For my second pregnancy I realised from very early on that I simply could not cope with 9 months of worry about going through labour again only for it to end in another emergency section – this was the main drive behind my decision to opt for a planned section. I was fairly well supported in this decision by the community midwives and the Consultant team at the RVI.
At my 32 week Consultant appointment I discussed the section in more detail and they then gave me a date for the procedure (which was done at 39 weeks plus 1 day) and I signed my consent forms. I felt calmer at this point knowing when it was going to happen and being able to make arrangements for my older son (having no family in the north east this was a major issue for us).
On the morning of 29th October my husband & I felt quite relaxed as we left our (almost) 3 year old with Grandma at our house to head to the RVI for 7.30am. We booked in on the labour ward and waited. Fairly quickly the midwife came to run through the paperwork and get me changed etc. The Consultant also came along and so did the anaesthetist. I was taken down at 09.15am to a waiting area, then into Theatre at around 09.30am. I felt reasonably calm at this point. It was the same theatre that I had given birth to my elder son in almost 3 years previously so that was a bit weird, remembering that experience all over again!
The anaesthetist had a spot of bother getting the spinal right, it took seven attempts in the end, it was excruciatingly painful for first few attempts making me upset and panicky which was such a shame, as up to that point I had felt calm. It was just tricky for him to get the right spot and he was very calm and apologetic but it hurt a lot! I hadn’t prepared myself for anything like that. When he eventually got it right it didn’t hurt going in and I was soon ready for the surgery. The anaesthetist was excellent and very reassuring throughout, talking me through each step and why certain things were going on.
This part was very different to my emergency section. I was so much more aware of what was going on, but it was still no ‘walk in the park’ and I can say without doubt that anyone who may consider it as an easier option is quite misguided! Beforehand I thought that because I’d be less stressed it wouldn’t be so frightening, but actually because you are so aware there is more time to focus on what is happening and checking for every little word and action to ensure it is going to plan! Or perhaps that’s just me! On the whole we were all chatting away and things felt much calmer and under control.
It took about 20 minutes for them to deliver my son Kit, he was born at 10am and this time I saw them lift him from me and was able to focus on seeing him for the first time! They weighed him then brought him over to us to hold for a few minutes, my husband held his face to mine. This was great after my first experience, where I had no contact with my newborn son. It took exactly an hour to stitch up and sort me out – something else I hadn’t considered is that subsequent sections take longer as there is more scar tissue with often a lot more adhesions to cut through and deal with. I left theatre at 11am and went into recovery where I spent 2 hours waiting for the spinal to wear off and managing to cuddle my baby.
Once on the ward I felt fine and was still benefiting from all the pain relief so it was ok. I had a catheter for 24 hours so was in bed, which was great as gave me time to rest. That evening the midwife asked if I felt like standing for a minute, which I managed and was really pleased about. I already realised that I would be up and about a lot sooner than with my first. My recovery was on the whole a lot quicker whilst in hospital, I was able to shower alone on day 2 (first time it was day 3!) and was generally more mobile. I did feel a lot of pain though, I guess due to it being a second section. I came home on day 3 and spent the first week getting lots of rest.
But at the end of the second week my scar became infected, I noticed it the day after I’d been discharged by the midwife, so made a doctor’s appointment where it was confirmed as being severely infected – I was referred to the wound clinic immediately and put on strong antibiotics. I was so upset and felt it was something I’d done, I felt like everything had gone so well to that point, it was very disappointing. I spent the next 6 weeks having daily visits from the district nurse to pack and dress the wound, which eventually healed over just before Christmas. This again was something that I had not anticipated happening and made me realise that you really cannot plan or predict what is going to happen either during or after such a major surgery!
All in all my planned section was managed very well and my care was excellent throughout the procedure particularly the staff on the ward in the RVI who were so caring and understanding and also from the district nursing team attending to my wound afterwards.