Graphic description of complications during C-section
Trauma in Husband
Post op Complications
My contractions started with full force, 5 minutes apart and continued that way for 23 hours. When I begged for an epidural at the 15 hour mark, my midwives discouraged me saying that it would only prolong the labour. After the 20 hour mark, I was begging my husband to kill me- I could not handle the pain anymore. I was emotionally and physically exhausted and my husband started crying because he was scared for me. Thankfully I was given an epidural.
I was slowly dilating and my bubs heartbeat was strong. Even at the 23 hour mark, a C-section did not cross my mind. An obstetrician was called to examine me. After a quick examination she said "Yep, lets do a C-section". Within a minute my midwife called theatre and said "They have half an hour now, lets go". The paper was shoved in my face, I vaguely remember reading something about a possible hysterectomy and I was wheeled into theatre.
I remember laying in theatre feeling disappointed, but grateful that it would all be over soon and I would be able to meet my baby. I remember them pushing down hard on my ribcage trying to dislodge her. When she was born, she was rushed over to get some help to breathe. I was laying there silently wishing to hear her cry. It took a few minutes but I finally heard her squeak- it was music to my ears.
Everything from here is a blur. I felt very sleepy and could not keep my eyes open. Suddenly there were a lot of people in the room, and bags of blood and fluid were being connected on the drip stand above my head. My husband walked across the room holding our baby, bringing her to my head. He had tears in his eyes and a look of pure terror. I remember thinking that he was scared because he was a first time dad. He actually had just seen litres of my blood on the floor and a team of people frantically working on my internal organs which were placed on a table beside me.
I got to meet my baby for a minute and then my husband and bub were escorted up to the post natal ward while they stitched me up.
It was late at night and I was the only person in recovery. I was drowsy but could not rest because the pain was overwhelming. I was alone, and was worried about my baby who was in a different building of the hospital. I remembered reading about the importance of skin to skin contact and establishing breast feeding early- I desperately wanted to see her. I was told by the recovery nurse that I had to wait 4 hours until I could be transferred to the ward and that I could breastfeed then. The pain in my abdomen was worse than contractions. I started worrying about holding her. I couldn't even lay still, let alone hold a baby. I asked for more pain relief, but was told that I already had the maximum they could give me. The nurse told me "Everyone is in this much pain after a c section, you will be fine".
After finally getting back to the ward, I tried to hold my bub but couldn't. The pressure on my abdomen was too painful. I noticed that my abdomen was swollen more on one side. The obstetrician thought that I was haemorrhaging internally and started massaging my uterus. I was then told that I had a large post partum haemorrhage in theatre, and that they had considered a hysterectomy to stop the bleeding. Fortunately they performed a B-lynch suture, but were concerned that it was not stopping the bleeding. I screamed in agony when she touched my abdomen. I begged her to stop- she said "I know it hurts- we need to do this or the bleeding wont stop". I screamed while she massaged- all while my little bub was sleeping in the corner.
After 2 more days of intense pain and intermittent massaging. I refused to let them touch me. I still hadn't held my baby and the pain was unbearable. They finally sent me for a CT scan to investigate. My uterus had contracted, but my bowel was paralysed from the surgery, was filling with air and was distended by 20cm. The obstetrics team came to apologise for not listening to me, and for continuing to massage which luckily didn't rupture my bowel or I would have ended up in intensive care.
I had not slept in 4 days. They released the air from my bowel, the pain gradually eased and I was finally able to hold my baby. We were home 4 days later.
After a few weeks, symptoms of PTSD and PND started creeping in. I was having flashbacks of the pain and panic attacks. I had insomnia and contemplated suicide. 1 year later, I am finally starting to feel a little more like myself again. My husband and I have talked about the possibility of having another baby. There are still so many questions from the birth that remain unanswered. I still don't know why I had a c section in the first place (although I am sure the obstetrician made the right decision- I don't know why she made it). I want to know the risks of having a haemorrhage or paralysed bowel next time. I want to know whether I should try for a VBAC or just have a planned c section.
I just hope that next time things feel a little more controlled and that I get to hold my baby after they are born.