C-section Complications

Updated on May 29, 2010
E.S. asks from East Setauket, NY
16 answers

I had a c-section a little over a week ago. When the docs came in and removed the staples the realized the wound hadn't healed correctly. They packed me up with gauze and sent me home with my little guy. I've had home health care nurses coming for the last few days to change the gauze and dressing (twice a day) and am now awaiting a vacuum pump for the wound (which apparently only needs to be changed 3 times a week).

Various docs and nurses have told me anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks for recovery with the vac.

Has anyone else had this experience (I'm told it's not that uncommon, especially in women who labor for a long time and end up with a section)? The vac is apparently used in other wounds as well - does anyone have any experience with them?

Just looking for other stories to help me understand what I'm in for. Thanks!

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answers from New York on

Hi Emma- I know you've gotten a lot of responses so I'll be short. My mom had the vac for another reason this past fall. It is a pain, nuisance etc but a necessary evil. The best thing my mom did for quicker healing was make sure she was properly nourished. She started a liquid vitamin after about 6 weeks on the vac and she healed so much faster with a wound twice the size of a c-sec. I know it is hard to eat properly with a newborn so make sure you supplement!



answers from New York on

Hi! I had a very similar experience. Had a c-section (although I desperately tried not to!), and after 5 days, they removed the staples. The section hadn't closed at all, and was completely open. I stayed another 2 days in the hospital, then a nurse had to come to my apartment twice a day to change the dressing. I wasn't given a vacuum pump, nobody every brought it up. My husband was so freaked out, said I looked like I'd been sliced with a sword in battle, or like a piece of sashimi. It seems to me, if I can remember correctly (it's been 4 years!), that I healed pretty fast. It didn't seem to bother me so much, I was moving around, and just had to be careful picking up heavy things. It was mostly a real inconvenience, as the nurse lived far away, and I was going up to our house in the Catskills on weekends. It must have taken around 6 weeks to heal fully. The nurse taught my husband how to change the bandages and dressing, and he was able to do it on his own. In a few more weeks, you'll probably forget you even had that happen. If you're healthy, you'll get better fast. Do take extra care of yourself in regards to nutrition. Try to take it slow, and just enjoy that you can't do that much. It will be a distant memory soon enough!



answers from New York on

Hi! I know exactly what it is. My brother had one for about 2 months after a motorcycle accident nearly claimed his legs. It "vacuums" to the wound and actually speeds up healing. It pulls any extra fluid, blood whatever (for my brother dirt) out of the wound making the body heal quicker and it helps with the chance of infection since it is pulling out the "junk". It worked really well for him and he never had an infection as some deep wounds can develop. Don't be nervous it will speed up healing and make it better for dealing with being a new mom. I don't remember him ever saying it was painful but he did however complain about the noise. It wasn't real noisy except it made a "farting" sound sometimes and he said it was embarressing sometimes when he had company! He had massive injuries to his legs and he is walking (with crutches) again. The wound vac made it possible for him to have wounds heal and skin graphs put on weeks ahead of the normal healing time. It made the body repair itself from the inside out so what started as a large deep hole slowly closed in from the inside out. GOOD LUCK and enjoy the beautiful baby in your arms and don't worry about the vac!!! A.



answers from New York on

i didn't have the vacuum and my wound healed okay on the outside, but about 1-2 weeks after delivery, my wound split open and was infected. i had to have it packed daily. it took about 4 weeks of this. my incision was a very large one though (about 10 inches). i had twins and they couldn't get the second twin out. it was an awful experience and i am sorry you have to go through this. they also told me it was common. good luck and enjoy your new baby.



answers from New York on

Yes, I had the same thing. The wound didn't heal properly. I was overweight and the folds of skin resting on the wound kept it moist. I had home care for 8 weeks. The wound heals from inside out so they would pack the wound and tape it up. Make sure to keep it dry and you should be fine.



answers from Kansas City on

I am currently experiencing this same thing. We are awaiting our wound vac to come in the mail and we will go from there. Any advice or insight would be helpful. As of now there is no infection, just an open would that my husband is packing 3 times a day.



answers from New York on

Wow I had 2 c-sections but did not have that happen. I havent heard of it either. As for the vac. its used to keep the wound clean. From what I hear it dose not hurt.
I wish you a speedy recovery.
Rest as much as you can and take it easy. Good LUCK!!!!!


answers from New York on

I had the SAME thing with my c-section with my first baby. I had a c-section after 20+ hours of labor for failure to progress.

After I was home for about two days, 'stuff' started pouring out of my wound. It was gross. I went straight to my OB. I had two sections of my wound that opened and werent healing.

Its partially my fault. I did NOT follow drs orders regarding taking it easy after my section. I was driving, taking the baby everywhere, and going up and down stairs.

Anyway, we had a home health care nurse come over and show my husband how to pack the wound. We did it twice a day I think, and then once a day.

I never had a wound vac. Not sure what that is.

Anyway, it healed in 6 weeks. My last appointment with my OB was two days before my healthcare ran out. (I only had it for prenatal care, and then 6 weeks postpardum.)
During the this whole process I saw my OB more than the entire time I was pregnant. I was in there twice a week in the beginning and then once a week until it healed. I guess they were keeping a close eye on it for the chance of infection.

Take it easy. Spend lots of time in bed with baby.

If you have another section, make sure you remind your dr of the troubles you had healing. I had staples the second time and that pressure bandage stuff. And, I took it easy. I healed without an issue.

Good Luck!!



answers from Utica on

Hi! How unfortunate that you had to go through this, especially with your first baby! I am so sorry. I haven't had experience with complications like this but I am a Medical/Surgical nurse and have taken care of many people with wound vacs... wounds have ranged from surgery that has not healed properly to pressure sores. They are wonderful things although you will be connected to a machine that puts constant suction on your wound sucking out any type of drainage that you might have. They are pretty portable and some of them are quite small but it will be extra things besides the baby to lug around with you. I am not sure what type of wound vac would need to be changed 3 times a week... typically they are only changed if the suction system is broken. You will probably have a spongelike dressing that is cut to fit the size of the wound and then a clear plastic film is put over top, sort of like the dressings used over an IV site. On that top layer, there will be a tube which connects to the suction collection chamber. When turned on, the dressing will shrink to flat and constant suction will be maintained on the wound. If that top dressing gets a hole in it or starts to come off, the entire dressing needs to be changed.... otherwise, they typically leave them in place. I hope that things go well for you and that you heal quickly... There is so much to look forward to with your new bundle of joy! Take care and get well soon. (hope this helps some)



answers from Albany on

Congratulations on your little guy! I'm sorry you are having some trouble with your healing. I've had three c-sections but my last one 8 months ago is the only one I had any trouble with where the corners got infected. I didn't need a wound vac for it though.

Now my mom had a heart attack last June and ended up on life support. While moving her from bed to bed, somebody apparently hit her back on something and she developed a HORRIBLE wound on her back. Think amazing make up job in a horror movie and a very large wound. She had to be on a wound vac and said that she felt better while on it. It was a pain because you have to carry the vac around with you of course but the times they took it off for a couple of days because she was about to go to a doctor's appointment or something, she couldn't wait to get it back on.

I do have to say that from the pictures I saw to what her back looked like when they removed the vac are like night and day. The area is a little pink but honestly, I couldn't have imagined it looking as beautiful as it does because of how bad it was.

I don't know what other kinds of stories you are getting but I wanted to send you my mom's where I can honestly tell you it was ok. Just watch people around the hose too!! That's the other thing.

I wish you a speedy and full recovery so you can get back to just enjoying your little guy.





answers from New York on

Hi E.,
I also had an emergency c-section. I went through the whole labor with contractions and still ended up having surgery. My recovery took 6 weeks. I was able to exercise by the 7th week. It is now a year later and occasionally I can get a little pain there but nothing to worry about. I don't have experience with vacs though. I wish you luck in your recovery.



answers from New York on

NOT for C sect,

but wound Vacs are great, you need to keep the area clean,

lay on your back, or SIT back,

little movements

Take all the meds,

Wear white cotton t Shirts, make sure they are clean,
Don't rest the baby on your belly,

Eat healthy, drink plenty of water.

--Its very common for people to get infections at hospitals,
I also want to suggest using GLUE the next time for your C sect.




answers from New York on

I am a home care nurse and have had many woman with post C-Section complications. The wound vac is for deeper wounds. Not as comman in post C-sections. It does work well, but it tends to beep a lot if it has a leak. I wound say about 6 weeks for a full recovery P.



answers from New York on

I had similar complications after a repeat c-section last summer. My wound opened four days after being sent home and needed to be packed with gauze for almost two months, twice a day. I was never given the option of a vacuum pump. I would say, though, if it only has to be changed 3 times a week and you hear positive things about it, please do it. Being reminded of and inconvenienced by the wound dressing twice a day can be very depressing, and you don't want anything to take away from these first precious moments with your newborn son.

My c-section healed fairly nicely, considering. There is a slight divot where the wound was, but there are no tags or bumps along the scar line, which can happen if the outside wound heals faster than the inside (which is what the gauze packing and the vacuum facilitate).

Best of luck to you and keep snuggling that little guy!
-S. Toups



answers from New York on

oh my... I feel so bad for you... sounds awful! But the good news is I am sure you will heal fine once this is all over. I actually never heard of that but wanted to wish you all the best & hope lots of people respond to your question!



answers from New York on

Hi E.-
I feel your pain literally. I too had complications from an emergency C-Section when my son was born. The wound started leaking profusely. I ended up going to the emergency room early Christmas morning-Talk about nerve wracking I had an infant at home ready to celebrate his first Christmas, and I was in the ER. I was sent home with guaze and told I had an infection that had to drain on it's own. I had a home care nurse for 6 weeks cleaning the wound and applying dressings. You mentioned a vac. I don't remember having that done.
Congratulations and best of luck!

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