Planned C-section - please can you talk me through what happens.

(9 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Grockle Tue 07-Jun-16 21:32:56

I have a million questions. I really don't want to have a c-section but since I need one, I want to know what to expect and to feel like I have some sort of control or understanding about why will happen. 

How do I get to theatre- do I walk? 

How do they do the anaesthetic? Are there any alternatives/ options?

Do I have to have curtain up or can I watch? 

Do I get any say in how it's done? Can it be done slowly/ naturally?

Do they have to clamp the cord immediately or can they wait a bit? Do they have to clean the baby?

Can the baby come straight to me or will they take her away? How long til I can hold her?

What happens immediately afterwards? Where is the baby while they stitch me up and go back to the ward?

Do I have to have a catheter? How long does it have to be in for?

How does breastfeeding work?

When will I be able To walk/ get up?

How long will I have to stay in hospital?

How crap do you feel afterwards or is it ok? 

I have no idea what to expect and want to arm myself with information so that my anxiety doesn't take over.

Anything else?

Thank you to anyone who has waded through all of this.

PresidentOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 07-Jun-16 22:07:28

Hello
Bumping your thread, as well as to move it over for you,
We're sure lots of people will be along to answer questions (sorry I'm no use personally, as had x 4 vaginal deliveries, it's a skill, I guess, --just not a particularly useful one outside of those three days of my life--) but also flagging our page on C-Sections and recovery too
HTH and best of luck with the impending arrival

rubberducker Tue 07-Jun-16 22:45:33

I've had 2 sections - first was an emergency one but second was planned and am scheduled to have my third next Wednesday so hopefully can answer some of your questions!

With my planned one I walked into theatre - they then sat me on the bed and I had to lean forward hugging a pillow while they inserted the spinal. Once that was in I lay down. They checked the spinal was effective and then inserted the catheter (I did not feel this at all!). DH was then allowed to come in.

Mine was curtain up and I wasn't given an option about having it down or how slowly etc things happened but I didn't ask either so I guess it may be an option if it's something you want. I know some people have had the screen lowered at the crucial moment and it's something I might ask for next week.

With my last section they did cut the cord straight away but my consultant this time has said that he does delayed cord clamping so guess it depends on the individual surgeon, but again ask if you have a preference! With both of my previous sections the consultant cut the cord long so DH then still got to cut it to a shorter length iysyim. We also asked for DH to be the one to tell me what sex the baby was.

Both times, once the baby was out they whisked them off for a quick rub down and then brought them over to me wrapped in a towel. I couldn't hold them really, but DH held them right by my head for the duration of the surgery while they were sewing me back up. I then had them for skin to skin and first breastfeed as soon as we went through to recovery. The baby will stay with you the whole time (as long as there are no issues). Again my consultant this time is keen on getting the baby skin to skin asap so possibly while we're still in theatre which would be good.

Your catheter will stay in until the spinal wears off enough for you to get to the toilet. With my first that was about 36 hours. With my second they apparently used a different spinal and I had the catheter out after about 8 hours so guess it depends.

If all goes well, the hospitals round here will let you go home the day after a section but obviously won't kick you out if you need to stay (and if it's your first and you want to get breast feeding well established then it would be worth staying longer - I stayed 3 days with DS1, but just 1 night with DS2).

As for whether you'll feel crap afterwards - well, it is major surgery so you're not going to be on top form! Just make sure that you take all the pain meds offered and take it really easy - especially when you start to feel better! I know lots of people who thought they were getting back to normal so did too much and ended up with infections, myself included, so really do give yourself time to recover.

For me, my ELCS was a lovely calm experience and I recovered really well so please don't worry too much. If there are specific things that you want/don't want to happen then just let them know.

Good luck and hope this helps!

Grockle Wed 08-Jun-16 11:46:21

Thank you so much, that really helps. If I go into labour before 39 weeks, it'll be an emergency c-section but I guess we'll deal with that if/when it happens.

I hope all goes well with you on Wednesday.

Any other help/ advice/ tips gratefully received.

TrouserSnake Wed 08-Jun-16 13:44:49

I walked to theatre and they took baby away to be checked by a paediatrician first then I could hold him. Well, he was sort of balanced on my chest with DH supporting him while I was stitched up. I then went to a recovery room for a few hours until there was a bed free on the ward. The catheter came out the next morning and you have to pee a certain volume before they'll let you go. I left the day after surgery with my first and an EMCS, couldn't get out of there fast enough! You can walk (shuffle) the next day. I felt shit for ages, couldn't lie down or stand up properly for a few weeks but not everyone feels that bad. Good luck!

WellErrr Wed 08-Jun-16 14:17:03

How do I get to theatre- do I walk?

Yes. You have a pre op in one room, then you walk in to the operating theatre and get on the bed. That was the hard part for me..!

How do they do the anaesthetic? Are there any alternatives/ options?

You sit up on the bed sideways with your legs over the side. Someone stands in front and holds your hand/hugs you. You bend right over and and anaesthetist puts a cold spray, then a local, then the spinal in. The local stings a bit but you don't feel the rest. The hardest part is sitting still!
Then you lie down on the bed and they tilt you various ways to get the spinal into your legs.
They'll spray a cold spray on your legs and tummy to check you're numb.

Do I have to have curtain up or can I watch?

Curtain up as the surgeon will not want to be distracted, and chances are at the time you actually WILL NOT want to see it.

If you are desperate to though, you can look in the reflection of the light surrounds on the ceiling.

Do I get any say in how it's done? Can it be done slowly/ naturally?

No.
The surgeon will not require or appreciate your input grin

Do they have to clamp the cord immediately or can they wait a bit?

No, you can have delayed cord clamping in an elective if all is well.

Do they have to clean the baby?

Generally yes as they get cold otherwise. Your partner or you depending how you feel will be able to do skin to skin.

Can the baby come straight to me or will they take her away?

They will show you the baby then take it away for a few quick checks.

How long til I can hold her?

Someone will help you hold her, but you'll be in an awkward position with possibly numb arms. Your partner will be able to hold her throughout the rest of the op (all being well).

What happens immediately afterwards? Where is the baby while they stitch me up and go back to the ward?

The baby stays in theatre with you or partner.
From first cut to baby out usually takes around 4-5 minutes. Removing placenta and stitching takes another 30-40 minutes

Do I have to have a catheter? How long does it have to be in for?

Yes you do in case of complications. They usually take it out once you can get up. Around 12 hours or so. It's no biggie.

How does breastfeeding work?

Baby latched on as soon as possible. Usually in recovery. They will help you.
Then just put baby to breast every time it squeaks or stirs. Most babies just latch on and feed, but they do need feeding very often at first. This is totally normal and doesn't indicate supply problems etc.

When will I be able To walk/ get up?

Quite soon - around 6 hours? I've had 2 and I can't quite remember.

How long will I have to stay in hospital?

2-3 days. Use it. You need the rest, meds, checks and support.

How crap do you feel afterwards or is it ok?

Just a bit sore. Take all your meds even if you feel fine.
It's not horrendous, but resting properly for 6 whole weeks will give you a quicker recovery.

Anything else

It's fine!

It feels weird though. No pain, but you do feel the moving and pulling which is a strange sensation.

Can't think of anything else! Enjoy it smile

Grockle Wed 08-Jun-16 19:12:12

Thank you. I've seen information about 'natural' c-sections where they cut and then let the baby emerge by itself - I don't know if all hospitals allow that but I suspect not. I didn't mean that I'd be telling the surgeon what to do!

I feel a bit more prepared smile

jaffajiffy Wed 08-Jun-16 19:23:15

I've had two and it really depends on the surgeon. First one the doc said "sterile environment" so I wasn't allowed to see or touch ds until recovery. Dh did skin to skin (pack a chg of clothes for him). Ds2 was completely different. I could watch the crucial moment, then he was weighed and wrapped in towels and then placed on my chest while they stitched me up. We even did some breast feeding. I wasn't shaking like a loon though, which I had been for ds1. Catheter is fine. Both times I e been feeling fine and then my body has shut down for a bit.. Nothing serious but meant I wasn't peeing or v alert, so watch out for that. Once on the maternity ward you'll just want to get the hell off it as it's so noisy and busy. I left 24h later in both cases.
Main message - it's up to the surgeon so have a good chat beforehand to discuss what can happen.

tiredvommachine Wed 08-Jun-16 19:31:58

Worst thing I found about the whole experience was having the cannula put into my hand. That smarted a tad.

Good luck!

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