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My cesarean, September 4 2007

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September 9th, 2007, 04:11 PM
sarahp's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: An Aussie living in California
Posts: 0
As you probably know, my little Joshua was delivered by c section after dying from his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. This is about my experience with the c section for others who have to go through with it.

I was high risk due to my heart condition, so some things may not be necessary for a "regular" c section. I was in a room in the L & D area where they first prepped me. I had an IV placed in my left wrist where they started a saline drip, and I also had a larger gauge IV placed in my right wrist just in case I needed a blood transfusion. I think the transfusion one just had a bunch of tubes hanging from it the whole time, although I think they attached one of the tubes to a saline drip for 24 hours or so. They also changed bags for my left hand IV and put through some antibiotics for a while, then changed back to just saline.

They wheeled me to the operating room which was freezing cold, and starting prepping me for the actual surgery. A fair bit was a blur, but this is what I remember. They first had to put an arterial line into my wrist so they could monitor my blood pressure closely - it allows them to constantly and accurately measure the blood pressure. That was incredibly painful as they were poking into me, and the anaesthesiologist was having trouble getting it in. After a few tries, she decided to give the other arm a go. She had issues with that arm as well and said "oh I'm really nervous I'm not used to having so many people watching me". My husband Andrew was in front of me, and they'd given me a pillow to hold, and he was holding my hands and whispering encouragement into my ear, while trying hard not to punch the anaesthesiologist for causing me so much pain. The stupid anaesthesiologist ended up getting someone else to get the arterial line in and they managed first go.

Next they did the epidural. They did a local anaesthetic first to numb up the area, but I could still feel the discomfort of having the needle shoved up my back and it felt as though it kept going off to the side, which was horrible. As she shoved it up badly again and again I was trying not to squirm, but would flinch and she kept telling me that I REALLY had to stay still. I was just crying from the pain, and my poor husband said he was getting so angry at them - if they just put it in properly I wouldn't be squirming! Once again she got someone else to do it (who ended up being the assistant professor of anaesthesiology) who got it first time again. Once they had everything taped in place, I lay back down, they covered me with blankets and they started slowly turning up the epidural. Andrew at this stage was sitting at my left shoulder trying to comfort me.

They started putting sedatives through the IV by this stage as well so I wouldn't get too much more distraught at everything, and then kept testing to see if the epidural was working. I didn't think it was working because I could still feel them pricking me, but they said I would still feel the sensation, but I couldn't feel the pain. They tried a cold wipe instead, and I realised that yes I could still feel them wiping it on me, but I couldn't feel the cold of the wipe, so they started the surgery. I thought you wouldn't feel anything, but I could feel a fair bit - just not the pain. Once the epidural was working, they put in the catheter as well.

I first got wheeled in around 9:30, and they started cutting about 10:00. The whole thing from there on in is a bit of a blur, and seemed to take forever. I remember just being very upset and still in disbelief at how things had turned out. I got the shivers really badly from the epidural, and felt like my whole body was almost convulsing. They said the epidural can make your body think it's going into hypothermia, but put a bunch of extra blankets over me and also a hose which was blowing warm air onto me as well. I also started to feel really sick at some point, and told them and they started putting anti nausea meds through the IV, but not in time - I said I was going to throw up, and they got some sick buckets just in time. I was retching for a while, but ended up actually throwing up a few times. As well as all this, I was incredibly itchy all over, but couldn't scratch - apparently that's a side effect from the morphine.

I can't remember timelines, but apparently they got Joshua out at around 10:15am, and Andrew got to walk around to see him, and hold him. He brought Joshua up to me to see him, but I couldn't see much. He changed the position and I remember thinking "that's my dead baby" but that was about it. I was pretty whacked out which was probably a good thing.

They spent another 30 minutes or so stitching me back up, and another 15 minutes I think of unhooking things and getting ready to move me again. Like I said, it was all a bit of a blur, and I don't remember much. I was falling asleep through a lot of the surgery, but remember them doing a lot of poking and prodding into me and pushing my belly at one stage, which I think was either delivering the baby or the placenta.

They wheeled me to recovery where they kept regularly checking my vitals. They wouldn't let Andrew stay with me, so apparently one of the L & D nurses took him away with her to weigh Joshua, measure him, take his hand and footprints, and take some photos of him, and generally spend time with him.

In the meantime I was stuck in recovery and they were very confused with all my paperwork. I was admitted to the children's hospital to L & D, but they transferred me to the main hospital which is attached to the childrens hospital for the surgery as they had an earlier operating room spot available. The paperwork they have though is completely separate though, so they were trying to get all the correct paperwork signed by the right people, which took forever, then they didn't know if the room was ready (even though someone had already said my room would be available after 12, and it was 1:30pm!). My nurse went off for lunch, and another one took over looking after me, and she asked where my husband was and I said he wasn't allowed in recovery. She said given my circumstances I should not be left alone to grieve, and should absolutely have him there, so she went off and found him and he got to sit with me until they moved me to my room.

I got moved to the Cardiac Surveillance Unit because they wanted to monitor my heart for 24 hours. As it turned out it was a pre-op area, so not only were they not used to post-cesarean patients, but they didn't normally get any post operative patients! The care I had there was pretty poor. They were slow, the nurse during the day didn't speak good english and didn't know what I was asking for, and it was all pretty frustrating. They asked if I was getting hungry, and I said I probably should eat, so she said she'd bring me a tray of food, but then kept coming in asking if I had it yet, to which I kept replying no!!! She came in and checked about 4 times. Finally they had a shift change, and we told the new nurse that I was still waiting for food, and she got it immediately, and of course it was cold from sitting out so long, so she had to reheat the soup and the cup of water.

Also, while the bad nurse was with me, they gave me a pad for the bleeding, but they just put it down there loose, and put an absorbent pad thingy across the bed. I kept asking for mesh panties so I could attach the sanitary pad, but I don't think she had any idea what I was after, and never brought them. About 3 hours later, our L & D nurse came to check in on me to see how we were doing, and we asked her for some mesh underwear and she went and got some straight away! I had been moved to a chair by this stage, and DH and I decided that since the nurses were useless we'd attempt to put on the mesh underwear. I'd had almost no bleeding, but as soon as I stood up, blood went everywhere - all down my legs and all over the floor. We both freaked out and called for the nurse. We had to call for the nurse 3 times over 15 minutes before we finally had someone come in and help us!!! So my advice is to make sure they get you into underwear ASAP and don't stop nagging until they do, and make sure the nurses help you.

I didn't sleep that night at all, despite sleeping tablets, and the next morning I had a little 20 minute nap before I had more nurses come in to bug me. I was in a private room so my husband was able to stay there with me which was great.

So the day after surgery they removed the catheter which meant I had to get up on my own to use the bathroom which was actually good - it was hard to get up, but I felt more normal just being able to do that. The morphine was wearing off in the morning, and the nurses were useless about giving me regular pain meds - they only wanted to give me stuff when I was in pain rather than keeping the meds up to make sure I didn't get in pain. When the morphine wore off I was in agony and they took a good half hour or so to bring me more pain meds. That was pretty horrible.

Later that day I was finally moved to a different section which had more experience in post-cesarean/operation care, and I was looked after much better. I got regular pain meds, I was in a nicer room, Andrew could still stay with me, and the bed was a little easier to get in and out of.

Foodwise I was on clear liquids - soup and jello for dinner Tuesday night, breakfast Wednesday and lunch Wednesday. By Wednesday night I was hungry and wanted real food! It took some arguing with the nurses, but they finally brought me a soft food dinner which was awesome! I hadn't eaten real food since Monday night before I got to the hospital.

What else... basically I tried to go for little walks as much as I could, and made sure I kept all my meds up. If the nurses got a bit behind, my husband would go find our nurse and remind her in person.

My milk came in Thursday night. Thursday my boobs were fine, then all of a sudden in the evening they were huge, rock hard, lumpy and sore. Because I wasn't breastfeeding there wasn't much I could do except wrap them in bandages, take my drugs and make sure I didn't knock them. It's Sunday now and it feels like they're finally starting to go down - they're still huge but not as sore. They've been red, full, sore and lumpy, and I was worried about blocked milk ducts but they assured me the lumpiness and redness was normal. I've been wearing 2 tight sports bras since I got home (Friday afternoon).

Sleeping is very uncomfortable - lying on my back stretches out my belly too much, propping my legs up doesn't help, and I can't really prop my back up comfortably. Lying on my right side is a little painful, but lying on my left side with my body pillow is ok. Once I've been in that position for a while though I get sore and stiff and need to roll onto my back for a bit and stretch out, and then I can't get back to sleep.

I still haven't really had a bowel movement, and today is the first day I've felt as though I've needed to go. I feel very constipated and am still on the stool softeners, and have also started taking Metamucil as I'm pretty uncomfortable. I got one tiny hard poo out this morning (sorry if that's TMI), but that's been it. I keep feeling as though I'm about to go and have to get to the toilet as fast as possible, but nothing happens. I have no idea when this will get better.

Basically I feel like my body has betrayed me - I've gone through the emotional pain and lost the baby but I still have to deal with the breast engorgement and constipation as well as the actual incision pain. I just wish my body would cut me a break.

I'm guessing it's not quite as bad if the baby is ok, because you have those happy memories to overshadow the bad stuff. My husband says he's not sure if HE can handle seeing my go through a c section again. We're both pretty traumatised from the whole experience, but I have no idea how much of it is grief. I certainly think if the stupid chick hadn't have had so much trouble with my IV stuff we'd be less traumatised... My wrists are completely bruised and stiff and I think they may have hit a nerve somewhere as well, as I keep getting some pins and needles and tenderness in my arm/wrist.

As for the incision itself, its apparently healing really well. It's very low - just below where my pubic hair starts so once everything is healed, it really won't be very noticeable. They took off the steri-strips before I left hospital, so there's nothing more to be done with it. Apparently there's a couple of dissolvable stitches, but I can't even see where they are. I just have to make sure I take it easy, try not to go up and down the stairs too much, and sit on a dining chair rather then the couch - the couch is too soft and causes a lot of discomfort around my incision area.

I go back for a checkup with the OB at 6 weeks, and the cardiologist in 2 weeks. I think that's pretty much everything... If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. Basically I think if you have any sort of choice - go a vaginal delivery, not a c section. I'm sure it still hurts, but I can't imagine you have as much long term pain. I feel like I'm constantly in pain or discomfort - every step, every movement I am reminded of it. For those who DO have to get a c section - don't get put off by my story. I've pretty much forgotten the actual pain from the surgery, and the memories of the surgery and recovery will fade fast. Hopefully your story will have a much happier ending than mine.

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September 9th, 2007, 08:44 PM
Fluffy Baby's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SW FL
Posts: 8,785
I am so sorry that you had to have a c-section on top of the passing of your son. I had a horrible c/s experience. I was very thankful that both me and the baby survived, she was worse off than me. I am so glad you were able to share your experience with us. We are all here to listen and talk to if you need to. xoxoxoxo
Leann <3 Hector
My trio: Alyssa 7, Tristan 4.75, Gavin 1.5

I am a mixture of all that and a bag of chips... IJS

Rest In Peace Jennifer <3

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September 10th, 2007, 07:40 AM
hettyhoo's Avatar Mom to Ty & Grae
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Alabama
Posts: 14,691
Thanks for sharing your story Sarah...I hope you heal soon. You are a strong woman and we are all here for you.

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September 10th, 2007, 08:42 AM
TanyaM's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 2,304
Oh, Sarah, you are one brave woman to post this story after all you have been through. But, on the other hand, I think you will be happy that you wrote it out in the future. As sad as the circumstances are, I think that you will be glad to be able to go back and read about how the delivery took place. I know I wish I would have written more down about the time I spent in the hospital when I delivered my son Trace. It can become such a blur, so quickly, with everything that you are trying to wrap your brain around that the details are very few and far between after. I had a c-section with my first and when Trace was stillborn I managed a VBAC only after being induced for 2 1/2 days. I know all too well, the feeling of betrayal when your milk comes in. My milk came in a few days after delivery and I thought, how cruel? I just delivered my dead son and now I have to have this as a horrible reminder. I was advised to take sage oil to dry it up. It worked great. If you have made it the few days already though I think that you are nearing the end. I'm so sorry that you are going through this horrible time. PM me if you want to talk. HUGS.

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September 10th, 2007, 07:45 PM
AmyD's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Your strength is an inspiration. Your story was so full of emotion, I dont know that any other could compare.

Thank you so very much for having the strength to share.


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September 11th, 2007, 05:07 AM
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Oh Sarah, I am crying all over again for you. Thank you for sharing your story.

You might want to try not taking the stool softners. Once I got home from the hospital after my surgery, I had horrible pains and couldn't manage going at all. I too had been cut off of food for a few days and slowly put back onto real food. And the softners were just making it harder to go. Once I stopped taking them and things went back to normal, I was able to go just fine. The struggle of trying to get that softer stuff out was too painful. Thats my only advice for you. I hope it relieves some discomfort.

You are truely amazing and so strong. I wish I could give you the biggest hug right now.
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September 11th, 2007, 11:27 AM
MommaScandalous's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Location: Houston, TX
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Sarah, thanks for sharing your story and shining light on what it's like to have strength through all of this and still grieve as needed.
MY BLOG: *** www.fifthofforever.blogspot.com ***

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September 12th, 2007, 01:20 AM
SweetTxRugrats's Avatar LaLaLaLaLa Means I love U
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: The Lone Star State.
Posts: 4,978
Hello, I don't know you. I am from the Dec ddc & I am having my 4th section late November. I wanted to let you know my heart goes out to you & your dh during this time. Sections are hard and I can only imagine the pain being 5million times worse w/o a baby. I also wanted to let you know that if you take a regular pillow or take one of those long pads and you put it over your section incision, not tight but tuck it into the top of your panties going horizontal it will help w/the pain a bit & seem a bit more comfy. Also rice heat packs help as well. I know for me putting a pillow on my stomach while sleeping helps a lot. If you have any ?'s regarding sections, feel free to PM me. My heart goes out to you and I will be praying for you. HUGS!


Thanks to M&R's Mom for the awesome siggy!

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September 13th, 2007, 12:45 AM
LisaLisaBoBisa's Avatar you...don't...want me?O.o
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just wanted to offer some (((HUGS)))

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September 21st, 2007, 04:00 PM
sarahp's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: An Aussie living in California
Posts: 0
Just want to add that it's now 2 1/2 weeks later, and I've been feeling pretty much back to normal since a couple of days ago. My incision is healing REALLY well, I've been for a few walks that have lasted over an hour. I do get tired by the end, but I'm pain free! I started driving again on Tuesday (exactly 2 weeks after the c section), and that was perfectly fine.

My weight is a little under what is was when I first got pregnant (but I'd put on weight leading up to getting pregnant), and I still have a little jelly belly, but it's not TOO bad. My boobs are completely back to normal - my smaller boob is covered in stretch marks though! The poor thing is small AND ugly now

The period is still happening, it's barely anything - but enough to have to keep wearing a pad.

The c section experience was horrible, but I've pretty much forgotten it. I have no doubt that if I need another c section with the next baby I'll just remember that it was bad, but you recover fast, so to just deal with it.

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