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can anyone offer encouraging experiences of planned c-section?

(43 Posts)
fluppy Fri 27-May-05 20:56:34

I think I will need to have a planned section if I decide to have another child and the thought terrifies me. I am worried about the experience of surgery and the prolonged recovery with what seems to be an exhaustive list of complications. Also, after a traumatic delivery and a poor surgical repair first time around (see below), my husband and I find it hard to trust anyone with this sort of major surgery. Can anyone help?

The background to this:
After some nasty third degree tearing during an emergency forceps delivery (baby 'stuck' and in distress), I have needed further surgery to re-cut and stitch (sorry!) the repair, and am still (9 months on) seeing a consultant about some minor urinary incontinence. Advice about whether a subsequent vaginal delivery could lead to tearing/double incontinence has been very variable, but the excellent uro-gynae consultant I am seeing says a normal delivery would be possible 'if it is very well controlled to avoid tearing'. My last delivery was truly awful and anything BUT controlled (midwife refused to examine me despite my explaining family history of fast labour - instead tried to send me home and then disappeared never to return; although my husband kept going out and asking for gas and air it took 1h 45mins before anyone even CAME IN to the room, which was only 15mins before I started pushing etc.etc.). So I don't feel I could trust anyone to oversee my labour, and that leaves me with a planned c-section which terrifies me. HELP!

mouseman Fri 27-May-05 21:06:22

Hi, I had a planned section with dd. I can honestly say that it was Ok - I was calm, felt in control and was aware of what was going on. I stayed awake, had dd given (almost) straight to me and could breast feed at once. The recovery was longer than most vaginal births but was very straight forward as there was no labour exhaustion or damage to put right - 5 or 6 days after having her I walked the pram 20 mins walk to the town centre and looked around the shops. I just couldn't drive.I may be having to have another when I have my baby in December and whilst it is not ideal, it certainly doesn't fill me with horror. I hope all goes well for you.

NotQuiteCockney Fri 27-May-05 21:13:57

I had a planned section with DS1. We did have some problems as a result, but it was certainly easier than what you went through!

With a planned section, you can organise childcare for your other child, which is quite a relief.

If you decide to go ahead, I think you should probably wait a little while, anyway, to make sure everything's healed, even if you're going to have a planned section - I think pregnancy is hard on the pelvic floor, no matter how you deliver, so best to let it heal quite a bit.

Also, there's a middle ground between really hurried sections, and elective - my second baby was an emergency section, as my waters broke, but his head wouldn't engage, putting us at risk of a cord prolapse. We calmly went to theatre at 6am, the hospital was quiet and lovely, and things went much better, at least partly (I think) because he was fully cooked and ready to come out.

Then again, with a history of fast labours, that middle ground might be a bit too narrow for comfort.

fluppy Fri 27-May-05 21:14:17

Thanks for your reply. Because I suffered quite a few complications in those early days, I couldn't walk more than a few paces for at least a week, so your recovery from a section actually sounds speedier than mine! How long did it take before you could drive? And how much help would I need to arrange in terms of household stuff (am mum to two stepsons as well as baby)? Are we talking total grandparent support for a fortnight? A month?

Appreciate your help.

Janh Fri 27-May-05 21:18:21

fluppy, from everything I've read on here I think an emergency cs following a disastrous attempt at vaginal delivery is the worst possible experience and that an elective cs is heavenly by comparison.

I have only had electives - 4 of them! - and apart from the 2nd, which had to be under GA, they were all as pleasant as a surgical procedure can be. It's lovely to have a predicted delivery date, all the medical staff concerned have always been brilliant, and the worst bit for me has always just been the initial getting up and moving around after the spinal has worn off.

mouseman Fri 27-May-05 21:18:44

I had dh at home for 2 weeks but I was in hospital for 1 week and then he was frantically finishing off the decorating. My mum then came to stay for about 5 days.I must point out though that this was my first baby - no toddlers to look after.I think that it was about 6 weeks before i was allowed to drive - i felt OK but was told that the insurance would be invalid before that - apparantly the GP has to sign you off as fit to drive but can't just incase you have to stop quickly and the seatbelt could damage the scar area.

fluppy Fri 27-May-05 21:18:46

And thanks for your reply too - NotQuiteCockney. So it was quite a relaxed affair? Part of the idea of the horror of surgery comes from the sheer panic of trying to get the baby out in time with at least 12 onlookers whose faces said it all. And because it was all such an emergency, we probably got to see a lot more gore than people usually do.

fruitful Fri 27-May-05 21:19:19

My first baby was a planned cs (well, planned the day before, but before I went into labour). It was a lovely calm experience. You're in the hands of the surgical team who are totally focussed on you and because you're not in labour they aren't rushed - different from having to share midwives with too many other people! I breastfed dd in the recovery room. There are things I wanted to do differently the second time - I wanted photos of the birth, I wanted to hold the baby straight away, because it took me a long time to feel as though the baby I took home was the same as the one that grew inside me. The birth was so calm and detached it sort of felt like it hadn't happened.

Recovery varies widely but you can drive 3-4 weeks afterwards. Main problem for me with my second cs was not being able to pick up my 3yo for about a month (though some people don't have a problem with that). Obviously you cannot hoover for at least a year .

When was your baby born? Have you asked the hospital for counselling/ a chance to talk through the birth with someone?

Planning a Good Caesarean

NotQuiteCockney Fri 27-May-05 21:20:04

I think I was totally back to normal after 6 weeks (well, as near as you can be to normal with a baby to look after), I was up and about a bit after 2 weeks, and reasonably active at 4. It's best to take it as easy as you can in the early days, so you heal faster.

NotQuiteCockney Fri 27-May-05 21:23:15

Oh, both my sections were reasonably relaxed and calm - the second ("emergency") more so than the first ("elective").

But my first went wrong in a couple of ways - the waters hadn't broken, and i was huge, so couldn't breathe on the operating table, and went a bit blue. Because I couldn't breathe, I rejected the oxygen mask. Also, whenever i have an epidural, my blood pressure drops and I go woozy, and the first anaesthetist wasn't as good as the second at spotting this quickly and sorting it.

Well, it also helped that, the second time around, I totally knew what was going on, and was ready. Throughout the anasthetic, I kept chatting and chatting about everything, as you just don't know what's relevant ... when the epidural was going in, I had a funny feeling down one leg ... turned out that was it going in funny. During the second c-section, I remember saying "My mouth is a bit dry. And if that's my worst complaint, we're doing great."

fruitful Fri 27-May-05 21:24:50

Just seen your question about how much help you need. With dd (first baby) dh went back to work after 2 weeks and that was fine (didn't do any housework for months tho ...). With ds it would have been harder because of looking after my toddler too. But ds needed to be in hospital for 2 weeks so MIL looked after dd until I came home and then dh took 2 weeks off. Probably could have coped after 1 though (ie 3 weeks after the birth). I'd trained dd to climb in and out of her carseat etc. How old are your stepsons - will they be able to lift your toddler for you?

fluppy Fri 27-May-05 21:26:24

Ironically, fruitful, I am a psychologist! I did suffer some PTSD symptoms, but I'm getting a hold on that now. The hospital have sent a written apology for the 'lack of care'. Blamed staffing problems.

fluppy Fri 27-May-05 21:29:41

That's a good point. They're 14 and 11, so they're a big help with their baby brother and I'm sure they'd rise to the occasion with another sibling.

Janh Fri 27-May-05 21:32:14

fluppy, when I had my 4th the others were 11, 8 and nearly 5 and they were incredibly helpful, at 14 and 11 your SSs should make a huge difference.

fluppy Fri 27-May-05 21:38:59

Thanks all. Have to sign off now: noise from the boys' sleepover is about to raise the roof so parental intervention required...

I'll be going to bed tonight feeling a lot more positive about all this. Thanks.

Prufrock Fri 27-May-05 21:50:02

fluppy. I had an emergency c-section after failed induction first time, and a planned one 2nd time. I was v. lucky in that my medical insurance covered the second on, so I got amazing post natal care, but even without going private I found recovery wasn't that bad at all.
I was up and walking within 16 hours. In fact 2nd time round I got told of by a nurse for skipping down the corridor on my 3rd day post op, and I only took painkillers for 3 days. I came home form hospital after 4 nights both times and was pretty much back to normal - I couldn't hoover or lift really heavy things, but I could easily lift my 2 year old. I had to lever myself up and down into chairs, but by the time dh went back to work when ds was 2 weeks old I was managing dya to day stuff fine, and was even doing the 15 minute each way walk to take dd to nursery - pushing her in a buggy with ds in a sling.

The actual surgery was fine, a very controlled experience. The worst part was the epidural - like NQC I react badly and threw up about 5 times whilst being operated on - not a pleasant experience when you are lying down and have no control over your body below chest height.

jampots Fri 27-May-05 21:53:30

fluppy - my first child was born by emergency c/s after a traumatic labour and it took forever to recover from it. However my second child was born by elective c/s and whilst I didnt relish the thought of surgery my recovery was much quicker/easier by comparison. It is a completely different experience and hopefully you will feel calm and confident on the day. Can you ask to meet the team as it were - I did this and felt they all knew me which made me more relaxed.

jampots Fri 27-May-05 21:54:50

prufrock - your story is the same as mine and yes I threw up too! When I told the anaesthetist I felt sick he kindly explained they'd just moved my stomach out of hte way! [bleugh] and handed me a bowl!

Twiglett Fri 27-May-05 21:58:16

fluppy I've had 2 planned sections and tbh it is a very controlled and easy process

In terms of prolonged recover - I stayed in hospital for 5 days with DS / 3 days with DD, I was back on my feet within a day though with both and the pain was manageable, no problems breast feeding at all with either of them


vickiyumyum Fri 27-May-05 21:59:52

i had a planned c-section for ds2 and thought that it was fine! obviously not the choice for all but i was ok with the decision, after having had an emergency c/s for ds1 the elective was a piece of cake!
i had c/s at 9.30 in the morning and was up and about by the afternoon. i think tht its all in the mind, if you think that you will feel like c**p then you will, whereas if you go in with positive thinking that you will be fine, pain relief is avaliable so no need to suffer, just take all the help that is offered to you when you get home as it will be a couple of weeks before you are fully active again.

sizeofahouse Fri 27-May-05 22:11:19

Fluppy, I had a elective five weeks ago. My first was an emergency section because ds got stuck after a long home birth that never happened, as my uterus kind of popped so had to have a section this time. Its fine. Surreal for sure. You go into a bright room with lots of people and come out with your baby, but its not about the experience I guess but having a baby born safely for of course for babe and mum. The midwifes and anaethestist (sp??) were wonderful, so kind and funny. My recovery was excellent, I went home in two days but I totally over did it, and set myself back. After the first section I lay around for four weeks while dh did all, with this one I was pushing the pushchair, lifting my toddler and being mad really, so that's set me back a little but I'm five weeks, feeling pretty good and enjoying my dd so much, who is beautiful. If its the safest thing for you both, go for it. The baby was 39 weeks so fully cooked, I missed the process of labouring - its a preparation for the beginning of the journey but having my dd with me feeding for the first twelve hours gave us lots of time to get to know each other. But, I was so scared at the thought of labouring when I got pregnant, the danger of losing the baby that when I settled in my mind for an elective I felt so much better.

ionesmum Fri 27-May-05 22:12:33

fluppy, I had one emergency under a GA and one planned and the planned one was really easy by comparison. I felt very in control, and was up and around the next day, and bfeeding has been a dream. I used the site that Fruitful has given a link to and wrote a birth plan, and even though I literally met the mwives on duty as I went through to theatre they really did all they could to stick to it, even ignoring the consultant doing the section!

The most important things for me were that the baby was given to us still covered in vernix; that dh could find the baby's sex; that she was wrapped in a blanket that I'd slept with so it smelt of me; and that we had skin-to-skin in recovery. I'd seen sections on tv that looked awful but the reality was really beautiful.

highlander Sat 28-May-05 00:57:29

I had a CS by maternal request and it was wonderful; everything I could have hoped for. I made a birth plan and the nurses assured me when I arrived in theatre that they had all read it.

My theatre was lovely and small, the staff were a scream and I was allowed to hold DS for as long as I wanted. I sent him off with DS to get weighed etc and by the time I got back to the ward the midwives were 'done' with him and we weren't separated at all after that. There was a gap of 4 hours before he was BF and he latched on striaght away. And stayed there for the next few months !

I delivered at 8:45am and I was standing up at 4pm, going to the loo by myself to change my pads at 7pm.

The first night was hard - get your DH to stay with you to do the nappy changes and help you feed, as you won't feel like getting out of bed.

Keep your catheter in o/n and really go mad with fluids - it will really help with your first bowel movement (I had mine the next day no probs).

Take your own Ibuprofen and Paracetamol and take the maxiumum dose for 3 days.

Keep moving - it's a bit frightening as you're convinced you're going to bust open, but movement is the key to rapid healing!

Shower every day to keep that wound clean.

Walking was totally fine for me. Twisting (turning in bed) was uncomfortable for 2 weeks. I have full feeling around my wound and absolutely no pain or discomfort.

Umm, think that's it! Make a birth plan - the staff aren't mind readers (I think that's my top tip).

desperatehousewife Sat 28-May-05 07:33:09

highlander - great advice! How did you manage to keep your husband with you the first night? I remember after my emergency c-section the hardest thing I have ever had to endure was my DH being sent home and me being left to cope on my own.

nutcracker Sat 28-May-05 09:36:16

I have had 2 elective and one emergency section.

1st was elective because Dd was breech. The section was done at 38 weeks and I had no probs what so ever, apart from being sick a couiple of times as they stitched me up.

2nd was the emergency one. I was due to be booked in for an elective section as baby was breech again but I went into labour at 34 weeks. A scan revealed baby was no longer breech and I was told I could try for a normal delivery. However, an hour later Dd's heart rate was dissapearing with each contraction and i hadn't dilated at all so I had a semi emergency section.
Again everything was fine.

3rd was an elective at a different hospital. Again it was briliant. Only annoying bit was that I was starving all day as I didn't get to theatre until 1.30 pm.

My recovery time seems to have got less with each section too.

I would have no qualms about having another section.

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