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Cesarean Section Support Thread September 2005 - Page 2

post #21 of 122
Originally Posted by greenmansions
I get envious of moms who birthed vaginally when I see them up and walking around a day later as if nothing much had happened to them physically. My neighbor just had her second baby vaginally on a Friday, came home Saturday and hosted a houseful of people on Sunday. She was perky the whole time, nursed her baby, chatted with friends happily, etc.
I see women on mainstream boards saying that's what they were like after their sections. It's one of the reasons I avoid the mainstream boards - I just feel even worse. It's like I failed to give birth vaginally, and then I failed to recover on top of it.
I guess that's me. I'm not trying to pass judgement on you, or say that you "failed to recover;" when I talk about how quickly I recovered from my c-section vs. my vaginal delivery, I'm only trying to point out that even here, even in this thread, there's this idealization of vaginal delivery that goes on and quite frankly in my experience, it's not necessarily something to be jealous of. I grew up hearing how easy and natural childbirth was, how it hurt like hell but the pain was short and therefore tolerable. My mother had a grand total of about an hour and a half of labor in five deliveries. My sister had two quick, easy births. Neither of them did much by way of preparation, they just had a very easy time of it all.

I suppose that I should count myself lucky; after my son's birth (the VDFH) my mother and sister just stopped talking about labor and delivery. While niether of them had an experience that even came close to mine, they both witnessed parts of my labor. They saw me in agonizing pain from preterm labor, shaking from terbutaline; my sister got to listen to me scream from down the hall while a team of doctors and nurses stuck a suction cup on BeanBean's head and dragged him out. Then they watched me have to be rolled in a wheelchair to see my son nearly a day after he'd been born, and be so weak from magnesium sulfate that I couldn't even push him back up when he started to slide from my shoulder. They watched and they kept their mouths shut, and neither one of them will discuss birth in my presence. I never hear about what I should or shouldn't have done differently, because both of them know that they have never experienced anything even remotely like the pain that I had. Both of them will say that even in the throes of labor, even in transition the worst pains they had were not as bad as the cramps they had when they started breastfeeding. I laughed my ass off at those cramps-- never in a million years did they compete with labor!

Whereas I barely left the house for nearly a month after my c/s and only had whatever family member was staying with me at the time in my house. I am not sure how much of my feeling so lousy was due to the c/s vs. recovering from pre-eclampsia, but I felt pretty crappy for a long time. I'd sure like to have things be better with this baby, but not sure if VBAC attempt or scheduled c/s is the answer.
This was me after my vaginal delivery-- only it was more like two months. I couldn't walk upright for a week, and even then could only do it for a short period of time. I vote for the pre-ecclampsia. I felt like on a stick for a solid two months, and in fact didn't begin to feel like a human being again for nearly six.
post #22 of 122
I don't think anybody, except my sister, is trying to pass judgment on me. I'm the one who feels as though I failed. I just prefer to avoid reading about people hopping out of bed 12 hours after their sections...I wanted to more than I can say, and it just wasn't possible.

And, I'm very sorry you went through a delivery like that. I'm well aware that people have horrible vaginal deliveries sometimes.

I guess it just seems to me as though the comparison that's always made is a nightmarish vaginal delivery with complications being compared to an uncomplicated c-section. Not all vaginal deliveries have complications and not all c-sections lack them. I'd just like to know what I'm talking about - I have no idea what childbirth is like, for good or for bad, and rightly or wrongly I feel ripped off.
post #23 of 122
Wow, Rynna, that sounds awful. I have heard of bad deliveries like that, and my ex-boss had one along those lines. I guess I don't really idealize vaginal delivery, but am trying to figure out what is going to leave me in the best shape afterward to nurse and care for my new baby and be there, as always, for my son. Everyone's story puts a perspective on it that is helpful in some way.

My mom also had relatively easy labors, particularly with my sister - mom barely made it to the hospital in time. She has always said she'd rather have a baby than go to the dentist (she has bad teeth) because it's not that bad and you get to go home with a baby.

My sister had an emergency c/s with her daughter and then a scheduled with her twins as her placenta was degrading at 38 weeks. (7 pounder and 8 pounder, can you imagine?) She felt that the second c/s in particular went really well and that she recovered pretty quickly. Other moms also say that the second c/s is easier to recover from - maybe it's b/c they were scheduled so the moms weren't pooped out from laboring beforehand.
post #24 of 122
I'm not trying to make your decisions any more difficult - but I found my scheduled section without labour to be the worst of my three...despite the first being an emergency, and the incision becoming infected with the third. I'll never allow a scheduled section again.
post #25 of 122
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I guess it just seems to me as though the comparison that's always made is a nightmarish vaginal delivery with complications being compared to an uncomplicated c-section. Not all vaginal deliveries have complications and not all c-sections lack them.
In my opinion, this is the only comparison that makes any sense on this board, where vaginal delivery is held up as the epitome of womanhood, as well as the only proper, reasonable way to start being an attached parent. We have to have a disclaimer at the top of this thread every time we start a new one, because if it wasn't there it would be chock full of "If you had just done x, like I did, you wouldn't have needed a c-section" or, better still, "I've read all about situations like yours where women had their babies at home." Ask for information on c-sections, and you'll get all sorts of advice for avoiding them and reasons that you should. Personal stories of babies being cut when their mothers were cut, and all kinds of other horror stories. Maybe, if you're lucky, you'll get a link to this thread or get some decent, balanced information but most of what you'll get will be about how women who have c-sections will have a really difficult time breastfeeding, if they can do it at all, etc, etc, If you don't make it absolutely clear that not every vaginal delivery is a cakewalk and not every c-section results in days/months/years of miserable effects, people here just won't listen to anything that you have to say.

I think that the problem (on MDC in particular) is that most people assume that vaginal deliveries are uncomplicated and that c-sections are traumatic. When I tell someone in real life that BooBah was born by c-section, they don't immediately jump to the conclusion that there was trauma, but if I say that here, they do. If I say only that BeanBean was delivered vaginally, women here assume that it was easy, straightforward, and that any complications that arose were the direct result of a doctor's interference and therefore easily dismissed. Neither is true. There is support for women who've had traumatic birth experiences to be found here-- as long as they delivered by c-section. If you had a traumatic vaginal delivery and you don't say straight off that you could have solved the whole thing by squatting in the woods and catching the baby yourself, then it's all your own fault anyway and noone is remotely sympathetic.

Okay, so maybe I'm still bitter about my son's birth and the complete lack of support to be found afterwards. Maybe it's not at all fair to compare a VDFH to an uncomplicated emergency c-section (is that an oxy moron?) but that is my experience. I think you're totally right to feel ripped off-- I also feel ripped off: I never had that easy, uncomplicated vaginal birth experience that I was raised to believe was my birthright.
post #26 of 122
I can certainly understand being bitter. Your experience sounds just awful. I come at it a little differently, as what I was looking for when I found this board was an acknowledgement that a c-section is traumatic (or at least that it can be). I found a lot of places where people would tell me how horrible labour was, and how brutal vaginal deliveries are...but most of them treated c-sections as a cakewalk, and I've been emotionally demolished by mine. I wanted people to assume there was trauma, I guess...

However, I don't assume that "vaginal" means "easy". I do think a lot of women go through worse than they should, because of the way their labour is managed. But, that doesn't mean there aren't legitimate horror stories about labour and vaginal births. Your experience would have been horrible to go through...I can't even imagine. I certainly wouldn't be wanting a repeat if I were you!

(I don't think "uncomplicated emergency c-section" is an oxymoron. If the surgery goes the way it's supposed to, and so does the recovery, then it's uncomplicated. My first two had no complications - my third was complicated by an infected incision...totally different, even though they were all surgeries.)
post #27 of 122
Thread Starter 
Iriemama96 - to you mama. Please keep us updated on the arrival of your newest little one. I hope your L&D goes exactly as you are hoping.
Oh, and Happy Belated Birthday!
post #28 of 122
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I don't think "uncomplicated emergency c-section" is an oxymoron. If the surgery goes the way it's supposed to, and so does the recovery, then it's uncomplicated.
My emergency CS was uncomplicated in that sense. The surgery went fine, I recovered well and easily. In fact, the OB was shocked. He was positive I would have an infection since I had ruptured and placental stuff was all over my abdomen. But no issues at all with the surgery. You just never know.
post #29 of 122
Originally Posted by egoldber
You just never know.
Very true. I've had three c-sections and I behaved the same way during each recovery. Two of them were even done by the same surgeon. I had no trace of trouble with the first two, but this time my incision became infected, and I've also lost most of my bladder sensation. It's not very predictable.
post #30 of 122
Christina: sending you !!!

Also sending all of you a big

post #31 of 122
Well, on the off chance that dh will change his mind about another baby, I emailed the local midwife. They can't take "high risk" pregnancies, which includes any woman with more than one c-section. So, my last hope of VBAC (slim in any case) just went out the window. My only possible option would be to go unassisted, and I'm just not comfortable enough to do that.

I guess after 12 years, I'm going to have get my mind wrapped around this, or I'm going to go nuts. I wish I didn't care.
post #32 of 122
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I guess after 12 years, I'm going to have get my mind wrapped around this, or I'm going to go nuts. I wish I didn't care.
I hear you on that one. I have been thinking about the women out there that just don't mind getting c-sections but most of the women I have met haven't really researched the negative aspects of them. I guess that is why they say ignorance is bliss. I would really like to be blissful
post #33 of 122
I don't know - I hated the fact that I'd had one before I really knew any of the risks to me or the baby. I think it was just a gut reaction about surgery. And, no matter what anybody says to me, I can't seem to get over the feeling that I failed or I'm defective or something.

I can't believe I have this many tears left...
post #34 of 122
Hey all! I am home from having my son, Preston, via c-section. He is doing wonderfully and I actually am doing pretty well myself EXCEPT for the allergic reaction I am having to the surgical adhesive. Based on my experience last time, we thought it was the steri-strips that I was reacting to, but apparently, it is ANY adhesive on my belly (no reaction on my arms or legs!). So, I'm oozing and weeping and all together feeling icky and swollen "down there", but other than that, recovery is going well! I'm still doing the pain meds (he was born Thurs, 9/1 @ 1:56pm) but feeling pretty good. Going to cut down to one percocet starting tomorrow instead of the 2 (unless it's really bad, then I'll stick with 2).

The surgery itself went well - my dr was very reassuring and comforting, and I had a pretty good nursing staff for most of my stay (one nurse was a total ditz, but the others made up for it!). I got up as soon as possible and was walking around and eating as soon as they let me so I could get home.

Anyway, if anyone has any tips or hints about the adhesive thing, please let me know. Dr. says it basically just has to run its course...
post #35 of 122
Hi, I'm reading in here for the first time. I had a planned c-section two years ago with my daughter, after planning a natural Bradley birth from the get-go, but she was breech and wouldn't turn despite two external versions and all the other tricks I could find to try...and it's funny. I still feel the need to explain why I had a c-section - defend it, really - even now - and even though I know it was the right thing to do. It turned out she was wrapped up tight in the cord, which was why she couldn't turn, and she probably wouldn't have ever been able to come out vaginally if I had tried. (Which I seriously considered despite the advice of my doc.)

Anyway, I wanted to share a little bit of my experience, but first, I want to give big hugs to the women here who had horrible labours and vaginal deliveries as well as the ones who had awful c-section experiences. I can only try to imagine what you went through - and I know it's one of those dark places that we get to and live through only when we really have to. I'm sorry for your loss of the birth experience you'd hoped for, and for the precious first hours of enjoying your childrens' lives with joy.

So, anyway, back to my story. I had my heart set on a Bradley birth. I knew I wanted my baby with me 100% of the time we were in the hospital, that I didn't want them doing anything unapproved to her, that I wanted to hold her tight from the first minute and give us both the very best chances at a successful breastfeeding relationship (I had read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, so I kind of knew how important the first few hours after delivery can be in establishing latch and milk supply).

I worked with my doctor, who was very cool, by the way, and did a great job of actually discussing stuff with me - I would be using him again with my current pregnancy if he hadn't retired! I rewrote my birth plan for the c-section, and there was a lot that I got that I wouldn't have if I hadn't asked for it. Both my husband and my doula were in the delivery room. She ended up taking pictures as the baby came out, while my husband smoothed my hair and held my hand. I got to hold her on the operating table and even offered her a breast as they were sewing me up. The baby went with me into recovery, and then to the nursery briefly with my husband so they could check her out while I waited to be released to a room. He managed to avoid having them give her a bottle of glucose by telling them to hurry me up out of recovery so I could nurse her - it was a little parade down the hall as soon as they saw me coming, they wheeled her right behind me and I got her back within half an hour total. I swear, that was a LOOONG half hour, though! I was lucky - I did have some itching, and a little bit of shaking in recovery, but I had read up on the drugs (which cause both, btw) and knew to expect it - but my reaction was minimal.

We were lucky to be in a hospital that really encouraged rooming-in, and our birth plan made it super-clear that Julie was never to be taken out of our sight, or touched without our permission. We said it respectfully, but firmly, and I think the staff understood where we were coming from. My DH stayed in the room with us both nights, but I had Julie in bed with me the whole time. There was one night nurse who gave me a hard time about it and told me I could kill my baby that way, but I felt very safe, and there was a day nurse who supported me completely and agreed that I was doing the best to start off on the right foot.

I had a pretty easy recovery, I have to admit. I was sitting up within 12 hours, and briefly out of bed within 24. It was so scary to move around at first because I felt like my guts were going to fall out the incision (sorry for the TMI). I did have some pain while urinating for about two months after because they probably over-inflated the catheter. Also, I had a GIANT bruise on my belly that took a couple of months to go away - I guess they failed to entirely cut off one of the broken blood vessels while they were in there. It was scary to look at, and a bit sore, but is completely gone now, and my incision healed really well and is fading fast. My doc was really cool and spent a few extra minutes actually stitching me up with dissolveable thread instead of giving me staples that I would have to go back an have out. That's something to ask for - I didn't have to, but I would if I were having another c-section for sure. Once the epidural wore off, I managed not to use any additional IV drugs and stuck with heavy-duty Motrin. I was really worried about passing them along to my daughter through breast milk. By the time for the next dose, I was making sure not to move because it hurt, but otherwise it was fine, and I think I got to experience that first day with my daughter a little more clearly - and my body started functioning normally a little faster as well. I did have one of those pumps set up that first night with morphine and a button to push in case I needed it, but I guess I have a pretty high pain tolerance.

It is amazing what some silly people will say to you afterwards, even when they mean well. Everyone in our extended family knew I was devastated at not getting to give birth naturally, but my husband's aunt, who happens to be a nurse, showed up the next day and kept saying "You're lucky! You had the baby the easy way!" This, while I still had a catheter in and maybe still an IV attached and felt like I looked like death warmed over. After the second time, I gave her a look to kill and said "I wouldn't say that." in the coldest voice I could muster. I still want to smack her and give her a real piece of my mind when I think of it.

In a way, though - she was right. I had the best possible experience I can imagine given that it was a c-section. My baby and I were both healthy. I got to bond with her right away and continuously. We had a great nursing relationship. But - when I met with my midwives for my current pregnancy (they are a group that deliver in their own unit at the same hospital where my daughter was born) - I was thrilled when she said they have an 85% success rate for VBACs. I mean, that's higher than the national rate for first-time vaginal births! I am really looking forward to giving birth naturally this time, assuming the situation allows. I'm a little scared/nervous, the same way I was when I was pregnant with my daughter.

The thing that scares me most is what it would be like if I went through a long, hard labour and still ended up having a c-section. I really think that being well-rested (except I didn't sleep much the night before because I had horrible heartburn and was excited like the night before Christmas) and relaxed (heck, we stopped at Krispy Kreme on the way to the hospital and bought doughnuts for the staff!) really contributed to the positive experience I had. But, I'll write birth plans for all the possibilities I can think of, and I'll do my best to be prepared for what comes as I get it. For me, knowing I had to have a c-section a couple weeks ahead of time did give me a chance to adjust my attitude and grieve the loss of my chance at a natural birth ahead of time so that I *could* manage to be happy that day.

What a novel!
post #36 of 122
Thread Starter 
ShellyK - welcome to the thread! This is a great place to come and get support whether you're recovering from a c-sec or getting ready to plan another labor experience c-sec or not. If you don't mind, I would love to read your birth plan. I am not currently pregnant, but planning one in the near future. I've been doing alot of research and accumulating quite a few questions for my new OB that I will be going to. I'm 99% sure I will schedule another c-sec (b/c of the circumstances of my last birth experience). So, I would love to get ideas from your birth plan.
post #37 of 122
Hello! I had no idea this tribe existed. I'm Dana and I have a dd Elizabeth who will be 1 on Friday. I had a c-s (obviously - that's why I'm here) and the strange thing is, sometimes I think I am still waiting for her to be born. I was preparing myself for a birth which never happened.

I had a great pg - I switched from doctors to midwives halfway through. I had 2 birthing balls which I used religiously and I attended prenatal yoga every week. I come from a long line of women who birthed quickly and easily. I was born after 30 minutes of labor - my mom barely made it to the hospital. My mother was born on the hospital steps and her mother was born in an outhouse. Apparently my great grandmother thought she had to go to the bathroom when she was really in labor.

I began having contractions Wed morning, Sept 8 around 9am. I spend the rest of the day having a couple contractions an hour. Around 8pm, I had reflexology done and by 9pm, the contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes. I hoped on the birthing ball and my dh called the midwife around 11pm. We agreed to stay home a little while longer and finally met the midwife at the hospital around 4am. They hooked me up to the monitors and I was contracting every 3 minutes. At 6am, I was only 2.5cm dilated (I was 2 cm a week before in the office). My midwife tried to manually dilate me several times. I got to almost 5cm around 8am. She hooked me up to pitocin at 8am, gave me stadol at 9am and an epidural at 10am. The contractions were coming fast and furious but I still wouldn't dilate further. The pitocin made me horrible nauseous and the epidural gave me horrible shakes whcih wouldn't go away. At 1pm, the midwife brought the ob in who announced I needed a c-s and my daugther was born at 2pm, 29 hours after I first started contracting. I still look back at the birth wondering if I should have done something differently. I'm disappointed that my midwife turned out to be more of a medwife.

Originally Posted by soccerchic21
I can't wait for my next local ICAN meeting. I wish they were more than once a month. DH was saying that maybe I should see a therapist to talk about my feelings. I am thinking it might help. I got a few names of people who deal with birth trauma.
Please don't hesitate to talk to someone!!! I did. When my dd was 3 months old, I was ready to pack it in and quit! Luckily, the company I work for offers an employee assistance program to I went a talked to a counselor about how I was feeling about everything. I feel so much better and my marriage is much stronger.

There are 3 midwives in the practice that I was seeing and one definitely understood my disappointment. She couldn't believe I had a c-s and made me promise to wait a year before trying again so that I could vbac. I really wish I could just see her when we have another baby!
post #38 of 122
Sandy, for a second I was almost kicking myself about kind of bragging about my birth plan because I was afraid it might not be on my hard drive and I would have to go digging through old backup CDs to find it - and they're buried in a box somewhere since we just moved. But it was still around, and so I've put it up on my web server for you to download if you want to check it out. It's in Word document format, so if that's a problem for you I can convert it to plain text. Go to www.shellykang.com/BirthPlan.doc

I guess I should say a little more about the document. I started with a web page that I found by Googling Birth Plan that let you select from tons of different options and generate a plan to start from, so much of the wording in mine comes from that plan. Unfortunately, I'm not sure where exactly that page was - so you'd have to go do a Google search of your own if you're interested in tracking that source. When I printed that first one out, it was like 5 pages long and had WAY too much stuff in there. Lots of things about not giving enemas and not shaving pubes yadda yadda - remember, I was planning a natural birth when I started the thing. I knew I needed to pare it down, because a lot of what was in it was stuff that the doctor and hospital I had chosen didn't do as routine anymore anyway.

I think a great way to get off on the wrong foot is to overdo telling the doctors and nurses how to do their jobs. I mean, if someone came into my house and told me "You know, it's best if you keep the bleach out of your daughter's reach" I'd be pretty P.O.'d because yeah, duh I've had it up and away since she was about 6 months old. And if someone presented me with a 5-page list of those kinds of things, I'd get bored pretty fast and stop reading it seriously by the end of page 1. Best to keep the stuff on there that might actually be controversial so they can get to the meat right away.

So how did I find out what to pare down? I talked to my doctor first. I think he came to understand that he needed to plan to spend more time with me than most of his other patients because when he asked if I had questions, the answer was almost always yes. He spent a good 20 minutes going through that thing with me one day, and earned huge bonus-points of respect with me by doing so. In fact, that conversation and others like it led me to trust him enough to go ahead and take the scheduled c-section rather than stick with my natural birth plan, which was my (wrong) gut instinct. There were a few things on the list that my doc didn't know whether hospital policy dictated or not, and for those he sent me over to the maternity floor to talk to the nurses about. They were the things that happen in the nursery after the baby is born like the vitamin K and the vaccines. He deals with the birth, then hands 'em off. :-) Some of those were a little harder to pin down, and so if in doubt, I left them in.

Really, the birth plan is mostly good as a tool for finding out which battles you need to pick on the big day, and then it helps a lot to have it in your chart so that the nurses who come into contact with you should already know your wishes when they come on shift. I hope all this hot air helps a bit.

I gotta say, too - if you're planning a scheduled c-section, bring some treats for the staff with you! When you walk in there and start bargaining with the anesthesiologist (who is the one who will really decide what you get in the OR) it gets them on their good side if you ask first "So, did you get one of those Krispy Kremes in the break room?" or something like that. Let them know you mean well and respect them as people - more flies with honey and all that. Even if they don't want to eat them, they probably like it that you thought of them. Oh, and from friends who are hospital nurses - storebought is better. You are a relative stranger to them, and they have no idea what your kitchen looks like :-) If it's homemade, they probably won't eat it. Storebought, they may.
post #39 of 122
Thread Starter 
Dana - Welcome!

ShellyK - Thank you for posting your birth plan and for all the wonderful insights you have! I've been doing alot of research, and reading lots of birth plans. I haven't pulled together my birth plan yet, but I do have lots of new questions for my OB. I can't wait to meet my new OB in the beginning of October! I'll ask him a few of my questions on the first visit, but save all the "hairy" questions for when I'm actually pg. Thanks again for all the help!
post #40 of 122
Originally Posted by ShellyK
I think a great way to get off on the wrong foot is to overdo telling the doctors and nurses how to do their jobs. I mean, if someone came into my house and told me "You know, it's best if you keep the bleach out of your daughter's reach" I'd be pretty P.O.'d because yeah, duh I've had it up and away since she was about 6 months old.
That's an interesting perspective. I see it a little differently. To me, it's more like your daughter telling you not to give her bleach to drink, when she saw you pour it into her glass. This isn't me telling them how to raise (or not raise) their kids - or even how to treat their other patients. It's me trying to tell them what I do and don't want done to me...not that they care.

After three c-sections, my conclusion is that the job description of a maternity ward nurse at my hospital reads "be as condescending as possible, make sure you screw up the baby's latch by sticking your hands where they don't belong at least once daily - and, above all, do not let the new mom sleep".

If I ever have another baby, my only birth plan is for post-partum care and consists of "leave me alone - if I don't ask for it, I don't want it".

I'm also amazed at how many people bring treats for the operating room staff. I'm not interested in being chummy - in fact, I wish they'd leave me alone instead of trying to be my friend during surgery. Nobody in the OR is my friend - if they were, I wouldn't be there in the first place.
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