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Unread 05-21-2002, 09:22 PM
re: c-section and hysterectomy

I'm at home recovering from my recent hysterectomy. In 1998 I had an emergency c-section (vertical incision) at 29 weeks because I was very ill and they had to end the pregnancy, or both my baby and I could have died.
So, they did the surgery, my baby was 11 weeks early and everyone ended up just fine.

I was unable to breast feed at first since my son was a preemie, but I was pumping milk starting the day after my c-section. I was on vicodin and the doctor's said that was fine and wouldn't hurt the baby.

I would imagine having the hysterectomy would save you the vaginal bleeding after birth -- I bled for 8 weeks after having my son. I've only had three days of light spotting after my hysterectomy.

The large incision will need time to heal and you will doubtless have restrictions on your activities and how much you can lift. I would imagine that a newborn will be light enough for you to hold and a lactation consultant can teach you ways to hold the baby and nurse to be easy on your tummy and the incision site.

Perhaps there is a patient advocate at the hospital who can help put you in touch with a lactation consultant or other local agencies who can help you. After I gave birth to a preemie, a nurse visited us at home, both to check on me, and to assess my son. There may be local agencies who can help you both medically and financially (like WIC, women, infants, children) programs that can give you coupons for food, formula if you need/want it. I needed special formulas for my son when he had medical problems.
It never hurts to ask for help and to see what agencies and help the hospital itself, or your local government agencies, might be able to provide. My sister had a preemie and she was able to work with the nurses on staff to get babysitting help from nurses. She paid them and they worked at her house on their days off. Kelly Nursing Staff, or a similar program in your area might be able to provide both you and the baby care when you are first home from the hospital -- and as others have suggested, ask your insurance if they will help cover some/all of the cost of home care after such major surgery.

Good luck and know that a lot of women here are praying and thinking of you both!
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Unread 05-22-2002, 03:23 AM
Dear Idbaptiste

I want to welcome you to Hystersisters, and to send you some 's. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.

The pull-down menus that Dawn mentioned are here:

Pre-Op Hysterectomy Articles

Hysterectomy Recovery Articles

I would like to suggest that you also visit our cancer concern forum where you will meet ladies who can help with any questions you may have about your cancer treatments.

Most hospitals have a social services department that can help you to find assistance for when you return home. If you are a member of a church or other religious organization, please be sure to let them know, also.

I see from your profile that you are a teacher - perhaps the teachers from your school can take turns coming to help you?

I wish you the best,

Unread 05-22-2002, 03:34 AM
Dear Roisin

Welcome to Hystersisters!!

I haven't heard of anyone having to have the double surgery, with the exception of idbaptiste, and have very little help to offer you or her, but I do want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as you go through this difficult time.

You mentioned that you have had previous C-sections. Are your children old enough to be a help to you with the new baby? Please be sure to let your friends and neighbors know that you will need their help after you come home.

Please let us know how you are after you've been home a few days. Be sure to and lots of fluids.

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Unread 05-22-2002, 03:53 PM
Pregnant and waiting

Hi Idabaptiste,
I had a partial hysterectomy after my last c-section 12 years ago due to complications. There was slight vaginal bleeding afterwards but it was more of a nuisance than anything. Recovery seemed to be easier than after just a section. I didn;t try breast feeding, but think it would be worth a shot. I tried with my first one and it just didn't work out (probably because she was a big girl and mom just couldn't make enough). I felt really good just a couple of weeks after coming home and more or less went back to normal after 3 weeks or so. I think I had morphine for a few days after surgery but after that just took Tylenol. You'll feel even better after the stitches come out. I always found that was where most of my discomfort came from.
Feel free to :e-mail:me at [email protected] . Good Luck and enjoy that new baby.
Unread 05-22-2002, 06:09 PM
Pregnant and waiting

Hi Idabaptiste

Welcome to Hystersisters.

I have no advise but just wanted to send a your way. I could not imagine your stress.

We are here for you.

Unread 05-23-2002, 10:23 AM
idbaptiste and Roisin

My heart goes out to both of you! I'll be sending good thoughts for healthy babies and Moms!
Unread 05-28-2002, 09:50 PM
Pregnant and waiting

I had a c-section followed by an emergency hysterectomy about six months ago. I had breast fed my first child and wanted to breastfeed again. I ended up in ICU for about five days. I tried to pump for the first time about ten days after the surgery and got a little milk. I was really too exhausted to deal with the baby. By the time I went home from the hospital about two weeks post partum I was pumping maybe once a day. I just decided to relax and not rush the process. I felt too tired to make the effort to pump or put baby to breast very often during the first few weeks. The miracle is that four weeks or so after the c-section I decided to start trying to nurse a bit more often. By six weeks she nursed and did some formula. By two months we were nursing exclusively and we still are at six months! I guess my advice would be to relax and just do what you feel up to doing on a day by day basis. I was amazed how my body recovered and was ready to produce a good supply even weeks after the traumatic surgery. Good luck. And don't push yourself too hard.
Unread 05-29-2002, 05:42 AM
Pregnant and waiting

I've never had a c-section, but I can offer a suggestion on the newborn. Don't bother with a crib during the day. If you're going to be laying around in bed just keep the baby next to you. It will be easier to just roll or scoot over and nurse the baby on the bed than to get out of bed, walk across the room, bend over into a crib and get the baby out. At night your DH can bring the baby to you.
Also, set up a little supply station next to your bed. Put a supply of diapers, wipes, clean baby gowns and burp cloths on a table next to the bed. This will allow you to care for your baby without having to get out of bed much.
Don't forget to drink PLENTY of water. You'll need lots for breastfeeding and recovery. An easy way to remember to drink enough is to drink a glass of water each time you nurse. Keep a jug of water near your bed too. Heck, even a little ice chest/cooler with snacks is good too so you don't have to constantly yell for someone to bring you things to snack on.
Good luck and keep us posted.
Unread 05-29-2002, 04:53 PM
Pregnant and waiting

Hi Marlande,
My experience wasn't quite as traumatic as yours. I had had 5 previous c-sections and they for the most part went quite well. With number 6 I started hemmoraging and despite the doctor's attempts to stop it he ended up doing a partial hyster. I actually found my recovery from that to be easier than after just the c-sections. The oldest 2 were 13 and 14 at the time so they were a lot of help. Did you find that you seem to have more energy now? It seems like even now 12 years later I don't get as many colds even when everyone else has them. I didn't try nursing but I think it's great that you were so successful at it. Actually the whole experience seemed to bring an already good marriage even closer.
Unread 06-24-2002, 09:48 AM
Caesarean hysterectomy

Hello hyster sisters, and especially "idbaptiste",

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you all. I never seem to have a spare minute to myself these days. Anyway, I wanted to update you on my caesarean hysterectomy that I had on the 23rd May. It's now nearly 5 weeks and I am feeling pretty well recovered physically. I am surprised at this considering that it was such a big operation and a pretty big scar.

I was scheduled for 9.50am and arrived at the hospital 2 hours prior. I got undressed and into a gown and a few things were done like temp and blood pressure check. I was then taken to a pre-op room and an IV had to be inserted just below the neck around the collarbone, this took forever and it hurt like hell, I am normally very good with pain, but I'm afraid I just sobbed like a baby! They eventually got it in and after had to put a stitch in, so it was obviously a nasty IV to have put in. I was then taken to the operating room. They weren't going to allow hubby in, but I insisted, so they relented and my perinatoligist said he could stay until the baby was delivered and then he could go with the baby to the nursery.

Well, anyway, the room was filled with so many people, I felt totally overwhelmed. There was my perinatoligist and assistant for delivering the baby, my urologist for the bladder as they still weren't sure if the placenta had grown through into the bladder. And then most importantly they had a cancer surgeon there who was going to be doing the hysterectomy and all the complicated stuff. Plus a ton of nurses and other people.

Dignity flew right out the window then! I was bared to the chest, legs put into stirrups and washed down (it tickled like anything so I couldn't stop laughing.....a little light relief in the heat of the moment!). Both arms were spread out on boards with BP and other things attached, few more IV's. They then put the oxygen mask on me and asked me to start breathing, every few seconds they asked me if I was getting sleepy, but I kept saying no. Then I started to feel a little dizzy and the next thing I knew I was awake in the recovery room and moaning a lot and I mean a lot, but I'll get back to that in a minute.

Hubby (Michael) said I finally went under, and the urologist went to work by doing a cystoscopy (that's inserting a tube into the bladder to have a look), she did this and I apparently must have peed all over the place cause she asked jokingly if anybody had a mop handy :-) Then the first part of the op got under way, getting baby out.....they took him out from above the navel at the top of the uterus and he was pretty blue due to the anaesthetic, his apgar was 2 I think, but 5-10 mins later he was a 9. He weighed in at 4lb 11oz, not too bad as he was 6 weeks early. Michael then went off to the nursery with him and the rest of the operation was completed.

I was told much later on that it was a very successful operation, the bladder had not been invaded and everything that could go right, did. The whole thing took about 3 and a half hours. Well, back to the recovery room.....I woke up in a lot of pain, not so much from the incision (though it was pretty sore), but from my bladder having spasms. Oh, it was near unbearable and they eventually gave me some sort of suppository and praise God I got some relief. I spent 2 and a half hours in the recovery room and then got moved up to my room. It was not pleasant getting me onto the hospital bed, it seemed they were rolling me one way and then the other, I just remember constantly saying no no no to the nurses because it hurt.

The rest of the day is still blurry, as I kept drifting in and out of sleep. Michael stayed with me and fed me ice chips as I was very thirsty. They brought our son down to the room (his name is Caden) but I could only hold him for a few minutes as I felt very weak.

The next morning I got out of bed and into a chair and later that evening walked the corridor. So hard to do but well worth it in the recovery process. I'd already had 3 caesareans previously so I knew what to expect. I would have to say this operation, though it was more extensive did not feel any more painful than having a regular caesarean and all my caesarean's were vertical incisions too. I was a bit disappointed in the pain relief administered. I had a morphine drip and also the little morphine thing you push every 15 minutes to give yourself an extra bit of relief. I found it totally useless.

I got out of hospital after 4 days, but Caden was still being kept in the secondary nursery, he was a little jaundiced and they were just being cautious as he was only drinking a little milk on his own. Oh big thing here for anyone who is planning to milk never came in! I was not even warned about this, but was told after that it's quite normal that if you have a hysterectomy that the milk may not come. Would have been nice to have known that beforehand!

Pitfalls of the operation (at least in my case), top of my left leg is numb, so some nerve damage there from the op. It's not bothering me, so I'll leave it and hopefully it may get better by itself. My left jaw is really bothering me, can't open my mouth wide, it's real fun trying to get your mouth round a hamburger! Don't know if that will come right or not, I hope it does as it's a real nuisance. Hormones went crazy several days after the op and I got really severe baby blues. I've had baby blues with previous births which lasted a day or so, but this time it lasted several weeks. I was sure I had post partum depression, but the cloud lifted eventually. Also I ended up with 2 infections, urinary tract and a vaginal infection. The antibiotics for the vaginal infection made me so ill that I could hardly move, I lost just over 40lbs in less than 2 weeks . Michael had to take an extra week off work (no pay) to look after the baby and myself.

There wasn't much bleeding after the op, a light discharge, so imagine my horror when around day 10 I felt a sudden gush and discovered the most vile pinkish brown discharge pouring out of me and it smelled so bad, real stomach turning! Had to go and get those poise pads as it was so heavy! I was very scared and of course I find out later that this is quite normal. My doctor said it was the internal stitches dissolving and coming away.......once again it would have been nice if she had prepared me for this. I thought something serious was wrong. Well, that stopped after about a week and there is no discharge at all now.

So here I am today, just a little stiff if I sit still for too long. I can move no problem from side to side in bed, just wish I was getting a little more sleep, but the wee man is keeping me on my toes. He's now over 6 and a half pounds and he's doing great. I am finding it hard having a wee baby around again, especially as this pregnancy was totally unplanned. Being 41 years old is a lot different than being in your 20's when it comes to caring for a newborn. Tiredness is definitely the worst right now, but hopefully a few more months and that won't be so bad.

Well, that's all I can think of right now and the wee man is waking. Any questions feel free to ask and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks to all of you for the well wishes you sent me, you are a lovely bunch of ladies :-)

Roisin (ro-sheen)

Sometimes the Lord calms the storm;
sometimes He lets the storm rage
and calms His child.

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