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Can you talk me through your c section?

39 replies

crazychemist · 30/07/2020 19:44

Hi All,

I’ve seen lots of threads where people have discussed their recovery etc, or have compared elective c section to vaginal birth.... but I’m feeling a bit clueless about how a c section actually works!

I had a vaginal birth for DD1 nearly 4 years ago, which I was very happy with and fully understood - I’d been to the NCT classes and knew about stages of labour, pain relief, skin to skin afterwards etc. That won’t be how it’s going to go this time - almost certainly going to be a c section (identical twins sharing a placenta which is not ideally placed, so consultant says outcome for twin 2 might be poor with vaginal birth)

Can you talk me through what happens? I’ve got some specific questions, but any guidance would be wonderful, I’ve not seen my midwife since I found out it was twins (lockdown) and I didn’t feel comfortable asking the consultant this kind of question!

An epidural is a spinal injection. Do they do this once you are in theatre, or does it take a while to kick in? Can they tell if it’s wearing off, or does it suddenly just start hurting? (Bit nervous about this)

How soon after they’ve finished are you able to get up and move? I assume the epidural had to wear off enough that you can feel your legs?

When do they put the catheter in? Does it hurt when they do it? How long does it stay in after and does that hurt?

Are you able to do skin to skin? Do the midwives look after the baby while the doctors finish up, or can you hold them? How soon can you breastfeed? With DD1 the midwife encouraged it immediately and said it would help trigger further contractions to push placenta out and then help uterus to shrink, but this sounds like it might be a bad idea to have things moving quickly if I’ve just been stitched up.

How long does it take from when they start cutting to when the baby and placenta are out?

As you can tell, I’m feeling pretty clueless, so anything you can think of that I should know, please do share it!

OP posts:
SamMil · 30/07/2020 21:09

I had an emergency c-section after labour.

I'd already had an epidural (which took ages to kick in. I was convinced it wasnt working but it did eventually!). Once in theatre, they sprayed me with the cold spray but I could still feel it so they did a spinal too which did the trick.

I think mine took around 50 minutes from start to finish. Most of the time spent was after the baby was out. I had a bleed too so they had to sort that. The actual csection didn't hurt at all, just a weird feeling!

My baby was born in the early hours and it was about 9am the following day that they took my catheter up and let me walk around, so over 24 hours. I don't really remember them putting the catheter in, but it didn't hurt.

I wasn't able to do skin to skin as baby and I both turned out to be quite ill, but husband had a cuddle and brought her over to meet me before they took her away. I was also shaking loads as a side effect of the spinal so don't think I would have been able to hold her anyway! I was able to breastfeed a few hours later.

SnugglySnerd · 30/07/2020 21:10

I think the nail varnish thing is so they can see if you are turning blue or something!

I breastfed dd1 for 14 months without problems after emcs. I have to admit I gave up much sooner with the dts due to complete exhaustion and needing dh to help. Friends have mine have managed it though.

Sevo7 · 30/07/2020 21:13

First one I can’t really remember as it was an emergency after 5 days labour.

2nd one was 20 months ago after a failed Vbac although classed again as an emergency it was more like an elective in that I walked down to theatre and it was very calm. I was given the spinal in the operating room and then they laid me down and put the sheets up and the catheter in, which I didn’t notice. I was completely numb to start with and DD came out about 5 minutes later. I asked for delayed cord clamping but I’m sure they only left it 30 seconds before cutting it and showing her to me over the curtain. She seemed to be gone ages even though nothing was wrong with her and I remember I kept asking if she was ok as my partner was with her. It seemed to take ages to sew me up (probably as it was a 2nd section) and I remember it started to feel sore which made me panic even though it wasn’t actually that painful. Because of this they gave me fentanyl through my drip line and tbh the rest of it was a blur.

I know I had skin to skin with her in the recovery room and put her on the breast as she was rooting. They then gave me oral morphine and I literally can’t remember a thing until 5 hours later which I feel sad about.

They removed the catheter after about 12 hours and I stood up and went to the loo but found it really painful and then I refused to get out of bed until the next day as I wanted to rest my scar. After 12 hours I realised I still had no desire to urinate despite drinking lots but when I forced myself to go it happened but with no feeling which was very odd. Because I’d done too much after my first section and got infection and it popped open I rested as much as I could and made a quick recovery this time. I did have a bad reaction to the spinal where I felt very dizzy and hung over but that subsided after about 3 days.

grandmasterstitch · 30/07/2020 21:16

Much the same as above for me. They sprayed something really really cold on me to test numbness and adjusted accordingly.

I found the closing up incredibly uncomfortable to the point of being painful. The anaesthetist offered me gas and air so if you're in pain don't be afraid to ask (when I say pain I don't mean a "they've sliced me open and I know about it" pain but more in a "it feels like someone is jumping up and down on my stomach" pain.

My tip is don't be afraid to ask what they're doing. I wanted to know why they were taking so long to close me up and they explained what was happening.

Mine was an emergency but I'll have an elective next time

MamaDane · 30/07/2020 21:48

Hey OP. I had twins via cesarean last August.

My experience was:
Fasting from midnight and thirsting from 6 am with the scheduled cesarean at 9 am.

First speaking to the anesthesiologist who asked a few questions and explained a bit.

Then entering the theatre where everyone introduced themselves. There were a fuckton of people 😂 Midwives, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologist, students etc. I lost count tbh.

So I laid down and they put iv in my hands, which hurt, not gonna lie. Especially because they had difficulty with my left hands vein 😳 at the same time they monitored the babies heartbeats and my blood pressure and more (lots going on).

I remember shaking non stop. It was most likely a mixture of nerves but also the medicine in the iv drop.

The surgeons scanned my stomach to see just specifically how the twins were positioned.

Then I had the epidural and I had feared it so badly, and while the anaesthesiologist first asked me to be on my side I knew I would scream in pain (hadn't laid on my side since first trimester because of horrible girdle pelvic pain) but I was allowed to sit instead bent over. And so I did while holding my partner's hands. A few stings in the back at it was all over. I was shocked at how little I felt it. It really was no biggie.

Then I laid back down, they tested if I could feel pain, I couldn't feel pain but I could feel "something", which is exactly what they want. Then they started the procedure and it honestly felt like an inside massage. It was WEIRD and not entirely comfortable but don't worry, not at all painful.

Suddenly there was a small cry and twin A was born, they let me kiss him before giving him oxygen and cleaning him on a small desk/table/cradle?.. Just 2 minutes later Twin B was born, again kiss, oxygen and clean up. They took the babies away with my partner and left to the NICU. Meanwhile I was stitched up and put in the recovery ward. In the recovery ward I was very drowsy. I got loads of morphine because of after birth contractions (that still happens with cesareans).

After some hours had gone by they made me stand up, chew chewing gum (to get the bowels going because you may have difficulty passing gas and using the toilet after) and finally see my kids in NICU. I was quite drowsy the rest of the day.

After the cesarean, I'm not going to lie. It was painful to get up. I had iv morphine as well as tablets and it did nothing for me when I tried to walk at day 2. I took morphine pills for.. At least a week. But after 3 days i could use the bathroom (with assistance) and after about a week I could properly walk around without too much trouble. But your story may be different from mine as I was incredibly ill (and admitted to the hospital for weeks) while pregnant, so I was also recovering from that (pre-eclampsia was just one of the many issues).

One thing though, it is a bit difficult to breastfeed twins after a cesarean. My stomach was so bruised it was entirely yellow lol I actually thought it was the antiseptic that just kept staying on my skin 😂 kept wondering why it hurt like hell.

Good luck OP! ☺️

MamaDane · 30/07/2020 21:54

Oh right. I forgot about the catheter. I had that for 3 days because I couldn't walk to the bathroom because of the pain 😳. You don't actually feel the catheter as they put it in after your epidural. You feel it after though and it's annoying to have but mostly just unpleasant when they take it out.

AAkim · 30/07/2020 22:11

I just wanted to add to the many comments; some people have mentioned shaving. This is not advised- it can increase the risk of infection in the wound post operatively, which unfortunately can be a risk with c-sections. They will use special trimmers in theatre as routine practice so you don't have to struggle!

Wishing56 · 30/07/2020 22:21

Hiya i had identical twins in January this year via planned section at 36+4.

Spinal went in when i arrived in theatre and only took minutes to start working.
It took 9mins from first incision to getting twin 1 out and twin 2 followed 1 minute later. They were taken over to the resucitare to be checked over and my OH 'trimmed' their cords. The staff got them dressed in theatre as they were little and they wanted their temperatures to be maintained.

In theatre there were alot of staff (3 surgeons, 2 runners, 3 midwives, 2 anesthestists, 4 paediatric doctors). The anesthestist was amazing! I didnt even feel the spinal go in and she constantly checked on me throughout the surgery to see if i needed anything. She also talked me through what was happening as i couldnt feel a thing! I asked when it was starting and she said we are nearly at the first baby!

The midwives then brought the babies over to me. My OH held Twin 1 whilst i held Twin 2. They were stitching me up whilst I held Twin 2. I started to feel a bit sick so I asked them to take the baby back for a minute. My OH then went through to recovery with the twins whilst I was finished being stitched. My section took just under an hour from start to finish.
Once I was in recovery the midwives helped me put the twins to the breast and they latched straight away. I was moved to labour ward so I could have some additional monitoring due to excess blood loss. Once I was on labour ward I did skin to skin with the babies and so did my OH.

They put the catheter in when the spinal had taken effect. They took it out 7hrs later when I first got out of bed. They helped me out of bed and helped me to the shower.

The staff were amazing and helped me picking up and handling the twins overnight. As I had twins it meant i got a private side room rather than being on main post natal ward.

I can honestly say I loved the section experience and would do it again. My recovery was really good.

If you have any questions either csection or twin related don't hesitate to ask.

Wishing56 · 30/07/2020 22:32

In terms of timings i had to arrive for 7am and I was second on the list. I walked down to theatre at 10.55am and spinal went in at 11.03am, incision was made 11.32am, twin 1 born 11.39am and twin 2 11.40am.

Can you talk me through your c section?
SnugglySnerd · 30/07/2020 22:43

We arrived at 7am and there were 3 other planned sections that day. The surgeon introduced herself, scanned all the mums and decided what order to work in. I was first - bonus of having twins is that they need all those extra midwives etc to get out of theatre and back to the ward/delivery room and so on so they tend to do twin sections first. That's what they told me anyway!

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams · 30/07/2020 22:48

Lots of detail already on the process so I won't bother.
When you get home:
You will feel (with painkillers) as though you've done a killer abs gym session. You know on day 2 when it hurts if you laugh? There's about a week of this gradually getting better but you will suddenly become aware of just how much you engage yourself stomach muscles to adjust your sitting position, reach for something or adjust a feeding baby.
If you are feeding, try to get yourself into a bolt upright position before someone hands you the baby. Easier to slide down into a comfy position after you have a good latch.
Maternity clothing eg jeans with a fat elastic waistband will land right on your scar. I lived in a regular (not maternity) pair of yoga pants for a couple of weeks. They have a deep waistband which gives support without pressure and you can just roll them up over what's left of your bump if your trousers are in danger of slipping down Smile
All going well you will be very mobile within a couple of weeks, take all the meds offered for the first week. Don't be a hero.
In short the impact of the surgery leaves you as though you are back in the latter stages of pregnancy. You will need to lower yourself into an armchair and will struggle greatly to get out of one. We had a handy wingback chair which I never normally used but was that bit higher up and easier to get in and out of especially for overnight feeds unless your partner is the sort to spring out of bed at 3am and hand you the baby (never met one of these).
Best of luck - it was far easier and a shorter recovery than my vbac.

FirstTimeBumps · 30/07/2020 23:48

I did not have the easiest section, emergency after 32 hours of waters gone, merconium, and discovery he was breech but it was all very calm and didn't feel "emergency" at all. As others have said the prep was the same, and the spinal. They said my other half would.wait outside until the spinal was done but they brought him into theatre at the same time as me. I genuinely didn't even notice them doing it and thought it would be awful. I did have issues with the spinal and am waiting on a consult this pregnancy to figure if there's a possibility of issues this time around. I felt sick and dizzy, like I couldn't breathe, and did have pain sensations although not sure how much or it was actual pain or if it was my brain interpreting the sensations as such. The anaesthetist was up by my head and offered to put me to sleep if I needed but I refused and got through on gas and air but it does mean I don't remember anything from my LB being born until being wheeled to recovery (may as well have been under - I think I may have been given more than just G&A).

I'm not posting this to be negative, I'm opting for a RSC this time so it wasn't that horrific. I'm posting my experience just to reiterate that they have all bases covered. I was reassured and given options throughout, and medication which counteracted some of the side effects. But I'd advise that if you feel anything even slightly unpleasant you let them know as soon as and they can counteract it. Recovery wise I had an awesome recovery. Was up on my feet cathather out within 4 hours if surgery, discharged the next day

Good luck x

crazychemist · 01/08/2020 14:19

Thank you all so much for your experiences, I feel like I understand much more about the process now, and it does make me feel more confident.

Wow to the thought of shaving down there in advance.... I suppose I could probably trim a bit to tidy up, but there’s no way I’ll be able to see well enough to risk a razor down there!!!

Very useful to hear about things like anaesthetic making people feeling shaky/cold. I’ve never had anything other than paracetamol/gas and air so I don’t know how I’ll respond, it’s good to know the sorts of things to expect.

@TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams DH didn’t ever do leaping out of bed at 3am with DD1 as he sleeps like the dead (lucky bastard!), but with twins and c section wound I think he won’t be given a choice this time round!

OP posts:
Wishing56 · 01/08/2020 17:01

@crazychemist in respect of shaving they told me don't shave less than 1 week before but to be honest with a huge twin bump no chance i was going near there with a razor. I did get something called woo woo intimate hair removal cream which worked great (so much better than veet) as didnt fancy being shaved by the midwives. Just had to place a strategic mirror to be able to see lol

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