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I had an elective cesarean by my own request. AMA

80 replies

MrSpock · 23/07/2018 15:14

I chose to give birth by elective cesarean purely as a personal choice and my for any physical heath reasons. I know this is a bit controversial so happy to answer any genuine questions both from people who are curious, and anyone who wants any advice about doing this themselves.

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DreamingofSunshine · 24/07/2018 07:42

I had a maternal request c-section for my first too MrSpock. I found the statistics on instrumental delivery in a first birth eye opening, and a number of friends and family who are doctors all said that they would choose a planned c-section themselves. First and foremost, once I read that the risks of stillborn were much lower in a planned c-section that was my main reason for requesting one. No issues from any of the staff luckily.

Above all, I think women should be informed and supported for a birth that's right for them.

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 07:47

DreamingofSunshine I found that shocking too. I also find it appalling no one discusses the risks of a vaginal birth fully. Women are led to believe its painful but fundamentally it’ll be okay, whereas when you actually research it, you realise it’s not rare for it to go catastrophically wrong.

The stillbirth thing was also something I was afraid of. I had a fear of losing me or the baby during the birth and I didn’t want to risk him. As it happened, he was quite poorly and recovered quickly, one of the reasons he recovered so fast was because there was a team to attend to him straight away. If we’d been on a ward, alone, with one midwife at night...

Me too. I think there’s a lot of pressure to have a vaginal birth, and that planned cesareans aren’t often considered a choice as much as choosing what painkiller you want is. All the options should be fully explained, including the risks of a vaginal birth.

I’m having twins this time and will absolutely be having another cesarean.

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Kittykat93 · 24/07/2018 07:53

I wanted a section for my first baby but no midwives entertained the idea. I was petrified. I ended up being induced and giving birth vaginally with an instrumental delivery and lots of injuries that are still healing now 9 months on.

I am adamant that next time I'm having my section! I think it's right that we should all have a choice. Fear of birth is a very real thing, and should be taken more seriously. I'm glad you had a good experience op.

SinkGirl · 24/07/2018 07:54

I had a planned section booked but I had to really fight for it, despite carrying twins (dcda twins statistically have better outcomes from cs than vb), and severe tokophobia that I was in counselling for.

Ended up needing an emergency section and the spinal was one of the most horrific medical experiences of my life. Don’t think I could have another baby now as there’s no way I could go through that again.

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 08:03

Kittykat93 I’m so sorry that happened. Did they not refer you to your booking hospital to discuss it? That sounds like very poor practise.

I am lucky in that my hospital supported elective cesareans. I don’t know how many women here have them, but no one was particularly surprised or shocked by me asking for it.

SinkGirl that’s awful. I’m currently 15 weeks with twins who are in separate sacs too and I’m adamant I want another section.

I was nervous of the spinal but I actually found it okay. It was a bit uncomfortable but wasn’t anything unbearable. I had a good experience with the physical side of it.

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MarthasGinYard · 24/07/2018 08:07


I also had an ELCS out of personal choice. Did you tell people prior?

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 08:10


Yes I did. Almost everyone was supportive. I’ve only had rude comments when I’ve spoken about this on online articles and other women have felt the need to tell me why I’m wrong for doing it.

No one in real life has been unpleasant.

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SinkGirl · 24/07/2018 08:22

I think I just got really unlucky. My back muscles were in spasm from the weight of my bump I think, the needles kept bending - took seven attempts (plus locals each time) to get it in, and I’m terrified of needles.

I suppose I could have a totally different experience next time but it’s left me quite traumatised and the thought of having to do it again scares me to death!

Best of luck with the twins, it’s quite the rollercoaster at times but totally worth it!

MarthasGinYard · 24/07/2018 08:25

I found the same Op

Only a couple of 'too posh to push comments'

My retort 'too pushy to be posh'

Glad you also had a good experience. It was the natural choice for me and it was a fantastic experience, so calm, really wonderful. Sad to read so many women have to go through such stress and trauma to get their choice.

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 08:27

SinkGirl I used to be afraid of needles. I still don’t like them but have improved. I realised what I dislike more than the needle is trusting someone else to poke something into me. It comes back to control.

I had a tiny bump with DS so that wasn’t a problem for me, but it may be different this time. It did take four minutes to do it (I counted lmao), but it wasn’t too bad. I put numbing cream on my back before I went in!

How old are your twins now? :)

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MrSpock · 24/07/2018 08:28

Sad to read so many women have to go through such stress and trauma to get their choice.

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hendricksy · 24/07/2018 08:29

I had a hideous first birth , everything went wrong that could although my dd is fine so that's ok... I wasn't having anymore children because of it . I finally decided to have another baby 7 years later and was terrified . They gave me an emergency c section in the end .
The recovery was way worse but I'd take it again over the vaginal delivery anyday .
I see women go in and come out hours later and it's all fine but that isn't me sadly .

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 08:31

Don’t know why my comment didn’t post!

I agree Martha, and think it’s a shame that often, people don’t listen to the woman giving birth.

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MrSpock · 24/07/2018 08:32

hendricksy glad you’re okay now! Do you think it being an emergency made the recovery more difficult?

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hendricksy · 24/07/2018 08:50

I'm not sure to be honest , it was very calm so I don't think so . My baby was very early and I was very sick so maybe just that ?
It was a very different pain to the vaginal injuries and took longer to heal . Let's not forget they cut you in half so it's going to take longer to heal .
Id still take it though , the vaginal delivery was absolutely terrifying. 🙈

CharDeeMacDennis · 24/07/2018 08:50

Do you think your mother's experience informed your feelings?

I can actually relate to what you've said about control and unpredictability of outcome. I felt a lot like that during my first pregnancy, but never even considered a CS. Instead I "dealt" with it by ostriching 🙄 and essentially ignoring the fact that a birth was going to have to happen. I can only think that I must have been influenced by the fact that my own mother had 4 natural births and one CS and always said the CS was the worst by far, with the longest, most painful recovery period.

As it turned out, my experience of VB was totally fine, I did need stitches but healed quickly and went back to normal. Second time around, I was much less scared and that went the same way. I was very glad I did it, in hindsight, as I do believe babies benefit from the bacteria they acquire passing through the birth canal. Also I'm a bit vain 😊 and glad I don't have a scar.

I wouldn't judge anyone's choice as I do remember that panicky terror at an unknown and uncontrollable event.

SinkGirl · 24/07/2018 08:52

They’re 22 months now, and a couple of little tearaways! We have some challenges to deal with, some health issues for one of them, but they are my whole world.

Yeah, four minutes I could have handled. Mine was 45 minutes! And a few of the attempts slipped and caused a lot of pain, it was honestly awful. But it’s very unusual, the anaesthetist was absolutely shocked. She got the head of the department in in the end because I really didn’t want a general.

In the grand scheme of things it was less than an hour of my life but honestly I just don’t know if I could physically do that again! I was hysterical enough the first time!

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 09:03

Do you think your mother's experience informed your feelings?

Definitely. I’m an only child because the trauma she endured meant she never wanted to have other children, despite previously wanting three. I had a lovely childhood but I always wanted siblings, and I decided early on that I wanted several children. I didn’t want to go through what my mum did though and to be put off or unable to have any more.

She still to this day describes it as the worst thing she ever went through and says she remembers the pain and the subsequent bleed very vividly. There was medical negligence in my mums case which didn’t help.

Her sister had cesareans, one emergency and one planned and always said they were fine. My mum says had she known then what she knew now, she’d have requested one and if she were having children today, she’d request one.

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MrSpock · 24/07/2018 09:06

SinkGirl I’m glad they’re doing well now. I was offered a general as I was worried I wouldn’t cope with the spinal but I didn’t want one as I wanted to see my baby. He was whisked to SCBU so I didn’t see him for more than a minute anyway but I don’t regret having the spinal.

I don’t blame you. I have had pregnancy complications including severe sickness and I don’t want to do it again after this time! Grin

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darceybussell · 24/07/2018 09:07

Just thought I'd add my experience in case it is useful to anyone. I was similar to you OP and would have preferred a section any day. Had a lot of friends and relatives who had had traumatic forceps deliveries and was petrified that I'd get the same, have a really bad tear and end up incontinent.

I didn't really look into requesting a c section as I thought I'd have real difficulty getting one, so I did all the hypnobirthing I could and just prayed it would all be ok and straightforward.

It wasn't. I started off in the birthing pool but then it all went wrong and I ended up with the spiral of intervention that people talk about - waters broken for me, meconium in the waters, hormone drip, epidural, back to back baby with his head in the wrong position, forceps, episiotomy and tearing. However, the reality was nowhere near as bad as I had feared. I was lucky as the tearing didn't end up being too bad and the stitches healed well and relatively quickly. I think in hindsight what I had probably would have been a bit easier to recover from than a section as it meant I could still sit myself up, push the pram, drive etc.

I totally see where you are coming from OP and I think I'd have jumped at the chance of a c section if it had been easier to get one, but I just wanted to let people know that if you do end up with a hideous instrumental delivery it's not necessarily as bad as you might fear.

SinkGirl · 24/07/2018 09:10

Twin pregnancy is rough going, no question. I felt okay in much of the second trimester but as they grew the health problems started to rack up. It can really take its toll. Main advice from me is to always get checked out if something doesn’t seem right. One of my boys stopped moving and I didn’t know because the other was moving so much - only got checked out as I felt unwell. You can’t be too careful when there are two!

Yeah, I didn’t get to see my boys for seven hours which was awful. But at least my DH got to be there.

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 09:11

Darcy glad your experience wasn’t awful! I was terrified of forceps. It’s good to know not every birth that involves them ends up awful.

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MrSpock · 24/07/2018 09:13

SinkGirl the movements always worry me. I can feel them already but because it’s early, the movements aren’t regular and I panic when they’re quiet.

My main issue has been severe sickness. I’ve tried every anti emetic and none have worked! Sad

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DreamingofSunshine · 24/07/2018 09:19

MrSpock that's exactly it, we need to ensure that we inform women of the risks involved in both vaginal and cesarean births.

In my NCT group I was a planned c-section, there was one EMCS, one forceps with significant continence issues, one vaginal birth resulting in a 4th degree tear requiring surgery and a stay in ICU, two water births and one ventuouse. Obviously we all would have chosen the straightforward water births but some of the other women were quite traumatised by how differently their births went to their expectations.

A c-section is surgery and requires a few weeks recovery, but at least I was prepared for it and could plan accordingly. One of the Mums had PTSD from her birth.

Congratulations on your twins!

MrSpock · 24/07/2018 09:26

Dreamingofsunshine I think they paint the nicest possible vaginal birth and women who don’t get that end up quite upset about it.

As you say, at least with cesareans, we can prepare. I felt much more secure with a cesarean.

I think the risks of vaginal birth get downplayed because it’s “natural”. So is polio is always my response Grin

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