East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Experience with ELCS at Kings?


Just booked in for a planned c-section at Kings as recommended due to baby positioning, it is my first child and wondering if anyone has any experience or advice to share, essentially to help me feel more prepared? Have read up on lots of on/offline info since finding out but everything seems to point to the hospital in question having a major impact on your experience.

I'd be really interested to know experiences in particular around:
- how long you were in for (if all went well vs not in terms of impact on timing)
- if you had a private room after for recovery and for how long before being moved to the ward
- if you managed to arrange a (paid for) private room
- any specific kit recommendations for hospital bag additions
- if you were allowed skin to skin/opportunity to feed straight after delivery or if they took baby straight into special care or similar
- any subsequent issues with breastfeeding

Appreciate that's an awful lot to ask for but I'm a planner and would be really grateful for any words of wisdom from other mums! Many thanks all in advance, Lucy
Hi Lucy,

I had an elective section with my second, it was at St Thomas's so I can't comment on the specific hospital stuff but had a few thoughts that might be helpful in light of your questions.

1) if all goes smoothly there's no reason you shouldn't be able to breastfeed and do skin on skin. The longest delay is actually more likely to be you being sewn up rather than whisking the baby away. In our case, he was weighed etc and then handed to my partner for skin on skin while they sorted me out. I was then in a position to try to feed about half an hour post birth. I was really worried about the logistics of feeding post section but your top half will be v mobile so in that sense no different from a VB. The main difference for me was that I did need someone to hand me the baby each time so that may be something to think about overnight (either if someone can stay with you, or be v assertive with the overnight midwives!).
Some people also say that it can take a bit longer for the milk to come in with a section. This was not my experience, but you might just need to play that by ear. I don't think it tends to be a problem, just a day or so later.

2) Hospital bag - apart from all the normal stuff, lots of very big pants!

3) If you don't get sent home with laxatives, buy some. Do NOT wait until you need them!

Hopefully someone will be along soon with some Kings specific words of wisdom. Personally I had a really positive c section experience having had a not so positive first (vaginal) birth. There are a lot of advantages, like not being completely exhausted while trying to learn to feed, look after, get to know your baby. Please feel free to pm or respond on this thread if you have any more questions.

Good luck! Xx
I had an ELCS at Kings with my second daughter (after an EMCS with my first).

I went into labour the day before my elective date so ended up in a "semi" emergency classification but it was all very calm and I had skin to skin with her whilst they sewed me up. Her first feed was shortly after they transferred me to the recovery room. Bear in mind that you can get "bumped" from your time slot if there are emergencies. I went in about midnight and after triage was due to go into theatre at 5am but then got pushed to 7.30am due to emergencies.

I had her at 8am and was home by 6pm the next day... But this was partly due to me pushing hard for release (as it was my elder daughter's third birthday the day after my section!). Release time can depend on how feeding is going (if you want to breastfeed). With my first I was in for 4 days as feeding was a problem (due to an undiagnosed tongue tie, not related to the section plus she was 3 weeks early which I think played a part). Elective baby took to feeding straight away.

The recovery room had a few other beds in it from memory but there are curtains and it wasn't as busy as the post-natal ward. Private rooms are pretty rare at Kings and very expensive. They are also not often free so I would assume you'll be on a ward (which has 4 beds in it usually but all with curtains all the way round). I am pretty sure you can't pre-book the private rooms, you have to ask when you are there (although this may have changes in the 18 months since I was there).

Big pants are good and size up. Straws or a sports water bottle make drinking easier. Try not to cough or laugh too much the first day... ;o) More maternity pads than you think you need.

Very happy to answer any other specific questions. Congrats, so exciting!!
Hi Lucky
I had an elective C Section at kings late last year for the birth of my twins (first children).
On the assigned date we weretold to arrive at 730am. Very quickly we were "booked in" and seen by midwives etc. We were informed at around 830 that I was going in second so we should expect to "hang around" for a couple of hours (at this point we were in gowns ready to go). The section happened and immediately I had skin to skin with one baby (other one had to be seen by paediatrics), as long as you have no complications this won't be an issue. The theatre staff were very kind and made a real effort to ensure I was happy about how things would/were proceeding.
I was in for 3 night but had some major complications resulting from having post delivery pre-eclampsia which presented itself around 10 mins after the births.

I was in HDU for one night and then 2 nights on the ward - in a 4 bed general ward. There were no private rooms available (I was told twin mothers get priority but there are certain other circumstances that are higher up the list). 2 nights is the standard time for first time mother after a section with no issues.

If I did it again I would honestly take my own ibuprofen and paracetamol. On the general ward they did not care if you were in pain and had not had pain killers for like 8 hours or something. I got told I was out of schedule with the handing out painkillers so I would have to wait until the general hand out time! Just write down what you take and when. A friend had a section about a week before me and told me I must buy Tena lady pants (in a big size). Best thing I took with me! And I carried on wearing them until 1 week post section.

I did have some feeding issues but reckon the pre eclampsia and 2 babies were more the issue than the section.
Try not to be nervous about the section - you'll be fine. Think of the positives - you know when baby will arrive! I was walking round the park a week after the section and have had no other section related complications.

The general ward is a fairly grim place to be, I've been a patient in Kings before and the post delivery ward is VERY factory like (maybe all post natal wards are) and in my opinion you do not get treated like a proper hospital patient. I realise this is all due to funding etc.

All the very best! Happy to answer any questions.
Thank you all so much, that's given me a real confidence boost and answers to a lot of my questions. Now just the continued waiting game for the big day!
And take food with you. Lots of food!

Good luck.
Would definitely recommend a private room if you can, was a totally diff experience for me 2nd time round having got a private room v being on ward for a few nights previously and not getting much sleep at all. Make sure your midwife knows as soon as you arrive that you want one, obv no guarantees but the sooner you let them know the better. Think I had it in my birth plan too!

Good luck
I had a not exactly emergency, not exactly planned c section at kings and would recommend you take:

Those very weird big string pants so air can get to the scar
Lots of maternity pads.
something like a dressing gown cord you can tie to the foot of the bed to help you sit up for the first couple of days
Dried fruit & peppermint tea to avoid constipation afterwards.
Lots and lots of food.
If you're planning to bf, a nightie / pyjama top you can feed from the top of, so you don't have to hoik the whole thing up, and crossover style nursing bras with no fiddly bits.
Minimal visitors, they can wait till you get home!

This was 7 years ago now, but there were a few private rooms in antenatal and postnatal that were allocated on the basis of need. My baby was in special care on the floor above and I was trying to establish breastfeeding by pumping, which was all pretty traumatic, and on the third night on the ward I lost the plot and they moved me to a private room back in antenatal which then made everything else bearable. So if you don't get a private room, you can console yourself that's because you're having a much better time of it than the people that do get given them.
Just red your first post again and saw its your first baby, I hope we haven't made you more nervous!

The op itself will be absolutely fine, with a whole team of the most skilled Drs and anethsatists in the country looking after you. Just talk to them when you go in and say you want to do skin on skin as soon as possible. I didn't realise at the time, but the baby can be laid on your chest while they sew you up. You may have to wait for your op if emergency cases come in when yours is scheduled. Headphones & a good audio book might help.

It's the aftercare at Kings that's a bit more hit and miss as they have such pressure on beds and staff in postnatal that they want everyone out as quickly as possible. It can feel like you're being pushed along on a factory conveyor belt just when you need to be really well looked after. Your birth partner needs to be mentally prepared to be your advocate/dogsbody/messenger/extra nurse afterwards, making sure you get the care you need, befriending the nicest midwives, figuring out who is who and how and where to get help with things. The good thing about kings now is the M&S food downstairs so you can send them on errands to get you more food without it being a treck into camberwell with a list! I think partners are also allowed to stay overnight now which would be a huge help. Good luck. I found the first two-three days afterwards such harder physically than I expected, but then from then it got better much quicker than I expected.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was june 18, 10:42am by scareyt.

A couple more thoughts from your questions above:

Don't stress too much about skin on skin straight away. You will have loads of time to bond with your baby once you are home from hospital. We didn't have an ideal start at all but the baby was basically fine and is now a happy loving 7 year old. My husband held him while I was sewn up which was actually really nice for him to do. We had a lovely hour all together in the recovery room & he fed a little bit and then the midwife did the heel prick test and discovered his blood sugar was too low so he was whisked away to special care before I really knew what was happening. I didn't see him again for 24 hours but my husband went with him which we had agreed beforehand he would do if he had to go into special care. We were half expecting that to happen because he was early and very small but I was very unprepared emotionally. Looking back, we could have done with one more person there to look after me and reassure me and go back and forth between us figuring out what was happening and reporting back, as my husband felt torn in two between us and wanted to stay with the baby as much as possible and I was confused and freaked out because I couldn't move and was still full of painkillers that made me very dopey and my baby was gone. So if you have an extra person like that in your life who you would both be happy to have around in those circumstances, I would recommend putting them on standby just in case. At one point I had my sister stationed on a chair just outside the door of my room telling people not to come in so I could sleep!

We did manage to establish breastfeeding but it was tough. If you want to bf and your baby goes into special care, the thing I would most recommend is to buy your own electric pump and not use the hospital ones. The hospital ones are alarmingly powerful and quite complicated to put together, and the ones in the baby unit are different to the ones in special care. You could even get your own pump beforehand just in case and both you and your partner learn how to put it together and sterilise it in the comfort of your own home. It's quite useful to have one anyway later on if you want to spend any time apart and carry on feeding. Also make sure you get to see a lactation specialist, you have to ask for them to come see you but they are the nicest people in the postnatal world and their help makes all the difference in the world.

I was in for a month altogether, two weeks beforehand with preeclampsia and two weeks afterwards until the baby's blood sugar levels stabilised and my blood pressure came down. By the end, they would have discharged me but I didn't want to go home without him so they let me stay until he was ready to come home too. Not much fun but I said many private thanks for the NHS and not ending up with a horrific hospital bill at the end of it all.

Oh one more thing - one of those rigid breastfeeding support cushions that buckles around your middle like a donut is really helpful. It gets the weight of the baby off the scar and makes it much easier to find a comfortable feeding position. They have some in the hospital but not many and it's nice to have your own.

And a final thought - not many people know this but it's actually possible to relactate. So even if the feeding goes pear shaped in hospital you could establish breastfeeding anyway, later, if you really want to. My mum and baby sister were both hospitalised when my mum had severe PMT and the baby was losing weight and they switched to bottle feeding. Later on when she was better, she re-established breastfeeding from having had no milk at all.

Good luck. It will be amazing.

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