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Elective C-Sections.......

(35 Posts)
Snailsmummy Tue 20-Sep-11 09:17:27


I just wondered if there was anyone who has had an elective c-section and what their experiences were?

I'm due in about 4 weeks time, and I opted to have one as with my first pregnancy which was in 2009 I had a 3rd degree tear. Although I had no long term damage afterwards, I was concerned about the size of this baby as my little girl was 9lb 14. I had a meeting with my consultant and was told that obviously they could not predict whether or not I would tear again this time, but my chances were greater this time if I did happen to tear again that I could possibly become incontinent, I didn't want this as I'm only 25 so I opted for an elective, I don't plan on having anymore children after this baby.

I just wondered what peoples experiences were, I hear all sorts of horror story's and I'm completely expecting it not to be a smooth ride after baby is out with recovery but I just wondered how you felt on the day you went in, how long it takes, the sensation, and roughly how soon your mobile?

Thank You x

hubbahubster Tue 20-Sep-11 09:33:46

There are lots of threads on MN about CS, and it seems that ELCS are generally easier to cope with than EMCS.

I had an ELCS due to low placenta nine weeks ago today and found it fine. The bad bits - I was on the table and ready to go when an emergency came in, so I was wheeled back to recovery for two hours while that took priority. I was so nervous that I just wanted it over with! I felt incredibly nauseous during the hour it took to stitch me back up once DS was out. And I almost passed out when I stood up for the first time after my catheter was taken out. The good bits - DS was out safe and well in five minutes. The set delivery date meant that we were prepared and DH could book an extra week's holiday after his PL as he knew I'd need help. The painkillers were magic and I hardly felt any discomfort. The nurses on the ward are more than happy to run around for you - use that buzzer! I was out of hospital in two days and walking round Tesco quite happily with four day old DS over my shoulder!

This is just my experience, but honestly, any form of childbirth has a certain amount of pain and brutality - and while almost all of my mates who had VBs have horror stories to tell, I feel that I got off really lightly. I was able to lift DS straightaway, my scar is small and neat and I didn't get any infections. And the care I received was excellent. Good luck!

kblu Tue 20-Sep-11 09:41:38

Not the same but I had a crash EMCS with my lo under a GA and my scar is pretty big and I remember the first three or four days being the worst. I found it difficult to stand up straight and was pretty sore to be honest, also the day after having it I had terrible terrible trapped wind and was in so much pain that the gave me liquid morphine. I remember I had no shame letting out the loudest farts in hospital even when I had visitors ha ha!

However, that aside after that I healed really really quickly and felt fab after just a week. I was up about about walking around and doing everything i'd done before I had the baby.
It hasn't put me off having another C section but obviously after any major surgery you are going to be pretty sore for a little while.

icravecheese Tue 20-Sep-11 09:42:30

so glad someone started this thread - snailsmummy your situation sounds identical to mine, only I'm having an ELCS in 2wks for my 3rd birth after suffering two 3rd degree tears with my previous babies (was offered ELCS after my 1st 3rd degree tear but was convinced it was highly unlikely to happen again so went for another vaginal... unfortunately it did happen again! So I think you're wise to go for ELCS this time).

I've read a recent thread on here about c-sections & started thinking OMG & cr&pping myself with some of the stories!!

If you don't mind me butting in on this thread.... hubbahubster - how long did you have a catheter in for after the section? How did you control blood loss /lochia with a catheter in? Did you just have to sit on an inco pad in bed until catheter was removed? Probably seem insignificant Q's, just want to get up and about as soon as poss really.....

Will watch thread with interest! GOod luck with your section snailsmummy.

hubbahubster Tue 20-Sep-11 10:18:24

Icravecheese I delivered at 12.31pm on Tues and had the catheter out the next morning, I think about 7am. I thought the catheter would bother me but honestly, I was pleased it was there! I was numb from the epidural for a long time and obviously I didn't fancy having to go to the loo with the wound right away. The nurses checked my bleeding regularly, I think they put a pad between my legs. Once I was mobile I dealt with it myself, but I wasn't a mess so they must have kept me pretty clean. By Weds afternoon I was ready to go home and I was discharged Thurs morning once DS was feeding well and they were happy with both of us. The lochia slowed to almost nothing within a week too, I guess the surgeon clears out most of it when you deliver, which is another CS bonus!

HandsOffOurLand Tue 20-Sep-11 10:20:01

I had an ELCS following hideous vaginal delivery with DC1. ELCS was absolutely brilliant (relatively speaking).

CBear6 Tue 20-Sep-11 10:23:20

I had my second baby by caesarean last week. It was class as an emergency caesarean because baby was breech, I was 40+3, and had labour signs but I wasn't actually in labour so the process for elective caesareans was followed.

I was really nervous but I had gone in expecting an ECV (where they turn the baby) and instead ended up booked for a same-day section. I think if I'd had longer to deal with it I'd have been less nervous, even though I had nerves I was still fairly calm.

The surgeon came down to maternity assessment to do the consent forms with me, she explained everything including what would happen and the risks, etc and let me ask any questions I had or tell her any concerns. Once I'd done those forms they got me to change into a gown and surgical stockings (sexy!), take an antacid tablet, and I had to wash off my make-up too (so they can keep an eye on skin tone).

The anaesthetist came along next to put a canola in my hand and discuss the anaesthetic and what she would be doing, she asked a load of safety questions and ran through the risks and the consent forms again.

Finally the theatre midwife came along and introduced herself. She explained that she'd be looking after me and the baby in theatre and in recovery until we transferred to the post-natal ward.

After that we walked down to theatre (remember to take a dressing gown because the hospital gowns are backless!). DH changed into scrubs and some very fetching rubber clogs while the surgical team introduced themselves to me and ran through the consent form again - they must have checked about five times that I was aware of what I had signed, they even checked again right before they started. The walk down to theatre is awful because you know what's waiting at the end of it but the team were lovely and because they're used to nerves they're very good at putting people at ease.

Once in theatre they did a local and then the spinal. The local stung but the spinal just felt like the anaesthetist pressing on my lower back, didn't hurt at all and I got to hold hands with the rather lovely student doctor while she was doing it. The spinal was weird, they helped me lie down as soon as it kicked in and it felt like warm water spreading down my legs - I thought I'd pee'd myself (but hadn't). It was a bit freaky once it fully took effect as I was immobile from the boobs down, very disorientating, plus they tilt the bed and shuffle you round. I got a bit antsy so they dumped some anti-anxiety stuff and anti-sickness stuff in my IV and I felt instantly better.

They pin a curtain up and then it feels like more tugging and pulling. They block the pain but can't block sensation, it felt like the baby kicking but harder and rougher, I thought they were still positioning me until I heard crying - I didn't even know they'd started. They held DD round the curtains for us to see then checked her, wrapped her, and brought her back. I got a quick kiss and thblen DH held her while they stitched me. It took 40 minutes to close up but I didn't feel it and was too busy looking at DD. The anaesthetist chats throughout, like a hairdresser in scrubs with drugs, to gauge your wellbeing from your responses. She put a load of antibiotics in my IV and a painkiller just as the surgery ended.

I was moved to recovery afterwards, I was on a fluids drip with a catheter in too. In recovery they undid the top of my gown, stripped DD, and chucked her inside it for some skin-to-skin and I was able to BF. They sat me up gradually, bit by bit every 20 minutes or so, and once the spinal had worn off as far as my hips (they check using the cold spray) I was allowed a drink of water. Once I could wiggle my toes I was moved to the post-natal ward but had to stay in bed as I was still numb despite the movement. I had the section at 11am and was in bed with the catheter and drip until 7am next morning when they removed both and helpe me stand up. I got a shower a few hours later. I went home after two nights (on Friday), the MW came out and removed the dressing on Saturday, and I'm getting external stitch removed today.

It hasn't been a picnic and I was very down about it to begin with but I think that was more because I didn't plan for a section. Things are better now, I'm still sore but every day it's a little less, I'm hoping when this stitch comes out it'll pinch less.

The most important thing is to remember to take the painkillers, there's no medals for being brave and once the pain takes a grip it's hard to get back on top of it so pain management is key.

Also take some lactulose or fibogel and eat plenty of fibre foods to make the first poop easier, last thing you want is to strain.

Big pants are a must and by big I mean biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig. I got wrong off the MW because I had bought big knickers but not big enough so DH was packed off to Matalan for half a dozen belly-button warmers.

Stock some peppermint tea or peppermint cordial, you won't believe the trapped wind afterwards - it's common to have shoulder pain due to it too. The MW recommended half a co-codomol dissolved in a cup of peppermint cordial and warm water and it really does work.

Take a comfortable nightie for when they help you change out of the gown on the post-natal ward. I felt like deep fried crap, knackered and sore, but having a favourite comfy nightie and some fluffy socks to put over my stockings was a nice little comfort and made me feel a bit better, ditto having a nice smelling shower gel for my shower the next day.

ThePosieParker Tue 20-Sep-11 10:25:03

The one piece of advice I can give is to take plenty of flannels and if your birth partner doesn't have long nails some to scratch with, the itching when the morphine wears off is incredible. Also take vaseline for your nose, which you will scratch yourself. Make a nice CD, take cards/books just in case you don't go in until late. Take it easier than you think you can cope with, the pain of over doing it is awful.

You walk into theatre and they prep you, sort out your spinal (going into shakey shock is normal or not uncommon), you lie back, big green screen, when you feel the push on your tummy expect to see your baby). You can film the whole thing, take photos and feed your baby in recovery.

I have had four sections, last two elcs. Good luck. And don't drive for six weeks.

ThePosieParker Tue 20-Sep-11 10:26:09

Don't bother with paper pants, get some huge things form somewhere like BHS! Comfortable nightwear yy.

featherbag Tue 20-Sep-11 11:00:24

Thanks to the thread starter and the other posters, I'm having an ELCS in about 8 weeks and I'm really looking forward to meeting my baby! Can't say I'm particularly nervous about the CS, just want it over with but I hate hate hate not knowing what's comeing so appreciate all the info on here!

icravecheese Tue 20-Sep-11 11:29:29

wow, these posts are FAB, thanks so much - especially cbear6 and hubbahubster. Sorry for hijacking your thread snailsmummy, but thanks so much for starting it! Now starting to feel slightly less nervous about baby's mode of delivery smile

hubbahubster Tue 20-Sep-11 12:28:24

Yes to the peppermint tea - the gas is ongoing as your body heals. I had no external stitches, so didn't even have that to worry about! And yes again to taking it very easy. Feet up, plenty of fluids smile

ThePosieParker Tue 20-Sep-11 12:34:38

Oh yes, peppermint tea!! Extra pillows and a feeding pillow are very helpful. You may be constipated too, go easy on lactolose as you can't get out of bed quicklyblush.

ThePosieParker Tue 20-Sep-11 12:35:24

CBear6.....from Newcastle with your 'got wrong'?!!

CBear6 Tue 20-Sep-11 13:18:00

PosieParker, yup smile

Definitely take it easier than you think you can handle, I've done nothing but mooch round the house in my PJs since I came home on Friday.

For the lochia I was sat on what I call a puppy pad for the first night, those big absorbent house-training sheets, with two maternity pads between my legs. The MWs changed them regularly and kept me clean, I thought I'd be embarrassed by it but really it was so far down on my list of what was happening that I just wasn't bothered.

I got the bead snipped off today and the prolene stitch/string taken out. I can report that it stings a little as the string comes out but nothing unbearable, no worse than peeling off a plaster. It feels much better without it, it had gone really tight. The wound still stings at either side but that could just be the two holes where the string was, it's far less pinchy and sharp though so things really do start to improve at day 6.

roonilwazlib Tue 20-Sep-11 13:28:11

I had exactly the same situation as you OP. I asked if they could guarantee no bowel incontinence as I have always had looser bowels than most. Consultant said he couldn't.

I found ELCS easier to cope with for a couple of reasons. One, that I was on the ward where the care was better and I stayed in longer. Two, that I was expecting to take it easy with the cs but had no reference for the tear and how horrid and painful it was. Everyone expected me to just be able to get on with it but I found cs much better for recovery. Finally, I was petrified of it happeneing again that I think I would have freaked out during labour and may have ended up tearing or needing some kind of intervention.

There are bad/sad stories in all ways. Trust your gut.

mrsrvc Tue 20-Sep-11 13:45:52

I had an ELCS with DS2 and it was fabulous. The whole experience was very calm and seemed to be over very quickly.
CBear has gone into great detail about the procedure so I shan't repeat as my experience was pretty similar.
Take care of your self afterwards and take it as easy as you can and you should recover quickly and well. I over did it after a week and went to the allotment with dh ( no digging!! ) and gave myself a bit of an internal bleed from my scar. Nothing to worry about, but made me remember that I'd just had major surgery!
BIG pants a definate, and a breast feeding pillow to protect your scar when lo feeds, (toddler jumps on you....)
Good luck.

Snailsmummy Wed 21-Sep-11 15:08:39

Thank you to all who have replied, I am feeling a lot, lot better now about going in to have my c-sec, i was incredibly nervous as I think its just that feeling of the unknown again isn't it but I feel better now, can't imagine what the tugging will feel like though when they get him out? I'm sure as soon as I see him, all will be forgotten!

Catsycat Wed 21-Sep-11 15:35:46

Do ask if they can remove lots of the lochia during the op - I've had 2 EMCS at different hospitals, and the first time, they didn't swab anything much out, so when I stood up there was this huge gush, and I fainted because I'm very embarrassingly squeamish!! Second time, they did swab me out, and when I first stood up, there was no gush (and there I was bracing myself for it).

Had forgotten about the awful wind!!! Must remember to pack something for that next time - I'm sure I must have looked more pg than before the delivery, I was so uncomfortable! I remember telling this rather nice registrar that I had terrible wind, and him saying it was a good sign that my bowel was working.

I'd also say as soon as you and the mws feel you are able, ask to get out of bed and start moving around. I found this really helped me to recover more quickly second time round. First time, they were very busy, and no-one had time ( angry ) to help me get up until about 30 hours after the op. Once I was up, I started to feel like myself again. Second time, I was down in the day room making myself a cup of tea, about 10 hours after they finished the op.

Don't be afraid to ask the mws to help you wash and get you water to clean your teeth. First time, no-one offered to do this except to clean me up right after the birth. Second time, they were really nice, offering to help me as much as I needed. Once you're up and about, obviously it's not a problem.

If you are having a hard time and need the mws to take the baby for a little bit at night, do ring and ask them if they can. Having an hours sleep while the mw looks after your LO at the nurses station can really make you feel more human.

The tugging is very weird but not painful IME. Mostly it just felt like someone touching my abdomen from the outside, then just a few seconds of tugging. Seeing the baby does just take over from then on. I remember both my DDs starting to cry, and it sounding really, really far away, and asking DH "is that ours?" (like there were any other babies being delivered in the OT at that moment!!!).

Good luck, and enjoy your baby!

FRowlands Wed 21-Sep-11 16:19:51

Thanks so much for starting this thread. I'm having an ELCS 6 weeks tomorrow and it's my first baby. I've ben desperately researching things to get an idea of what to expect and was starting to worry about little things like the lochia etc. It's just good to read other people's stories. It really helps me have an idea what to expect - and the tips like the peppermint cordial. Cheers everyone!!

xkatyx Wed 21-Sep-11 19:43:03

Hi everyone fab thread! I'm having twins in roughly 10 weeks ish and this will my my first c- section. I have had 3 natural labours before.

I'm so scared, I have been reading all c-section threads
My worst fear is bleeding too much, anyone had this any put mind at ease that it's not they bad sad

Also after all labours you rest and when u get up there is a huge Gush .. Do you get that? It must be awful laying down all that time I would freak out thinking I'm bleeding to death! So so scared.

mrsrvc Wed 21-Sep-11 19:51:36

That was my biggest fear about having the c section as I am fair and apparently "a bleeder".. I did bleed a fair bit (more than they like)- I lost 1.5 litres as the placenta didn't want to come away.

I think the dangerous bit of bleeding is during the op when they are getting everything to contract, get the placenta out etc.

They gave me an extra long time on the drip to make sure everything contracted properly. Discuss your concerns with your consultant and the aneathetist pre- op and they will let you know what their standard practices are. If you bled badly after your VB's they may even have blood matched to your type on standby.

I have already discussed this as a concern with my consultant this time and she says that she will make sure all precautions are in place.

I was fine though otherwise, didn't even particularly need iron tablets. ( they always give them to me as I am so pale though as a precaution..

xkatyx Wed 21-Sep-11 19:55:41

Thank u so much.

Stupidly enough never had a problem with bleeding, I have very heavy periods usually so to me that's what the after bleed was like (apart from the first get up when it all just goes in a gush)

hubbahubster Thu 22-Sep-11 10:57:42

I had an anterior placenta, so because the surgeon had to cut through it I lost 2.22 litres of blood. It was no problem - I just stayed in recovery for three hours to get extra fluids, and I was put on iron tablets. Didn't need a transfusion. And at least with a section the surgeon can make sure the whole placenta is out. A friend of mine had a VB and had a nightmare with retained placenta, so I was grateful not to have a similar experience!

icravecheese Thu 22-Sep-11 11:41:51

Peppermint tea bags duly packed, also now prepared for large gush of blood when I stand up....shock

Hubbahubster - is that what happens when you have an anterior placenta? I have anterior this time, & it was low but has apparently now moved up high. BUt I did wonder about how they cut through that before getting to baby.....I assume they will read my notes & know it is anterior? Of course they will, I'm just being paranoid....only 15 days to go so nerves starting to kick in slightly, even though this thread has massively reassured me!

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