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PosItive ELCS stories to help terrified lady

(24 Posts)
copenhagen99 Mon 04-May-20 21:36:31

Looking for some advice / reassurance / positive birth stories concerning ELCS. I've been booked for one due to severe tokophobia. I'm also extremely squeamish as well and terrified of the ELCS procedure, and being out of control, starting with the spinal (which terrifies me) and followed by everything else. I suspect I'll be shaking, panicking and in tears throughout. I know it sounds ridiculous to those who've given birth before, but it's something I'm trying to work on (I have therapy). Believe it or not this is a better option for me than having a labour birth.

Has anyone had an ELCS who was terrified of all birth beforehand? Please could you tell me any positive stories?

Also, I was looking up the Positive Birth Book on Amazon but I think it's not specific to c-sections and might not be that helpful. I'm a keen reader- are there any helpful positive books about c-sections?

Thank you x

OP’s posts: |
riotlady Mon 04-May-20 21:40:58

I wasn’t terrified beforehand, I was quite nervous though and I can tell you I had a lovely experience! You can’t see anything and you can’t feel any pain at all- and they check really thoroughly before they start, which is something I worried about! It feels a bit weird because you can tell something’s happening in your stomach but nothing specific.

I got to pick music to play and the staff were all lovely and very calm.

Louise0701 Mon 04-May-20 21:45:58

First of all, congratulations! Secondly, you do not sound at all ridiculous.
I’ve had 3 ELCS. 1st was for a complicated breech presentation which meant labour would’ve caused DD severe issues. I have absolutely loved all of my births. Beautiful experiences and the staff are so attentive & caring and the atmosphere when baby is born is just amazing, I wish I could bottle that feeling!

You will be fine! Yes, the spinal is nerve wrecking. Even on my 3rd I sat there shaking in the room waiting to go in BUT breathe in through your nose out through your mouth, squeeze your birthing partner or midwifes hand and it’ll be over before you know it.
They will make sure you are completely numb and as calm as possible before they begin (if it is safe to do so) but hopefully with it being an ELCS this will be the case.
I had music and it was a lovely atmosphere in all of mine. I’ve found wverytime the staff really cannot so enough for you and are so caring and friendly they really help make the experience amazing.
My anesthetist spoke to me throughout and made sure I was comfortable and did his very best to keep me calm and DH was sat beside my head and held my hand throughout.
I had skin to skin with all my babies straight away and DH cut the cords.
You will absolutely love it. Try and just focus on meeting your baby, I know this is easier said than done! I have gotten nervous even on number 3, it’s natural!
Good luck, you will be amazing!!

Louise0701 Mon 04-May-20 21:47:38

Sorry, I didn’t find any books but I used the hypnobirthing apps and listened to them in the baths before bed for the last month or so. Maybe that’s something you could start tomorrow and just begin to try and imagine those first few moments. Meeting your baby, hearing and seeing them for the first time.

Sunshinegirl82 Mon 04-May-20 21:51:47

I had an emcs with DS1 and and elcs with DS2. It was a really positive experience to be honest, pretty controlled.

We went in early in the morning and were second on the list. I got shown to a bed on the ward and had a little nap!

When it was my turn we got changed and I walked down to theatre with DH. Once we were there it was a bit off at first because you are in a strange place but the staff were really friendly and talked us through everything.

I had the spinal which was fine, very calm and quick. They checked I was numb and the laid me down. Had a cannula in for drugs which was a bit sore but nothing terrible. They also put a catheter in because you are numb so can’t go to the toilet. It’s a bit odd but not painful.

Then they started the section, no pain, you feel a bit of tugging and pressure which is strange but it was fine. Anaesthetist talked to me throughout. At one point I felt a bit dizzy and told the anaesthetist who gave me something and I felt better pretty much straight away.

Baby out in less than 15 minutes I’d say. I saw him then they took him away to be checked and wrapped up and then he came back for cuddles with me and DH.

About 30 mins maybe to close up, all straightforward and then onto recovery with baby.

Few checks and you are allowed a drink of water. They keep an eye on you there for an hour or so then onto the ward again.

It’s a bit weird until you get the feeling back in your legs but that doesn’t take long. Obviously it’s quite sore for a few days but it you keep on top of your pain relief I didn’t find it too bad. I was back to pretty much normal and driving after 3 weeks.

I don’t really have anything bad to say about it as births go.

Good luck with it all!

Weathergirl1 Mon 04-May-20 21:58:15

Hi OP. Fellow tokophobe here who had an ELCS 6 months ago.

Would recommend the Positive Birth Book as well as the Hypnobirthing book (originally was contemplating birth centre before the C-section became medically necessary as I had PPROM & breech) as the latter have me really good breathing techniques that helped to calm me down ( I used then a lot for blood tests). The PBB has useful stuff in there even though it isn't solely about C-section - it's really good for helping you to feel empowered whatever the situation. The other book I'd recommend is 'why caesarean matters' as it explains what it's all about - really helped me to know what to expect.

The anaesthetist for mine was lovely and we requested using emla cream on my hand for the cannula and back for the spinal so I didn't feel them do anything. The worst part for me was walking into the operating theatre and seeing the table in the middle of the room, but my DH was great at keeping me calm and the medical staff were all really friendly and calming. I didn't feel anything apart from a bit of shoulder discomfort and the anaesthetist was right on that for me.

Afterwards it was ok, we were in recovery for longer than usual as post natal ward was full and they had to free up a bed for me, but feeling came back in my legs well before we left recovery. My only issue was caused on post natal ward when they forgot to give me pain meds on time overnight, but that shouldn't happen to you, and I was ok once that was sorted out.

Let me know if you have any specific questions (happy to be DMd) as there aren't that many of us tokophobes around!

Madratlady Mon 04-May-20 21:58:34

I’ve had 3 CS, the first 2 were emergency ones but my ELCS was a pretty positive experience. The spinal was not pleasant, not too painful once the local anaesthetic is in but it’s not a nice feeling. I don’t really remember the spinal from my first 2 cs as I was in awful pain for other reasons in both of those but in my elcs they had trouble getting it in, but once that was over it was fine, there’s a screen up so you can’t see what’s going on and it felt quite cosy, me and dh waiting to meet our baby. When she was born she was placed on me skin to skin and the midwife helped her find my breast and she latched on and I cuddled her until it was over.

twinmum2017 Mon 04-May-20 22:02:41

I was ok about mine (aside from having my babies prematurely) but did have a sudden moment of panic where I said to the lady by my head (not entirely sure who she was) 'what if I can feel it when they start cutting me?!' She smiled and said 'they've already started'
Honestly I had no idea - couldn't see or feel a thing.

I was quite shivery throughout which they said was a result of the epidural, but I felt fine.

The numbness is weird, and even more weird when it starts to come back, but again not unpleasant.

Getting up for the first time after was difficult, and I highly recommend taking straws for drinking because you won't want to have to use your muscles to sit up.

After a week or so I felt pretty normal.

IdblowJonSnow Mon 04-May-20 22:03:41

I was also very nervous on the day. Went in early (which seems to be standard?) so was over very quickly.
It was a pleasant experience actually, much better than the alternative (for me) loved meeting my baby who was very perky and seemed pleased to be out.
Staff were lovely, very reassuring and calming. They will have encountered many others who will have felt similarly.
Something else I would recommend is doing something really pleasant - if you can - the night before you go in to take your mind off it. We went out for some food. Obviously different times now but maybe a takeaway or a film you've seen before and will bring you comfort.
You'll be fine. Good luck.

BadBadBeans Mon 04-May-20 22:06:05

Hello! I was terrified of having a C-section (I am horrendous with blood and needles) but with my first I had to have a category 1 (danger to baby's life) emergency one after a failed induction. I was shaking like a leaf from all the hormones and was very worried about the spinal. They curled me up on my side for it and it was absolutely fine. The C-section itself was surreal - totally painless. I didn't even feel the pressure that everyone goes on about. Stitching up was fine - again, totally painless, and I was just cuddling my baby. I did vomit a lot in recovery and felt rather miserable, and ended up being given an anti-emetic. I recovered very well from the surgery.

For my second I chose to have an ELCS to avoid a repeat of birth number one. I was much more nervous this time as I had chance to get worked up about it! I was quite shivery and the surgeon commented that my lips were blue when he walked in as I was getting my spinal (sitting up this time)! But once I was lying down and numb I felt extremely calm and happy. The anaesthetist chatted away to me and was very reassuring. When my baby was born and they laid him on me, he went completely calm and quiet and it was beautiful.

You will do absolutely fine. Once it's going it's so surreal and painless that you can't really believe it's happening! Very best of luck xxxx

Dmt80 Mon 04-May-20 22:08:45

I have had two elcs due to anxiety of giving birth. Even reading about the stages of labour made my heart race with panic and fear. Choosing an elcs helped me feel a bit more in control. Yes I was still nervous as i have never had a major operation but somehow on the morning of the section I just went with it and after it, I realised I had nothing to worry about. Don't worry about the spinal as you won't feel anything, the anesthetic they give you prior to it is not sore - just like a "sharp scratch" when getting blood taken. The spinal does make you shake - my arms couldn't stop shaking, as though I was cold but it's the reaction to the spinal - perfectly normal. You are in safe hands and remember it's just another day at the office for the surgeon and their team.

When I tell people I chose to have a section for both of my babies, they look at me like I'm mad. I don't think people understand how thought consuming pregnancy and giving birth is when you suffer from anxiety or fear of giving birth vaginally.

itsallopticsanyway Mon 04-May-20 22:12:08

I had a horrible birth first time (natural, assisted in the end). So, for medical reasons related to this I had an ELCS for my second nearly two years ago and I was frightened beforehand.

I didn't need to be. It was overwhelmingly positive. I got there really early, was given a bed and told to wait until they called me which was not until lunchtime. Went through consent forms in the interim and the surgeon came to meet me.

Went down to theatre, walked myself in. Had the spinal which was probably the grimmest part but honestly it wasn't that bad it's just a bit weird having to sit still whilst they do it it's not mega painful. Just uncomfortable. Then they got me laid down put my gown up as a screen and got on with it. My daughter was born after maybe 10 minutes or so. Felt a bit weird, I couldn't feel any pain at all just rummaging. It was calm, and compared to my first birth, pretty pleasant! I held her and had skin to skin the whole time they were stitching me up.

Then wheeled back to recovery for a few hours, where they got me sat up and having something to eat after a while and was feeding baby too. On the ward and slowly on my feet (as in a few steps between the chair and bed) probably 6/7 hours after the birth. It was really quite sore for a couple of days afterward but I had morphine in hospital then was discharged with diclofenac which did the job until about a week post surgery. After that just paracetamol was fine.

Good recovery, no issues. I'd take ten of my ELCS's over one of my first births.

Good luck!

copenhagen99 Tue 05-May-20 13:26:46

Thanks everyone. I've read all these and am going to save the thread to read over again. It's been helpful to read.

@weathergirl how does the emla cream work- as in, can you just ask for that or was that a special thing you arranged in advance?

I'm still really worried about the spinal. Is there anything I can do to make that as easy as possible? sad

OP’s posts: |
Sunshinegirl82 Tue 05-May-20 13:36:08

What is it about the spinal you’re particularly worried about?

When I had my elective I had to go to hospital a week(ish) before the section date to have a pre op appointment and at that stage I met with the anaesthetist to discuss the procedure and allergies etc. I assume that’s fairly standard although they might do it by phone at the moment.

Perhaps if you discussed your concerns at that stage they could reassure you.

For what it’s worth I don’t really have much memory of the spinal so it can’t have been too bad! I certainly don’t have any particularly negative feelings about it.

Atalune Tue 05-May-20 13:39:13

I find listening to music with headphones on really helpful and helps me block out what’s happening. Could that be an option. I do this for the dentist and he tells me what he’s doing and gets consent then he does it. Then he will signal to me if he needs me to listen.

I find thAt eliminating the noise really helps me.

RenegadeMrs Tue 05-May-20 13:45:18

Try this book by Leigh East www.amazon.co.uk/Caesarean-Birth-Positive-Approach-Preparation/dp/0956848001?tag=mumsnetforu03-21

Honestly, all you are really required to do is attend! The doctors and nurses will take care of everything else smile I honestly don't remember feeling the spinal go in. Just curl forward and get your midwife to hold your hand/ talk to you and concentrate on how soon you will be able to see your beautiful new baby. Good luck xx

AcrobaticCardigan Tue 05-May-20 13:48:26

I had an emergency c-section - it was still an incredibly positive experience and I made an amazing recovery. I’d do it again in a heartbeat and will almost definitely elect next time.

TwoKidsStillStanding Tue 05-May-20 23:35:07

I had an EMCS after failed induction, and an ELCS earlier this year. Due to previous birth trauma from the first time, I was terrified of giving birth in all forms second time round but didn’t labour so had the section. It was actually a really positive experience!

Things that helped for me were making the staff aware just how scared I was - the staff were all brilliant but my midwife was particularly brilliant. She arranged for us to see the theatre area at the pre-op (and again on the day) and I would really recommend this as it wasn’t so traumatising on the day. They also used numbing cream for the cannula and it was barely painful.

Breathing exercises are good for staying calm, especially for the spinal. This isn’t painful - I felt two scratches and otherwise it’s just pushing. One of the assistants actually talked me through breathing for it, which helped. I also had my DP in theatre throughout so he could hold my hand for everything!

PM me if you want to talk - I honestly wasn’t sure how I would be able to go through with it second time but despite all the tears and panic, it is now actually a nice memory!

1300cakes Wed 06-May-20 02:12:53

I've had two and spinal was scary in thought but really wasn't bad at all. The pain of the needle for the local is the same as when you get blood taken from your arm or a vaccination for example, just feels like a scratch. You don't feel the rest.

allfurcoatnoknickers Thu 07-May-20 18:46:59

I was terrified of vagina birth, so much so I used to have panic attacks so bad I would vomit and nightmares. The baby tured out to be breech and I LOVED my planned c-section. Loved it. The most painful part was having the cannula put in my wrist. That hurt much more the the spinal, which didn't hurt at all.

If you've ever had dental anesthesia - where they give you the little shot, before they go in with the big needle, it feels like that.

Honestly, it was fab. I had no pain, was up and about within 24 hours and my scar healed in no time. It actually healed faster than the hole in my wrist from the sodding cannula. Had no problems breastfeeding on my end (baby had a tongue tie) and was overall recovered much faster than my relative who had a 3rd degree tear. 10/10 would c-section again. I bet if people knew how piss easy they were, everyone would want one grin.

Notlostjustexploring Thu 07-May-20 19:09:39

I've had 2. One emergency, one planned. For the planned one I was a bag of nerves beforehand, which is completely normal, really. They were all very nice. I think I said something about hating cannulas and without missing a beat I was given the local anaesthetic cream before. Think they did it on my back too. My recollection of spinal is that it feels like someone coating their thumb in Deep Heat and pushing it against your back. And as you can't see what is going on that helps!!

I think if you're nervous they may provide sedatives? I'm pretty sure some form of fantastic drug had been put in my IV during the emcs - I was having waaaaaay too much fun chatting to the theatre staff for someone that had been in labour two days!!

The reality of a planned section is that it's frankly a bit boring. I would have another section without hesitation.

AmandaHoldensLips Thu 07-May-20 19:12:40

Yes. Me too on tokophobia. C-section was fine. I chose to stay awake. You can choose to be knocked out, but it's better for the baby to stay awake.

There are LOTS of people with you during a c-section. It's very busy with lots going on, and you will have lots of support. It can be an amazing experience.

Weathergirl1 Wed 03-Jun-20 21:49:27

@copenhagen99 sorry just seen your reply (MN didn't alert me you'd tagged me and the thread wasn't showing in my threads 🙄).

Emla cream has to be out on about an hour or so before it's needed to work so we just requested it straight away when we rocked up at the hospital and I'd already mentioned it when I had the pre-op with the midwife a couple of days before so it was already in my notes. I had to be there for 11am for the afternoon list so there was plenty of time to get it applied before I needed the cannula out in and absolutely ages before I went to theatre for it to NB my back. It's basically like putting a blob of savlon on the area and then they cover it with a clear plaster to hold it in place.

TwoKidsStillStanding Wed 03-Jun-20 23:03:52

I forgot you asked for book recommendations- I’d recommend “Caesarean section - a positive approach to preparation and recovery” by Leigh East. I found it helpful.

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