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C section - what happens and practical tips for recovery

(42 Posts)
suntodayplease Fri 27-Sep-13 07:27:21

So I've seen plenty of c sections on OBEM and midwives but they only show the bit when they cut and take baby out. What happens before and after? Does the baby stay with you in theatre? Where does the baby go when you're in recovery?

Also can anyone share some practical tips on what to pack in your hospital bag and useful things to think about during the early days after to aid recovery.

I'm likely to have a section soon which I'm fine about but I have only recently found out and know very little about what it involves!
Thanks very much

JollySleepyGiant Wed 02-Oct-13 22:23:59

Do not, three weeks in, lift the toddler while carrying the baby in the sling. Bursting your scar is no fun.

Not that I would have done such a stupid thing. Oh no.

I had 4 doctors, 2 anaesthetists, 2 students, a midwife and 2 theatre nurses in theatre.

dottyaboutstripes Wed 02-Oct-13 22:23:17

I recommend peppermint oil capsules - I had horrendous pain from trapped wind

pinkr Wed 02-Oct-13 22:16:55

One thing I found was after when It stood up I had blood pouring out of me once or twice...scared me silly but the midwife said its just pooled whilst lying in need and quite normal. She weighed the towels and the first tine it was about 300ml. my vaginal blessing didn't settle for two Weeks although it was only heavy first three days but if I did too much out increased!

MrsKwazii Wed 02-Oct-13 20:30:40

When you get home, stick to wearing pjs if you can for a while to feel comfy, help if you're breastfeeding but most of all, to send the message to visitors that you are recovering from an operation - I think that people can forget that you've had major surgery and visitors can need visual cues to get their finger out and put the kettle on themselves.

Suzietwo Wed 02-Oct-13 19:58:26

I haved had two emcs and have two things to add to the very useful advice above.

1. Liquid morphine might make you sick. Don't panic if it does.
2. Be extremely aware of the possibility of infection. My first got infected and I had a very bad keloid scar as a result (am prone to them anyway). My second got extremely nastily infected internally and the pain was much wose than anything else I have felt. It took me a few days to get it properly diagnosed and by then it was quite bad. It took 3 months to be discharged from the district nurses.

If I have another I will request anti biotics as a matter of course.

suntodayplease Sun 29-Sep-13 22:51:49

This has been so useful, thanks for everyone's replies. I've picked up loads of tips and I'm a lot more aware of what may happen now. The info the consultant gave me was useful but focused mainly on the risks, and doesn't offer the practical advice I was really after. Hopefully others have picked up tips too.
Good luck to anyone else in a similar position!

Lozza70 Sun 29-Sep-13 21:57:17

I've had an EMCS and and ELCS. Preferred the ELCS, surgical stockings on and then walked through to the theatre where the anesthetist sited the epidural. That was pretty easy and it takes effect quickly. I had a really warm feeling in my feet and legs I remember but the anesthetist takes a lot of interest in how you are feeling. Apart from that the atmosphere in the theatre was really relaxed and the nurses etc. chatted with me while they were getting me ready. Once I was all set up my husband came in and sit by my head. The section seemed really quick but you do feel a little pushing as they deliver your baby. Once the baby is born the midwife will bring them over for you to see. Ask if you want some skin to skin. Then DH went with the midwife while Ds2 was weighed and dressed him and I was stitched up. Then I was wheeled into recovery and Ds was given to me to feed. The midwife then got me a cup of tea and a sandwich before I was wheeled up to the ward. There I was told to ring if I needed anything, they changed Ds2 nappy and passed him over to me if he was crying and needed a feed or soothing. The next morning once my catheter was removed I was out of bed and walking around. Everyone recovers differently but I was ready to go home in a couple of days.

I would take all the pain relief they give you and buy big knickers. You don't want to irritate your wound.

I was walking with the buggy 5 days after the section and out shopping 7 days later. Driving in a couple of weeks. But everyone if different on the recovery front. Just do NOT Hoover for 6 weeks. No twisting at the waist!

efeslight Sun 29-Sep-13 21:24:38

Yes, the struggle to go to the toilet after was one of the most painful memories... pressing gently on the whole area really helped, I think it just helped support the tissue and stopped it feeling like everything was going to burst

Tiredemma Sun 29-Sep-13 09:26:04

I had EMCS on the 7th september - I can only echo all the other practical advice on here.

The only thing that I would add would be that for my time in the theatre, getting prepped for delivery, the surgery and the immediate recovery, the staff were amazing and I can only describe this as literally feeling as if I was the most important person in the world at that point.

About 10 health care professionals all there to care for me and my baby- Im still sometimes overwhelmed at how they made me feel.

best of luck for your section.

also just as an aside- in terms of recovery i would imagine that everyone is very different but I actually found the physical recovery to be much better than the recovery after both vaginal births.

pudseypie Sat 28-Sep-13 22:50:42

Oh yes how could I forget the constipation? ! Didn't go for 6 days. Midwives gave me some peppermint to ease my tummy which helped a lot with cramps from that.

Northernexile Sat 28-Sep-13 22:38:45

Some great advice here! Did anyone up thread mention constipation? I suffered terribly due to the pain killers - lactulose became my friend,and I would definitely advise to keep up the fluid intake.

evelynj Sat 28-Sep-13 21:43:10

Havent read thread so apologies if repeating.

Do as little as poss for 3 weeks after min & then build up.

Lookninto cranial osteopaths near you for taking baby to.

Also get some infant probiotic .

Last 2 points are due to baby not getting good bacteria from birth canal & my baby had colic (poss completely unrelated to cs but was breech whole time) & cranial osteopath was total miracle.

Good luck!

Gooseysgirl Sat 28-Sep-13 20:50:31

Whoops posted too soon..

Drink loads of water after op, they wouldn't remove my cannula until I was producing adequate amounts of urine.

I also took arnica to help the scar heal... no idea if it really works but my scar healed beautifully and the community midwife asked me if I had used arnica when I had my check up.

Gooseysgirl Sat 28-Sep-13 20:47:47

M&S cotton Lycra humongous pants, two or three sizes bigger than you normally take.

Flip flops so you don't have to bend over to put on slippers, also double up as useful for shower room if the floors are skanky.

Shower gel in a bottle with a hook.

I found I couldn't hold DD for an hour after I came out of theatre as I got very shaky while the anaesthetic was wearing off, DH did skin to skin until I was ready to hold her.

During surgery I found it difficult to take deep breaths, my GORGEOUS anaesthetist reassured me that this was normal and due to the anaesthetic.

I drove 4 weeks after the op, car insurance company said the six weeks is just a guide and that it's ok to drive once you feel you could do an emergency stop safely.

Make sure you have good strong pain relief medication prescribed before you leave hospital. Paracetamol would definitely not have cut it for me!!!

Try to avoid any route driving home from hospital that has speed bumps and get your DP to drive slowly around roundabouts... I say this because my marriage nearly ended in divorce on that journey home, while DD was slumbering oblivious in her car seat I was screeching at my DH to slow down to 1MPH going over those fecking bumps...

Drink l

pudseypie Sat 28-Sep-13 20:36:26

Just remembered that while I was bed bound after the section I had the flight socks on but also electronic moon boots that massaged my calves to keep my legs blood flowing to prevent dvt. Had those on for 2 days until I was able to get out of bed. Not sure if they are normal or not? They were a bit noisy and irritating but I wasn't allowed to remove them, even if I could have sat up. (I had a bad emcs so won't elaborate any further)

TransatlanticCityGirl Sat 28-Sep-13 20:19:09

I had an EMCS. Before I went in they removed my polish from my finger nails (but it was fine to keep my toe nails polished). They asked me a bunch of questions about my medical history. I was told I could not keep the hairband in my hair as it had a metal bit on it - so suggest buying the ones without one. They also put some flight socks on me.

During the section, the anesthetic gives you the sensation of feeling cold so I was shivering quite a lot. Lots of pulling and tugging.

Afterwards, I think it took a couple of hours for the epidural to wear off. I was able to stand up as soon as I could feel my toes, and I wasn't in any pain at all. They kept bringing me rounds of drugs telling me to 'keep on top of the meds' but I honestly felt fine and sometimes forgot to take them.

They wanted to leave the catheter in for 24 hours, but after 4-6 hours I insisted that I was fine to use the loo and that it needs to be taken out now and they obliged, but asked me to pee in a bowl to prove that I was passing urine fine. Much better than having a catheter as it restricted my mobility too much and I kept tripping over it every time I went for a walk.

I was told to keep the flight socks on which I found uncomfortable. Best to have slippers rather than flip flops for this reason.

I insisted on being discharged after 2 days as I wasn't getting any sleep in the shared rooms.

When I got home I was careful about obvious things - e.g. not lifting the buggy into the car boot, not picking up my 9 months old nephew etc. But apart from that I was fine and normal. Walked to the shopping centre with baby in buggy for groceries 3 days after delivery (husband carried the groceries home), and we live one the 3rd story of a flat with no lift and I was fine to carry DD up and down no problem.

By two weeks after delivery I was almost completely back to my old self. My niece was in town visiting and we did tons of sightseeing over the next 6 weeks. She of course helped me with any heavy lifting until nearer her departure.

mikkii Sat 28-Sep-13 17:26:03

Pingulingo, yes, I felt very sick so they gave me something, it was because my blood pressure suddenly plummeted, but I felt it before the machines registered it.

Big pants have to be the main thing.

I had an elcs with DC2 and an emcs with DC3. With DC2, they sent DH and the baby out of the operating theatre as they were a bit worried, but DH stayed with the baby.

With DC3, she was put into a warmer in the theatre for about 10 minutes, but didn't leave us.

There can be lots of people. With DC3 we had 3 anaesthetists and 3 midwives, aediatricians plus assorted others. It was busy, but despite being an emcs there was till a really nice atmosphere. It turned out the (male) midwife assigned to the baby was from near my husband's home town in Spain so we had multilingual banter going on.

Laquila Sat 28-Sep-13 17:05:48

pudsey that's a good point - it felt as though there were about 25 people in the room when I was in theatre, but in reality it was probably no more than 7 or 8

pingulingo Sat 28-Sep-13 10:55:36

I've had two c-sections and the anesthetists were amazing both times and they have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves.

So if you feel a bit sick, faint or panicky (my first EMCS got a bit tricky) then they just tweak what drugs they are giving you - so do tell your anesthetist if you do feel a bit wonky in any way.

pudseypie Sat 28-Sep-13 07:52:32

Other things I remember from my emcs that I'm not sure have been mentioned or not are that there are a lot of people in the room. My ds was initially shown to me then checked by paediatricians before going back to the room with dh where they had 1.5 hours skin to skin contact before I came out of theatre. As well as the catheter I had a drain in which they took both out about 48 hours later but I think it's normally quicker than that but I had a couple of issues. Loose clothing and big knickers definitely what you need afterwards! Wish I'd been told earlier but someone told me weeks after to stick a sanitary pad onto the inside top / waistband of my knickers to provide some cushioning against the scar whilst it's sore.

Tinyflutterby Sat 28-Sep-13 06:30:00

It's good to read other people's experiences so thank you for that. I had a c section 2 years ago and as it wasn't planned it was really all a bit of a blur and I don't remember much other than being in shock and feeling like I hadn't given birth for ages afterwards. I am currently 31 weeks pregnant and having an ELCS in November, so it's been very useful to read all the tips. Things I do remember from last time were also:

normal pants rubbed my scar, so I'll be packing granny pants

the beds only had sheets and I was freezing during the night, so I'll be taking a blanket

the pillows were incredibly thin and plasticky, so I'll be taking a couple of my own

I found recovery difficult, however I do have a chronic condition also, so am currently looking at ways of help around the house as I have a 2 year old to look after this time too! If anyone has any tips on this I'd appreciate it as I don't have family nearby and not sure how I'm going to manage.

dodil Fri 27-Sep-13 18:38:27

This may seem silly but what I was so glad of after my c section was my rechargeable GTECH cordless electronic sweeper! You are not allowed to use a vacuum cleaner for six weeks after the operation but I could easily whip round with this lightweight sweeper. It was great for the early days back at home when lots of friends and relatives visited (and left crumbs!). That was 3 years ago and it is still going strong today - great for quick clear ups in between proper vacuuming.

The other things I would recommend have already been mentioned such as big pants - I bought packs of five cotton high waist ones from M&S. I found the disposable maternity pants from Mothercare - well, pants! They were not nice at all - very thin, transparent and papery

The pain was very manageable with the painkillers I got from the hospital. What was more annoying was the wound itching when it was healing - but that did not last too long.

I went in on the Tuesday, had the c section at 11.45am and was home by Thursday afternoon. I was up showering on my own on the Wednesday morning and had lots of visitors that day so time passed very quickly.

I found the whole experience very civilised and quite calm - it was a planned C section.

Try not to worry, it all happens quick quickly and you really don't notice what the doctors/nurses are doing to you after they put your lovely new baby in your arms.

Best of luck,

suntodayplease Fri 27-Sep-13 11:42:46

Thank you Show, I hadn't seen that thread. Brilliant. Glad to read so many positive stories.

Peacenquiet2 Fri 27-Sep-13 11:37:20

Ahhh, that explains it. Its honestly somthing i never had a clue happened after a c section. Thanks for the info ladies.

VioletHunter Fri 27-Sep-13 11:24:59

Yep, they clean you up down below once they've finished stitching. With that and the catheter there's no more dignity involved in a cs than in a vb! It's to lower risk of infection in the womb/incision.

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