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My experience of an Elective Caesarean Section

My experience of an Elective Caesarean Section

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get round to writing this, but I thought I’d finally share my birth experience with you.

While I was pregnant I read numerous birth stories in my baby magazines, but I didn’t read any at all that were about an elective c section. I didn’t however Google far too much about what can go wrong, what do they do,
what does the pain feel like … THIS IS A VERY BAD IDEA! Don’t do it.

I ended up having an elective Cesarean Section, some of you may have read my pregnancy journey updates and read about my constant aches/pains and ailments that started very early on in my pregnancy.

I have Scoliosis and also suffered from very severe SPD throughout my pregnancy so for me an elective C Section seemed the most appropriate opinion. I know it’s not for everyone, and some are VERY opinionated about C Sections
(which if I’m honest really annoys me). Why should how a baby comes out of a woman’s body matter? I didn’t really have too much negativity (not to my face anyway). I did get a couple of comments from a relative of my husband, which was along the lines of -‘you’re very lucky, getting the easy way out’ – Really?! Having a major operation and being cut open is the easy way out? Stupid woman.

I had a complete nightmare with midwifes, consultants and in general the NHS during my entire pregnancy. I was terrified that the actual birth would be a really bad experience too.

So my elective C Section …. Here’s what happened …….

On the 5th of Feb I had to go to the Pregnancy Assessment Unit at the hospital I was giving birth in. This was for a pre assessment before my operation the following day. During this they took my bloods, checked my blood
pressure and gave me two strong Ranitidine tablets to take home with me. All was well.

The night of the 5th flew over, I never slept a wink, it was like a kid trying to go to bed on Christmas Eve, except my
excitement was tinged with worry about what would happen the next day, and partly because The Little Man was causing havoc with my bladder, and I needed a wee every 3 seconds! I had to take one Ranitidine tablet at 10pm and then no more food or drink until 6am, when I was allowed a sip of water to take the other Ranitidine tablet and nothing more.

Anyway, we had to be at hospital for 7.30am. We arrived on the ward with my massive suitcase and I was shown to a four bed room and a midwife came to introduce herself. She was really friendly, told me exactly what would happen and explained that I was the second C section of the day, and providing no emergencies came in I could expect to be in surgery by 11am!

My husband and I were then brought gowns and scrubs to get dressed in (my husband was convinced there was a George Clooney likeness going on). We then sat and waited until the surgeon came to introduce himself, quickly followed by the anaesthetist. They were both friendly, calm and best of all, they both explained exactly what they’d be doing and how long it would take. A cannula was also inserted into the top of my left hand.

It was then a case of waiting.

The nice midwife who had been assigned as my midwife while I was in hospital came in regularly to update us with what was happening time wise, and checking we were ok, until finally she came in at 11.20 and told me I was going up to theatre!

Argh. Scary times!

The midwife, my husband and I all then went up to the theatre. I was allowed to walk up. We were shown to a waiting room where I signed a consent form and was again advised what was happening. I was introduced to the surgical team who would be in the theatre during the birth and who again, were all lovely and friendly.

I was then taken into the theatre while my husband waited outside. He’d be brought in by the midwife once my spinal was completed, my catheter was in and I was already for the birth of our son.

I was asked to sit on the side of the theatre bed with my feet on a stool, slightly hunched forward. A lovely surgical nurse stood in front of me and talked to me about all sorts and kept telling me how I didn’t look scared at all (I must have an amazing Poker face), while the anaesthetist told me he was going to give me an injection prior to the spinal
being inserted.

The first needle I was given to numb the area before the spinal felt like a sharp sting, a little like the pain you get when you have a blood test. Unfortunately you can still feel the needle for the spinal. Now it hurts, but the pain is NOTHING like I’d imagined. Due to my dodgy back they had a few problems getting the spinal in, after four attempts
it finally worked (which I was really thankful about, as I didn’t want a general anaesthetic). After the spinal is done, I was helped onto the bed properly, my legs were lifted up and I was made comfortable. I was repeatedly asked whether I could lift my legs, I thought I could, I felt like I could still feel my legs, but I obviously couldn’t really as they wouldn’t move no matter how hard I tried. Once I was laid down properly and completely numb a catheter was inserted (I couldn’t feel a thing). Having the catheter in was properly one of the things I was most worried about (silly I know).

Once all the preparation work was done my husband was brought into the room. He stood at the stop, near my right shoulder as the green curtain was put up to prevent us seeing what was going to happen in my stomach.

At this point I started to feel very sick. They brought me a sick bowl and told me my blood pressure was dropping very quickly, they gave me a shot of something into the cannula in my hand and the sickness subsided.

Next the exciting bit started. I remember the surgeon telling me he was going to have to cut through the bottom of my tattoo and me saying ‘cut through what you want just get this baby out’! Then literally minutes later my little boy was born!

It felt strange while the surgeon lifted the little man out. Obviously it didn’t hurt but I was awake. The only thing I can liken the sensation too, is someone doing the washing up in your stomach! I could feel the surgeon rummaging around inside.

I was in complete shock at how quick he’d come out.

My husband was able to trim the cord when he’d been lifted out. He was lifted away by the midwife to be checked before I saw him. He wasn’t crying when he came out, so I was a little concerned but the midwife said a lot of babies
don’t cry, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. The basic checks were carried out and he was given to my husband to hold. I was stitched up (thankfully with dissolvable stitches) and I thanked the surgical team before
being wheeled into recovery.

At this point I still hadn’t had a hold of the Little Man. My blood pressure dropped again while I was in recovery and they also put me on a drip. If I’m honest, I felt completely fine. I was in recovery for quite a while although my husband had held the baby up to me and let me have a kiss, I couldn’t hold him until my blood pressure had sorted itself out.

Eventually it started to come back up, they then took us all back down to the ward where we got to know our new baby, and I finally got to give him a cuddle!

The numbing sensation took a few hours to start to wear off. I didn’t feel in a great of pain. I felt quite achy, and it didn’t help that I was made to sit up and given a bed bath a few hours after the surgery. The only pain relief I had was paracetamol and Ibuprofen. I also had extra fluids through a drip as they thought there wasn’t enough fluid coming through the catheter, three bags later, they then decided I’d had too much and had to empty the bag with a bucket!

The first night was quite strange. After my husband went home at 8pm I was left alone with a tiny little baby. He was in a plastic cot next to my bed but I wasn’t allowed to stand up to cuddle him or change his nappy as I still didn’t fully have the feeling back in my legs and I still had a catheter in. It was a very long, stressful night. I would have felt so much better if they’d let my husband stay over. Although there were plenty of nurses and other people in the room I felt quite alone. The Little Man slept in my arms that night, it was too much hassle to keep ringing for the nurse to pick him up when he was crying, change his nappy, help me feed him and then try and settle him in the cot.

I didn’t sleep for a second that night. I sat and looked at the Little Man all night, I was terrified I’d break him or he’d
stop breathing. I was so pleased when 11am came around and my husband came back.

I had my catheter removed the day after the birth, and made to get up for a shower. I was given one Tramadol
tablet to help with the pain, and I’d had the standard paracetamol and Ibuprofen. It was probably the nicest shower I’ve ever had.

I managed to walk down the corridor to the shower with a slight horrible but I had no back pain and the SPD had completely disappeared. Despite the fact I’d had major surgery the day before I felt ten times better than I had during the last few months of my pregnancy. I had a waterproof dressing over my wound, so I had no idea what
it looked like.

After being showered and changed I spent the day with my new little family, while the grandparents popped in and out to meet their first grandchild. It was a lovely time.

We were shown how to bath a baby,during which he screamed the ward down!

I started to have issues with breastfeeding at this point though, and after some tears we decided we were going to introduce The Little Man to formula. I actually managed to combination feed for a few weeks after we got home, I expressed breast milk when we got home as I felt much more relaxed and comfortable rather than in the hospital so he did get some breast milk, but sadly exclusively breastfeeding just wasn’t for us.

Again I was very sad to see my husband go home at 8pm. I felt much worse the second night, there were a lot less nurses on duty, and it seemed pointless pushing the button to call them as they simply didn’t come. I was also in the bed opposite the most annoying and noisiest woman in the world, so I had another night of no sleep.

The nights were by far the worst bit. The pain from my wound was manageable and I felt ok, just very lonely at night.

Thankfully I was told I’d be able to go home on day three. I felt so happy! I practically danced down the corridor for my shower that day. I got myself all sorted and ready to go, the midwife came round and went through everything with me (who changed my dressing and told me my scar would be very neat), the doctor came to check on the LittleMan, the Bounty woman came to take photo graphs, all I had to do was wait formy medication.

I was finally sent home with a supply of paracetamol, Ibuprofen and some iron tablets as my iron levels were quite low, oh and a baby!

It was so strange finally getting home, but I was so pleased to be there. I will admit though, it’s much harder to take it easy at home. I was in pain when I got home, by no means unbearable pain but I was very sore. Walking up and down stairs, sitting down to use the loo, rolling over in bed, it all hurt! I found using the Theraline caesarean belt a great help, particularly the protective insert as I could press it against my wound when I felt I needed extra support, they don’t tell you how painful your first poo will be, I was convinced the pressure was going
to burst open my stitches!

I felt ok in myself, the midwife checked my wound the day after we got home and then again at 5 days, each time she was happy with how it was healing. I think it took me 5 days or so to look at my scar. In all honestly it looked very neat and tidy, a fine black line, right in the crease of skin above my bikini line.

In the second week I started getting a pulling pain at one end of my scar so had a little trip to the GP’s, it turns out I’d pulled a stitch, I was given antibiotic cream to apply twice a day, just in case.

I’m now 8 weeks post-partum. I’m fully healed on the outside, my scar feels smooth and straight except for a little
bump at the end where I pulled the stitch. I’m driving again (I drovecomfortably after 5 weeks and I’m able to feel my stomach again (losing the sensation when the nerves are cut is a very weird feeling).

For me an elective C Section was an extremely positive experience. I wouldn’t change what happened for the world. The operation itself was very calm and relaxed and recovery although it wasn’t easy certainly hasn’t put me off having another baby. If we have another baby, I would again choose to have an elective C
Section.

Sorry for the long rambling post but I wanted to give you an idea of what happened for me.

 

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2 Comments

  1. 7th April 2014 / 12:41 am

    Hi Cat
    I really enjoyed reading about your birth story and your right you don't often come across elective c-section stories – mine was an emergency one and I felt very under prepared as I just had not read anything about being in that situation so at least you had a little bit of time to read up about things and I think you made the right choice for you. I also remember the first night being really strange, seems like so long ago now. I love the pictures of your little man and the main thing is you both came through healthy and happy 🙂

    Laura x

  2. 21st January 2015 / 1:31 pm

    I love reading about births – they're all so different and all a miracle no matter which way you do it. Enjoy your bundle of joy, he is gorgeous!

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