A Different View on C-Section

A Different View on C-Section
A Different View

A Different View

Yesterday there were guidelines released by NICE which effectively give the go-ahead for all women in the UK, potentially, to request an elective c-section regardless of medical necessity. This is not a “green light” to enable the “too posh to push” brigade but what it should do is open the door for discussion about the POSSIBILITY for an elective c-section.

There has been a ton of press and criticism about this change. There are many who are weighing in on the subject. Currently 25% of births in the UK end in c-section however only 10% of those are elective c-sections. What is supposed to occur in conjunction with these guidelines is increased services for women to counsel them through their fears about natural childbirth and as a last resort, a c-section could be offered.

I agree, women should not JUST be given the go-ahead to undergo major abdominal surgery on a whim. However, if they are provided w/ the services that are required for counselling and after careful consideration on the part of mother, consultant, midwives and counsellors, a c-section is deemed to be the best option for mother and baby, then it should be permitted and scheduled. If there is no medical necessity for a c-section and there are no other emotional grounds for it to be granted, perhaps mothers could be given the option of a c-section but have to pay for it?

The whole natural birth vs c-section debate is a controversial one. The whole of the UK is debating this one at the moment. One of the big complaints that opponents to c-sections have is that women have not considered the serious risks of having what is effectively major abdominal surgery. There is also another debate (with some “statistics”) about the effects of mother-child bonding as a result of a c-section delivery and concerns about the development of allergies in the future if babies are not born “naturally”. This is the area that I want to focus on because I have “been there, done that” one time and am preparing to do it again. I’d like people to be aware that a c-section does not have to be the horror that some people are making it out to be.

Ella’s delivery was by emergency c-section. After failure to progress, an emergency c-section was ordered. The emergency c-section was not pleasant and I’m still not entirely sure what went wrong but suffice it to say, we got Ella out and Mummy suffered a fair bit.

What didn’t happen, however, was a problem with bonding. The minute I saw Ella, I fell in love. Despite not being able to hold her in theatre, I looked into her big, dark eyes and fell head over heels in love. When I was taken into recovery, Mark was with Ella and we marvelled over what we had created. I was given skin to skin time with Ella and knew that she was the best thing I had ever done. Yes, the first 24 hours were difficult as I couldn’t get out of bed due to the catheter but I was able to lift Ella from her basinette, cuddle her and attempt breastfeeding.

By the next morning, I was able to get vertical and it was a very strange feeling. I felt like my stomach was going to fall off, basically. I had some pain but nothing that paracetemol couldn’t handle. I was shuffling around quite a bit but could still tend to Ella for everything she needed. When we finally went home 2 days later it was with no meds or major physical issues except for moving decidedly slower. I was able to do what needed doing without discomfort.

There were moments where I realised that I had stretched too far or fast but I was able to be back to mostly normal within two weeks. Pushing a pushchair was tricky at times and lifting it into the boot was out of the question. I couldn’t drive, based on insurance and medical recommendations but got by just fine. Ultimately, despite Ella’s c-section being of the emergency variety, I recovered very well and relatively quickly and didn’t suffer any bonding or depression issues. Ella arrived without incident, hasn’t suffered from allergies and has been a very healthy child for 3 1/2 years.

We survived an emergency c-section and recovered well. I don’t regret a thing. Due to medical necessity plus additional risk factors, I was immediately referred for consultant care for this pregnancy. The consultant was keen to steer me toward the VBAC mode of delivery but I was keen to steer toward an elective c-section. I had researched everything and am fully aware of all of the risk factors for an elective c-section. I presented my case and based on my risk factors and previous emergency c-section, the consultant agreed that an elective c-section seemed to be the best option. It wasn’t until week 36 and the news of a placenta praevia that we actually got a delivery date (2 December) which is, unfortunately, a date which seems to be set in stone at the moment.

What I resent in this debate is the idea that I am too posh to push or that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into and am just choosing the easy option. None of that is me. I know very well what I’m in for. I’m making an informed decision, taking ownership of our delivery and doing what I think is best for Bebe and me. I’m grateful to have this option with the NHS as we most definitely could not afford to go private. In fairness, I have a medically necessitated c-section but again, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I know recovery will be more challenging this time thanks to this being a 2nd c-section and having Ella to tend to as well but I will be sensible in what I do to be the best Mummy/Me I can be. A c-section is a serious procedure but it doesn’t have to be the nightmare that many are claiming it is. We had a very positive outcome with Ella and will hopefully have the same with Bebe.

Have you had a POSITIVE c-section experience that you’d like to share? Please share the link to your post in the comments below.

10 Comments

  1. My daughter was an emergency c’sec due to her heartbeat stopping, I think I was too stressed to actually take in what was happening. My strongest memory of the 12 or so hours that followed is the storm that was kicking off outside and the instinct that something was wrong with the baby, I call a nurse and she took her away. They didn’t tell me what happened but I was right, she came back with a heart monitor on.

    I was a little sad to miss that first few hours but looking back we bonded instantly & I got lost in the caring Mummy bit, it was all new and scarey. I was on my feet within 14 hours and apart from the odd twinge I don’t think the Csec slowed me down any, 32 hours after I was discharged and went home to ‘get on with it’ I think the 3rd day baby blues hit me harder than the csec…

    My son was a ‘natural birth’ and I swear that took much longer to recover from! But a second baby is a lot less worry as I had a fair idea what to do with him.

    Good luck this week Karin, so tough being away from your family, especially today xx

  2. You know my thoughts on all this Karin, I had an elective section due to MC being breech and it was a truly amazing experience and recovery was quick and easy. Now I’m pregnant again I”m unsure what to do, I’m actually in the middle of writing a post which I started last night about the whole VBAC debate.
    Here’s the link to my birth story again though as it may just help you….if not, just relieve the boredom of being in hospital at the moment:
    http://sahmlovingit.blogspot.com/2011/08/my-always-shining-star-my-birth-story.html
    Big hugs to you
    x

  3. Yes! Great post. Lovely to read something so sensible, well rounded and researched. C-sections for those who NEED them, otherwise you have to pay!

    Thinking of you muchly as you await Bebe’s birth :)

  4. Both my sections were in emergency situations although not dire emergencies. I sent 60 hours in pre labour with my daugter and 3o hours with my son, anyone who uses the word to posh to push near me gets shot down fast. Joking aside and regardless of whether you go into natural labour first, c sections were positive for me.
    I was annoyed about not ‘achieving’ a natural birth, two things helped me. One the consultant saying it was the only way they would have got my babies out and two reading about a woman in Africa who died in a field trying to give birth naturally because the baby got stuck. So many of the natural birth books had sold that ideal to me.
    The second section was far easier, too. I wanted to get that in for your benefit :)
    I’m very divided about this debate, part of me thinks women should have the choice, they are after all our bodies. And part of me thinks is this the way we should be going? Because part of me will always feel cheated I didn’t give birth naturally. Such a personal thing.

  5. I blogged on this yesterday, pretty much saying that whilst I don’t agree every woman has the right to a section, the new gyuidelines mean that hopefully women who have strong reason – such as yourself before the low lying placenta was noted – are listened to and can have the birth they want. I had 2 sections, my experience emotionally was not great but I don’t blame the method of birth for that. Physically it wasn’t as bad once the first 48 hours were over, but I don’t have the experience of natural birth to compare it to!! Good luck with Bebe!!

  6. I’m with you on this. Some of us are not TPTP we have no choice. And in any case, I resent the idea that if you didn’t have a vaginal birth you didn’t do it properly.
    Number one was an emergency section when his heart rate showed distress after a day and a bit in labour.
    Number two was elective because number one was so scary.
    Number three – seven years later – made any decision for us by being transverse and placenta previa.
    It is a major operation, but it isn’t catastrophic and an elective (ie booked) section is much, much better than an emergency one.
    Good luck on Dec 2.

  7. I had 2 electives and I can say hand on heart I was very happy with both. Although my first son was a vaginal delivery, it ended with ventouse, tearing etc and I was ill for a long time afterwards both physically (infection after infection) and with PND. With the C sections, I was prepared mentally, I was able to prepare my son(s), take the homeopathic medicines and was calm and happy. I also have the most amazing photos of my third son being born thanks to the consultant anaesthatis who took control of our camera and photographed the whole thing. Good luck x

  8. Thank you for this. I’ve had two c-sections, the first emergency and the second elective. I too resent the TPTP attitude, and the idea that I haven’t done it properly. And our experience of both was excellent. I was able to hold both babies briefly in theatre, and they were with me from the moment I left theatre, all through recovery and onto ward. We researched our hospital carefully, and made the right choice. For those who say c-sections interfere with bonding, well we’re co-sleepers and extended breastfeeders, and I like to think my two are healthy and happy and well adjusted. I will say that it was important to have help when recovering from the second when I had a toddler about. My mom was here for 3 weeks, and then we hired a doula for the remaining 3 weeks until I was allowed to drive, etc. Good luck! I hope you have as positive an experience with your elective as I did.

  9. I’ve done it both ways; naturally with my older son, emergency section (not elective) with my second. I bonded with both my sons in the same way, there were no issues with my recovery from the section, and both the boys were born healthy. (Note use of word ‘born’. What happened afterwards on the ward is another story). I would even venture to say that (brace yourself for the collective gasp of horror from those who think c-sections are the devil’s work) that I felt better after the section than the natural birth, simply because I was able to sit up without resorting to a rubber ring or – well, you get the picture, I’m sure…

    You’re right, of course; a section IS a major operation, and I would not for a moment advocate that anyone without a good medical reason have one (mine was that Boy #2 simply got stuck and started to panic). But, if you do need to have one, for whatever reason, you have not ‘failed’ your child or yourself. It is what it is; simply another way of getting a healthy baby into the world.

  10. Hi, I have never really written about my C-section but I guess I should.
    Liska x

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