c section help(25 Posts)
It's looking likely that I will end up with a planned section due to the transverse / oblique position of my baby. Please can you lovely people tell me what to expect? Any tips for survival - before, during, after?
My overarching experience of a medically necessary, but not emergency, c-section were very positive. No it is probably not the lovely natural birth you expected, but the important thing is getting you and the baby out the other end safely.
You will get prepped by the team in advance. The weirdest thing about it is the sheer number of people in the room when it happens. You, DH, anethsetist, obstetrician, paediatrician, midwife x2 (one for baby, one for you) and others!! It is very very quick. DS was out within about 5 or 10 minutes of the surgery starting and my notes show that the whole thing from being wheeled in for the spinal to being sewn up and wheeled out was 59 minutes!!
My recover was fast and easy. No issues. You feel weird at first because you still can't feel your legs, but that wears off quickly. Catheter was removed within 24 hours. When I got home I was in a little pain, but nothing extreme and I was fit to drive within a few weeks. Lauging can be painful.
One thing which CAN be difficult is that your milk is likely to take longer to come in because your body just isn't as prepared as with a natural birth. It took 4 full days (nearly 5) for mine to come in. I'd highly recommend looking into expressing some colostrum starting from about 36 weeks and keeping it in the freezer. This can help you top up the baby until your milk appears.
Overall, I recovered faster I think than some friends who had quite traumatic vaginal births, especially where instruments were used and they had tears and stitches.
I had an emergency c section then the next 2 kids were planned (after advice from midwives etc). It's all pretty relaxed. Would recommend some good support knickers for after though. Didn't use them on my first but did for the second and third and they were a great help holding everything in place whilst healing!
I've had two. One for failure to progress, one elective.
They were both lovely!
Spinal/epidural anaesthetic was fine- they get you to sit hunched forward and give a bit of local anaesthetic first to numb the skin, then the deeper needle. My anaesthetist was amazing and I barely even felt the local going in. Then legs went all tingly and heavy and that was it! They popped a catheter in once I was numb.
You can still feel sensation with the spinal, but not pain or temperature. So you'll feel as is someone is running a biro along your tummy as they make the incision, and then you'll feel the pulling as they get baby out, and the lovely release of weight and pressure once they have him/her out.
They have medication if you feel sick or shaky at all (I had the shakes big time both from adrenaline and the epidural!). Also you may get an itchy nose from the epidural too.
Once baby is out you can have skin to skin if they offer it (ask before hand)- DD2 went over the curtain and onto my chest and latched herself on to my boob immediately!
After a bit they'll take baby to dry and check her over and then your DP or birth partner will take baby to the wars while they finish up with you and bring you to the recovery room for a little while to keep an eye on you.
Then you join baby on the ward.
They'll keep your catheter in overnight and give you regular pain relief and the midwives are generally very good about keeping an eye on you and DC that first night in case you need help to lift baby etc. I just kept mine in the bed with me the first night.
You're encouraged to move about ASAP after. The thing to remember is that you'll be very securely stitched so it's okay to straighten yourself up.
TMI alert- your first poo will be terrifying as you'll be worried about bursting your stitches. Just drink plenty of water, make sure everything is moving regularly before you go in, and ask for laxatives if needed. I held a maternity pad to my tummy when i was going- more for psychological reassurance than anything!
My advice would be get moving early but gently, make sure you have lots of pillows to prop you up (I ended up sitting on my breastfeeding pillow because my bum was getting so numb from sitting all the time), bring a water bottle to keep you hydrated, ask for pain relief if you're feeling at all uncomfortable, and don't forget decent maternity pads as you will bleed the same as if you'd had a normal delivery.
Once home just keep going with regular pain relief as needed. Also, have something in or on the bed to help you hoist yourself upright to tend to baby at night- someone on here once suggested tying a rope or belt to the foot of the bed to use as leverage!
It takes a bit of recovering before you'll be confident walking longer distances or coughing or sneezing! But I'm at 2 weeks post now and feeling almost 100%.
Just take your time and say yes to all offers of help. Plan to do nothing but feed and cuddle your baby for the first few weeks. You won't be up for anything much else and that's as it should be.
Typos! They will of course take your baby to the ward, not the wars.
2 c sections here, both planned which I believe is far less stressful both physically and mentally than an emergency! Best tip I was given was get up as soon as you can and walk as much as you can ... The longer you are still the more the area seizes up! I had very quick recoveries with both
2 csecs for me - first elective due to transverse & 2nd emergency 11 weeks ago. Totally agree with moving as much as you can. I recovered much faster with my 2nd as I had a toddler to look after and was walking a mile the week after either pushing the pram or carrying baby.
Two pieces of advice - don't be afraid to ask for more pain relief and keep it up regularly when you get home. Also, stock up on peppermint tea or cordial (Schweppes) which can relieve the horrendous trapped wind (I had this in my shoulder of all places for a week after).
HTHs and good luck
Thanks all, feeling a bit more prepared now. The litter monkey is still transverse so it's looking likely. Am not too concerned about this op itself, more the impact on me being able to look after the baby when he is born.
Stupid question - when I'm in hospital after is it clothes or pyjamas?
It'll be ok. I've had 2, both planned. It doesn't take long to get back on ur feet tho we are all different. It's strange receiving your baby that way so prepare urself for that.
Doing a poo is tricky but they should give u something for that.
Definitely get some big fat pants that won't aggravate your wound. I learned the hard way and had to wear exh underpants with a pad. Failed miserably.
Boxers, I should say, not pants. Pants might have been easier!!
PJs in hospital but make sure the trousers are high enough not to press on the wound. They might prefer you in a nightie at first to check the catheter etc.
I had an emergency section, it was fine. Like others have said it was over very quickly.
Check before they start that you cannot see it all reflected in the big lamp, I could so they rearranged things a bit. Good luck!
Bring flip flops or other shoes without backs. It's amazing the things you need stomach muscles for!
Mine was great! My top tips are:
Take high fibre snacks to keep you regular. I loads of apples/dried apricots/naked bars and had no problem pooing after. Plus taking your own snacks is good because the hospital food will be woeful. I even baked a cake to take in with me!
Tena pants. These are so much more comfy than the awful massive pads. They just rip down the sides so not difficult to get off either.
Take all the medication they give you & stay on top of it at home. I was fine on paracetamol & ibuprofen at home but felt it if I missed a dose.
Peppermint oil capsules. Trapped wind after c section is really common and can wind up giving you refered pain in your shoulder. Peppermint capsules sorted this right out for me.
Drink loads of water to flush your system of all the stuff they put in you during the operation. I also drank coconut water which I took into the hospital frozen (post natal wards are always boiling).
Black maternity pjs. I had a black nightdress for while I had my catheter in.
Good luck! I have such nice memories of mine.
Pjs and big massive old lady pants that come up to your belly button.
Don't bother with clothes until you leave. A nightie (button front if you are planning on breastfeeding) and a dressing gown will be plenty. Have more than one nightie, hospitals are absurdly hot, and I sweated buckets.
Get cotton granny knickers two sizes too big, they are nice and soft amd won't rub on your wound.
I found recovery from mine quite straightforward (EMCS for DD1, ELCS for DD2) - stairs are hard but everything else was fine but slow. Make sure you have plenty of paracetamol and ibuprofen in, and take both round the clock for the first several days.
Breastfeeding was fine for both my girls - DD1 took a couple of days to work out what she should be doing, but cracked it in the end. Newborns take tiny quantities of colostrum, so don't panic if you express and don't get much. Kellymom website is great for breastfeeding info.
Make sure your partner knows where the best food is! DH brought me meals because the hospital food was like school dinners, ugh. Have a big water bottle and some snacks (cereal bars, fruit) to tide you over.
Oh, and be prepared for a long wait on your baby's birthday. I was last on the list for my ELCS and DD2 was born at 3pm ish - after fasting since 10pm and arriving at the hospital at 7am! Other women with emergencies obviously got prioritised, but it made for a long day for me. Hopefully you will be the first elective of the day and be all sorted before lunchtime!
Thanks once again, great tips. I am SO going to bake myself a cake to take in. Am off to read your posts again and make - yet another - shopping list.
Yes definately do - it tasted like manna from heaven with a cup of tea when I was knackered!
One more thing I would say is to take loads of pics in the hospital. even if you look super rough (like I did!) do it anyway. The photos I have from then I absolutely treasure & wish I had taken more.
Best of luck!
Ds was born by elcs last year due to being breech. It was great! Walked into theatre, wheeled out with baby 45 minutes later. Two nights in hospital.
Had skin to skin after ds had a quick rub down and check. He latched himself on after 20 minutes. Born Friday lunchtime, milk was in Monday morning.
Take the meds when you should. I didn't need anything strong. The first night I was still very wobbly from the spinal, so buzzed for help when I needed to pick ds up or down. Take snacks. I was starving.
Recovery was about as quick and easy as could be. Yes it was painful, but noticeably better every day. Walked out with pram after a week.
Get big pants!
Husband was back at work after two days so I had planned visitors for a few days. They brought food.
After a week or so, made sure I had a packed lunch in the fridge for the next day. Plenty of snacks and drinks in the front room, along with a changing basket with nappies, cotton wool etc.
Be careful with how much you do, but I don't think doing nothing at all is good. I did what I could, without pushing myself too much.
Good luck, hope you have a good experience.
Oh, one other thing. Make sure they don't 'accidentally' write on your notes that you are allergic to morphine based drugs. This happened to me and I was on flippin paracetamol for the first 36 hours after. When I realised their mistake I want even annoyed, just bloody grateful for some proper drugs!! But it just goes to show that while it is sore, it's not the end of the world - I didn't really think much of the fact it was a bit uncomfortable when on paracetamol only!!
^ I just had paracetamol too, and was told morphine was available if I needed it. I didn't.
Sorry, that didn't come across very well. I consider myself lucky that I didn't need anything stronger.
People make a big deal about the recovery from c section. In my experience it realy wasn't that bad. I would try not to worry about it and take it as it comes. It's worth having a few relatives on call to cook and clean for you in the first 2 weeks in case. I had to take it easy for a few days but was much better and up and about by day 5. Even when we thought it would be a vaginal birth I'd assumed I would have some stitches or tears that would need rest so I planned to do nothing other than rest up at home and bond with baby with the help of DH for that first week anyway so for me the only difference was that I was allowing my stomach to recover rather than my bits. The worst of the recovery was the first 2 days but they give you painkillers so I was perfectly comfortable. With a toddler you will find lifting hard so the bed idea is good and also think about teaching DC1 to go up and down the stairs safely on their own (either on their belly or on their bum so they can't fall). Think about other times when you would normally lift DC1 and see if you can find an alternative. Make sure your DP understands that he needs to do any lifting. You could also consider organising some childcare for the first week for DC1. you'll be fine so long as you are sensible.
Oh and watch out for pushy relatives who care more about seeing the baby than your health. You decide when they can come and when they go based on what your body is telling you. If they resist DP needs to be firm. This was by far the biggest issue we had.
I had an elcs for a transverse baby - for added joy, where I'm based, they admit you at 37 weeks in case you go into labour, so I was in for 10 days beforehand... It took 20 mins to get DD out (longer than for an emergency section), but my recovery was MUCH better than friends who'd had an emergency section. My main tip would be take pain meds regularly when you get home - waiting until you hurt means you spend a lot longer in pain. I was referred to the GP at 5 days, and walked a short distance to the car which I really regretted (DH did offer to fetch it). At 12 days I was able to walk a mile pushing the pushchair - so you might find the first week hard going, but it does get better! Hope it goes well.
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