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Karlie's Elective C/S 1 July 2008, Spinal

Cesarean Section Experiences, and Birth Stories

Members of the cesarean section board give detailed accounts of their time in surgery.

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April 3rd, 2010, 07:44 AM
Karlie's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 4,163
My son was born in July 2008, so I am relying on my memory to make this account as accurate as possible.

During my pregnancy I received antenatal care from a Community Midwife Program which is essentially a group of midwives that provide care for low-risk pregnancies. I had intended on a natural, drug-free birth at their birth centre and to be home four hours after giving birth. At my 39 week appointment I mentioned that I felt kicks in my lower abdomen, and felt that the baby must be breech. The midwives through feeling my belly were pretty sure that he was sitting the right way, but an ultrasound the same day confirmed that he was breech. Because I was 39 weeks already I had an appointment with an obstetrician who offered to try to turn the baby which I declined, and made an appointment for an elective C Section for the 1st of July 2008 (39 wks 5 days).
The day before the C Section I had an appointment with the anaesthesiologist where he discussed the risks associated with the spinal, and explained the procedure to me. It was brief and I don’t remember much of it. I also had a pre-op appointment with a nurse who discussed things like washing with medicated soap before arriving at hospital, not to wear make-up, perfumes ect.
We arrived at the hospital at 6.30am on the 1st of July. We were greeted by one of the beautiful midwives from the CMP team. Even though I was no longer able to give birth at their centre, they stay with patients who need to be transferred to have hospital births or c section. She escorted us to the L&D and gave me my hospital gown and cap. She would have shaved my pubic area however I had already taken care of that the night before! (One less loss of dignity!) She inserted a catheter which didn’t hurt at all, but was fairly uncomfortable and it felt like I needed to pee for the first hour or so it was in. She also inserted the IV at this point. She advised that we would head down to the surgical floor at about 8 30 unless an emergency arose, in which case we would be waiting all day! Luckily, everything went to plan and I was wheeled down to surgery at about 830.
We had to wait for about 30 minutes until it was my turn to go in. It was weird being surrounded by a dozen or so other patients all waiting for their respective surgeries. Kind of like lambs being led to a slaughter! Such a bad analogy to use, but that’s what it felt like...
I was taken into the operating room but my partner had to wait outside while the anaesthesiologist inserted the spinal. I’m not sure why he wasn’t allowed in – probably some kind of legality. The anaesthesiologist used a local aesthetic to numb my back, and then it took about three tries to insert the spinal. This was probably my lowest moment of having a c section. He was telling me to arch my back into a C shape which is kind of difficult when you have a massive beach ball belly preventing you from bending too far forward. There were a couple of young nurses in the OR room giggling and gossiping about something which was not what I needed to hear. An older nurse told them to have some respect and shut up thank goodness! And I had my wonderful midwife standing in front of me holding my hands which made the procedure easier to deal with. Eventually he finished the spinal, I was layed down, transferred to another bed and my partner was bought back into the room. My IV line had dislodged from my vein at this point so I had to have one put into my other wrist while the old one was left there half hanging out.
The nurses put the sheets up to prevent me from seeing my abdomen. I had my partner and midwife beside me. There was approximately 15 staff in the room but what each of them were doing there I have no idea. One doctor advised that they were going to ‘test the spinal’ and I think he started pulling at bits of my skin with a clamp to see if I could feel it which I couldn’t, so they went ahead and cut me open! I vaguely remember feeling a little bit of tugging but honestly the being cut open bit was probably the easiest part of the whole c section process to me! I felt fine, and it all happened very quickly. My partner later said he watched the whole procedure in the glare of the surgeon’s glasses! Ewww! I heard my little boy cry; he was handed to the midwife and then handed to me. My partner took a couple of photos and the midwife took one of all three of us. While on my chest he started crawling up my chest and rooting around clearly searching for his first breastfeed! There wasn’t a lot I could do to help the poor little guy, I was wearing a hospital gown and had no feeling in my lower body but my midwife undid my gown without being asked and he had his first feed right there while I was being sewn back together. He was born at 9.20am. We entered the OR at about 9.00am and in that time received a spinal as well. It was all very quick.
The longest part of a c section is when they are stitching you back up. That took about half an hour and it was pretty awful. There was a doctor beside me whose job it was to monitor my stats and he asked me to let him know anytime I felt nauseas as it meant my blood pressure was dropping. Every minute or so I felt like throwing up, he would then pump my IV with anti-nausea medication and I would feel better for another minute or so. My blood pressure would then drop again, more nausea, more anti-nausea medication. This went on for what felt like forever! It was difficult trying to deal with that whilst holding a squirmy newborn baby and breastfeeding for the first time but it was definitely worth it.
We were then transferred back to recovery. I was wheeled out of the OR, and my partner carried the baby. (Babies weren’t allowed to ride on the trolleys apparently so DH had to carry him). Recovery was pretty cruisy...the baby was handed back to me and we spent the next half an hour or so just watching him, trying out his new name, the usual new-baby stuff! I still had no feeling in my legs which I thought felt kind of cool, and I felt perfectly fine. In hindsight, I was probably pretty out of it but I felt 100% mentally aware!
We then went back to the maternity ward, got settled in our room, had a liquid lunch, a few visitors and lots of annoying nurses checking in on us frequently. I was starving and they wouldn’t feed me proper food. Lucky I had the foresight to pack a banana in my bag that I sneakily ate while DH left to make phone calls. After lunchtime I demanded my catheter be removed and the nurse refused. I think they all thought I was crazy, but I guess they got sick of me asking so they removed the catheter and helped me get up and go to the bathroom and then I had a shower while DH watched the baby. It probably sounds crazy to get up and have a shower 4 hours after a c section, but after being pumped full of drugs, cut open, giving birth I felt like I needed to have a shower to feel normal again! And I did. The only effect of the drugs that I can remember was having an insanely itchy nose. I thought I was going crazy but the nurse said it was a common reaction to the anaesthesia and gave me an antihistamine. It was better after that. The rest of the day was super uneventful. My partner stayed until the night nurse found him hiding in my room at about 2am and kicked him out. We use the Public Hospital system so partners aren’t supposed to stay the night.
After my partner left the pain started really kicking my ***. My baby co-slept beside me in the hospital bed so I didn’t need to get up for him, but I needed to pee through the night and oh my god, I could not get out of bed. I was in tears because I was in that much pain, and I needed to pee and there was nothing I could do about it. In order to get to the bathroom I needed to sit up, put my baby back in his bassinette (impossible!), get out of bed (not likely) and walk my sorry butt to the bathroom. I sucked in my pride and called the night nurse who said “Yes, you probably pushed yourself a bit too far today” and helped me pee. Then he gave me more drugs. Bliss!
The next day a liquid breakfast I decided it was time to check myself out of there. I hate hospital, I hate the whole vibe and I hated DH not being able to stay with us. So after almost a whole day of begging and pleading a doctor finally gave me & baby a final check up, and signed the discharge papers. Walking from my room out of the hospital was a bit scary, I was bleeding a fair bit and thought ‘Oh god, maybe we shouldn’t be leaving this early’ but did anyway. Despite a bumpy and sometimes painful car ride home it was bliss to collapse on my own house and cuddle my baby in my own home without nurses disturbing us constantly.
The CMP midwives visited us every morning for a week to check how we were both going, and to help with breastfeeding etc. They thought it was a really positive thing that I had discharged from hospital so early and recognised that my recovery would be easier in the comfort of my own home. I had no problems with my incision and was on half neurofen plus – half plain neurofen for a week or so. The hardest part of the first few nights were getting up from a laying down position so when the baby cried I would have to wake DH as well so he could hoist me up into a sitting position.
All in all, apart from a few yucky moments it was a positive experience for me. I felt in control the whole time and that my wishes were respected. Even though I didn’t get to experience the natural birth I wanted I still got the aspects of it that were most important to me such as skin-to-skin contact, early breastfeeding and early hospital discharge. Hopefully my next experience in July 2010 will be just as positive!


Last edited by Karlie; April 3rd, 2010 at 08:10 AM.
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April 3rd, 2010, 03:33 PM
Gaby&Emmy'sMama's Avatar aka NZ-Emma
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Christchurch, NZ
Posts: 56,618
thank you so much for sharing your experience!!!

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