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First birth 44hrs vaginal & very ill baby. Should I have a caesar this time?

(15 Posts)
Sibongile Mon 25-Aug-08 11:11:15

I had a very traumatic birth when DD was born 5 years ago. Labour lasted 44 hours, I developed an infection about 30 hours in, and DD was born unable to breathe because she had pneumonia. This was a direct cause of being left to labour for so long with waters broken. DD went straight to intensive care and we both had to stay in hospital for 10 days. Breastfeeding was difficult because she was connected to so many tubes and machines, including a nasal feeding tube. She also had jaundice. My own recovery was slow - it took 4 months after the birth before I could walk without pain.

That's my story in a nutshell. I'm now pregnant again and thinking - how much worse could a Caesar be, and in fact won't it be much better? All the reasons people give for why vaginal is better than Caesar - well all those bad things happened during my vaginal and much worse. I'm interested in hearing from people who have had both elective Caesar and vaginal birth - what were your experiences?

HeadFairy Mon 25-Aug-08 11:28:06

I haven't had a vaginal birth, so I can't tell you about that, but I have had an elective cs. My experience was fine. I wasn't exhausted by a long labour so the first day with my ds was really special. I walked in to theatre with dh, sat on the op table while they prepped me, put in lines and spinal block. When they started the op, ds was born within 5mins. I was able to hold him despite being totally numb from the bottom of my ribs down. I didn't notice anything afterwards while they were stitching me up, I just gazed at ds with a silly grin on my face. It took about 30 mins to be stitched up, then I was wheeled to recovery, where ds latched on and had his first bf. I had absolutely no pain at all, didn't really even need the pain killers they gave me. I was stiff the next day when I tried to walk, and I did walk very gingerly, but by the end of day 2 I was moving as though I'd never had anything done. Bending down was a little trickier, but no pain, just a little gingerly that's all. My milk came through on the second day and we've had no problems bfing since. I had a tiny infection, just a bit of redness around my scar, so I had 5 days of a/bs, but to be honest, it was no biggie for me. I was walking totally normally within a week, I was driving within 2 weeks.

I'm making no comments about which method of delivery is better, I'm just saying that a cs doesn't have to be as bad as some people make out.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 25-Aug-08 11:40:51

Message withdrawn

tiggerlovestobounce Mon 25-Aug-08 11:51:21

I've had both types of birth, though I didnt have a choice about the CS.
If you have managed to get a baby out vaginally once chances are it will be a lot quicker and easier a second time.

What happened to you sounds horrible, and worse I think that the average section. I think that an uncomplicated vaginal birth would be far better than a section though.

Would it be possible to speak to the team looking after you and try and put some limits on how things should progress - maybe try and agree on a reasonable timescale for a labour and see if they would agree to do a section if things werent progressing as they should? Then that would give you confidence that things should be OK, but give you the best chance of getting the baby out with least trauma to you both.

Doobydoo Mon 25-Aug-08 12:02:18

I have had a vaginal birth,an emergency section and an elective section.
I wanted a n elcs after my horrendous VB,but was told to see how I go...so they ended up giving me an emergency section !I felt extremely anxious about having a vaginal birth the 2nd time which is why I requested the section. and which is why there was no problem having an elcs for my 3rd!
I felt nervous having my elcs,but that is prob normal.My recovery was fine but you will need someone around to help you out for as long as you think you need it.and I was so relieved that everything was ok.
Good luck with whatever you decide.Obviously everyone has different experiences which I am sure they will share.

HeadFairy Mon 25-Aug-08 15:43:44

I must admit I took tons of arnica so that may have helped.

rainbowdays Mon 25-Aug-08 17:38:04

Just wanted to put another viewpoint, my first birth was very long and ended up with distressed baby, not as traumatic as you but, but I still was not looking forward to birth of my second baby, but the dc2 arrived in just 2.5 hours!, it was altogether a totally different experience.

Just in the same way that no two pregnancies are the same, no two births are the same. I would say to think about letting things happen naturally, but having it clear with the midwives etc, that you do not feel comfortable with x,y or z and if that happens then you wish to proceed to a c-section. This might include things like if your waters go a long time before birth etc. But obviously you have to do what you feel is best for you too. I hope that you get support whatever your decision.

MrsMattie Mon 25-Aug-08 17:44:12

Hi there. I had a c-section first time around and am opting for a VBAC this time (hopefully), so I'm not experienced enough to comment in any great detail on your dilemma.

Just wanted to say, though - I'm so sorry you had such an awful time of it first time around. I also found my first birth traumatic, for very different reasons, and I know how it can confuse you and make you fearful and uncertain when gearing up to do it for a second time.

An elective c-section, if all goes well, is quite a clam, straightforward procedure (mine was sort of elective - I didn't want it, but an induction failed, so was advised to have it...), but recovery times differ drastically for different people. I know there are some people here who were up and about within a week or two. For me, although there were no complications, I healed well and there was nothing actually wrong with me - I didn't feel well for 6 months afterwards, which is why I'm trying for a VBAC this time.

Second vaginal births are often much quicker and more straightforward, too, it's worth remembering.

However, what you really need sis a sympathetic midwife and/or consultant who will debrief your first birth properly with you and discuss all your options.

Good luck x

mrsboogie Mon 25-Aug-08 18:24:42

Sibongile I totally understand how you feel. My first labour lasted for well over 48 hrs and in the end they had to beak the waters, I hadn't been able to keep food or water down for 5 days so was weak and exhausted and had an epidural in so couldn't really push. The baby was born distressed but luckily because the waters hadn't broken until the end no infection like you.

I am due to give birth in a couple of weeks and am dreading a similar scenario - I know that seocnd births are meant tobe faster but mine was a very long time ago.

I would love to have an elective cs but I feel bad for asking as I know vaginal is best and cs carry their own risks.

Doobydoo Mon 25-Aug-08 18:43:31

Oh,and should have said.A friend of mine had hideous VB with 1st.Then emergency section with 2nd and then a homebirth in a pool with her 3rd!So it prob depends on your mind set AS TO WHETHER YOU GIVE IT A GO OR OPT FOR AN ELCS.gOOD LUCK AND i HOPE ALL GOES WELL[SMILE]

PortAndLemon Mon 25-Aug-08 19:03:21

Was the only underlying problem with your first how long the first stage took? If so, is there a reason (baby's position?) that it took so long? It's worth reviewing your birth notes to find out.

If so, then the chances are that that wouldn't happen again. My experience wasn't as bad as yours, but I did end up with a 40-hour labpur with broken waters, multiple doses of IV antibiotics, and an eventual emergency c-section first time. Second time (VBAC), about five and a quarter hours from first "ooh, was that a contraction?" to holding DD. I did establish before going for the VBAC that the reason for the problems first time round had been that DS was in an asynclitic position, which was very unlikely to happen again.

Sibongile Mon 25-Aug-08 19:10:26

Hi all,

Thanks for all the responses, it's so interesting to read about all the different experiences. I think one thing I've noticed from everyone I've spoken to about Caesars, is that the people who didn't mind having a Caesar often had a physically better outcome than those who felt having a Caesar = some kind of failure. I'm not saying that's the case for everyone, just a general observation.

I think with the first birth I would definitely have felt like a failure if I'd had a Caesar, because there was an attitude that you're not All Woman if you don't give birth vaginally, certainly from the women around me... but knowing what I know now, I sure wouldn't feel the same this time round.

I feel very lucky not to be on the NHS this time... I am in South Africa and have private health care, it is a whole different world. Had my first consultation with the gynae last week, which lasted almost an hour! No midwives here. My gynae is very level-headed and lovely and basically said, let's see how the pregnancy goes and how you feel closer to the time. She also said that letting a woman labour for 2 days is disgraceful - if the birth doesn't happen within 8 hours you should consider other options. Couldn't agree more, and I'm sure mrsboogie would also agree. (Good luck with your 2nd btw, hope it goes a lot faster!)

Sibongile Mon 25-Aug-08 19:15:06

PortAndLemon first stage took 43 hours and 40 minutes, 2nd stage 20 mins! Problem was the cervix did not dilate, after 36 hours of very heavy contractions I was 1cm dilated (and technically not in labour according to the hospital, which still makes me mad). Cervix only dilated after they did a hideous and very painful exam in which they took blood from the baby's head (while she was still inside). Don't really know why I didn't dilate, or whether it would be the same 2nd time. Any idea?

kitkat9 Mon 25-Aug-08 19:32:18

haven't had a cs so can't comment on that, though I did think seriously about having an elective with dd2 as I too had a terrible birth experience with my ds. It wasn't especially long, only 15 hours, but nearly resulted in an emergency section. He was stuck and had to be ripped out of me - I was very badly torn and too many, many weeks to recover physically - don't think I ever really recovered mentally.

What I want to say is that it doesn't necessarily follow that your 2nd time will be awful too - I had another vb and while it was pretty normal in terms of labour pain etc, dd was born after about 8 hours and she was fine, and I was fine too. I couldn't believe it when I got up from the bed after giving birth and could actually walk - albeit a bit wobbly! I couldn't walk after ds for about a week, it was too painful. I found 2nd time quite emotionally healing - to know that I could do it 'normally', without major drama.

Hope that makes sense. You should talk to your mw about your fears and see what she suggests. My mw did offer me elective cs but I'm a chicken when it comes to operations! Do whatever you feel happiest doing. You don't want to spend your pregnancy stressing about the birth.

PortAndLemon Mon 25-Aug-08 19:35:56

If you're now in SA it's going to be difficult to get hold of your notes (went through my notes from DS's birth with my midwife at booking-in appointment with DD), but often if you aren't dilating it's because the baby's head isn't properly putting pressure on the cervix (because of baby's position or potentially because of yours). That was certainly my problem first time (although I eventually got to fully dilated) -- with DD in a better position I was 9cm dilated by the time I got to hospital.

Is you gynae really suggesting that all first babies should arrive within 8 hours, though?

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