Julie's Caesarean

Julie gives details of her experience of caesarean birth and early postnatal recovery, including 10 top tips.


This is a brief diary of my birth experience with Phineas, my second child. Phin was in the breech position for the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy and although moxabustion worked each time, he turned himself back again within days of each treatment. I also had an external version performed but he got stuck half way. From then on the only choice was an elective caesarian section which I had tried to avoid as my first baby was born by section and I really wanted to try for a "normal" delivery this time. My feelings in the time leading up to the birth were mixed, partly some kind of grief at not being able to give birth without intervention and partly relief that the main elements of risk to both myself and the baby were going to be minimized by having the section.

I wrote this during my stay in hospital and I hope it will come across as a down to earth record of what a section is really like.

TUESDAY 2ND MAY - The night before, 11pm

I felt very scared and shaky all day as I waited at home for the time to come to set off to hospital. My imagination was running riot!. Strangely enough as soon as I arrived at the hospital and settled in I felt calm coming over me. I was given a single room which had its own bathroom (which I am sure enabled me to have the peace and quiet to help get over the birth). Later I was hooked up to the monitor just to check that all was OK. Raph, my husband was able to stay with me until 9.30pm and soon after that I met the Doctor who would be helping out in the morning. I asked all the questions I wanted to and after being given a sleeping pill, I settled down to a surprisingly relaxed night. Started to feel really excited at the prospect of finally meeting the baby!

WEDNESDAY 3rd MAY - Birth day

Woke up feeling unexpectedly calm. Athough I was pretty hungry and thirsty (being banned from breakfast in case I had to have a general anaesthetic) I was too preoccupied to dwell on it for long. I was taking various herbal and homeopathic remedies including Rescue remedy and Gelsenium (for dread, it said on the label!). I listened over and over to the tape I had brought with me to have during the section and this kept me quite calm. It also helped to carry on doing everyday things such as washing, brushing my teeth and doing my hair. With an hour and a half to go I felt pretty good. I was monitored and had a final scan to ascertain that the baby was indeed breech and swallowed an antacid liquid in readiness for the op. I had avoided the need to have someone shave me - Raph had helped with that at home...of course, I couldn't have seen what I was doing! The surgeon herself came to get me and walked me to the theatre - it was weird walking past all the staff and patients knowing where I was going and that next time I was in that corridor I would be with a baby!. Just outside the theatre I had to sit in a little anteroom while the staff had a tea break!! The anaesthetist sat and read a magazine and ate a sticky bun next to me in full regalia! Before I knew it I was sitting on the edge of the table having a drip put in my arm. I felt a short stab of pain which passed quickly, like a big injection, this whole process was over in about 5 minutes. Someone put my CD on which calmed me down.

Soon after that Dr. kit started the spinal by injecting my skin with a local anaesthetic. This I found was a bit more painful than the actual spinal block. Both felt weird - like electric shocks running up and down my spine and legs but lasted only a moment. I have to admit I was scared but a kindly midwife helped me by resting my head in her cleavage while I had the injection! I was then helped up onto the bed and rocked from side to side to distribute the block and tested for any sensation with a cold spray - I was worried that I would say the wrong thing and that they would start before I was ready but in the event I had no idea when they actually started the op.

All this time people were milling about getting equipment ready and chatting. I was catheterised and pads put on my chest and an automatic blood pressure cuff put on my arm. An oxygen mask was put over my nose. The screen was put up in front of me and drapes put over it. I was then aware of some movement and sensation but no pain whatsoever. There were some sucking noises as the fluid was sucked away followed by some rummaging and pushing down on my tummy - again, a sensation but no pain. About 8 minutes after the op. had started the baby was lifted out and held above the screen - it was twelve midday exactly. Everyone said "congratulations" and Raph and I were quite overcome. While we held the baby who had been checked over, I was sewn up. There was a slight moment of discomfort as my womb was cleaned out but this passed in two minutes. I felt a little faint but again this passed. Another ten minutes or so and it was all over, (the atmosphere was positively relaxed and jovial) and the screen taken away. I was wheeled into recovery. Jenna came to visit me soon after - she had a mixed reaction which we had kind of expected. The baby had a little feed which he seemed to do intuitively then after an hour or so of being monitored I was taken back to my room. I coughed at one stage which really hurt but by about 8pm I had relatively little pain. I had to have "boots" on my calves to massage them automatically and the drip and catheter are still in place. I felt calm and very content. The baby fed well until about eleven (although I needed help to do this as I could not move) then slept through until 8am!!

A pain free night although I was awake on and off - mainly from not being able to move and to get myself into a comfortable sleeping position.

THURSDAY 4th MAY - Day 2

8am breakfast and baby still calm and content. The breakfast tasted great! A nurse came in to wash me as I still could not move at all. Had some more Voltarol, brilliant for the pain, I did not have this last time, what a difference. The drip was taken out and I was helped to sit up in bed. Lots of windy and bloated feelings in my tummy but no real pain apart from that. I felt happy and relaxed in my quiet little room. PM. Got up and moved to the loo in my room and later, back to a chair. This was not as bad as I had expected although after 30 mins or so my scar area stared to really hurt. A little at a time! Early evening I got back up and went to sit in a chair for a while as well as moving about a bit - well, creeping about. Felt very tired after all the exertion.

FRIDAY 5th MAY - Day 3

Not a good night. Baby spent a happy, quiet night in the nursery but I was in a bit of pain. Had some Morphine and tossed and turned. A happy but slightly sore morning shuffling about and feeding Phin. I had a bath which felt good and started to peel my plaster off. The wound feel less tight now. Also I am not allowed any more Voltarol, which is a shame as it took so much of my pain away. A sunny quiet time - lovely! Some Morphine helped dull the pain. More mobile. Milk starting to really come in and I have boobs the size of melons! Baby feeding often and quit skillfully as well as doing a lot of sleeping.

SATURDAY 7th MAY - Day 4

More prolonged feeding. Stiff, but much less pain. Only using Co-proxamol now every 4 hours. My scar is healing up well. I keep taking the Arnica. Breasts are very engorged and I find it quiet a relief when baby feeds. He's doing lots of gulping now. We are expected to get up and visit the day room for breakfast so I had the chance to talk to some of the other girls about their birth experiences. A lovely sleep but then lots of visitors. A hot, hot day and baby very floppy. I had a nice shower and lounged about. Pain manageable and I am more able to bend and sit cross legged. Saw some photos of Phin's delivery which were wonderful.

MONDAY 8th MAY - Day 6

A busy night feeding so I am a bit tired. Checked over by the doctors. Every thing is healing nicely. Have been showing my photos around. They have been really helpful. Stitches came out easily and painlessly. I had a couple of the dreaded bombers to help unblock things which needless to say it did. Quite happy and ready to go home feeling healthy, happy and relaxed.


These are things which I found helped me.

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