38:14

Oh yes the morphine itch. I'd never have morphine again. I wanted to claw off my face to get to the itch. They can give you something to stop it if it's really bad but it does disappear quickly as long as you've stopped the morphine.

The other thing I've remembered is, you have quite a lot of water to get rid of after pregnancy, more so apparently after a cs. You can feel v puffed up and swollen at first. What then tends to happen is that you get night sweats (and day sweats, but the night ones are humdingers) to get rid of the extra fluid. They tend to keep the postnatal ward very, very hot indeed too because of all the babies. Even in the dead of winter it was hotter than hell in there. I found it quite easy to dehydrate. They'll give you a jug of iced water, keep it close to you and drink regularly. Take in cordial/squash if you aren't good at drinking enough plain water. I took in a water spray to cool me down, wipes to refresh and plenty of fresh nighties and pyjama bottoms because I kept ending up drenched.

HotSoupDumpling Sun 22-Sep-13 19:39:51

Thank you Soh!

MadeOfStarDust Sun 22-Sep-13 19:46:42

also arrange everything at home so you do not have to reach up to get it.... putting the baby wipes on the shelf in the bathroom made for an interesting first day alone....

BikeRunSki Sun 22-Sep-13 19:53:28

Practical things-
Shower gel on a hook
Water bottle with a sports cap, so you cam drink lying down.
Nothing " under bump" because "under bump" = " on the scar". I lived in big knickers and yoga pants with a big roll over waist band.
Baby sling which put the weight on your back, not abs.

Daisy299 Sun 22-Sep-13 20:17:21

I had an Emcs last week after a failed induction. I've had a hard week with the pain but apparently my experience is worse because I was in labour for two days beforehand.

My top tip would be to ask for help and don't be shy. I was a bit scared to use my buzzer as the midwives were a bit sharp with other patients but I should have been more demanding.

Incidentally, the op itself was fine. After the induction it was a relief. The staff do these ops hundreds of times every month and will put you at ease. Ask the midwife to snap a few pics when they pass the baby to you!

DontmindifIdo Sun 22-Sep-13 20:29:06

Very big full knickers, in at least 2 sizes bigger than your before size.

If you feel a sneeze coming on post c-section, lace your fingers and press on your stomach, it's amazing what you need your core muscles for...

You are unlikely to be able to have skin to skin straight away normally, but you can get your birthing partner to hold your new DC's cheek to your cheek while you're stitched back up - they don't normally let you hold the baby until that's done.

ShowOfHands Sun 22-Sep-13 20:52:54

I was allowed the baby on my chest both times while being stitched.

And I agree about the op being easy compared to labour. I was in labour for 2 days and 3 days respectively. The emcs was a breeze both times in comparison.

Good tip about photos. The anaesthetist took loads for us.

Congratulations Daisy. grin

DIYandEatCake Sun 22-Sep-13 21:00:53

You've had some brilliant replies about how it all works so I won't duplicate. Just to add a few thought on your feelings. I felt the same as you (had never been in hospital or even had a filling at the dentist before so had no idea what to expect), and was completely terrified. Of course you're scared, it is something that takes loads of courage, to walk into an operating theatre wide awake to have a baby cut out of you - and it can also be a big disappointment in not getting the birth you imagined and prepared for. Try to see it that you're being brave and putting your baby's health first and don't let anyone saying 'it's a walk in the park' or 'lucky you getting the easy way out' make you feel bad for feeling as you do.
I had an elcs, it was ok (far better than expected, once it was under way I just felt relieved as had been so stressed), but I am really hoping for a vbac this time round. If I have to have another cs, I'm really going to try to be calmer this time as my fear did overshadow dd's birth somewhat (after she was born all was fine though). All the best, keep strong and it'll be over soon.

DontmindifIdo Sun 22-Sep-13 22:12:30

SofH- I was told the cheek to cheek thing as it seems at our hospital they don't allow you to have the baby on you, I did ask and was told no, so I'd it's your hospital policy, it's worth having another option of some physical contact. It really isn't a long time though before they do hand your gorgeous baby over for a proper snuggle.

By day 10 post section I felt ok, still a little stiff and sore, but able to function. Also op as its planned, might be worth giving your car insurance a ring before hand, some want a letter from your gp or midwife to say you are for again to drive, some take your word for it, it's worth checking in advance.

Hooya Mon 23-Sep-13 08:14:31

I had an elective C-section 2 weeks ago and it was brilliant.


- Don't focus on how weird the anaesthetic feels, focus on your breathing and your excitement at meeting your baby
- Do focus on the fact that you're leaving it to the experts and all you need to do is relax and enjoy your baby when he or she arrives
- Ask your partner to give whatever reassuring chat will help you - mine watched the op on a screen so he could keep me updated but spared me the most gory details
- Avoid seeing anything if you don't want to - focus on your partner's face rather than staring up at the ceiling to avoid any reflections in the lighting
- Don't stress about the difference between CS and natural labour - see it as the experience which brings you your baby!
- Be prepared that the first walk after the op may be very difficult but very quickly gets easier and easier
- Don't be shocked by how fast you may recover - I feel almost normal now after 2 weeks, and never had any issues lifting my DS or feeding him
- Don't be afraid of the following things which you may think will be scary but aren't necessarily (in my experience anyway, and I am a total wuss): having your catheter out, being cut open, the wound / scar site, going to the toilet for the first time, lifting your baby. All of these have been fine for me even though I was so worried about them!

I can honestly say my experience was 100% positive - hope yours is too!

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