03 Jun

Chanelle’s Story: Facing a C-Section in the Caribbean

At our last NCT class before giving birth, our teacher took us through the procedure for a Caesarean section: what happens, who’s in the room, etc. She even showed us pictures. Chanelle doesn’t have the benefit of NCT classes in the Caribbean, so, as she is faced with her impending C-Section, she has lots of questions that I hope you can help her with… 


My BUPA International Worldwide Medical Plus has now kicked in for maternity cover. I had to be on the policy for ten months before it started to cover anything baby related. I took the policy out in June last year so mid-April meant that I could switch back to visiting the private OB rather than going down to the hospital where it is good, free cover like the NHS in the UK.

However, I still had to wait.

I have had to wait up to three hours for a normal, routine appointment. The pee in the cup to check sugar and protein, taking your weight, checking the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler (not ultrasound) and general questions with the OB after the nurses have done these things. You can’t complain really as it is all covered, but since I took the BUPA out I thought I would make use of it and head back to the private Doctor who I saw at the very beginning when we first moved over here in November 2012.

She is German and very thorough. I like her a lot.

As of today, 20th May, I am 36 Weeks and 2 Days. I went to see the private OB in the first week of May and again last week. Both times proved that baby is still breech. We did an ultrasound and found out that baby is measuring small. I know that these later ultrasounds are not 100% accurate though, but it is an estimate. Craig and I are not the largest or tallest people around, so she said she did not expect us to have a large baby. The first scan showed that baby was just over 3 pounds whereas the average should be around 5. The scan last week showed baby had grown and is now 5 pounds. The OB said she may have slightly under measured the first time and slightly over measured the second time. The measurement is taken from the head, stomach and femur bone of the baby to work out how big they are, or, in our case, how small. Some further checks were done to check whether we a baby that is underdeveloped or have a small but healthy baby.

Thankfully, we have the latter. One of the checks was conducted by checking the amount of blood that gets pumped through the umbilical cord and it sounds just like a heartbeat. If too little blood and therefore too little oxygen is getting through to the baby, this can cause underdevelopment.

Today I go back to the hospital to see the OB who ultimately will make the decision whether or not I get scheduled for a C-Section due to the baby being in first breech position. This means that the head is on the left, back is down and bum and legs are to the right. I have had no feeling of baby being low down, nor have I felt any kicking up near my ribs. The baby has been in this same position for around two months now and the private OB said that because of this, it is highly unlikely that she will turn at this late stage. On my ultrasound report she has written “Schedule C-Section”.

Suddenly, when I left her office it all felt very real. My mom is getting here from South Africa on 31st May. The plan was that she would be here two weeks before the due date, which is 15th June. I have been told that in the UK, C-Sections are generally scheduled at 38 weeks, however in the US the guidelines seem to have changed to be 39 weeks.

Some questions for those of you who have had C-Sections:

- At how many weeks did they schedule you?

- Did you go into labor before the scheduled date?

- How do they stop your labor if it does start?

- Where you awake during the procedure or did you go under general?

- Was the father allowed in the operating room?


You can see more images from Chanelle’s nautical materntiy shoot on the Brilliant website.


  1. 03 Jun

    Marie Wootton

    I had a scheduled c-section at 36 weeks because I had placenta previa and labour wasn’t an option. My section was done under a general anesthetic and therefore the father was not allowed in the room. I will no lie, I did have considerable lack of movement and pain for a few weeks afterwards (this is supposed to be less so with a local). I had to have a pillow on my lap for breastfeeding also, because of the scar.

  2. 03 Jun

    Kate Stevens

    Hi Chanelle
    Congratulations on your impending delivery! I had a C-section in September 2011. Like you I always measured small, and my little girl was breech. She was only 5lbs 8oz at birth! The hospital offered to try and turn her at 35 weeks, but I chose not to go down this route, as I had heard it could bring on premature labour and cause bruising.
    I was booked in for a c-section on my exact due date (so 40 weeks). I think this was because the surgeon was fully booked, and I think they prefer to do it between 38-39 weeks.
    I did not go into labour before, but was told that if I did, I would go to the hospital and explain the situation and be given an emergency c-section.
    It is all very surreal turning up on the day to ‘have your baby’ and not go through labour, and bizarre when they hand your baby over to you at the end! My husband was present throughout, although he was not able to cut the cord. But I have heard that some partners do cut the cord.
    I was awake throughout the whole procedure, there is no pain whatsoever throughout, just a funny feeling of someone rummaging about!! I was sore the next day, but not so much that it caused any awful pain, I had morphine for a couple of days and then just paracetamol and codeine. I only stayed in hospital for 2 days and within about 10 days could do most things! I’d recommend that you buy some really BIG pants that go over your scar, as you won’t want anything rubbing on it for a while!
    Good luck, you’ll be absolutely fine!

  3. 03 Jun


    I had a C-section at 39weeks because my baby was breech. I was scanned at 37 weeks and then told to book in the section which was weird in itself, knowing ‘when’ we were going to have our baby! I felt like people were thinking I was too ‘posh to push’ which wasn’t the case, I was really upset as had planned a normal delivery, water birth, birds and stars flickering around my head, whale music etc etc.
    Nope – all out of the window!
    The day came, I cried all the way to the hospital! I was the first in theatre fortunately. My husband was allowed into theatre after he donned his scrubs!
    I had a spinal epidural so was numb from my waist down although I was awake throughout. I honestly didn’t feel a thing, just ‘rumbles’ – bit like harder hunger pains!
    I requested to see my baby as they pulled her out but all I heard was ‘happy birthday’! She didn’t cry for what seemed like ages but must have only been seconds. My husband was obviously the first to hold her, apart from midwife.
    I remember crying from the minute I heard ‘happy birthday’ to the minute I held her!
    The best feeling ever!!!
    Afterwards, the worst thing is not being able to move to get to your baby particularly the first day and all the while the catheter is in.
    The second day I showered and stood up straight, slowly, as soon as I got up which was recommended to me. It hurt but was manageable.
    The pain is obviously worse during the first few days, and i worried about laughing, walking, peeing, pooing, getting in and out of bed which is all quite painful BUT is actually fine.
    Within 2 weeks I was back driving, my doctor and insurance company OK’d it.
    I couldn’t breast feed as she didn’t latch and my boobs were too sore but holding, cuddling and feeding my bay was fine.
    My tip – big knickers that cover your scar!
    Good luck!

  4. 03 Jun


    Hello lovely!
    I hope you are feeling well and looking forward to meeting your little one soon.
    I had a c-section with my first (followed by three normal deliveries with my others) because she too was breech. I had her at 39 weeks and I didn’t go into labour before the c-section. My other children were all late, so I’m not at all surprised about that.
    I was awake during the birth and my husband was by my side. I was so very sad when I first found out I’d have to have a c-section but it was a beautiful birth. We got to choose the music to play in the theatre and the team were just so lovely.
    I fell in love with my little one as soon as she was placed in my arms and it wasn’t long before she was happily feeding away! My milk too a little bit longer to come in than it did with my others but not much longer and it certainly didn’t stop me breastfeeding.

    C-section babies can be a little bit sleepier than others, which can make breastfeeding slightly tricky but don’t be put off by that. Just be aware of it. Tickle the baby’s feet to wake them up for some more!

    Recovery time can vary between women. I recovered fairly quickly but then crashed a little bit about a month after the birth, so just take good care of yourself. Plenty of rest even when you feel good. It’s surgery…just surgery with a baby!

    Drop me a line if you have any more questions! Sending lots of love and hugs xxx

  5. 03 Jun


    Hi Chanelle – how exciting – you get to meet your baby soon! Don’t worry at all about the C-section. Just make sure you have the support in place for the first couple of weeks. But as it’s your first birth you should be moving around ok within the week.
    My 2 births were c-sections – first emergency after 32 hours labour becuase it turned out I had CPD (not big enough to give birth) and she was 5lbs9oz on her due date – and was and is absolutely fine! My 2nd elective which I was looking forward to alot more – only wish it was that way first time round. Not so easy the 2nd time with a 2 year old running around so take advantage of the slow pace while you can! Enjoy your baby! Good luck lovely xxx

  6. 03 Jun

    The New Diplomat's Wife

    Hey there! First of all, congrats on baby’s pending arrival! And second, sending wishes your way for the c-section. I know it’s a daunting thing but I ended up having one b/c the little one was not so little at 5kg ;)

    To your questions, it was at 40 weeks, I was awake, I did not go into labor and yes, he was in operating room. This was in Vienna btw. But i have nothing but positive things to say about the experience- for all that some people try to scare you, it all went well. There is definitely some recovery on the back end but staff was excellent, I had some time in the hospital with plenty of help to get acquainted with my new role and generally it made me grateful for the options that modern medicine gave us. The important thing is that baby comes healthy into happy arms full of love – good luck!

  7. 03 Jun


    Hi Chanelle!
    So lovely that you will be meeting your baby soon! Try not to fret about your c-section (easier said than done!) I had 2 c-sections with my boys (these sadly had to be ‘classical’ c-sections due to a massive fibroid but that’s another story!) I think you just have to put your trust in the medical team – both mine were under general anaesthetic and father wasn’t allowed in during the ops. A bit bizarre coming round and being handed a baby but it is definitely all worth it! It was imperative that labour didn’t start beforehand for me but I had both of my sections around 39wks and all was fine. As has been said, make sure you get lots of help afterwards – you’ll need the rest! I struggled not having any choice whatsoever about my births but the most important thing is a happy healthy mum & baby. Good luck xx

  8. 04 Jun


    Hi Chanelle, having had an op for fibroids five years previously, I had to have an elective c section at 38 weeks due to internal scarring. Therefore I knewnfrom the start that was what to expect! My son was nearly 10lbs so it was probably a good thing! It’s weird to be booked in for a birth, and I was scared of the anaesthetic, but all went well. Yes it takes a bit longer to recover, but you will have a gorgeous healthy baby to cuddle sooner than you expected! All the best of luck! My boy is ten now, and it’s all gone so fast!! Take care, Victoria x

  9. 04 Jun


    Thanks to everyone for the advice so far. Went into see the OB today and after my ultrasound last week Thursday has now confirmed it will be a C Section as baby is “not for turning!”. She wanted to book it in for this coming Friday, however we have a plastic surgeon visiting the island and he has booked up the OR all week. I just hope my C Section isn’t being delayed for somebody’s boob job! I am now waiting for a call from the OB to see when they can fit me in. Usually they do them on a Friday or Wednesday so it may mean waiting until next week Wednesday…

  10. 04 Jun

    Julia from ICAWatermelon

    Oh my goodness! Is there only one OR?! We are so looking forward to meeting your little one. Tell those boob jobs to move over. Jx

  11. 06 Jun


    They have fitted me in! Sitting in the hospital bed right now… not much going on today but looks like 9am tomorrow will be my C Section. Exciting times…

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