Coccyx break in childbirth and subsequent planning of caesarean

Louise B - indigo.purple.indigo@googlemail.com

Posted 2011-07-31

I had my daughter in 2003, she was 8lb 14oz and I had a normal vaginal birth. Afterwards I was sore but you expect that. In hindsight I think her birth had bruised or displaced my coccyx but I think it healed fairly quickly but I definitely suffered some coccyx pain after her birth.

I had my son in 2006 and due to my fairly straightforward birth with my daughter I opted for a home birth. Overall it was a very good birth and I did not have any pain relief. I gave birth in an upright position but he entered the world in an awkward sideways position. As he descended there was a loud crack and one midwife asked the other what the noise was. The other midwife replied that it had been my coccyx. At the time I felt no extra pain but there was a whole lot of other pain and sensations to deal with as my son entered the world soon after.

My coccyx hurt immediately after everything had calmed down. I can remember for a good few weeks feeling as if I had a huge ball of swelling all around it. Getting in and out of chairs was almost impossible, sitting for any length of time was just awful and while everything else healed well I was left with a great deal of pain from my broken coccyx. I spoke to the midwives about it and was told that there was nothing really that could be done.

The problems with my coccyx continued but I was advised that there really was nothing that could be done and just to let it heal. I had months of having to be VERY aware of the chairs that I chose to sit in and the coccyx pain was a permanent background to my everyday life. By 2010 I would describe the coccyx pain as problematic but not debilitating, day to day I was ok as long as I did not sit down directly on it for a long time, during times of the month it hurt more and bowel movements could be a problem. I sort of accepted it as part of life and left it at that.

At the end of 2011 I found out I was pregnant very unexpectedly! There were some issues at the start of the pregnancy so the fact that I was pregnant and going to have to deliver again was an issue that I put to the back of my mind until the three month scan. At that point I realised that I was going to have to face the issue of delivery.

I did some more research and went to see an osteopath. She did a full and thorough examination and her professional opinion was that the coccyx has healed very inwards and the ligaments around it are very tight. She said that regardless of what position I adopted in labour that it would need to break for the baby to descend. She also added that while she could manipulate it and do various treatments her opinion was that it would be pretty pointless. She also strongly advised me NOT to have an epidural as I would be totally unaware of what was going on during labour and could do even more damage. She also said that the coccyx would become more problematic as I continued through the pregnancy.

I think I will remember the walk from the appointment forever as I was just so upset. Then the reality of labour hit me and the thought of having to push against my coccyx and break it again felt like I was going to have to break my own leg.

I went to see my GP who was very sympathetic, I was prescribed painkillers suitable for pregnancy and he advised me to speak to the midwife and to ask to see a consultant. He told me to return to see him if there were any problems.

I went to see the midwife who despite being told at my booking in appointment about breaking my coccyx in my last labour was quite dismissive. Her opinion was that they would not say yes. She did however appreciate how upset I was at the thought of having a natural labour and booked me an appointment with a "sympathetic" consultant.

Waiting for that appointment was not enjoyable and I became quite tearful at the thought of labour. I went to the appointment 99% convinced they would say no. The consultant listened and advised me that breaking my coccyx would mean that it was now out of the way. I strenuously disagreed with this, not only with my current discomfort but discomfort previous to the pregnancy and with the information from the osteopath. At this point I broke down and the outcome of the appointment was that I could have a caesarean.

The relief was immense and I felt I could finally enjoy the pregnancy a little bit more and get excited. I have had another appointment at the hospital which again involved being asked if I had considered a natural labour with epidural. Again I stressed that its not just the pain during, the fear of labour but the ridiculously long recovery.

I appreciate totally that a caesarean is major surgery but I truly feel that if I were to attempt a natural labour that I would struggle to birth naturally due to the pain and fear and there would be a high chance of me ending up with an emergency c-section. At least with a c-section I know what will happen, I know how long the recovery is and I should enjoy a full recovery unlike my partial recovery from the previous labour.

I am nearly at my c section date and the pain from my coccyx is getting unbearable. The baby is engaged by 3/5 and ouch the weight of it is causing me a lot of pain. I am currently sitting on a ring on the sofa and have started taking the painkillers pretty much continually. I am so glad that I pursued a c-section as if I was facing a natural birth now I think I would be a total mess. My mobility is very impaired and I am uncomfortable all the time.

Update, 2013-07-14

I had a successful c-section and my little boy was born in August of 2011. I have never for a second regretted the caesarean.

As soon as he was born the massive difficulties I was having with my coccyx subsided greatly.

The recovery from my c-section was short lived and we were well prepared for it.

Nowadays my coccyx is an irritation in my life that I remember when I struggle with it. My problem times are sitting for long amounts of times - training sessions are very hard and long car journeys. Menstruation is another significant area which seems to cause a flare up and pain. I am willing to live with it as it is. I will not be having another child so I don't have to worry about anything like that.

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