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Had an emergency caesarean, ventouse or forceps? Did you get enough information?

(49 Posts)
mummyhb Wed 19-Mar-14 15:24:55


I'm really interested to hear from any of you who ended up with an emergency caesarean, ventouse or forceps delivery during labour.

I had an elective caesarean with DS one, but had an emergency for DS two. I didn't know what was going on, but had to sign a piece of paper that I have no memory of. At least I'd been through it before so sort of knew what to expect.

Was thinking this might be quite traumatic if I hadn't already known a bit about it. I wonder if I could have been better prepared?

Did you feel you had enough information to prepare for what happened? If you were in labour and things happened quickly or you were in pain did you get too much information or could you understand what was going on?

Would be really interested to hear others experiences.

TheScience Wed 19-Mar-14 15:29:41

I was asked to sign a consent form for a c-section with DS1, but they tried forceps first and got him out that way. I think I probably did get enough information but tbh after 30 hours of labour and 2 hours of pushing I didn't really care that much at that point - all I was interested in was getting a spinal block! It wasn't particularly rushed though, the staff felt urgent but not panicked, and the doctor did explain what was happening.

littleballerina Wed 19-Mar-14 15:34:14

I had emcs, ventouse, forceps and eventually general anesthetic.

I was out of it for a few days so no idea what info I received.

littleballerina Wed 19-Mar-14 15:37:05

Oh and by my third although I signed the bit of paper I didn't really think about it (naive) and then I had one of the things they warn you about, 'slight problem' as they said when my bladder was ripped. I was aware but still hadn't thought it'd happen to me iyswim!

SpottyTeacakes Wed 19-Mar-14 15:40:02

I had forceps and didn't get any info. Just told they were going to use them and then they did.

SpottyTeacakes Wed 19-Mar-14 15:40:36

Oh failed ventouse first and again they just told me they were going to try it and did.

ThatBloodyWoman Wed 19-Mar-14 15:43:35

I had no idea of what was what with dd1 but it was an emergency so there was no time.I was straight in for a ga.

Nothing could have been done differently at the time.

BUT I found c sections were almost completely ignored in ante natal classes -and that was a missed opportunity.

mummyhb Wed 19-Mar-14 15:44:57

Do you think you should have got some info during pregnancy with your pack? Especially about the risks? I felt a bit annoyed they made me sign a form that I hadn't read (and clearly couldn't as I was in too much pain)!

TheScience Wed 19-Mar-14 15:50:12

Yes, I have no idea what was actually on the form and my "signature" must have just been a random squiggle.

DownstairsMixUp Wed 19-Mar-14 15:54:12

I had to be cut then a ventouse to get DS out. Didn't really have information, certainly don't remember signing anything, they just muttered something about needing to suck the baby out with a "hoover type device" I was off my face on g&a so by this point I didn't give a crap if they got him out with a dyson as I was in so much pain. After i read my notes and they said they had to due to maternal exhaustion and high blood pressure.

schoolclosed Wed 19-Mar-14 15:59:47

I had an emergency section with DD1 and I made a HUGE fuss about informed consent and reading the form, and making DH read the form before I would sign blush I was in horrible pain, but was determined not to be ridden roughshod over.

It was more about being scared and out of control than informed consent, in my case. I was going to consent to the c-section anyway - I knew enough to consent even before I read the form. What's the choice? You take the operation or you continue to labour fruitlessly until something bad happens, essentially. In between those two extremes there are other interventions - different positions, ventouse, forceps, etc. - but that's the bones of it.

I agree with ThatBloodyWoman - the information needs to come before labour. In an emergency situation, informed consent is a sideshow - it boils down to whether the doctors have the wherewithall to make good medical recommendations. (For an elective it's a real and important process.)

ThatBloodyWoman Wed 19-Mar-14 16:08:55

It was quite obvious that there was no time to read anything as my dd was in real danger.

I wasn't concerned about understanding the consent (although I seem to remember there was some verbal explanation of the risks en route).

But it was quite a shock when I came round as I had no idea of what to expect post-op, and this would be best understood beforehand rather than with a newborn at centre stage.

mummyhb Wed 19-Mar-14 18:11:44

I agree, it would have been better to have info before. I asked my midwife who said it should be covered in classes but don't think it was.

Midwife said that written information might scare mums and most don't need anything doing. Feel that's unfair on us who had an emergency delivery.

I had been through an elective caesarean so knew what to expect. Just struck me that they made me sign something. Would have preferred not to, and just had a proper conversation with the doctor, as the 'squiggle' was meaningless. Thankfully I felt in safe hands.

Jcb77 Wed 19-Mar-14 19:35:06

Very very tricky situation. The notion of trying to get 'informed' consent from a woman who is often drugged and in hideous pain is debatable at best. An elective is, as pps have said, a very different scenario. You just wouldn't try to take 'informed consent' from anyone in a similar situation (eg after major trauma and having had lots of gas and air and morphine and in extremis).
Many women have pretty clear plans about what they do and don't want before they go into labour, but when reality hits, things change. I definitely think more information should be available about every eventuality antenatally, but you can't get consent from someone for 'just in case', I imagine a lot of women would object to being asked and there's a fairly strong 'natural' brigade that don't seem to want the info being out out there routinely to start with.
It is also true that a lot of women are capable of making an informed decision during labour, but a hell of a lot aren't, at least by usual standards. There is also the case of being unable, or not having the time to sign - taking verbal consent.
As an HCP I find it a very difficult situation, but I'm not sure what the answer is. It's not as if you can wait for things to get better before going ahead, and tbh, birth plans that state 'I do or I do not want xyz' hold weight yes, but so does a woman screaming 'just do it, save my baby'.
The risks of obstetric surgery are most definitely there, but again, is not having the surgery a risk you'd want to take in the circumstances?
I have seen a couple (and it is only a couple) of women specifically say 'no, don't do that' and where consent is specifically and directly declined it has been followed, A discussion had and options (and consequences) presented before continuing with anything.
But in general, you can't take 'proper' informed consent in the majority of of cases and also the outdone of declining (which you have every right to do) is so dire it's very few women who actually do.
Any ideas of what to do very welcome!

FrumiousBandersnatch Wed 19-Mar-14 20:12:48

I gave birth at Kings in London and had a really positive experience. I was taken to theatre for forceps and emcs if necessary but thankfully baby moved down far enough for ventouse to be possible.

A consultant explained the plan clearly to me, then a more junior doctor talked me through the consent form before I signed. The midwife showed me the ventouse cup but I had seen one before and was familiar with the interventions from NCT classes. Once we were in theatre the anaesthetist administered a spinal block and then stayed at my shoulder to monitor me and explain everything that was happening.

It was, IMHO, a model of how calm, efficient, professional care can be used to manage what might otherwise be a stressful situation and despite it being very medicalised I ultimately had a very positive birth experience. I would have felt very frightened had I not had such good care and I'm really saddened by the experiences some posters have had.

Merefin Wed 19-Mar-14 20:26:04

Had a ventouse with DC2. Don't remember signing anything, but I did feel I was given a choice and could have said no, though I was being steered towards a yes because I was so tired and the baby was beginning to be distressed. I felt I should def say yes quickly and get on with it for both our sakes. I'm glad I did. It was pretty uncomfortable and the dr who came to do it was jolly brisk in his manner but it was probably necessary and meant I didn't need to go for an emcs.

I was a bit down about it afterwards but hey ho we survived and that's how I think of it now (many years later!)

DreamToSleep Wed 19-Mar-14 20:28:14

I had an emergency cesarean under a general anaesthetic. Although everything was very fast moving as I was extremely poorly, I had the dr/surgeon talk me through the form and explaining very kindly what they would do. I also had the anaesthetist come see me to explain why I couldn't be awake.
I felt slightly reassured at the calmness of everybody and although I knew I had no choice in the matter I felt like I knew what I was going in for.
When I said to the midwife visiting me after birth why weren't births like mine covered in prenatal care she said they are rare and would frighten mums to be..and that these sort of emergencies are for health professionals to worry about, not expectant mums. I understand this, and I understand my situation was extremely rare..I would say I was very well informed and grateful to the people looking after me that day.

ThatBloodyWoman Wed 19-Mar-14 21:15:49

I agree with mummy that it's not fair for those of us who proceed to emcs to not have any info on what to expect because it might scare other mums to be.

The whole process of birth is scary and unknown isn't it- particularly if you are suddenly facing major surgery knowing nothing about it!

Meglet Wed 19-Mar-14 21:21:57

I had a 12hr labour then an EMCS with DC1 around 10am.

I had loads of information on what would happen because they covered sections in detail in our NCT classes and I'd read lots of books during pregnancy.

I knew what would happen, who would be in theatre and roughly how it would go. They also answered my questions as we went along. I loved the theatre team, really chatty and friendly.

TBH there wasn't much I hadn't covered during pregnancy, pain relief / complications etc.

mummyhb Wed 19-Mar-14 21:49:40

Really interesting views.

I wonder what a consent form for a natural birth would say??!!

SirChenjin Wed 19-Mar-14 21:52:01

I had a ventouse for DC1 after I asked for one - no information given, none asked for. I knew what it was through NCT parenting classes, and after what seemed like an eternity of labour and then pushing I decided it sounded like a good idea. It nipped a bit on gas and air, I can tell you!

Meglet Wed 19-Mar-14 21:53:20

Just to add, I didn't read the consent form when the consultant waved it at me, I just signed it as quick as I could. I knew what I was letting myself in for and it was the only way to save my baby.

hoobypickypicky Wed 19-Mar-14 22:00:49

I had ventouse with my first child. I was given no pain relief, I was offered no information, there was no consent given, no warning given, they just did it.

I demanded, and got, an elective section the second time round.

Kleptronic Wed 19-Mar-14 22:01:16

I was cut and then ventouse. No information, no consent, no painkiller but at that stage I'd been in labour 3 days (baby back to back) and all I wanted was the baby out.

I wish I'd had information afterwards. I think all is not right down there but I don't know if it's a normal or not, to be expected generally or a specific injury as a consequence of ventouse.

roseinwinter Wed 19-Mar-14 22:01:24

I think the issue of how much info you want/get has to be particular to each case. I had a birth much like TheScience - after hours of pushing DD was distressed and I was asked to sign a consent form for a c-section. They tried forceps first though and she was born that way. By that point I was hardly conscious and begging for pain relief. I don't remember much but I do remember them getting the form out and trying to explain some of it to me. I just demanded to know where to sign so I could get into theatre and get the spinal.

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