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C-Section at UCLH

(7 Posts)
grove10 Mon 24-Mar-14 21:26:08

Hi - interested in anyone whose had recent experience of a C-section at UCLH. It's not been decided yet as am still just under 30weeks but there is a chance due to recent health problems a C-section may be recommended and am pretty frightened as aware it's major surgery with a longish recovery time.
Heard that pain relief afterwards is minimal as they don't want you to be too out of it if you need to care for the baby - is that correct or do they ever make exceptions?
Also is it correct that you can't get dissolvable stitches as heard they're quite painful to remove otherwise?
Would be v grateful to hear anybody's experience, I've no doubt the hospital team there is excellent but this hasn't diminished my fear factor at all! With many thanks,

MsKitten Tue 25-Mar-14 12:05:50

I had an elcs at UCLH due to breech presentation for DC1 in 2011 and and going for another elcs at UCLH for DC2 in May this year. It can't be that bad if I'm going back - I'm a complete wuss smile

Pain relief was definitely minimal but they will give you more if you ask. I was given only paracetamol post surgery but in the middle of the night, I asked for something stronger and it was forthcoming. So it seems if you don't ask, you don't get. Don't be afraid to buzz for help in the middle of the night if you feel you need it, though you may have to wait a while as the post-natal ward is extremely busy. You might not need anything stronger than the standard pain relief offering, an elcs was honestly not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was discharged the next day and I also got prescribed some stronger pain relief to take home with me (without me having to ask), not to take as routine but if I needed it but I never did need it, although it was reassuring to know it was there.

I had the continuous stitch with the beads and metal clip at either end and it was no problem at all. I've never had stitches before and was quite apprehensive when it came to having them removed but it was fine, no pain at all and I hardly noticed them being removed.

Good luck, the unknown can be quite scary but from my experience, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.

grove10 Tue 25-Mar-14 20:24:36

MsKitten - thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my post with your reassurance. That's made me feel a bit better that pain relief would be forthcoming if I asked as I was under the impression it was the hospital's procedure only to allow you the minimum. How long approx would you say it took you to function vaguely 'normally' after the section? And is it right no driving for 6 weeks? My partner would be returning to work after 2weeks of paternity leave so wasn't sure if by then I'd be ready to look after the baby on my own as don't have much of a support network. Glad too that your stitches were no problem coming out, my mum's hairdresser said she found it really painful when they removed hers and to request dissolvable but my understanding was UCLH don't do that type. Once more thank you, you're quite right it's a fear of the unknown and nothing is more scary than our imaginations!

Gooseysgirl Tue 25-Mar-14 20:41:13

Hi OP, I didn't have my CSs at UCLH but I drove after 4 weeks with both. It depends on your insurance company - mine said it was ok to drive once I felt I could do an emergency stop without damaging the wound. Also with both CSs I had help for 3 weeks (DH paternity two weeks and my mum for the third week) and was fine after that. I found Diclofenac fantastic for pain relief but not all hospitals prescribe it anymore as I found out after my second CS. Got it from my GP instead when I went home as paracetamol and ibuprofen were not enough for me (it's major abdominal surgery not a hangover!) I also love cocodamol but it can cause drowsiness in baby if you're breastfeeding so you probably won't be offered it. After the first 5 days I was fine on ibuprofen.

grove10 Wed 26-Mar-14 11:15:19

Hey thanks too Gooseygirl, you're also making me feel better about things if it does come to having a CS. I've made a note of Diclofenac as my GP is normally quite good about dispensing things and can imagine paracetamol etc. doesn't quite do it after major surgery! Good to get some idea of recovery periods, may see if i can enlist further help from somewhere after partner returns from work if needs be. Still can't say i'm really relishing the prospect of going down this route but ultimately will have to do whatever the doc recommends.

toomuchribbon Wed 26-Mar-14 12:24:06

Hello, I had a semi-ELCS (maternal request during labour for various reasons that arose at the time, so not a true emergency) at UCLH last year. I'm pregnant again now and going for a VBAC but if it turns into another CS that's ok - I say that because the surgical team who performed my CS at UCLH and the whole experience of it was fantastic, or as fantastic as not-particularly-wanted surgery can be! (My experience of the care in my labour leading up to the CS was not so great but that's another thread!)

The surgeon who performed my CS was incredibly reassuring and kind - I had every faith in him, ditto the anaesthetist. They actually transformed my experience there from being pretty negative in labour to something much more positive. The whole team in theatre were so calm, so jolly (in the right way) and completely professional. Honestly they couldn't have been better.

Stitches: I had the kind that I believe are pretty standard now, the kind MsKitten mentions - the continuous stitch with beads. There was no pain whatsoever on removal - the midwife who visited me at home just removed it. There was no suggestion from her it was painful ie no pain relief offered etc! Honestly I felt it less than you would removing a plaster. I did have numbness around the incision and my GP said women tend to have either numbness or hypersensitivity so perhaps if you fell into the latter camp it might hurt but they just slid out - couldn't have been easier or quicker.

Painkillers: As routine I was offered Oramorph (liquid morphine), which I had a couple of doses of, and three types of tablets of codeine (high dose - 30mg I think), diclofenac and paracetamol. However I believe there is new guidance now with regard to breastfeeding so I suspect they no longer offer the codeine and perhaps not the diclofenac. Someone here posted a link to the Breastfeeding Network on this, sorry I can't find right now but it was recent and helpful.
I agree with Gooseysgirl that diclofenac was fantastic. Codeine made me so sleepy and oblivious and the pain was definitely not so bad that it was necessary to be out of it. In fact I barely remember the pain at all - not me being brave but it was not that bad plus I think the haze (in a good way) you are in after the birth, combined with fatigue (in my case waters broke at midnight so started labour minus a night of sleep and then laboured for almost 24 hours) blur the edges for sure. Obviously recovery varies and involves so many other factors (one of my best friends had a much harder time with her first CS for instance) but really it's fine.

Diclofenac helped a lot especially with the afterpains of the womb contracting back to shape which I did feel kind of combined with the incision pain. Paracetamol alone was not enough I agree.

The post-natal ward was very busy but there was help available. My DH was there and we soon after got an amenity (private) room but nevertheless the midwifery assistants especially were very sweet and helpful.

Sorry for huge essay!
Hope that helps but feel free to ask more - I definitely know what it's like to have heaps of questions in advance of the birth! smile

grove10 Wed 26-Mar-14 22:01:31

Hi toomuchribbon- thanks also, god what a marathon labour you had - you must have been shattered. That's great to hear of a positive exp from the CS team at UCH and that the stitches were so easy to remove as well. Seems my 'source' must have had an unusually bad time with them. Am def going to find out about Diclofenac, perhaps if I'm not breastfeeding (still unsure) they might dispense more freely. Would be lovely to have an amenity room but think they're a few 100 a night so am not sure if the budget will stretch - still you def deserved it after all you'd been through!

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