This week, I attended a consultant appointment at my hospital, in preparation for my impending elective c-section. Despite the lengthy journey and even lengthier waiting time, I'm really glad that we had this appointment. It was an important opportunity for me to speak to my consultant before the surgery and to ease my worries a little.
My consultant checked my blood pressure (all fine) and listened to the baby's heart-beat- this was lovely as my son was absolutely delighted to hear the baby inside mummy's tummy! My consultant also confirmed that the baby is now head down, rather than in the breech position as has been the case for the last few appointments. This would explain the pressure I've been feeling low down!
Before the appointment, I wrote a few questions down so that I wouldn't forget to ask them at the hospital:
1. Will the surgeon cut along one of the two existing c-section scars or make a new one?
I've been told that the surgeon will try his best to keep as close to one of the scars as possible but they are not able to guarantee a third scar will not be made. On the other hand, there is a chance that they will 'tidy up' the scar area and leave me with just one scar. It will all depend on the surgeon who performs the operation and other factors that cannot be foreseen.
2. Are there increased risks for me, with this being my third section?
I have added risks with existing scar tissue which could result in excessive blood loss and the need for a transfusion. There could also be damage to my bowel, bladder and womb. The risks are small but they are there and I was required to sign a consent form to agree that I have been told and that I understand the risks.
3. Will I be awake during the surgery?
Yes, yes, yes! General Anaesthetic is, thankfully, only used in extreme cases. I do not want to miss the birth of this baby, as was the case with my son.
4. Will I be given pain relief on discharge if I am breastfeeding?
I explained that the hospital where my son was delivered refused to send me home with pain relief because I was breastfeeding. The agony I experienced contributed to the distress I was already suffering due to the nature of his delivery and I was not willing to go through the same again. My consultant confirmed that I would be given pain relief and to ask for him personally if it is refused!
5. Can I request a 'natural c-section' if circumstances allow it?
I have recently been told about the possibility of a natural c-section and it seems to be the closest to a vaginal delivery that I will ever experience. The idea is to allow the surgeon to make the necessary incisions and remove the baby's head before the screen is lowered. My husband and I can then watch the rest of the baby being born, discover the gender and have immediate skin to skin contact. I have never had skin to skin straight away and am hoping that the elective section will allow for this. I would also like delayed cord clamping for this reason.
Unfortunately, as my consultant will not be performing the surgery he was unable to answer this question. I am to return to the hospital in just over a week for the final pre-op clinic and perhaps I will find out who will be delivering my baby then.
During the appointment, I was require to give swabs for MRSA testing and will receive the results at the pre-op clinic. I found this a little uncomfortable as one of the swabs was taken from the perineum but I knew that it was important. The baby once more measured slightly small for dates, but as both my son and daughter also measured small and we have already had a growth scan which confirmed all is well, we were not concerned. All in all, we are fit and healthy!
All that is left now is to finish the decorating, find a double buggy and set up the new bed. There are now only 12 days left until we meet the baby- how exciting!