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Please help re catheter for c section (poss sensitive/trigger)

(45 Posts)
HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:06:13

I have chosen to have a c section due to past abuse. I was terrified that a vaginal birth would be triggering and traumatic due to the vaginal examinations, the loss of control and the exposure of the pushing stage if that makes sense.

My concern re the csection now is the catheter. I can't cope with the idea of them doing it when I'm numb. I need to know what they are doing. Also the idea of being so exposed and having it done in theatre with lots of people around is filling me with dread. I have been so anxious about it, I'm making myself ill.

I want to ask to have it done before I go down to theatre hopefully with only one midwife present. Is there anyone who knows if this will be possible? I need to know that if I freak out, there will be time to calm down before my baby is born. I desperately need it to be separate from my baby's birth. I know it will be physically uncomfortable/painful but I can deal with that.

Is there anyone who has had a catheter fitted and could explain to me step by step what happens so I can try and prepare myself a bit? Will I be able to ask to be covered with a sheet to stop me feeling so exposed and vulnerable?

I'm having signs that labour is approaching and this issue is stopping me from being excited about it. I'm falling apart to be honest because I don't know how to cope with it. Any help/advice you can give me would be very gratefully received.

VivaLeThrustBadger Thu 26-Sep-13 15:11:14

Yes, you can ask your midwife to do it before theatre. It's not something be been asked to do before but I'd do it if asked.

What happens is, quick wipe down with some water and cotton wool. Labia parted slightly to see where the catheter needs to go. Catheter inserted, there's a little valve in the tubing and some water is squirted into the valve which inflates a little balloon in the tubing to keep it in place.

You can definitely have a sheet over you while its done. Even in theatre I put a sheet over the woman's stomach so she feels less exposed. However in reality there are more people milling about in theatre and even with a sheet over your abdomen there's a limit to how much you're covered. So ask to get it done beforehand.

Good luck.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:14:41

Thank you so much. How long does it take? Will I have to lay with legs apart for very long?

I just don't really know how to cope with it and just keep crying when I think about it. Bringing my baby into the world isn't supposed to be like this.

VinegarDrinker Thu 26-Sep-13 15:17:34

You can absolutely ask for it to be done before you go to theatre.

However you should know, if you are worried about being exposed in theatre, that at the end of the op it is usual to part the woman's legs and clean the vagina out with swabs (some places also offer a painkilling suppository at this stage).

Have you had a chance to speak to whoever will be operating?

It really should easily take less than two minutes. Once it is in, it will not be obvious, unless it gets bumped about.
Good luck xx

VinegarDrinker Thu 26-Sep-13 15:18:18

Meant to say, I am sure adjustments can be made, but better to discuss it in advance if possible.

I found once I was numb, apart fron sensations around my stomach area, I did not have a clue what was going on down below.
You will be far too occupied with your baby, to worry about your nether regions.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:21:37

I've got an appointment next week to meet the anesthesiologist so will ask questions then. Can I ask them not to do the swabbing in theatre? Or not at all? How essential is it? I can't deal with them doing things like that while I'm numb, I need to know what they are doing.

BlackberrySeason Thu 26-Sep-13 15:23:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JuliaScurr Thu 26-Sep-13 15:24:38

I have had UTI every single time I've had a catheter. Make sure you have anti-b prescription beforehand in case you get UTI.

best wishes

fuckwittery Thu 26-Sep-13 15:26:38

I had a morphine suppository inserted too..... I think you could ask for an injection or morphine drip instead.
Maggie, I think its the people doing things to the OP that she is unaware of that is a v sensitive trigger. Whilst they can tell you what they are doing, I see no reason why the clean out and the suppository if you choose to have it cant be done privately by a midwife out of theatre or on the ward. You dont have to consent to the clean out at all, I'd ask about risks if you dont have it xx

VioletHunter Thu 26-Sep-13 15:32:18

I was given the choice of having my catheter inserted on the ward in private before the op, or in theatre where it would be numb but obviously people are around. I chose to have it in theatre but it would have been fine to choose the ward.

You are quite exposed during a section though op. They lift your gown up to your chest, although they do cover you with drapes, and as a pp said at the end they swab you down below (you have to do this to prevent infection) and insert a painkilling suppository. You could refuse that I guess. I think it would be very difficult to avoid being exposed at all, although they do try to keep your dignity preserved as much as possible.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:32:21

Thank you fuckwittery, I can't find any information about it online so I will have to ask them about the risks. I think i can cope with it being done privately in recovery/ on the ward if it needs to be done, but the idea of it being done in theatre when I can't even see what they are doing and all those people around is terrifying.

Thank you so much for all replies.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:36:51

Violet - I have a mental health team involved and they have written up a plan in which it requests that I am covered at all times unless medically necessary. I know there will be points where I will be exposed, but I'm hoping to not have to have legs apart or touched there in theatre. Is that realistic if I can arrange to have the swabs done afterwards?

ExitPursuedByADragon Thu 26-Sep-13 15:39:55

I had a catheter put in when being induced and it was just a bloody relief to empty my bladder to be honest. In theatre you will be numb from the waist down and won't have a clue what is going on with your bits.

I hope you manage to get some reassurance.

Good luck.

VioletHunter Thu 26-Sep-13 15:41:18

You'd have to ask your surgeon I think. What if you were still in theatre, but everyone left the room for a moment apart from the person doing the swabbing? At that point they've taken the drapes down so you can see what they're doing, although you are still numb.

valiumredhead Thu 26-Sep-13 15:44:26

I had mine done about an hour before I went down to theatre-it was so quick I want sure it had been done.

Good luckthanks

valiumredhead Thu 26-Sep-13 15:45:46

I'm pretty sure I didn't have a pain killing suppository.

valiumredhead Thu 26-Sep-13 15:48:56

Oh and just to reassure you,I had a while team for me and another for ds who was prem in the theatre, it was pretty crowded. At no point did I feel undignified or I didn't know what was happening. They talked me through everything they were doing.

hellymelly Thu 26-Sep-13 15:50:28

I had some issues around being examined, interference etc, probably not as bad as yours , but enough to make me frightened. I would have been really unaware of what they were doing, as I couldn't see or feel it, but the Surgeon talked me through each step and asked my permission for things and was very respectful and kind. The second c-section I knew what was happening so didn't have the running commentary, and in fact I think it would have been fine first time without it. I can't remember when they put the catheter in, I just remember them coming out, but I do know I didn't feel it and that having it taken out is a two second tug, no pain, not invasive.
The legs apart bit in theatre wasn't all that long, they mopped up some blood, they put in a morphine suppository, it was quite fast. The stitching was the bit that took longest and that was legs closed obv. They have to lift and move your leg as you can't, which frightened me, but they did ask me and it was about as good as it could be really. I had my babies in UCH and the team each time were really great.
Someone will come and wash your vulva at some point after surgery. (you are bleeding onto a pad thing on the bed, or at least I was) That I did not like as the midwife told me she didn't like doing it and hadn't done it often before, (!!) and she asked me to do it myself, which I somehow managed to have a go at, lying on my back! I imagine you could either ask for this not to be done, have your partner do it, or have a wipe there when the catheter is taken out.
I understand how you are feeling, but the baby is such a big focus that it does help you shut off from the scary bits even though that is hard to imagine now. You will get through it and be fine, especially with a well briefed and sensitive team.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:53:13

Violet - that would be better if they can't do it away from theatre afterwards.

Valium - thank you that is really reassuring.

I am really glad I started this thread as I will be able to ask about all these things now. Thank you all so much.

originalpiratematerial Thu 26-Sep-13 15:53:26

It's a long time ago now for me, but I had to have a catheter for all three of my deliveries (vaginal) as for some strange reason I just could not pee whilst in strong labour. First time around, I was appalled at the suggestion of a catheter and kept refusing but eventually it got so uncomfortable and the midwife could see my bladder bulging so I had no choice really. It was FINE - took seconds to insert, wasn't uncomfortable, and once it was in I really didn't notice it.

All the very best for your birth and I hope it goes really well.

springlamb Thu 26-Sep-13 15:53:45

I too had issues regarding what was being done, although for very different reasons. I met with the midwifery staff a week before my C-section and we were able to work out a plan. We also did a walk-through of all the places I would be on the day - ante-natal ward, theatre, recovery, and then the (single) room where baby and I would then be taken. They were very good.
On the day, I had my partner by my head and a midwife standing sort of at chest level where she could see both sides of the screen. She was tasked with telling me exactly what was being done, who was doing it. The surgeon was very good too and kept up a running commentary of what he was doing all the way through.
If they have agreed to the C-section for psychological reasons, then they are sure to be responsive to any other requests you have for the same reasons. Try to make sure everyone around understands there are issues.
After my first C-section, I ended up with PTSD, my 2nd (7 years later, with baby an unplanned blessing) was a walk in the park!

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:57:23

Helly - thank you that's very helpful. I would rather clean myself up so will speak to them about that too. I really hope I will just be able to focus on my baby and that will help me cope, but it's really helping to hear what will happen so I can feel more prepared. Thank you.

HeffalumpTheFlump Thu 26-Sep-13 15:59:00

Thanks original and spring.

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