Elective C section after traumatic first birth

(26 Posts)
UnicornAndSparkles Wed 21-Oct-20 19:21:55

Is anyone contemplating a c section after a traumatic first birth?

First birth was 3y ago for me. Baby was stuck and hospital mismanagement meant I was pushing for 7h before any intervention. Then I had ALL the intervention before baby arrived with forceps. Would have been an emergency section had she not. Baby was then in ICU for a week having suffered head injury. Recovery was difficult and I was in pain for months from the episiotomy and internal brusing. Sex was non existent for the first year. I was told I was incredibly lucky not to have a prolapse. All this after my "planned" water birth at the birth centre. Pah.

This time around I'm considering a c section, entirely bc of what happened before. This will be my last baby.

Has anyone been in the same boat and would share their experience?

OP’s posts: |
Anyat212 Wed 21-Oct-20 20:43:54


I'm in the same boat as you, I'm having an election c section after my traumatic birth. I can't imagine pushing for 7 hours, you must have been exhausted. Did you have a debrief meeting after your birth? I had one and it helped me. Also, Did you have to "fight" much for an elective c section? I had a brief call with the consultant the other day (as I'm high risk) and she understood my concerns and said if I still want a c section at 32 weeks she will book me in. I was prepared with loads of notes to go through if she tried to talk me out of it but she didn't.

There's just no way I could do a vaginal birth again either. My DD is 18 months now and I had a terrible pregnancy with HG. Then developed pre eclampsia at 38 weeks and was induced shortly after. I reacted quickly with the pessary and was up all night in agony and was only 2cm. I had an epidural in the morning as they were going to break my waters and everything just started going wrong. I laboured very quickly (one plus of pre eclampsia) but the Contractions were so strong they were crushing the baby, almost a c section but was suddenly at 10cm already, she was born with forceps, I had a cut and had a 2nd degree tear, 1.2 litre blood loss and a retained placenta - which was removed manually. I developed sepsis so there was a baby doctor waiting to check over my baby as soon as she was born. Luckily she was fine but they treated her while waiting for the results. I don't remember much but I do remember it just being my DP and midwife to several midwifes, doctors and consultants all staring at the end of the bed!

So I do understand how you feel and this is my last baby as well. How far along are you?

Anoisagusaris Wed 21-Oct-20 20:46:52

Third degree tear on first baby, 2 planned csections for subsequent babies. I asked my consultant about the possibility of one, and she agreed it was the best option. No regrets.

readyforroundtwo Wed 21-Oct-20 20:50:30

Hi Op,
I also had a terrible first Labour but I did end up with an EMCS!
I was basically in early labour for 2 days, turned up at hospital with mec in my waters, had a raging temperature and high blood pressure, baby was back to back and every contraction I was projectile vomiting all over myself. I ended up getting to 9.5cm about 14 hours after arriving at the hospital, but baby was getting distressed and they decided to intervene. I actually haemorrhaged during the c section and lost 2 units of blood so ended up having a transfusion. However, despite the blood loss I would 1 million percent consider an elective section. About 5 days after my son was born I was readmitted to hospital with a nasty infection in my uterus, caused by the mec in my waters. My son was worth every bit of it, but like you I have HUGE anxiety about labour.

lookingatthings Wed 21-Oct-20 20:55:55

Hi op,not me but friend who had an elective on Tuesday. Her first was very traumatic,baby came out shoulder first, got stuck, she tore badly. Forceps were used. It terrified her. At 32 weeks she asked for a C-section and was booked in almost immediately.

DancingLady Wed 21-Oct-20 21:02:25

Hi, I did exactly this. Very traumatic first birth and lots of interventions. Back labour, forceps, blood transfusion (me), tear and episiotomy. Second baby born 5 years later via elective section. Best decision and honestly it was an easier recovery than the 'natural' birth. No regrets. Doctors did try to talk me out of it. If this happens to you, stand firm. It was honestly a much calmer, better birth than the chaotic first one. I had very bad PND after my first, in part due to the awful birth, and that was one factor that made me want more control over the second birth. Good luck whatever you decide.

Cantbutwill Wed 21-Oct-20 21:05:19

First was a very long labour which ended in forceps, long recovery. Opted for an elective with my second. I was never once pressured into not having one, a few specialists even said they can totally understand why I wouldn’t want to go natural again. The experience was calm and controlled. I would absolutely do the same again for number 3. Yes, after the section it’s painful but a different kind of pain and discomfort from the forceps. I took it easy and recovered well with no issues. I would say compared to a ‘straightforward’ natural birth the section is a long(ish) painful recovery but compared to a troublesome intervened birth it’s a good option.


Ferrylass Wed 21-Oct-20 21:09:39

I had an elective section three weeks ago after a traumatic birth with my first baby five years ago.
Like you I was pushing for hours and ended up with an episiotomy and forceps, recovery was awful.
I would absolutely opt for a section. Mines was so relaxed, staff were lovely and completely put me at ease.
I was sore for the first 4-5 days but it was well managed with the painkillers, worst bit was getting up out of bed. After 4 days I was able to go for a short walk and now three weeks later I'm completely back to normal! 😊

Willow4987 Wed 21-Oct-20 21:16:10

Hi OP! I had almost exactly they first birth as you but without the injuries to the baby. Although I was (and still am) suffering the after effects of that birth which was one of the reasons why I wanted the ELCS

I chose an ELCS for DS2 and it was hands down the best experience. In hospital for 24 hours, recovery was so much easier and felt much more like myself after 5 days. I was on pain meds (just paracetamol and ibuprofen) for 2 weeks and that’s it.

Make sure you take peppermint oil tablets straight after the ELCS and for a few days after. Trust me the gas pain in your shoulder is worse than the actual CS

Get c section knickers to help the air get to the wound and keep it clean and dry. I used to dry mine with the hairdryer on the cool setting

kiwiblue Wed 21-Oct-20 21:22:33

Hi OP, I was in a similar position to you but I actually decided not to go for the elective section. Doctors made it clear it was entirely my choice though.

My first labour was quick, third degree tear and 1.1L blood loss. I decided to go for a natural birth second time around and was very very nervous about it. Terrified really! I went into the birth centre and talked it through with the senior midwife so I knew how it would be handled. In the end it couldn't have gone better, straightforward delivery and basically no tearing. It was so different not being in pain after, in fact I felt totally normal, I couldn't believe it. There is no right or wrong decision, just what you feel comfortable with. Just thought I'd share as I don't tend to hear as much from others who decided against the c section. Wishing you the best of luck flowers

Itsalwayssunnyupnorth Wed 21-Oct-20 21:48:29

OP I had nearly exactly the same experience as you my DC also ended up in SCBU due to facial nerve palsy from the forceps and needed help with breathing as needed resus at birth (fortunately no lasting damage). I had number 2 3 months ago via elective section and it was a breeze in comparison! I booked my section at 12 weeks as I couldn’t face the idea of ‘natural’ labour and my consultant agreed that it was best mentally and physically for me (high chance of shoulder dystocia again).
I was in hospital for 8 days after DC1 as I had a subsequent PPH and sepsis so I was on IVs and baby was in special care for a week too. Following my ELCS with DC2 I was up and about later the same day and home the next morning. Personally I felt the ELCS was much less painful and I walked around ikea and the supermarket on day 4- I was still catheterised and could barley stand straight at this point with my first. I had a long discussion with my MW and consultant about my first birth when booking my section and I really feel they took everything on board and went out of their way on the day of my section to give me a positive birth experience. For me an ELCS after a traumatic first birth was both physically and mentally the right thing and I am really happy I went for it and had such a positive experience! Good luck flowers

FizzingWhizzbee123 Thu 22-Oct-20 18:21:44

Have you talked to your birth choices team? I was referred to a consultant midwife who was wonderful.

I had a horrid first labour which was induced. Similar to story above, reacted very strongly to the pessary and ended up with hours of painful contractions, ending with an episiotomy which took a year to heal. Add two awful HG pregnancies and various other complications on top and I was freaking out about labour this time around.

I was considering an ELCS and it was offered to me as an option. However, talking everything through helped me to identify that I needed two things 1. Support for early and effective pain relief 2. More control. We have managed to come up with two action plans for vaginal labour which I feel comfortable with. Talking it over was a huge help. I didn’t feel like I had to fight for anything, I felt listened to and supported. If I’d have wanted the ELCS at the end of the talk, I could have had it. Having a proper talk about it might help you identify all the options and then you can decide which you want.

MuckleMadMoose Thu 22-Oct-20 19:04:47

Just to add my experience too. With DS1 I ended up with a 3rd degree test, rushed to theatre to stitch up, lost a lot of blood. Tear took 2.5 years to heal. DS1 ended up in SCBU with a brain bleed, which then caused cerebral palsy and Epilepsy so has life long disabilities due to his birth injury.

I was ready to fight for my c section with DS2 but the consultant agreed with me. Was such a calm experience and was able to go home 2 days later with my baby in tow (DS1 was in hospital for 2 weeks). I was recovered within 4 weeks. The experiences were like a night and day.

I'm now pregnant with DD1 and will be having a C section again and happy about that as my first section was so calm and much better experience than my vaginal delivery.

I wish you luck with which ever way you decide to go. smileflowers

MichelleOR84 Fri 23-Oct-20 17:06:36

My DS got stuck during delivery ( shoulder dystocia) last year . Personally I didn’t find it traumatic but I was offered a c section for my current pregnancy . I declined as they were happy to let me deliver vaginally but the option was there for me . I am currently 36 weeks hoping for a successful vagina like birth . I’m sure in your case you will be given options .

MichelleOR84 Fri 23-Oct-20 17:09:44

hoping for a successful vagina like birth 🤣🤣🤣

I meant that I want a vagina birth !

TristanFarnon Fri 23-Oct-20 17:21:31

Hi, yes, this was my experience.

My first birth was horrifying. Through no one's fault, I went into labour out of the blue at 24 weeks and fought to stop it as I knew it was too early. My little boy arrived and lived for two weeks. I was left with PTSD.

I went on to have two further children via elective section purely on maternal mental health grounds. They were calm, peaceful and tremendously healing. It's not the right call for everyone, and I understand how powerful having a vaginal birth must be as well, but i was very content with the outcome on all fronts.

I'm sorry you had such a hard beginning. I was 'lucky' in that all my trauma was mental. Please speak to your care team about your concerns. If it's what you decide you want, they should be able to help you. I was prepared to fight for mine, but after seeing my notes they allowed it without question.

Take care of yourself, happy to answer any questions if you think it will help x

PopsicleHustler Fri 23-Oct-20 20:04:51

Pushing for 7 hours before anyone intervened. ....
That is horrendous op.

My 4th baby born 2018 was stuck. They called on the doctor to examine me and then I needed to go for a wee. The walk to the toilet and back helped push her back into the birthing canal, can you believe.

I'm expecting number 5 due In january. And I wouldn't consider an elective c section only in absolute emergencies

aToadOnTheWhole Fri 23-Oct-20 22:01:01

Slightly different but I had a long,. protracted, non progressing labour which ended in semi elective c-section. (Wasn't classes an emergency because DS wasn't stressed)

I chose maternity care based on which hospital I wanted to give birth in because of being able to have a section, made it clear at booking in that I wanted an ELCS, had a consultant appointment at 15+4 and had my section booked in there and then.

No messing about or trying to persuade me otherwise, just given the statistics for all eventualities and then my percentage probability of a vaginal birth with intervention, which wasn't favourable.

colouringindoors Fri 23-Oct-20 22:04:29

Hi had an ELCS after a hugely traumatic birth with dd1, forceps, 4th degree tear, ptsd.

I cannot recommend an ELCS enough. Calm, predictable, loads of skin to skin. No problem breastfeeding after. An altogether very positive experience.

Best wishes.

UnicornAndSparkles Sat 24-Oct-20 16:00:39

Thanks everyone for your supportive messages. I think an elective c is the right thing for me this time around. I've downloaded the NICE guidelines and have a debrief regarding my first birth with a consultant in a few weeks time, where I'll be requesting an ELCS. I avoided the debrief until now (3 years on) but did have some therapy when baby was a year old. I honestly didn't think I'd be having another baby and didn't want to go back over it all again.

Thanks again for all your messages. Really, really useful.

OP’s posts: |
LittleTiger007 Sat 24-Oct-20 16:36:52

I am so sorry to hear of your experience @UnicornAndSparkles. I haven’t had a baby yet (2 pregnancies, currently at 10 wks) but I can speak of my sister’s experiences. She had a hideous first birth just as you describe. The labour went on for 36 hrs with many hours of pushing and the baby’s head getting stuck. With every contraction it was getting its tiny skull bashed against her pelvic bone. In the end they finally did an emergency c section. Both her and her child nearly lost their lives. It was a nightmare for all concerned. Baby was brain damaged.
Anyway, she finally plucked the courage to get pregnant again four years on and decided upon an elective caesarean. The hospital were lovely, it was all so peaceful and wonderful after the nightmare of 4 years previously. Her baby was handed to her, she wasn’t exhausted, he wasn’t stressed. He remained with her and she simply couldn’t believe the two experiences could have been so very different.
Given your experience, I would 100% recommend the c section route. (Obv follow medical advice as c sections have their own risks and recovery times) good luck Unicorn

UnicornAndSparkles Sat 24-Oct-20 16:42:18

Thanks @LittleTiger007, what a horrific experience your sister had, im so sorry.

I think we were lucky not to come away with lasting damage; by hour 6 of pushing i was begging for a c section but was told baby was too low and to push her back up would cause us both lasting damage.

Im still angry the hospital left us for so long. My pregnancy midwife (who called me after the birth, having seen my notes) was horrified and suggested I take legal action. I haven't, and won't, but clearly something went badly wrong.

OP’s posts: |
LittleTiger007 Mon 26-Oct-20 08:56:21

I’m so sorry for what you went through. In the same way the midwife told my sister to take legal action, only to then withdraw that comment when threatened with her job. They circle the wagons and you have to be prepared for a battle. On the flip side you need to mention all of this so that they absolutely do all that they can to make this next birth smooth sailing and incident free. Fortunately these tale of hideous births are unusual. I’m sure this next experience will be as different as night and day when compared to your first one. Good luck

iloveyoubutilovememore Mon 26-Oct-20 09:16:58

@UnicornAndSparkles - I also had a traumatic birth with my son which sadly resulted in me developing postnatal depression. I strongly believe it triggered something in me and immediately after he was born I didn't feel right.

Like you I feel I wasn't listened to. I begged and pleaded for a caesarean as labour had gone on for too long. My baby just wasn't coming, however the professionals in the room were telling me I was progressing well (mum was down that end looking and said it was nonsense). I wish I had been firmer, but I guess as a first time mum I wasn't confident enough.

Will also be opting for elective section with my second (due in May) and can't help but feel it will be a healing experience. Do you feel the same? Also, have a look on youtube at natural/gentle caesareans, they're beautiful x

LittleTiger007 Mon 26-Oct-20 11:37:22

It absolutely was a healing experience for my sister, I believe you are right there @iloveyoubutilovememore good luck with everything. I’m due in May too x

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