About to have my 5th Caesarean!

Just thought I would put my own experience with previous caesareans here, as other mums have found it helpful and reassuring in the past, due to the positive experiences I have had with my caesareans.

I am actually due to have my 5th baby (and 5th caesarean) in 2 days time!

When I had my last caesarean, my obstetrician let me know that my previous scars had all healed remarkably well each time, and that it looked like I should be totally fine to have more.

She is highly experienced and I have had great recoveries each time, so I was confident of her recommendation, even though I have had so many people look shocked when I tell them that I am about to have my 5th caesarean, and countless people have said, "but I thought 3 was the limit".

I have had 4 caesareans so far and although the first one was scary because it was emergency, the next three planned ones were all wonderful!

With my first born, I was overdue at 41 weeks, when my waters broke and were full of meconium. My contractions started and I went to hospital.

About 9 hours later, during one of the contractions (which they were monitoring because of the thick meconium in my waters) his heartrate dropped from 120 down to 60 and then didn't come back up again. I was in a country town, so they phoned the major maternity hospital in Perth who told my doctor that the baby needed to be born immediately as I was not dilating properly and he was stuck and in distress.

Anyway, I was *rushed* into the operating theatre and told to sign a piece of paper (which was near on impossible with my minute-and-a-half apart contractions which were lasting a minute each!) and then they gave me a GA and then next thing I knew I was waking up with a baby in my arms! He fed immediately and my milk came in with in 2-3 days. I bonded perfectly with him and everything was wonderful. My doctor told me not to drive for 6 weeks, so I didn't and I think that really helped with my recovery. I also had heaps of help and ladies from our church brought me meals at home just about every night for the first few weeks which was wonderful!

Any pain was always dealt with almost before I felt it and with in a few days I could get by with just panadol and then after about 6 days I didn't even need that.

The worst pain I felt after the caesarean was wind pain on the second day, and referred wind pain which you feel in your shoulder when the wind inside you presses on your diaphragm. I recommend taking peppermint tea for the wind pain and ask for a gentle laxative if you need it.

Also it helps to get up as soon as you can and begin walking around a little bit, otherwise you can seize up a bit. Try to walk tall and straight but be gentle.

I was absolutely amazed at how quickly the cut heals over and goes back to being completely normal. After 5 days, they remove the tape (and stitches if you have ones that need removing) and the cut is all perfectly sealed back with just a thin clean line to see. Anyone who saw it was absolutely amazed as they had expected a big wound or something!

With my next birth, I waited until my due date, and then had a planned caesarean as I was too scared to go through that whole emergency saga again. It was really wonderful and I healed so much faster and had very little pain at any stage.

I had a spinal block which I was dreading but it was fine and there was nothing painful about it in the slightest. I preferred the thought of a spinal block (as opposed to an epidural) as it is just a quick needle in and out and no tube remains in your back like it does with an epidural.

First you sit on the edge of the bed in a gown (or lie on the edge of the bed on your side, depending on the anesthetist) and they clean and paint your back (with antiseptic stuff) and then put the spinal block in which lasts a few seconds. Then they roll you onto your back and after a few seconds your legs start feeling heavy. Next they check that there is no feeling there by using a cold pack, and finally, when everything is ready (after they have put in a catheter), the doctor who is performing your caesarean comes in.

The baby is literally out within a few minutes and you get to cuddle them straight away. You feel nothing but tugging sensations at any time. Your legs just feel cozy and warm and your husband sits by your head and talks to you the whole time. Your husband usually gets to hold your baby and bond with them while you are being stitched up. My husband went with our baby to the nursery and then back to my room every time, while I was in recovery.

In recovery, they just monitor you and make sure you are fine until you get a stable blood pressure reading and stable temperature. I always get the shakes afterwards and that is a normal side effect, but it's nothing to worry about. I also always get a really itchy face as the spinal block wears off, but again that is very normal and just a slight annoyance and it doesn't last long.

With all four babies, I was able to sit up and feed them as soon as I came out of recovery and was back in my room (about an hour after the birth). All of them latched on immediately and fed for a full hour the very first time. I found that they have all wanted to feed for hours on the second day and second night and so I just let them, as this is what helps to make sure your milk comes in by the third day. I think the other reason that some people who have caesareans have problems with milk supply, is that with a planned caesarean, the doctor often wants to perform the caesarean up to 3 weeks before the due date. I have always tried to have it as close to the due date as possible so the baby is definitely ready to be born.

My next two births were also planned caesareans with a spinal block as my experience had been so positive with the last one that I wanted to repeat it. I have had the same obstetrician for the last two and she had my baby out both times within 7 minutes of walking into the room (but took much longer to stitch me up which is good!) I healed so perfectly well that I could do sit ups and run around after the 8 week recovery period with absolutely *no* pain at all.

I followed doctor's advice and didn't drive at all within the first 6 weeks for all four caesareans which helped to keep me at home resting and bonding, and not gallivanting around injuring myself

With all four caesareans my milk has come in within 2-3 days.

I think I healed faster each time and was up and about faster.

Here's what I have done for the last three and would do again if I ever had another:

* Try to wait until your due date (or as close as possible) so your baby doesn't have to come into the world too early
* Have a spinal block if available (as opposed to an epidural)
* Cuddle your baby straight away and then give them to your husband to hold while being stitched up
* Feed immediately on arriving back in bedroom (has been for a full hour every time)
* Drink peppermint tea to help with wind pain
* Give your baby heaps of cuddles
* Keep your baby right there beside the bed all the so you can reach them
* Make sure you have a hanging thing above your bed that you grab onto with your hand to help you get up
* Ask midwives for help when you need to get up or get your baby
* Try to get up the second day and do a very gentle walk
* Get as much help as possible
* Don't drive for the first 6 weeks

Ummm, I think that's all... lol... You are probably sick of reading by now, but I'm sure a positive experience (or 4) will help you feel better if you are about to face a caesarean and don't really know what to expect.

Just ask if you have any questions as I am very happy to answer them


  1. Hi Ruth - I didn't realise your due date was so soon! Best wishes for a safe delivery - take care and enjoy all those first cuddles with the newest member of your family.
    btw I had two caesarians too and had a very positive experience.

  2. I didn't realise it was coming up so soon either. I will be praying for you!

    I had a caesarian with my third birth, Abigail. She turned topsy turvy with five weeks to go and was definitely not moving back again, so mine was a planned caesarian as well. Also with a spinal. It went fine. I think a big part of that was all the people praying for us, since they knew I was having a CS. I was surprised by how itchy my scar was for such a long time afterwards, though. Even years later it sometimes still bothered me.

    I posted (not too gory) pictures from the caesarian, (direct link here), with reflections about Samuel's non-CS birth after having the CS, if any of your other readers are interested.

    ~ Sharon

  3. Best of luck with number 5, how exciting!

    My two boys have both been c-secs, neither planned, I also recommend the hanging thingy above the bed to pull yourself up on, made getting up and back down a lot easier.

    I'll be checking up regularly to see if there's any news, best wishes.

  4. Hi Ruth,
    Just discovered your blog. Your children are beautiful and congratulations on almost number 5. WOW. I have three children (9 months, 2.5 and almost 4) all c-section- the first an emergency (similar story to you) and the other two were both planned and soooo much nicer than the emergency. My recovery has been good too and I agree with all your tips.
    All the best. I'll check back in a few days to find out your news.
    Andie :)

  5. Hi, I just gave you a blog award, check my blog.

  6. All the best for a lovely and safe arrival (and the sleep deprived bits that tend to follow!)...

  7. wow! amazing!

    thanks for sharing!

    wishing much blessings be upon you and your fifth baby!

    take care!

  8. hi Ruth - i think we must almost we twins - I have had 5 c/s - 4 boys and I girl who is also my second born.

    everthing you wrote about the c/s was so true and accurate well done and congrats again on your newest addition

    look after yourself

  9. I too have had all c-sections, 2 emergency, 1 planned and 1 breech. I did drive soon after, and my recovery was not as good as yours for the final one, adn my milk was slow for the emergency one, but still breastfed! But all the others were fantastic!
    Love the 'thing above your head', a monkey bar! :D


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Ruth xx