May 2017 Moms

The cesarean section thread

I've seen a lot of questions and discussions about tears, episiotomies, and general vaginal post birth questions. However as someone that was 100% expecting a vaginal delivery and ended up with a c section I think it's very worthwhile to know a little about what it's like and about recovery from one because I know I for one was totally unprepared!

Have questions for someone that has had one? Want to share some recovery pro tips? Want to talk about your thoughts or concerns about having another one?

nda_roxybabemcvgalbacorreaKipperoomrsrep123saric83kayemjay2

Re: The cesarean section thread

  • Share all the tips with me!  I had one last time but also had an anxiety attack and wasn't awake during the procedure.  

    Also, any Veterans have advice for dealing with toddlers afterwards, this is one of the things giving me anxiety this time around.

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  • I had an unplanned c-section after more than 24 hours of labor. I had a really rough postpartum experience, which I am determined to avoid this time with my repeat c/s. My biggest pieces of advice are to advocate for yourself and stay on top of your pain management. I'm a nurse, so I think I tried too hard to be an A-plus patient who didn't nag the nurses. As a result, though, I felt totally overwhelmed, especially at night. I didn't have a private room, so my husband wasn't allowed to stay overnight. So there I was, fresh c/s incision, getting in and out of bed all night to change diapers and get the baby, who just wouldn't sleep in the little hospital bassinet. I was in terrible pain because I was afraid the Percocets they offered would make me nauseated or too woozy to care for the baby. I basically didn't sleep for 36 hours after the procedure. It was so miserable. I wish I would have spoken up for myself to ask for help. I also should have just taken the damn pain pills. Once I finally did, my pain was more manageable. This time around, I'll be at a different hospital with private rooms, so my husband can stay (assuming we find care for our son). I'm also looking forward to going into the procedure with sleep and dinner the night before. I was so tired and hungry before the c/s even started and that definitely contributed to a lousy hospital recovery.

    Once you're home, stay on top of your pain. I rotated 1 Percocet and 600mg of ibuprofen for the first few days. Hold a pillow against your abdomen when you switch positions (lying to sitting, sitting to standing), like @KMD1106 said. Those position changes are incredibly painful. Oh! And take stool softeners. That first poop is a real bitch. Try to be set up so you don't have to go up/down stairs unnecessarily (like to change diapers). Ask for help, and accept help when it's offered, which is good postpartum advice no matter what kind of birth you've had.
    SKZWchickyclgmrsrep123mdlorenz
  • Echoing what others have said about pain meds!! In recovery I was given Percocet 10, but they encouraged me to switch to 5 after a couple of days since that's what they would be sending me home with. This time around, I will take the 10's as long as possible because the less you hurt, the more you move! I went almost a whole day without walking because I chose the lower dose and got behind on my schedule. (For those wary of pain meds, they sent me home with 30 tabs and I MAYBE took 10 - and most of those were halved. As bad as the pain starts out, it becomes very manageable as long as you don't overdo it when you get home.)

    I was VERY scared to let the nurse/tech take out my staples and do the steri-strips before I left. Turns out, it was completely painless and definitely not worth getting worked up over. 

    The first two nights at home, I had to wake up my husband every time I needed to get out of bed (crying baby, trips to the bathroom) because I needed him to pull me out of bed. You can FORGET about sitting straight up for a while. After those first few nights, I was able to roll onto my side and slither out of the bed that way. Generally any time I changed positions, there was a very sharp, shooting pain for a few seconds. If you know it's coming, you can try to brace yourself and just sit or stand still until it passes - it will pass! 

    Even though it hasn't been long, I feel like I've forgotten things already. I may have more to add if someone else's comments jog my memory. 


    mrsrep123
  • My #1 piece of advice for recovery is to get up as soon as the medically allow you, ideally within the first 8 hours. With DS1 I had an emergency C-section with no prior labor due to Preeclamspsia and being transferred to a different hospital with better NICU. As a first time mom I wanted a vaginal deliver but everything happened to quickly and he had to be born to save both of us. I immediately told the new doctors that I was warned I may need a C-section due to small pelvic bones. They did not check me at all and just prepped me for the C-section. At 30 weeks I had not read anything about C-section recovery. Once all he was born and swept away at 252pm I was put back together and rolled into my room. I had no idea I should even try to get up at all so I just rested in bed. I still had a catheter in due to preeclampsia so no need to even get up for the bathroom. I was not told to try to get up until the next day around 3pm. Recovery was slow but I thought that was normal for a C-section.

    With DS2 I knew I was having a RCS so I researched recovery tips. He was born at 946am, At 240 that same day I was allowed to try and get up with help. That first time, you will definitely want help. It was a small wing and they suggested I walk 2 laps every 2 hours or so. Speed is obviously of no concern. But I can assure you there was a notable difference in recovery time and soreness, simple because I started trying to move sooner.


    Also a pillow will definitely be your best friend. You will want to hold it against your abdomen when coughing, laughing, sneezing, moving etc..

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    mrsrep123
  • So happy to see this thread! It is so important to know that a csection is a possibility and like a pp said, don't get down on yourself- you still are doing what's best for your baby! 

    TAKE ALL THE MEDS! I am a very anti-med person. I generally stay away from them and don't want to ever overdo any and am highly sensitive to them, but I took medicine EVERY SINGLE TIME it was offered and I felt like I recovered pretty quickly. Definitely take stool softener because all those pain killers make for a terrible time pooping. I had no problems with being too drugged up to do stuff with baby, but I took the max amount for as long as they let me. I did, however, walk as soon as they wanted me to and am so glad I did. At first I was ticked they thought I should get up because I just knew it would be horrible, but after a few times it got SO much better so quickly. 

    This may not be normal, but like I said in my birth story, I had had 2 epidurals, a bunch of other junk, and then they ended up giving me gas and I passed out. I'm not sure what caused it or if every c section is this way, but my bladder was so numb that I couldn't feel a thing, even after the catheter was out. Just a heads up that if it is numb, you can't tell when you need to pee until you have got to pee right then. I once peed all over the floor trying to get to the bathroom, so if you have guests try to stay on top of emptying your bladder ahead of time so you won't end up in that situation. Luckily I was alone at the time and the nurse helped, but I knew it was about to happen again when my MIL was in the room and I panicked! After a while that went away and I could pee normally. 

    My hospital offered a velcro thing to go around my stomach and although it seemed like it would hurt to push it all in so tightly, it was the only thing that made me move around easier. Holding it all in made it wayyyy less painful. I did stick a big pad over my incision so it would have a bit more padding and not rub it, but I wore that thing constantly. If your hospital doesn't offer one, it's like the girdle things that another post was talking about but just a little smaller. 
    mrsrep123mdlorenz
  • I second walking around as soon as you can. It suuuucks to walk around at first, but do it anyway. The more you move, the better you'll feel when you have to move later. Another thing I forgot was the compression socks/machine at the hospital. Keep that thing on as long as they'll let you so your blood keeps flowing. 
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  • Just a thought... On the way home we took our normal route with out even realizing it had 4 separate rail road tracks and lots of very old pot hole-y roads.... I cried almost the whole way bc any kind of jolt is incredibly painful so if you can help it, maybe try to take a " gentle" route.
  • I ended up with an unplanned c-section after 18 hours of labor and failing to progress and DD's heart rate dropping. I obviously knew a c-section is a possibility with any birth, but never "thought it would happen to me" and I was therefore devastated. I still have some mom guilt that I am trying to get over regarding the c-section, even though I know it wasn't my fault and it was the safest option for baby. 

    The c-section went great. I already had an epidural from labor and they just upped the dose for surgery and all I felt was pulling and tugging. DD was born at 11:09pm and I don't know if it was due to the late hour, or the 20 people that we had in the waiting room waiting for news of her birth, but I didn't get the 1-2 hours of skin-to-skin time that our hospital usually mandates. Since she was the only birth that night, they let my entire family into the recovery room to see her. I would say to be vocal about wanting that time with your babe, I wasn't because I was still crying from having a c-section. 

    I will echo what others have said about getting up as soon as possible. Walking definitely helped with recovery. And the Velcro girdle was amazing! I wore it around the house for weeks. 

    I had a different experience with the pain meds. I took one dose and then decided not to take anymore because they made me loopy. Luckily, I didn't need them. 

    Overall I had a wonderful c-section and recovery experience. 
    mrsrep123
  • Thanks for all of your posts and for starting this @WombThereItIs. I'm def more prepared IF things happen to go this way. 

    My babies...

     

    KMD1106hp_mommalrwardrop
  • I was very much a suck it up and deal type and got through recovery with just Motrin but I'm worried that if I have another one it's going to be a pain in the butt with a toddler. Sounds like one of those belly binders might be key. 

    Definitely a fan of getting up and moving. Really for me the worst part was getting up. And I mean all the way up, I'd stand but be hunched and that last bit to be straight sucked by after that it's not so bad. 

    Having a stroller the car seat clicked into was key early on. A 10+lb seat and a baby reached nearly
    20 lbs quite quickly and you really can't lift that comfortably for a while. Or get a good newborn carrier and wear them to and from the car. I for some reason remember very well how impossible lugging the car seat felt. 

    The actual surgery isnt too scary. The docs and nurses are talking to each other sometimes about silly stuff like meal plans so there are other things to focus on. My CRNA was a total boss and actually chatted me up a bit to keep me calm. 

    bacorreastarphish18mdlorenz
  • Question for moms that had previous c sections. Does the hospital provide the belly binder things? or do you have to purchase your own? Is this something that should be purchased before going to the hospital?

    I had a vaginal birth with DD, but she got stuck on her way out (right around her chest) it was a horrible delivery for me and her so our route this time is a scheduled c section. So this is all new and a little scary to me.
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  • I deliver at military hospitals so I may be way in left field but they didn't provide binders. I have gotten maternity support bands for pregnancy both times so they do issue some things, just not those. I think they are considered more of a luxury type item. 
    If you do a hospital tour in your third tri that would be a good time to ask. 

    BeachMommy2Bbacorrea
  • @BeachMommy2B My SIL and I both had C-Sections and delivered at the same hospital with the same group of doctors, she was offered a belly band after hers, and I was not. I assumed that it was because I am very plus size while she is more of a large/XL. She used it for a bit but ended up not using it very often because she was uncomfortable with it on.
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • My hospital offered me mine, but it got blood and stuff on it so i went and bought another... I didnt want to spend a fortune on the ones that are advertised for post pregnancy, so i just bought the kind you use for working out from burlington coat factory and it was uunder $5
  • I had a c section with DD due to her being breech. It was definitely unexpected. I encourage others to read up on cesareans I never did, I was silly and thought it wouldn't happen to me. 
    Like others have said definitely stay on top of your meds. when nurse came in to offer I didn't and totally regret it. I could have totally avoided the pain if I just took them. Also keep up with the stool softener when you get home from the hospital. I had a hell of a time going. 
    At first it was really hard for me to accept that I was going to have one but it turned out to be a wonderful birth experience. My dr is absolutely wonderful and She definitely made the experience so great talked me through the whole process. The nurses were so so amazing and made me feel so comfortable. 
    This time around we're hoping for a VBAC but if that doesn't turn out I'm more accepting of a c section this time around 

    @BeachMommy2B my hospital didn't offer one to me and didn't think to get one. Maybe I'll consider getting one if I have to have one again! 

    #1 DD Aug 2014 @39weeks via CS

    #2 Due May 2,2017 hopeful VBAC

  • thanks everyone, It looks like its just different everywhere. I'll check with the hospital during our tour and CPR class to see if they provide them.
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  • emilyalsoemilyalso member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper First Answer
    edited January 30
    @BeachMommy2B - You might ask your OB as well. It could be that they need to write an order for it in order for the hospital to provide you one. I wasn't offered one last time, and my best friend who had a C-section 1 week later was. She said she didn't know how I moved around without it. 

    ETA: My first post-surgery poop wasn't bad, but the ones after that WERE so I second the stool softeners. At the hospital, they didn't start them until maybe day 3 (not sure why there was a delay). I actually asked for a suppository, because I was worried about how many days had passed since I had a BM. 
  • While I had a vaginal birth with my first, I wish I still had learned more about cesarean back then just in case, because you just never know. I'm glad this thread is going on, I learned quite a bit!


    Kipperoo
  • I've never been offered one of the belly binders. I've had 2 sections. 

    All i can do is echo advice already given: get up and walk ASAP. It'll really benefit your recovery. Stay on top of your pain meds. Don't try to be a hero and deal with the pain. Stool softeners for the win. My hospital also gives gas pills. Freaking awesome. Generally, they don't want you to eat solids until you're at least passing gas (a sign that everything is a-ok with your intestines after surgery)....I was walking and tooting and didn't have a care in the world haha
  • emilyalsoemilyalso member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper First Answer
    edited February 1
    @SparkySunDevil - Oh my gosh...the gas situation! I mentioned in another thread that I don't let my husband know when that I poop. I could have DIED every time a nurse came in and asked if I had been passing gas. DON'T THEY KNOW THAT'S PRIVATE! I would always look away, ashamed, and mumble 'some..I guess.' 

    ETA: I do understand they have to ask. But at least whisper it or wait until he has gone for snacks! 
    erinh2005SparkySunDevil
  • @SparkySunDevil and @emilyalso -- I was an RN on a surgical floor when I had my son, so I asked this question A LOT, haha. The morning after my late-night c/s, I pounced on the first resident who rounded on me. "I passed gas, so can you please order me a regular diet?" I was sooooo hungry, and jello and juice weren't going to cut it!
    mdlorenzSparkySunDevil
  • SKZWSKZW member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    Glad this topic is being discussed. I'm clueless but want to be prepared.

    For those of you who are BTDT with c-sections: What exactly is the protocol for after-care/wound care? I'm familiar with the healing of the peri area after childbirth, but I've never had a surgical wound to contend with. Restrictions on showers? Certain ointment? Just keep it clean and dry? Do they use disolvable stitches or do they need to be removed later? I need details. TIA!
  • @SKZW it's really low maintenance. No dressing, just keep it clean and dry. I showered as soon as the next day in the hospital (with my catheter in and my pee bag hung on the handicap bar!). Didn't have to put any ointment on it or anything. It really does heal crazy fast. Mine had either dissolvables or glue, I can't remember I just know I didn't have to have sutures removed. 

    The one thing to remember is that even when your incision heals there is still a lot of healing going on underneath in your muscles and uterus so go easy on yourself. That part takes months to start feeling closer to normal. 

    mrsrep123
  • @SKZW both my C-Sections had different after-care wound care directions, I assume based on being in 2 different hospitals. The first one involved no stitches at all. They sealed me up with some sort of glue and then place a patch on top that was hooked to a vacuum type bag that sucked all the air out to keep it dry. I wore it for a week and when I went for my follow up, it was removed. I remember being very amazed that it already looked and felt like a small scar that healed years ago.

    With DS2, they also sealed me up some type of glue. However on top of that I had some thin stitches that would come out on their own. I vaguely remember maybe having to change a dressing or something. Either way, it lasted about a week as well.

    Both times I was to wash around the wound, and dry completely to avoid infection. It was even recommended to use a hair dryer on cool setting to make sure it was completely dry before covering with any clothes.

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  • SKZWSKZW member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    @WombThereItIs & @mcvgal: (funny how both your posts are exactly at 8 a.m.!) Thank you for the feedback! Sounds not-so-awful. You've helped to put my mind at ease.  :)
  • @SKZW - I had staples in the hospital, and they were removed on the last day and replaced with strips of what I'll call strong tape. There was zero maintenance for me, and I had no trouble. 

    I will say that if there seems to be a problem to have it checked out quickly! My best friend had an area of hers get infected and they had to open it back up. She or her husband had to pack the wound for probably a month and it was AGONY for her. I do think this is RARE - but don't delay if you think there could be an issue! 
    mdlorenz
  • SKZWSKZW member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    @emilyalso: Oh no! Your poor friend! That's pretty awful but you're right, probably an extreme. Thank you  :)
  • I didn't have staples or anything that needed to be removed. As far as cleaning, just let warm soapy water run over it in the shower. Don't scrub. Pat or air dry. Use a mirror to check on it, and call your OB if you notice increased warmth, swelling, or pus. They'll go over any special care before you leave the hospital. I can barely see my scar! Also, for a while I felt most comfortable wearing higher-waisted underwear and pants. My incision was right about where my pre-preg underwear would hit, so I avoided those for a long time.

    Jkp7749SKZW
  • I still have the underwear I wore last time and every once in a while when I wait too long to do laundry I throw a pair on... haha my husband always gets a good laugh! They were a lifesaver though! You definitely don't want to have your undies pushing on the incision!
  • I had dissolving stitches with steri-strips over. I had to make sure to dry the area well. I usually asked DH for help with that.  I left the steri-strips alone and I think they mostly fell off after a couple weeks. I had one end of the incision where the stitches didn't dissolve as fast, and that area is still
    a bit more sensitive. Overall wound care wasn't a big deal. 
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  • KMD1106KMD1106 member
    250 Answers 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    @achays11, here's the original thread. 
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  • I'm glad this got bumped, I am now 98% sure we will be in the CS boat again this time.

    ~~~~~~~~~Siggy Warning~~~~~~~~

    Me~28 DH~27 

     6-12-2010  Miscarriage. 
    3-16-2012 D&C/Miscarriage.
     Blocked Left Tube. 
    Diminished Ovarian Reserve   
    MFI - Sperm Morphology 2%.  
    MTHFR 
     Abnormal Antiphospholipid Antibodies
    April 2013 ~  1st IUI attempt - 100 mg Clomid- Canceled
    May 2013  ~ 2nd IUI attempt -100 mg Clomid- Canceled
    June 2013 ~ 3rd IUI attempt - 100 mg Clomid+ Trigger+ Progesterone~BFN
     IVF/ICSI #1 May 2014 ~ Freeze All ~ Due to OHSS
     5/1/2014 ~ 22 retrieved, 12 fertilized, 3 frozen
    5/28/2014 ~ FET#1 ~ Transferred 2 Hatching Blasts
      6/1/2014~ **BFP**
    6/9/2014 Beta #1 ~ 1022
    6/12/2014 Beta #2 ~ 3099
    6/16/2014 Beta #3 ~ >5000
    6/19/2014 First U/S ~ TWINS!!!  
    1/7/2015 Twins born @ 34 weeks

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    Jkp7749
  • Thanks @KMD1106

    I had a lot of guilt after my unexpected CS with DD. I know there was nothing that I could have done to change it and that in the end it was the safest option for her birth. But I still feel like my body failed at what it was supposed to do. 

    Ever since her birth, I have been saying that I wanted a VBAC. I have talked to my doctor about it and he has said that he will let me try as long as there is not a reason why I shouldn't. Then I have all my family and friends telling me to have another CS because it is the safer option. 

    I have been been reading the pros and cons of both VBAC and CS, and I am so torn! I am going to have another conversation with my doctor about what he thinks the best route for us is, but I just don't know! 

    Has anyone had a VBAC? How was the experience? Would you do it again? 
  • saric83saric83 member
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Photogenic
    @achays11 - I know it's hard, but I would ignore my friends and family versus what my doctor says.  I think doc wins if the discussion is simply about what is safe!  

    I'm going for a repeat CS (not a VBAC candidate, and even if I were, I would likely still pick a CS for myself just based on our first experience), but a few friends have had successful ones and been really happy about it.  One friend wasn't able to kind of last minute (per her doc), and she was devastated as she had put so much pressure and weight on it happening a certain way.  

    If you're on the fence, maybe ask your doc when is the deadline to choose a CS and what would be a deal breaker for him.  Like if you're halfway through labor and change your mind, is that an issue?
    achays11bacorrea
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