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Asking for an elective c section experiences?

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#1 Ladyf

Posted 08 August 2018 - 12:56 PM

I think I’m here because I need to put my thoughts down on paper(!) in order to process them, and I’d like to hear if anyone has advice. I’m pregnant with my second baby and I’m terrified of the recovery. Not labour, but the afterwards part.

First pregnancy went by the book until the end, where I developed mild preclampsia. It wasn’t bad enough that I needed to be induced but I was monitored in hospital, and ended up going into labour naturally almost straight away.  I laboured all night with contractions 3 minutes apart from the get go, coming down to one minute apart and being quite sporadic in length but after 16 hours of that I was only 5 cm dilated and absolutely wrecked. Baby was posterior and I am tiny, so I opted to have an Epidural to prepare myself and finally rest for pushing after no sleep for two days. EPI wore off and I started pushing, which went for two hours, I was tearing quite badly so the MW and the OB advised that they felt a controlled episiotomy would be better than continuing the direction that the tear was going (rectal). With that tiny bit of help I was able to push baby out without any other intervention. I had a small PPH but nothing major, just 700ml.

I recall when I was being stitched up (we upped the epidural again for that) my OB was taking a very long time, and advising me that he was writing me up for strong painkillers and that he wanted me to take them for two days at least, as I was going to be very sore. About three hours later the pain hit and I have honestly never felt anything like it, the combination of tearing, episiotomy and a golf ball sized  haemaroid were horrific and I cried for an hour waiting for the nurses to bring the endone and it to kick in.

I could barely walk (just a metre or two at a shuffle) for 10 days due to the bruising of my pelvis (baby was much bigger than expected), and the pain from the cut/tear and the haemaroid. I ended up with an infection, and it was a good few weeks before I could sit down.

The pain in my pelvic floor was still going on at 12 weeks PP and I started seeing a Womens health Physio who helped extensively with the scar tissue and my now “overactive” pelvic floor. I was still wetting myself about 6 months PP and there was no way I could have had sex with my partner. This took a good year before I felt comfortable to try again. It’s now been a few years, and everything seems recovered except I do still sometimes sneeze leak (despite having a pretty strong pelvic floor). The HM’s and a fissure now come and go every week or so, and I have to be careful to keep up the fibre. I’ve had a colonoscopy but should have seen a colorectal surgeon, and now it’s too late because I’m pregnant again.

I have gone back and forth for months about whether to ask for a c section. I know all the risks, I know is major surgery, and that I might have a great easy delivery next time around and not be looking at the long recovery I had last time. My mum also had long hard recoveries and similar labours to mine, and I feel like I know my body enough to be looking at a similar outcome. I worry that I will regret another vaginal birth and end up with (more) permanent damage but I feel  also like people might think I’m being precious (not my opinion at all!!). My friends who have had c sections have all been up and about within a few hours and feeling ‘normal’ by 6 weeks, and I was a long way from that.

I guess I don’t really know what to do, and I feel silly asking the OB when women go through much worse trauma then I did and come out the other side ok. I wonder do you need to convince the OB or are they generally pretty happy with your explanation? I was very happy with my previous care and I don’t think there was anything that could have been done differently, it was just my body.

#2 avocado toast

Posted 08 August 2018 - 01:05 PM

I had a similar story with a third degree tear and a long recovery. I went public and they recommended a Caesar for my second as they couldnt guarantee I wouldn’t tear again. I had the Caesar and it was the best thing ever!! First day was sore but after that it was such an easy recovery with minimal pain. I was off pain killers after 3 days.

Edited by avocado toast, 08 August 2018 - 01:52 PM.

#3 4kids mostlysane

Posted 08 August 2018 - 01:12 PM

I had two elective caesarians after a forceps birth for baby 1 (who was tiny) and an emergency C-section for baby 2 - she was significantly bigger that baby 1.  Turns out I don't do the whole "giving birth bit" well.

Recovery after my emergency C-section was pretty good, bearing in mind that I'd already laboured for 16 hours beforehand.

When I was pregnant with baby 3, my ob (who was the same for baby 2 - emergency C-section) offered for me to attempt a VBAC but after some discussion we decided against.  Baby 2 had been significantly bigger than baby 1 and Baby 3 was tracking along "big" line (she was a similar size to baby 2) and given my history with baby 2- 16 hours labour with only about 4-5cms dilation (from memory - she's 15 now)  I opted to have the elective c-section.

So with my elective C-section, I didn't go into labour and was up and about the next day.  My scar healed well and I was fully functional (so to speak - as much as you can be with a 6yo, 3 yo and newborn!) well before the 6 weeks.

Similar story with my second elective C-section other than they couldn't get the epi in so I ended up having a general and then later on I got an infection in the c-scar wound area.

I would be completely honest with your OB (is it the same one? ) and see what they say.


Edited by 4kids mostlysane, 08 August 2018 - 01:15 PM.

#4 Ladyf

Posted 08 August 2018 - 01:25 PM

Thanks ladies. I just feel a bit silly asking, like I’m meant to be stoic and give another VB a try, but in my heart I think I will regret it. It’s the same OB, and he is very relaxed so I’m sure it will be fine, I just haven’t asked yet and I’m making myself anxious!

#5 Fred85

Posted 08 August 2018 - 01:38 PM

I was planning for a vaginal drug free birth, but ended up with an 'elective' c-section as my son was breech. Even though I was set on having a vaginal birth (and quite upset at the time that I couldn't give this a go), my birth was actually really lovely and quite peaceful. I was very, very sick the day after the surgery (I was in a lot of pain and had a lot of drugs) but overall my recovery wasn't too bad. I did find it very frustrating not being able to do things in the early days (eg: I couldn't bend down to pick my son up off the floor or out of his swing), but I know that not everyone has that same experience. Overall it was a good experience with no issues recovering. Having said that I will be attempting a VBAC in January (haha I'm a little scared!).

I don't think you're being precious at all, and you certainly don't need to be stoic. Each woman and birth is so different and we have to weigh up all the info and risks and make our own decisions. And stuff anyone else who wants to judge you for that! Good luck :)

#6 daybreaker

Posted 08 August 2018 - 01:52 PM

I haven't had a caesarian so I can't speak from any personal experience about that but after what you went through I would definitely be exploring a C section option if only to allay your fears over what could happen. There is no harm in discussing it with your OB, try not to feel silly about it because you're not, and I'm sure he would be more than supportive to discuss the risks involved and why it might be better for you considering your past experience.

I would not worry about what friends and family think either, they should be very understanding after what what you went through last time.

#7 lazycritter

Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:15 PM

My first birth was a vaginal with no tearing except a small scratch they said was the baby's fingernail.

My experience was no where near as traumatic as yours but I was quietly relieved that baby no2 was breech so I didn't have to go through that vaginal birthing crap again.

You don't have to apologize to anyone. Your body.

#8 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:21 PM

I've had 2 caesars - first was "elective" even though I'd been in labour for 12 hours, failure to dilate etc - I "chose' the c-section rather than other types of inducement. (DD was 6 weeks premmie).

Second was an "emergency" even though I was planning a c-section that time, but I went into labour prior to the planned date.

My recovery was text-book after both.  Up and around later the same day each time, off pain killers after 3-4 days.  Slight issue with the scar the first time around, but the Obs cut that bit out the second time, so my scar is straight, thin and faded now.

I don't think I would even consider a vaginal birth after what you have been through.  There are horror stories about both types of delivery, obviously.  But I remember in the special care nursery - DD was there for 2 1/2 weeks - I generally found that us caesar mums were more mobile and finding things less painful than most of the vaginal delivery mums.  

Discuss it with your Obs, and don't let ANYONE tell you to do one or the other.  Make the decision that best suits you.

After all, it is only one day between months of pregnancy and years of parenthood.  Who ultimately cares how baby vacates your body, other than you???  

All the best!

#9 robhat

Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:27 PM

Talk to your OB and don't feel silly about it. It's what you pay him for. Most OBs like sensible women who consider all reasonable options and want to know the facts.

There are many variables in birthing babies. I had 2 elective c-sections. There are risks but in my case trying to birth vaginally would have been riskier. Vaginal births are not totally without risk. You need to look at the specifics of your case and make the decision that will be best for you and your baby. Your OB can best advise you, so best talk to him!

#10 livelifelovehappy

Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:34 PM

I had a very similar experience to you and have been left with permanent injuries as a result. Similar recovery time too.

For my second baby, I had an emergency C section and while it had it's own drawbacks and recovery, for me, it didn't even slightly compare.  It was so much better, healed in weeks instead of months.

hugs, sometimes it's so awful, people just cant understand unless they've been through it. Sure, vaginal birth is best if it all goes well, but if there's complications and injuries, it's so so much worse.

I am pregnant now and there's no way I would even consider a vaginal birth. If my ob objects, I'm shopping around.

Edited by livelifelovehappy, 08 August 2018 - 02:36 PM.

#11 BluJay

Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:47 PM

You are not being precious or silly! I feel like you went through physical and emotional trauma, as well as not insignificant birth injury, from the first birh and it is more than reasonable to go for c-section this time around.

If you are going private (and sounds like you are) I doubt you will have any issues with your request.

Don't let other people say you are taking the easy way out or you are doing the wrong thing. As you say, YOU know your body better than anyone. If you feel that this is the best thing for you, physically and emotionally, then go for it!

#12 Flaxen

Posted 08 August 2018 - 06:40 PM

What jumped out at me from your post was the question about what others think of you taking 'the easy way out' as it's commonly said. Pphht!

I've had shocking births. I would definitely ask for a elective C if I go again.
Who the hell has the right to judge that decision? Only you.

Do the elective C. Hold your head high.

#13 cabbage88

Posted 08 August 2018 - 06:50 PM

Firstly- it is irrelevant what people think of your decisions. ANd you will probably find in fact no one has an opinion on your decision- it's your decision!
I had a similar labour to your first for my first, and an elective c sect for my second (due to twins and breech). At first I though c sect was great but it has taken FOREVER to recover. They're almost 1.5yrs and I feel like my tummy will never be the same- there's this whopping great big surgical wound through it, I am wearing granny undies because I can't have a seam over the scar. It took 9 months to do an abdo "crunch" and I've had issues with weakness in my pelvis due to my abdo muscles. I wish I could have had a vaginal delivery, especially because subsequent deliveries are usually not as bad as your first. That and both my twins have intolerances, which means a lot of hassle because there's heaps of foods I can't eat due to breastfeeding, and these issues are far less common in vaginal deliveries because the gut bacteria is helped by exposure to vaginal bacteria.
That's my experience. Yours will be yours you will know what's right for you!

#14 HolierThanCow

Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:54 PM

View Postcabbage88, on 08 August 2018 - 06:50 PM, said:

That and both my twins have intolerances, which means a lot of hassle because there's heaps of foods I can't eat due to breastfeeding, and these issues are far less common in vaginal deliveries because the gut bacteria is helped by exposure to vaginal bacteria.

I don't want to minimise your experience, cabbage88; food intolerances in children are awful to deal with; but, whilst there obviously are theories about gut flora etc. and the way birth method impacts colonisation, there isn't any evidence that elective c-sections cause food intolerances (or obesity or asthma). There two were large studies done in the last two years:



And found, respectively, that:

…There was no discernable effect of the cesarean mode of delivery on the early microbiota beyond the immediate neonatal period (and never inclusive of that in the meconium or stool) (Article 1)


Although numerous studies have demonstrated an association between CS delivery and altered microbiome establishment, no studies have confirmed causality. (Article 2)

#15 Contrebasse

Posted 08 August 2018 - 09:54 PM

I had a third degree tear and horrible recovery with #1 (will never be the same again!) and an elective Caesar with #2.

I loved the C section, calm and relaxed and better recovery than the tear. Only downside was a slightly itchy scar for a year or two.

If you are worried about being judged, you could always tell busybodies  your doctor has recommended/insisted on a c section :-)

#16 Gruffalo's Child

Posted 08 August 2018 - 10:14 PM

I’ve had 2 elective csections after a traumatic vaginal delivery that took months to recover from.  They were both very positive experiences and the recovery was far easier and quicker than from my first delivery.    Like you, I felt anxious about my second delivery and when pregnant with my second I spoke to my Ob who was adamant that after my first delivery she would strongly recommend a csection.  It was so freeing to have that conversation with her, and helped me relax and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy.   Do speak with your Ob, he knows your history and is the best person to help advise you on what he believes would be the best option for you.    

There is nothing precious  about choosing a csection and anyone that judges you for it is not worth listening to.  Go with what works best for you and your baby.  That really is all that matters.

I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly and the birth is a healing, positive experience with whatever choice you make.

Edited by Gruffalo's Child, 08 August 2018 - 10:14 PM.

#17 Feral33

Posted 09 August 2018 - 07:53 AM

I had a similar experience for #1. There was no way I could do it again. C-section recovery can be hard but for me it was still much easier than the posterior-forceps-episiotomy-long-labour situation. Highly recommend!

#18 Lallalla

Posted 09 August 2018 - 08:23 AM

You are not precious or silly. I had an emergency c-section after 20 hours of labour 1st time around. I could have tried for a VBAC, even though I was having twins they did end up being in the right position for it, people do. But no way in hell was i have an emergency c-section after hours of labour again. Or worse 1 twin vaginally and the other a c-section (I know someone this happened to).

For what it is worth, my planned c-section went really well (aside from the whole pre-eclampsia ramping up that morning thing). Because it was planned the pain relief regime was perfect rather than a car crash and I wasn’t exhausted from labour. But I wasn’t out of bed in a few hours, it was the next morning (so maybe 22-23hours later) and it is freaking painful to get up at first. But I was hobbling up and down the maternity ward hall within 2 days and driving within 3 weeks - much better than the emergency c-section single baby.

I haven’t had what you had but it sounds awful and I would be tempted to go the planned c-section too.

#19 Milly Molly Mandy

Posted 09 August 2018 - 08:27 AM

I have had an emergency Caesar, vbac then elective Caesar.

The best by far was the elective, everything about it, lead up lack of pain, recovery (yes better than the vbac) not being exhausted and losing a nights sleep while labouring.

I initially felt guilt thinking I should be able to do it properly but I really don’t do labour well!!! Kids are all now a lot older now and the way they came out doesn’t even factor in anything about their lives. You do what you need to do and don’t worry about anybody be else and what they think. Good luck

#20 Ellie bean

Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:58 AM

Given your experience I would have an elective cs without a second thought. 2 vbs here and I can assure you there would be zero judgment from me (whether I knew the details or not). I think vb is pretty overrated personally. Wishing you all the best.

#21 Ladyf

Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:08 AM

huge thanks to EVERYONE here for your simply amazing and supportive responses. It makes me feel much more confident to ask for what I want.

I’m definitely not concerned about friends or family opinions, because it’s none of their business, but I was concerned the OB might say no. But as someone said above, if that’s happens I will have to keep shopping around for someone who understands. My GP had referred me to a psych to discuss birth trauma but I hadn’t really connected with her after 6 sessions so I stopped. Anyway, this will be the last babe for me, so I’m going to do my best to ask for it how I want it! I’d love a calm water birth but I feel like it’s not in my reality, I don’t think my body is made for birth so, that’s that then!

Thanks to all xx

#22 spartan_mum

Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:16 AM

Have the C-section and do not for one second worry about what others think.....this comes from someone who had relatively easy vaginal births including a set of twins.

If I had been through your experience i may not have gone back for a second so I don't think you are being silly for asking the question at all.

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and how ever you decide to give birth

#23 Hollycoddle

Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:24 AM

That sounds horrific OP. I had 2 c-sections, both emergency and elective (medical reasons, went 10 days overdue so they wouldn't do an induction after previous c-section) and neither of my recoveries were anything like that.  Have the c-section.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 09 August 2018 - 11:24 AM.

#24 FretfulMum

Posted 09 August 2018 - 01:08 PM

That’s sounds really bad op & I’m sorry you went through that. I’ve had 2 CS - the 1st was emergency due to severe preeclampsia at 30wks. The 2nd was also ‘emergency’ but only as I went into labour a few days before my planned CS. Both were good experiences for me. I had pain for about 1wk after the CS then was totally fine & driving by 2-3wks post op. Don’t feel silly at all asking for one! Your body, your choice! Don’t worry what anyone else has to say, do what you feel is best

#25 blueskies12

Posted 09 August 2018 - 01:25 PM

I was offered an elective caesarian after a traumatic VB first birth. I went with it (after some wonderful advice on here) and honestly it truly was a DREAM! I LOVED it. I would definitely do it again. It was calming and it was so positive. I had shin to skin straight away. Honestly, if you are wanting it, go for it. There are so many high standards we mothers hold ourselves too and birthing is the start of them. VB Is the ideal, but CS are life-saving and good for some.

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