Q: “I had a caesarean nine months ago, which went horribly wrong as the epidural had lost most of its strength. Since then I still get awful shooting pains in my right side and it is still very tender to touch. My stomach area is still very large and swollen – in fact I still look pregnant. The right side of my body is also covered in large (2cm diameter is the biggest) raised and inverted spots, which are from the ankle right up to the top of my head. Could this be related to the pains I’m getting? It does seem peculiar that it is only on my right side. My doctor is very unapproachable. Can you help? Thank you.”
A: I’m sorry that you have clearly had a distressing experience. A caesarean is a big operation anyway and the pain that you experienced will have had an effect on your recovery. The symptoms that you are experiencing do not sound as though they are related to any clear medical condition. The only way to be sure about this would be to see the rash and to examine you. Your GP is the right person to do this, and if you feel that you cannot talk to your usual doctor, there is no reason why you should not see another one (most practices do allow this). If your GP confirms that there is no obvious cause for your symptoms, he or she may feel further investigation is appropriate. However, it may be that this is not considered necessary.
Having a new baby is a stressful time, and the demands upon you are considerable. It is a time when you want to be able to respond with joy and to be attentive to your baby’s needs. However, if you are still coming to terms with a birth that has not gone the way you anticipated, this can seem almost impossible. I do believe it would be helpful for you to seek some help in coming to terms with your experience. You could request a referral to a counsellor or a psychologist (many practices have these services on site now).
Psychological problems have a profound effect upon our physical well-being, and physical symptoms often settle when psychological issues have been addressed.
Dr Jo Lee, Babyworld Doctor.