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Thread: Elective C Section Advice

  1. #1

    Default Elective C Section Advice

    Hello all,



    I have decided on medical advice from my OB that a c-section would be in our best interests, due to some medical issues from previous birth such as bad 3rd degree tearing and other reasons.

    Although I appreciate those of you that have overcome odds to have a vaginal birth, we will be doing the c-section for some quite specific medical reasons, so please no negative comments.

    I must say my OB was very supportive of allowing me to try vaginally first if that was my choice and did not push me into the decision at all; rather offered me objective advice.

    I am a little nervous as I did not have an epidural or anything other than gas last time. I have been reading about risks etc and would like to know if anyone has any advice or would like to share their experiences with me to help me prepare? I'd be really interested to hear about the difference btween spinals and epidurals for those of you who have had both?

    I'd like to know how you found the birth exp, recovery, bf, everything lol.

    Please share lovely cs ladies. Help me be an informed and empowered caesarean mummy!

  2. #2

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    Hi myboysmumma,

    This is my first pg and so I can't offer any advice from personal experience yet.... but I'm booked in for my C/S on June 11.

    I can tell you what I know about spinals and epidurals though. The choice between a spinal block and an epidural is made by the anaesthetist. Depending on the anaesthetist they will prefer to do one or the other. For the vast majority of elective C/S they do a spinal block. The spinal block is a one off injection of anaesthetic into the fluid around the spinal column. The anaesthetic works very quickly - you're numb within minutes - and you are unable to move your legs. It takes several hours to wear off. An epidural is delivered also into the fluid around the spinal column but a tube is then inserted and a different type of anaesthetic is used. It takes 20mins or so to work. The anaesthetic needs to be continually pumped into the spinal fluid to keep you numb. When the C/S is over the tube is removed and you get feeling back very quickly. There are varying degrees of anaesthesia with the epidural (eg. when having a VB they'll allow you to still to be able to move) but for a C/S you obviously have to be completely numb. HTH

    As far as elective C/S experiences go I've had many friends have great experiences. A very close friend of mine had one only 6 weeks ago. For her the birth was fantastic - completely stress free. My friend kept up her pain killers in hosp and was in no discomfort at all. Her milk came in on day 3 and has been breast feeding happily (apart from the usual cracked nipples of course ) ever since. All in all she has had a wonderful experience.

    My DH and I recently went to an ante-natal class at our hosp for C/S. It was really informative and interesting. I would totally recommend going to one if you can. They give heaps of info about the spinals/epis, recovery etc.


  3. #3

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    Oh my, I would not be able to help you at all!! I will rather just keep an eye on this forum, I also need to decide if I want general, spinal or epidural I''ll probably discuss it with my ob closer to by due date, but it's good to have some info before hand.

    My c/s was an emergency, under general on 33+5 weeks. So that meant ... no breastfeeding (only express), no taking care of her for almost a month (NICU did that for me), that is why I am useless to you

    Good luck!!

  4. #4

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    Hi there!

    I had my 2nd C section now 13 days ago my bubba was a big boy of 10 lbs 13 oz and 40 cm head, so I was advised to have an elective c sect due to not knowing the outcome of trying to birth such a big baby when I am not a big person. And elective c sect's are much safer than emergency c sect's as they are planned for.

    With the spinal and epi, my anethisist this time gave me the spinal which worked right away this time, and incase it didnt (didnt 1st time had 3 go's), he still inserted the catheter tube in my back and connected the epidural tube thingy up and hung the thing to put the medication in over my shoulder, he says that alot of hospitals are using this method now so that if the spinal doesnt work, they can always resort to the epi instead of general straight away. I did not need my epidural at all though.

    Also during the surgery its very common to have nausea, shaking and passing out and breaking out in hot and cold sweats, My anethesist now says that he gives all women suitable for the medication, some medication to bring blood pressure back up to stop the shaking and passing out and hot and cold sweats, and he also gives most women anti-nausea drugs through IV immidiately when surgery begins, cause apparently too many women get sick and have these symptoms during surgery, and he said its just a horrible way to bring a baby into the worl lying on your back vomiting or passing out, which I thought was very fair. I felt really good after the medication he gave me during the operation cause I was passing out and sweating and shaking. Just if they do go to give you blood pressure medications make sure that your fit and healthy to have it, I started having heart palpatations and needed adrenalin to stay conscious, but after that I was brilliant throughout the whole operation better than with my 1st cause I never received that medication with my 1st one.

    So be sure to discuss the effects of the procedure at your pre-op appointment and make it clear you would medications to help you through it if you begin to feel under the weather.

    My 2nd c section was a wonderful experience once i had the meds, my 1st was horrible without them, I am successfully breast feeding its not that long from when they pull them out to when they put you in recovery and they put bub straight on the boob, my little boy took to it right away he didnt stop screaming in surgery until we got out and got him on the booby.

    Recovery is slow and got to remember to take it easy even on the days you do feel a little better - the day after is the worst getting out of bed to walk takes the wind out of you, but you get pain killers and in the end you do get there!

    The main thing is that the surgery was safest for you and your baby!

    I wish you all the best with your c section let us know how you went!

  5. #5

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    Hi There,

    The girls have given you some great responses. In terms of some of the things you might expect that haven't been mentioned;
    You might develop a sensitivity to light as a result of the anesthetic - not much you can do about this one other than be prepared to ask them to turn the lights off over your head if possible.
    During a C-Section, morphine is often given towards the end for anticipated pain relief - this itself can have side effects such as itchiness. Last time I had it, a nurse told me I looked like I was trying to rub my nose off my face There is something they can give to help that if it occurs.
    With a c-sect, you can expect to be confined to bed for 24 hours. This is due to the anesthetic. Although some people report feeling in their limbs very soon after, they want to be very sure. They also need to give your body time to adjust back - esp with things like BP.
    Any anesthetic can give a patient what we refer to as PONV - Post Op Nausea and Vomiting. Just let the nurses know you feel nauseated and they will give you some maxalon or similar.
    I know many people try to shy away from pain relief which I completely understand and respect - but as a nurse, I ALWAYS educate patients to take regular pain relief after surgry to keep the pain at bay. If you wait until the pain gets too bad, you then have to continue to suffer whilst the medication kicks in and it often takes a higher dose of analgesia to make you comfortable. So don't be afraid to take pain relief if you need it. How much you need and for how long will depend on your individual pain threshold.
    Some people report experiencing severe headaches after an epidural. There has been a lot of research done on this and the research shows it is not very common (although common enough). I forget the exact stats. The headache can be similar in intensity to a migrane for some people. If you get one, lay as flat as possible and take analgesia. There is a patch they can put over the epidural insertion location to help with the headache.

    I hope I haven't scared you - not my intention at all. I had an epidural during my labour which turned in to an emergency C-Sect. I had few problems other than the sensitivity to light and nausea during the Op. They also had difficulty getting the epi into my spine due to calcified ligaments in my back (which we didn't know about until afterwards). Other than those few minor things - I had no problems. I had movement and sensation back in my legs before I left recovery and had full mobility by 8pm (DD was born at 1535 hours).

    HTH and good luck!

    MG

  6. #6

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    Great advice and I second what MG said about pain relief. I hesitate to take panadol at the best of times, but while in hospital I told the nurses not to ask me for pain relief - if I was due give it!!! I wanted to feel good and not be in pain, while trying to recover and look after my girl so I strongly suggest it!

    I had the epidural during labour and didn't really feel a thing, and then because I was numb from that when they gave me the spinal I couldn't feel it. The other reason you are in bed for at least 24 hours is because you will have a catheter so you don't have to get up and go to the toilet.

    I had no complications afterwards and my midwife was able to come with us to recovery and put her skin to skin to breastfeed the minute the recovery nurses back was turned which was just lovely! Definately ask about this because if you can't have the midwife with you, your partner will be with bubby while you are in recovery but it is great if you can have time in recovery with bub to bond and breastfeed.

    One thing I know that lots of people on here who have had elective c/s have said, particularly after an emergency one, is that it is alot calmer than having people rush around to get you organised.

    There is also a thread somewhere around about writing a c/s birth plan - I will see if I can dig it up for you. Good luck with it all!

  7. #7

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    Thanks for that so far guys!

    It's all very helpful, not scary at all, I need to know I'll feel better knowing more!

    Anyone else's tips - keep 'em coming - this is great!

  8. #8

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    Here is the link for an article about birth plans - there is a specific thread about a c/s one but I'm still searching!

    Found it Here it is!!
    Last edited by Beach Mama; May 1st, 2008 at 10:20 AM.

  9. #9

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    Thanks!

  10. #10

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    The advice mothergoose has given is brilliant! Pain releif I was told by the midwives, that they wanted to keep my pain low enough for me be able to move about without screaming and if that meant meant morphine then so be it, because of the risk of blood clotting etc after surgery they like to get you up as soon as possible to get blood flowing again, I was up 5 hours post op but only to go to the toilet then back in bed, and because I only had a spinal block my anethesist didnt need to use the epidural, where last time he did have to and I could not feel my legs until the next day theres another difference with epidurals and spinals. I felt full force of the pain from the spinal as soon as they were lifting me off the bed when i got from recovery back to maternity, so they dosed me up on morphine and boy did that help, I also found the endome tablets in the middle of the night fantastic!

    Just make sure you get the pain releif if you need it at least for the 1st 2 days, cause nothing will prepare you for the pain just trying to cope with paracetamol after serious abdominal surgery. I did it with my 1st with no pain killers cause they werent offered, this time it made it such a more pleasurable experience.

    wish you well

  11. #11

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    Hi there,

    I was very apprehensive about having a c-section, but after having DD via elective c-section, not sure if I could mentally prepare myself for a VBAC when the time comes for number 2.

    I had a spinal block and although I passed out (my fault for not advising the dr's of my reactions to anesthetics), I was happy with the whole process. I recovered really well and walked the length of the maternity ward the next morning. I took painkillers as offered/advised in hospital and only a few doses of panadol once I came home.

    I was not aware of this site when I was pg, and had only heard horror stories about c-sections, so I was very freaked out, but all the staff were great at calming my nerves when they knew of my apprehensions.

    HTH a little and GL..

  12. #12

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    I have had 3 c-s

    All went smoothly.. I had a spinal for all 3 but the 3rd one was the best.. All the others have given you good info ect but in recovery I recommend asking what was done for me which was....

    The nurse sat me up a little and gave me oxygen. She said it helps the drug go through your system faster and it really did. I spent around an hour in recovery compared to 2+ hours for my previous 2 c/s.

    Also I personally don't think you 'have' to be bed bound for 24 hours. I got up at 5 hours after my last one. It was a little too soon but I did it. I got up 11 hours with my 2nd and showered and felt great sore but great. My first I didn't get out for over 12 hours but I had a c/s late in the afternoon so I didn't expect to..

    I also had a drip in that I could press a button and give myself a little something if the pain became to bad. I never used it with my first 2 but last time I though may as well its there lol.. but it was morphine and I couldn't understand why I was always falling asleep until my mum told me it was the morphine so I stopped using it. Went to Panadol and felt fine after that. Morphine was just horrible but thats my personal experience of it..

    Oh and no matter what when you stand try and stand tall. Do not slouch it really does make things worse.. Same with sitting.. and when you stand for the first time be prepared it hurts. It really hurts but i believe if you are prepared for the pain and take some very deep breaths and stand tall it isn't as bad.. After my first c/s the pain was so bad I had a panic attack.. when I had my 2nd I kept repeating to myself its gunna hurt but breath breath..

    Ask about breast feeding in Recovery. I did but it was hospital policy that I couldn't. I expressed some milk prior to the Cs and bub was given that while I was in recovery. Other then that I had no trouble with BF with my last 2. with my 1st c/s he was unwell due to other reasons so I expressed but I still had plenty of milk..

    Gosh.. I hope that wasn't too much.. Was just typing as it came to my mind.. Any questions ask away

  13. #13

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    There has been some great advice on here so far!

    Definately write a cs birth plan. You can include things like wanting the screen lowered so you can see bub being born, requesting skin-to-skin in theatre, and having bub with you while you are in recovery.

    My recovery from the surgery was fantastic (other than a bladder infection from the catheter) I was up and walking around 24 hours after the Op and only really experienced a little discomfort - no real pain.

    RE: the mode of anaesthesia. I would never have a general again unless it was absolutely necessary. The anaesthetist couldn't get the epi in and all of a sudden told me I had to have the general and knocked me out before I had time to comprehend anything. Missing my baby's birth really had a bad affect on me emotionally because I felt I was robbed of a birth experience. I wish I had have had someone video bubs birth and also her first hour of life so I could see it and hear her first cries etc.
    Please do not let my experience scare you as it's only about 1% of caesar mums who end up needing a general. I just thought I'd mention it because it's always good to be prepared for anything.

    HTH, and best of luck with everything

  14. #14

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    Hi there,

    I had an emergency c/ section and I was suprised at how well things went. After over 27hrs of labour (I just wouldnt give up - I wanted my drug free vaginal delivery) my OB finally convinced me to stop trying and she had let me go further than she should have, but only to appease my desire to keep going. I had an epi, which was v difficult to administer as I was having 1 min contractions! Off to theatre, great OB and supportive nurses (even though they had to come in at midnight on a Fri night), bub was born within 10 mins and I will never forget that first cry. they brought her straight over for a cuddle, and I was back in the delivery suite with her in 15 mins. Yep 15mins was all that I was in recovery. I was up and about the second day and by the time I went home I was generally walking well. I was driving within 3 weeks and i have healed really well. If I had to have another c/s I would ask about is the possibility of BF in recovery (i didnt think of that at the time).

    Writing a c/s birth plan is a great idea and will definatley empower you. ALso you need to think of your partner and children, will they be there, who will take photos (nurses more than happy to).

    Best of luck
    Lisa

  15. #15

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    Everyone has given great advice. I have had 2 c-sections and will be having a 3rd next pregnancy. I shake and shiver lots from the minute I enter the theatre room until a few hours after the c-section. I shiver that much I can't talk because my teeth are shattering. Someone told me this is because my body is in shock but I don't know about that because it starts before they do anything. They always have to put a heat blanket on me. I had an epidural for the first one and a spinal for the second. They had trouble putting the spinal in but once it worked it was all good. My second one was a lot better than the first and I did enjoy it mainly because I knew what was going to happen and had read and spoken to a lot of peeople about it so you are doing the right thing finding everything out now.

    The best advice I was given was given by the ob's assistant and someone has already posted this but it helps a lot. The first time you get out of bed and stand up stand tall. It is going to hurt and your reaction will probably be to curl over but don't do it. Stand nice and straight. Do little bits at a time. And take the painkillers. Take the painkillers BEFORE the pain gets too bad because then it takes a lot longer to feel better and when the pain gets too bad you start to feel like crap both physically and emotionally. You'll probably only be on painkillers for a week or 2. Some people are off them in a few days but if you need them take them. I'm all for painkillers with a c-section. It is a major op and then you have to care for a gorgeous baby straight away so you have to feel ok. I breastfed both my babies and the c-section did not interfere at all. I was unable to feed them in recovery but as soon as I got to my room they were both feeding. My husband cuddled them until I got there which gives him bonding time. Some women who have c-sections find this part the hardest. Being separated from their baby right at the beginning. My milk supply came in on day 3 for my second bub. I had the second c-section at about 5pm and I was up at 7am the next morning showering. Becasue I couldn't get out of bed and my husband was not able to stay with me overnight at the hospital bub spent the first night in the nursery but after I got up the next morning I was able to continue getting up to change nappies etc so he didnt have to go back to the nursery at all.

    Overall my c-section experiences were positive. If you empower yourself with knowledge, just like with a natural birth you will more than likely have a positive experience too. Write a c-section birth plan and talk to your ob about it. All the best.

  16. #16

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    I have had 2 c/s. My first was an emergency and all went well as my DH and I were just happy that our DS came out healthy. My 2nd was an elective and was a much more enjoyable process as it is not as rushed and you can have some sort of a birth plan to have it the way you want your birth. I had a spinal block for both and it is not that bad. I am someone who hates needles and pain and if the person knows what they are doing (which most do) it is a reasonable painless process. You get 2 needles one it and anaesthetic and the other is the block it wears off in about 3-4 hours and the whole process from start to finish with the needles is about 5 - 10 mins and this includes prep time. They disinfect you back and use a tape marker to pinpoint the area to put the needle. Then they give you the anaesthetic which is quick and then they take there time to find the correct area to put the spinal block. The worst part is you have to completely relax your back while that are puting needles in your back. Don't worry you will be fine. Goodluck with everything.

  17. #17

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    Glad i found this topic - I too am choosing to have a c-section due to a couple of medical reasons. My ob didnt force me to have a cs but thinks its a good idea for the future as do i.

    Its great to hear nice stories about this topic. Im not worried about the actual procedure as ive had an epidural before, been in hospital 10 days with a blood clot and have to have a needle everyday to thin my blood so that kinda stuff doesnt worry me.

    Im more worried about the care i will get from the midwives afterwards as i wasnt treated the best when i had my son(had a natural birth but with an apidural, episiotomy and forceps)

    Id also be interested in what is a good idea to take to hospital e.g. big undies etc.

    I remember wearing a bra in the hospital after having my son as my boobs wear leaking and had to wear dispoable pads. Did anyone have to wear a bra after a c-section and how did you go putting it on?
    Last edited by Mrs S; May 13th, 2008 at 11:59 PM.

  18. #18

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    Mrs S - I just had to smile when I read your question about putting on a bra after a c/s. I can see the dilema, but you do that just like you do EVERYTHING else after a c/s .... SLOWLY, VERY SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY You can try fastening the clips in front (cups on your back, straps NOT on your shoulders) and then just turn the bra back-side back and flip on the straps.

    Taking to the hospital - don't forget your sanitary pads (I just used normal "canoe-style" pads) and yes, spossies for your bra is a must. Also pick clothes that are fitted in your middle, or lower than your "hair-line". The last thing you want is a pj bottoms (or undies) that rubs against your scar, kwim? Don't know the rules over there, but I asked for extra pillow's. I found that lying down for a nap was really hurtfull on my tummy, so cranking the bed up and using extra pillows to sleep in a sitting position was a god's send.

    If I think of anything else, I'll post

    HTH

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