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Elective c-section hints, tips, pearls of wisdom?

(24 Posts)
MsGlitterJunkie Thu 17-Mar-16 10:36:56

I'm booked in to have a c-section in a fortnight (first baby) and I'm starting to get very anxious about it all so looking for hints/ tips/ tricks from those of you who have already been through it.

What was it like to have the cannula and catheter put in and taken out (scared that it's v painful.....!)? What do you wish you had known beforehand? What really helped with recovery? What items were indispensable? Any advice gratefully received!

Vajazzler Thu 17-Mar-16 10:56:48

Hi I've had 5 sections, 1 emergency 4 planned.

The cannula is just like having a blood test its no biggie. They don't insert the catheter until you've had the epidural so you don't feel a thing.
When they take it out again, it doesn't hurt just feels like tugging.
My biggest tips are get active as soon as you can- by that I mean out of the hospital bed, walking around the ward to the toilet etc. as easy as it is to allow yourself to wallow, try not to and be as active as possible for you.
Also, when they let you eat again, snack on dried apricots. Your digestive system shuts down due to the trauma and when it starts up again, its going to be sluggish. That, along with having not eaten or drunk much means poo will be hard to pass and you really don't want to have to strain it out. A handful of apricots every hour until you poo. Then a handful every hour for the next few days until your system is back up and running.

RhubarbAndMustard Thu 17-Mar-16 11:08:03

Agree that the cannula, catheter and spinal for me we're all totally fine. I had quite bad trapped wind afterwards so if I did it again I'd take some remedies for that with me. I've also got one of those 'grabbers' (long pole with grabby hand at the end) which was invaluable at home so I didn't have to bend down. Also make sure you have really loose clothes for afterwards. I ended up wearing my DPs joggers for a few days as even my yoga pants were a bit tight on the incision.

Vajazzler Thu 17-Mar-16 11:08:49

Also, get some big granny pants that go half way up your tummy so that they don't rub on the stitches/wound.

MsGlitterJunkie Thu 17-Mar-16 21:51:51

Oh great, I would never have thought of the grabber stick! And apricots are on the list too along with full brief armpit warmers.

Can I also ask how long you were in hospital for please? I've been told 2 nights but that feels like rather a short amount of time? I was thinking 3 nights......?

LadyRoseMacClare Thu 17-Mar-16 21:56:29

I was kicked out less than 24 hours after my emcs!

Catheter, cannula and spinal honestly weren't that bad, I think I had my catheter put in with gas and air.

I also found the wind pains after quite bad.

Recovery wise I really didn't find it too bad- but my dh was amazing and I hardly lifted a finger. Good idea with the grabby stick.

RhubarbAndMustard Fri 18-Mar-16 01:36:36

Mine was 2 weeks ago and I was in 2 nights. Baby was born at 3 pm and Drs were happy to discharge us the next day but I wasn't ready so stayed an extra night. I was ready to go home after that though, mainly because they are very strict with your paracetamol and ibroprufen doses. At home I could take it when the pain relief wore off so was more comfortable. You should be able to stay until you are ready to leave though.

Junosmum Fri 18-Mar-16 08:01:36

I didn't have a section but did have a spinal block to remove retained placenta and ended up with a cannula and catheter. They put the catheter in when you have anaesthetic so don't feel it, and it doesn't hurt when removed.

The cannula doesn't hurt but I found the plaster they use to secure it irritated my skin and pitched so I wanted it out asap and almost removed it myself! They left it in in case I needed a blood transfusion.

Some people say you can't get baby out the cot without help but as long as the cot is right next to your bed it's fine, babies aren't as fragile as you think.

MsGlitterJunkie Fri 18-Mar-16 11:07:54

Crikey, they seem to be keen to get you out of hospital a bit quicker than I was expecting.......but I guess getting back to normal as soon as possible is no bad thing given there's a newborn baby to be looked after!
I will be packing a stash of painkillers in my hospital bag, just to be on the safe side.
Very glad to hear the cannula and catheter aren't painful, one less thing to worry about!
Would any of you mind sharing your experience of the first 24 hours after the operation? What kind of stitches did they use? How long were you in recovery for/ how quickly did they let you go to the postnatal ward? How quickly did they let you get up? Were you allowed to go for a shower? I guess it varies from hospital to hospital?!

RhubarbAndMustard Fri 18-Mar-16 12:30:37

Well it's all fresh in my memory so I'll help you out there!

I walked to the theatre at 2:10pm, after cannula, anaesthetic etc operation started at 2:45, baby born 3pm. I was stitched up about 40 mins I think and then wheeled through to recovery. Only about 30 mins here while obs were taken and I was able to breastfeed here too. I was definitely back in the ward by 5, maybe earlier as my son came in to visit then. My legs came round pretty quickly but I didn't get up until the next morning. They took the catheter out about 9am, and I was having a shower by 11. Really needed DP's help to shower as it's hard to bend down to put your clothes on. It wasn't painful just stiff and hunched over as your stomach muscles don't really work. I had to ask to have baby passed to me each time but the midwives are happy to do this. And make sure they leave you with some of the bed bars up as you'll need these to pull yourself up with.

My stitches were all dissolvable but was told this varies by surgeon. The ones that need removing afterwards apparently leave a neater scar but I still preferred to have dissolvable.

MsGlitterJunkie Fri 18-Mar-16 19:50:51

Oh brilliant, thanks very much that's really helpful - sounds like you had a positive experience which is very reassuring!

RhubarbAndMustard Fri 18-Mar-16 20:09:48

Yep very positive and compared to my traumatic vaginal birth with DS1, it was calmer and I could bond with DS2 much better. The recovery is a lot longer but you do feel better day by day. The only down side was the after pains and trapped wind on night 2. It really was very painful but I may well have had these with any birth, it's just harder to move after the C sec. If I had a third I would go for a CS again.
Don't be afraid to ask for pain relief/take it when offered. I had oral morphine as well as paracetamol and ibuprofen, but you can only have the morphine in hospital so that is a good reason to stay in an extra night if needed.

loveulotslikejellytots Fri 18-Mar-16 20:40:54

As others have said the cannula and catheter aren't as bad as you'd expect. I was in 2 nights following my EMCS, but dd was born at 21:30 so technically she was born on the first night. The recovery wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. I agree with getting up and about as soon as you feel able to, I had to wait ages for a shower (2pm the following day) and I wasn't allowed out of bed before that. Personally I couldn't wait to go home for some peace and my own bed.

When I came home, DH had set me up a little table with everything on (phone charger, remote, bottle of water, hand cream) snacks that I could grab so I wouldn't starve if he'd popped out. Dried fruit is another good tip, I stupidly didn't eat much fruit or veg for the first week, a bit too much stodge... The first poo was quite painful, but I didn't help myself really by eating badly. Sorry a bit tmi!

We also put a box downstairs with nappies, wipes, creams etc for nappy changes. No way was I going upstairs each time.

Dd was my first and I really wanted to breastfeed, unfortunately my milk never came in which apparently could have been to do with a long labour and EMCS (something to do with the hormones that are released during a natural birth not being released due to the shock your body is in?? Don't know how true that is). I really wish now I'd put my foot down and restricted visitors to just our parents so I could have sat in bed having skin to skin a lot more in the first few days, I think this would have helped my milk come in. My point is, don't focus too much on being back on your feet too quickly, if you want to bf, bear in mind you might want a bit of space the first few days at home to sit with your boobs out and your newborn snuggled up.

loveulotslikejellytots Fri 18-Mar-16 20:42:52

Oh yes! The oral morphine! Lovely stuff!!! If it helps, I'd probably ask for a c section if I had a second baby.

MrsFlorrick Fri 18-Mar-16 20:57:35

Peppermint capsules from Holland and barratt. Essential for the inevitable trapped wind after. That's is actually the most painful part.

1 x emcs and 1 x elcs.

I didn't find I really needed the morphine and refused it both times. As in the second dose. The first given in theatre isn't really optional or at least I wasn't asked. It was given.
The second dose was optional and I didn't want it. It made me feel sick so didn't want any more.

First time stitches were the one with the bead which needed removing after a week. It was fine and no issues.

Second time I was glued together. smile that sounds awful and not very secure but it was cool and healed immaculately. Advantage of not needing anything removed.

The emcs clearly was more difficult. A very long labour followed by emcs isn't easy plus the shock of things not going to plan.

The elcs was just fine. I was quite nervous before hand. But the staff put me at ease and once it was underway it was fine.

And yes to keeping up your fibre intake after!!!

You might find you're not hugely hungry during the first couple of weeks anyway. But do avoid the stodge.

Good luck.

Jw35 Fri 18-Mar-16 21:04:07

Op I had an absolutely wonderful planned section just over a year ago smile I was worried about the spine injection but it was fine and the op seemed really quick and easy! Didn't feel the catheter going in or coming out later. I got to do skin to skin in the recovery room (make sure your dp requests that for you) and I went home less than 24 hours later (my choice). The painkillers now are really strong so I felt ok walking by the next day (slowly) and 5 days after my op I had baby in a sling! (Not recommended and mw told me off..but shows how good I felt)!

The worst part was the night of the op, wearing the itchy surgical stockings and waiting for the useless slow night staff to change my pad. It was all a bit damp under my bottom!

For a few weeks after you will feel a bit of pain passing wind or doing a number 2. It feels like trapped wind and tugging with is uncomfortable. I also had a bit of nerve damage on my fanjo which meant for about 6 weeks my clitoris was over sensitive to touch blush luckily it was temporary!

So much depends on the care you have, the support and how quickly you personally heal. I'm having another planned section in July and not worried at all smile

bonzo77 Fri 18-Mar-16 21:07:22

Oromorph is lovely. But it also constipates, so stop it ASAP. I had 2 doses with my first CS, 1 with my 2nd and none with my 3rd.

Stitches: different surgeons do different things. My first 2 I had a continuous stitch which was removed on day 5. Fine and very comfortable, though it did open back up a little after a week or so. They healed fine. With my 3rd I had dissolving stitches. The scar did not open up, but the stitches took weeks to go away and were very irritating. I had far more discomfort (including pain coughing etc) for a good couple of months. I'd take the wound opening a little over that!

After the op you'll be in bed with a catheter, sat on a disposable pad with a sanitary towel between your legs. And no knickers because of the catheter. You will also have support socks on. Don't get out of bed without help. You'll be very wobbly, and I had a lot of blood that just fell out all over the floor and the socks (white) after my first.

Removal of the placenta triggers milk production. This is the same with a vaginal birth. So BF no mother likely to be a problem. In fact, a nice calm elcs might make it easier than a long traumatic VB...

CS babies who have not experienced labour have not been squeezed by your contractions so are at increased risk of respiratory distress. The delivery team will know this and help if required. My 2nd had this: he had to wear a breathing mask for 12 hours and was in nicu. He has been fine ever since.

It might be possible to 1. See the birth 2. Chose your music 3. Have the lights dimmed 4. Have baby put straight on to your chest. Ask. You / DP might not be allowed to cut the cord though due to sterile conditions.

My first (emergency) and 3rd sections were wonderful, magic calm experiences. The second one not so much. A combination of a bitch anaesthetist and a prem / sick baby. Unlucky really. Actually more the anaesthetist, as the prem baby was anticipated.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 18-Mar-16 22:46:02

Just a side note - think about if you want a screen or not to see the baby being born - depends if you are squeamish! But you can look up into the light to watch!!

Also ask if you want the baby straight to you - DD was whisked away to be cleaned and weighed etc so I could see her crying but not passed to be straight away!

She came wrapped up tightly but I wanted to check she was perfect - just nature! So I had to unwrap her to look!

Take tissues mints and snacks - change for the papers or drinks -

Also I was kept flat and hated it!! You need to be raised slightly so you can se and hear the baby and it's less awkward if you breastfeed

Zaurak Sat 19-Mar-16 06:48:35

Take a breastfeeding cushion in with you - really useful. Take something like crocs as slippers/shower shoes.
Cannula is fine, gets a bit irritating after a day or two but not painful.
They don't catheterise you until the spinal is in place.,
Take all the pain relief you are offered!
Shower gel with a hook so you don't have to bend down.
A thin dressing gown is useful.
Take snacks - I was starving after!

I had staples and the wound (which is much bigger than average due to them needing to get in around my placenta then things going a bit tits up) had sealed within 48 hours. I was really surprised at that!

Take it easy - it is tempting to do too much when you get home it spend the first week st least resting.

I gave birth Monday morning and was home Friday teatime but I had complications- if everything is straightforward you can be home sooner. It was much better at home.

I'd have another Cs smile

DorotheaHomeAlone Sat 19-Mar-16 07:03:03

Lots of great advice here! I had an emcs 18m ago and will be having an elcs next month. I had skin to skin in theatre as did my DH and breastfed without issue in the recovery room. Was absolutely dying to go home 24hours later (postnatal ward is not fun). Had to jump through lots of hoops to make it happen so if you find you do want to go home check what needs to happen first and be a bit pushy.

I'd also advise setting an alarm on your phone for the first few days so you take your paracetamol and ibuprofen before they're needed, as soon as each is allowed. I had a pretty pain free recovery (no morphine) this way.

I was at the park and pub three days later. It really can be that easy but other than feeding my dd and gentle walks I did nothing. DH did all housework, adult food and nappies for 2 weeks while I mostly lay in bed or sat in sofa bonding, feeding and having skin to skin. Worked beautifully. I had great milk supply and healed quickly and easily.

ShanghaiDiva Sat 19-Mar-16 07:05:47

The most pain I experienced was with trapped wind after my emcs , everything else was fine, so recommend some peppermint.
I has my children in Austria and Germany so being in for a week was the norm. Move around as soon as you are able, up and down the corridor, as this helps with the recovery.
Good luck! It is surprising how quickly you will recover smile

TattieHowkerz Sat 19-Mar-16 08:36:33

Thanks for this thread. I had a difficult vaginal birth 4 years ago, so will probably be having a ELCS in August.

I'm just wondering about practicalities. We live in a first floor flat so with DD DP or I had to wheel the pram up and down stairs, which I guess won't be possible at first. I imagined I might use a sling in the first weeks but see above that that might not be possible. How can I get out alone with the baby?! I'm even wondering about getting a small folding buggy or something that I could keep in the car. How soon would I be able to lift something like that out of the boot?

MsGlitterJunkie Sun 20-Mar-16 10:07:53

Some fantastic advice here, thanks very much indeed for sharing your experiences - I've taken lots of notes, and bought lots of the things recommended!

I'm very much interested in a 'gentle' caesarean my consultant will be doing the op (rather than his registrar) and he's agreed to lower the screen so I can see the baby born, immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping etc. so I'm very much hoping it's as positive as it can be (given that it's major surgery - not under any illusions about that!!).

Tattie, I'm wondering all the things you're wondering.......if I'm not allowed to push a pram or lift anything heavier than my baby for 6 weeks does that mean someone needs to be with me every time I go out?? Not sure how practical that's going to be! confused

RhubarbAndMustard Sun 20-Mar-16 11:48:38

I wouldn't want to lift the pram anywhere (and it took me about a week to really do the stairs on my own!), but I was pushing baby in the pram by day 11/12. DS is 17 days old now and I could carry him in a sling (am planning to tomorrow), but I still wouldn't lift the pram or car seat anywhere - pushing is fine. In the first week or so though I really didn't want to be going out. Was quite happy to enjoy DS at home and let everyone come to me!

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