C-Section - What do you wish you'd known?(121 Posts)
Ok, time for some brutal honesty!
I've got an ELCS scheduled next week at 39+4 (due to health reasons) and while I know it's the right decision for me and my baby, I'm still experiencing a certain amount of anxiety. I've read stories, both good and bad. I feel relatively prepared but yet I still feel like I'm careering into the unknown.
No matter how TMI, what are things you wish you knew pre-CS? At the moment my main anxiety is rooted in a phobia I used to have (emetophobia, fear of vomiting). For the most part I'm ok now, but I'm extremely anxious about being sick in theatre, or straight after when I have a very raw scar! Any tips to help avoid this much appreciated...
That they take your nail polish off some fingers. The most minor of worries, but I ended up feeling like a bit of a tit with two unpolished nails out of 10 for the whole of my stay in hospital. I'd just had my nails done bright red to cheer me up when I'd gone overdue!
On a more serious note, one thing I really did wish I had known was that following abdominal surgery you can get a lot of gas, and that gas can caused a referred (I think that's the right word) pain in your left shoulder and upper arm. As in, exactly where you imagine a heart attack pain would be. Which was a charming thing to panic about two days after having a baby! And the gripe water and peppermint tea the nurses give you rarely touch it, so tell your OH to bring in a massive packet of Rennies.
Get something for the constipation you get after from the pain killers. The only thing that worked for me in the end were suppositories.
That unless your very lucky or very slim you will get a skin apron.
Also don't worry about being sick. I felt really sick and started sweating, they gave me a bowl and I thought I was going to but wasn't. As soon as you're feeling sick, tell them and they add medicine to your drip thing and it counteracts it.
I don't know if everyone does this but I shook like a leaf all the way through my section, because of the spinal anaesthetic. DH kept asking if I was cold. I also found the sensation of the anaesthetic going in (a trickling feeling, which might have been my imagination) very odd, not painful or unpleasant but odd. The best thing is how quickly it is all over.
I have had two
The wind pain was very difficult to deal with after. Pack colpermin
I had spinal pain afterwards- in my jaw and ears
Get your house in order and batch cook for a couple of weeks worth of meals
Things are not as easy to do
I found the section worrying as had a long wait until theatre
That people will rudely tell you to your face that you took the easy option. Because obviously major abdominal surgery suddenly becomes an easy option because you are awake. Cant think of any other "cut you wide open" operation where it would be ok for you to go home the next day to look after a baby but there you go!
Also the nerve pain in the weeks and sometimes months afterwards wiuld be worse than the pain from the op. I remember being reduced to a sobbing mess by the sudden burning pain as your nerves knit back together.
Finally that people might tell you (again to your face) that your bond with your baby isnt as strong as you didnt spend hours pushing them out of your nethers. Put a few people straight on that one before.
Oh god yes, the constipation. I wish I'd been able to take preventative measures, but I didn't know it was likely to happen so I happily sat eating nothing but white toast in hospital
Agreeing about the constipation and the wind!! The hospital wanted to give me lactulose which always gives me dreadful trapped wind so that was the last thing I wanted to take!!
I had an EMCS but I was naively shocked to find that I still had lochia like everyone else!
Constipation! Awful and definitely the worst part for me.
I was very very itchy as well, particularly hands and feet. Apparently this was a fairly common reaction to the painkillers.
Oh yes, I ended up with a suppository. How classy
Agree about shaking during the anesthetic. Don't worry if that happens, it is a pretty normal side effect. Ditto if your upper back starts to feel numb during the surgery. This happened to me and I was so worried, but when I finally told someone (scared that it was a horrible side effect and not wanting to hear the bad news) they just said it is the slightly head-down angle you are lying at. The lovely anesthesiologist gave me a shoulder massage to make it feel better.
Also I believe it is common to have some numbness around the scar for quite a long time, as in for months. I had a tiny spot that was numb for a long time but it faded eventually.
Agree with Hobby - if you start feeling sick or dizzy just tell them straight away and they will adjust your meds. I got terrible trapped wind both times too! Peppermint oil was a lifesaver for that. Also I was surprised the first time when the midwife whipped out a razor to shave my bits before going into surgery, safe to say I contorted myself into a ridiculous position and did it myself the second time! Good luck! Both mine were absolutely fine and good experiences, hope you have the same x
To stay on top of the painkillers, and not wait until someone asked if I needed any.
It's best to take them regularly, rather than wait until you need them, apparently you end up taking fewer overall that way.
Also, if the nurses/midwives keep giving you only paracetamol, ask to see your notes - I later found out if been prescribed lots of lovely painkillers, but never given them, because I didn't specifically ask.
Being in so much pain had a really negative effect on my first days with DD, I still resent them for it.
Trapped wind and shaking in theatre.
I had incredibly itchy nose to the point I was rubbing it sore. Right on the end a side effect from whatever they gave me.
To be honest I have had two, one emcs and one planned whilst the planned was a nicer experience (we didn't have the worry we did with dd) I didn't feel any real "pain" from either. I was fully mobile later in the day sbd discharged the next morning both times. I also had no problem with breast feeding, could push the pushchair etc. I would say at most it ached but paracetamol eased it. So whilst prepare for being incapable of moving you may find you are ok.
But yes. Skin apron.
Oh my gosh I was in agony with the trapped wind and begging for more peppermint oil. It can go into your shoulders, thinks it is called referred pain. Found it hard to hold DS at one point as my arms felt all funny. I've bought peppermint capsules for upcoming elcs.
Major shakes during and for a while after surgery
They will want you to get out of bed much sooner than you'll feel able to but it is important to do so
You swell up like a blimp afterwards
I found it hard to get comfy and in right position when BF, going to take a BF pillow with me this time. Just trying to shuffle up/down the bed takes major effort for the first few days.
Get them to do your catheter in theatre.
I had an inexperienced hcp
muff it before theatre and it left me bruised and bleeding.
2nd Csec I got it done in theatre!
Don't be overwhelmed by the number of people in theatre.
It's okay. They are there for a reason and they will keep you and your baby safe.
SIT VERY STILL for the Spinal.
TELL THEM if you feel sick.
DONT panic if all the beepers go off when a piece of equipment fails!
It is weird when they guddle around to get your baby out but it really doesn't hurt.
You will get horrible constipation and horrible wind. For weeks.
You need to dry the scar with a hairdryer so it doesn't get infected.
You will be told you 'took the easy option' by the world and his mother, even though your Consultant told you 'no choice' due to presentation.
And lastly, don't assume that because your H got through the first that he wont faint in spectacular fashion (taking out an HCP) during the 2nd and that attention will focus on him whilst you laying there wailing: 'but I'M having a BAAAABY!'
Sorry to butt in but you MUSTN'T dry your scar with a hairdryer. All the dust that collects inside it just then gets blown onto the wound. Just use a sheet of kitchen paper and gently dab it to dry after showering.
Commander - yes the lochia. When I knew I had to have a cs I read up on it and the book I read said there might not be any....
frentic I don't have any C-section info but I did vomit while having surgery recently. They were stitching up my cervix to keep my DD inside for awhile longer.
I just wanted to say I was really worried about vomiting, I'm a vomiter so they wouldn't let me have GA, but your whole body is fairly relaxed (well probably not your mind but muscularly) they just turn your head to the side and hold a bowl. The Drs/midwives/anesthnatist are used to dealing with it and the atmospher remained calm which helped me not panic.
Yes, I was very itchy too, but I was during my normal delivery as well, it's a side effect of opiates.
Agree about painkillers afterwards. The dr writes you up for lots of lovely painkillers and tells you that you must take them, but the midwives are extremely reluctant to give you more than the odd paracetamol and then only under duress. It's as if they were paying for them themselves. Most peculiar.
Numbness around the incision lasted months and months.
It was still miles better than my so called normal delivery by a factor of about a million to one. I wish that I'd had a CS the first time too. I recovered far better and faster from the cs than from the episiotomy...
That you may be immobile afterwards for a good length of time (spinal), AND that you can be in immense pain. It was the most painful and undignified moment of my life. I had to sleep on my back for about 4 weeks. Made my 2 vaginal births seem like a piece of cake.
You could end up with a drain from the wound. I'd not even considered this and was surprised to find that after my elcs that I had a little tube attached draining excess blood away into a glass bottle! I did have some complications but looking around the ward (norwich in 2012) lots of other women also had them so it wasn't that unusual. They removed the tube the next day and it hurt a lot! But I wish I'd known as afterwards (!) they told me I could have had liquid morphine before they removed the drain!!! Thanks for telling me !
Oh yes, I had a drain too after the second cs. Thanksfully, it didn't hurt went they took it out - a mild stinging sensation for a few seconds but that was it. Same with the catheter being removed.
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