April is Caesarean Section awareness month. I am no expert when it comes to Caesarean’s, however as both my children were born that way so I am going to share my knowledge.
Pregnancy is a wonderful time for most women. The excitement of becoming a parent, a wonderful bundle of joy. I felt all of this when I was pregnant.
I hadn’t really thought about labour, I knew it was going to happen so I didn’t dwell on it. As far as I was concerned I was going to accept any of the pain relief I was offered. When labour started I was a little bit excited.
Most women ideally want a natural birth, however there are many reasons why people have a caesarean section. Not just because they are to posh to push!
Emergency Caesarean Section
There are many reasons beyond the woman’s control that means you end up having an emergency caesarean.
- Your cervix stops dilating and labour slows down.
- The babies heartbeat changes and showing signs of distress.
- Problems with the placenta or umbilical cord.
- Meconium – When the baby poo’s inside.
- A maternal health condition develops during labour.
Some people elect to have a caesarean section. This can be for many reasons and here are just a few.
- Have had a previous caesarean.
- The baby is breech – bottom down.
- You have a low lying placenta.
- There is an underlying medical condition.
- You have severe preeclampsia.
- There are multiple babies.
When you have an emergency caesarean section apart from the consent forms the most important part is the pain relief. An anaesthetist will discuss with you what they are going to do. If you have already had an epidural in labour they will top it up and make sure your numb where required. The other option is a spinal block which an injection into the spine to numb the area. A catheter will be inserted and will be taken out when your are able to get out of bed.
When its an elected caesarean section you will be given some antacid drinks to have the night before and on the morning. They are to help neutralise any stomach acid you may have. Pain relief will normally be a spinal block.
Once that is all sorted you get taken into theatre. A screen will be put up so you don’t have to see everything going on. You don’t feel any pain during the delivery. more of a tugging sensation. Once the baby is delivered it is cleaned up and you can normally have skin to skin contact whilst you are being stitched up, everything being well.
Labour with my eldest was a very slow process. This isn’t the same for everyone. I have a friend who gave birth start to finish in four hours. I remained in slow labour for three days, during that time I stayed over in hospital for one night for pain relief. Labour finally commenced into established labour – I was advised that this was classed from 4cm to 10cm dilated. Once I was over in the delivery suite I was offered an epidural, after three nearly four days of labour I accepted.
My waters were broken and I was told that their was meconium in my water – basically my baby had done a poo inside me and was distressed. I was monitored and after a couple of hours they recommended I had a Caesarean due to labour not progressing. By this time I just wanted the baby out so signed the paperwork.
As I already had an epidural they just topped it up to make sure I couldn’t feel anything. This was a weird sensation as I couldn’t feel my legs.
Once I was in theatre the whole process didn’t seem to take that long. When she was being born I felt a weird tugging sensation. Almost like someone was doing the washing up inside me. When she was born she was taken to be cleaned up and because of the meconium I didn’t get to see her until they had cleared her airways a little, this only took minuets but seemed a lifetime. I didn’t get to have skin to skin contact until we were in the recovery room. After the long labour having the caesarean was a relief.
When it came to my second labour I was considering an elected caesarean section, mainly because I had previously had one. As time went on I started to develop severe anaemia, this then turned into me having low platelets. This meant that my blood didn’t have enough clotting agents. I spent days in hospital having blood tests and hoping things would change. Unfortunately they didn’t. A consultant and surgeon spoke to me and they said they would like to deliver the baby early due to the risks, I was ok with this. It was then they told me they wanted me to go under general anaesthetic for safety.
I was advised that it was a safer option as they would be in a situation to control the bleeding. If I had a natural delivery I could haemorrhage. It was all very sudden, the night before I was given some sugary antacid drinks which I didn’t enjoy! The next day I had to be at the hospital really early, paper work was checked and I was first on the list.
Walking into a theatre and getting onto the operating table was very surreal. Before I knew it I was in the recovery area coming round, my husband was then bought round and we were both introduced to our beautiful baby boy. I felt very tired from having a general anaesthetic and it also made the baby quite sleepy. I didn’t feel like breast feeding, to be honest I was out of it a little. After a few hours I was a little better and I was able to enjoy my perfect little boy.
Neither of my labours went the way I had hoped, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how a baby is delivered and both of mine are perfect.
The recovery from a caesarean section is longer than a vaginal birth. You normally spend a couple of days in hospital to make sure you are mobile and well. Here are a few tips based on my experience’s.
- They will tell you to take things easy – make sure you do.
- I found getting up and walking around as soon as I could helped.
- Ask for help and take it, you have just had major abdominal surgery.
- Wear loose clothing so there is no pressure on your scar
- Big knickers! The ones that go above your tummy. They don’t rub on the scar and are comfortable.
- Use a pillow or feeding cushion to support the baby when feeding them.
- Don’t try and sit up on your own after lying down – the strain will hurt.
- You may experience some bad wind pains for a while after the surgery.
- Get help when you need to pick your baby up.
- Be prepared for your scar area to be numb.. for a long time to come.
- Drink plenty and eat lots of fibre. Going to the toilet can be a little uncomfortable after a caesarean for a while.
Having a caesarean can seem like a very scary experience and is not what most women plan. Being aware of reasons why you may have a caesarean, the procedure and how to recover are great things to be aware off.
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