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Those that have had a caesarean

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#1 Bwok~Bwok

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:10 PM

*I have no idea where to put this*

My niece is having a caesarean next week – she will be 36 weeks (or 37 weeks) pg. They have booked her in as the baby has shown limited growth and there is low amniotic fluid.

This will be her 2nd caesarean – the first was an emergency and was put under for it. But she suffers from anxiety and is becoming really anxious, and I can see her anxiety getting worse the closer she gets to the day. It’s the operation that is freaking her out the most – she’s petrified of the needle going into her back and that she will feel them cutting.

As you can see from my sig, I have no experience in this. I managed to calm her down last night and now she wants me to call her each day because "she feels better when I talk to you" - it's always been like that between us (her Mum is going in with her and I’m the ‘back up’). Her Mum isn’t helping her with keeping her calm (she makes it about herself – always has, always will) and I think my niece isn’t very confident her mother will help – hence why she has made me her ‘back up’!

So can anyone tell me what I can say to her to help? She is having a pre-op appointment next week and I’ve told her to discuss it all with them on the day – let them know she suffers from anxiety, they may be able to give her a calmative on the day? I'll try and see if I can go in with her on her Pre-Op appointment so I can speak for her as she tends to not tell them how she feels incase they think she's a 'freak' - and her mother will most probably talk to them about how 'she' will feel on the day rolleyes.gif !


#2 Riotproof

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:17 PM

I think she just needs to tell them how she's feeling, they'll know how to reassure her. When I had my epidural, I had been induced and was contracting, but I held onto my husband's shoulders and focused completely on him. They do test to make sure it's taken effect before starting, and they manage the amount of drugs so as to keep the aenasthetic up.

#3 cinnabubble

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:27 PM

A colleague's partner had anxiety issues relating to birth to such an extent that she had a caesarian under a general. She would have had the caesarian anyway, but the general was due to extreme anxiety. Maybe that's an option.

#4 Threelittleducks

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

I had an emergency c-section with epidural.

I was warned by my OB that I would feel no pain, but experience a sensation like someone was rummaging around in a handbag....just in my belly. And this is exactly how I would describe it too.

Is there a partner that can support her? I was under the impression that during a c-section you are only able to have one support person in the room with you?

My suggestions would be for you to get her to make a list of questions for her care provider.

She may find it helpful to ask her OB for a step by step description about what will occur. Including how she will feel, pain relief options and asking what will happen once the baby is born and speaking with the paed ahead of time. The baby may well need to go to Special Care if they are of low weight etc and they should already have an expectation in place about this.

Your niece should also be clear with her mother about what she wants.

E.g. My husband stayed with the babies and went with them to Special Care; which meant I was by myself once they were delivered. And went to recovery alone. This was my wish that our children were not alone.

Your niece may be able to take her baby to recovery with her. She might want to see the placenta when it is delivered.

She should also think about what she wants to do with BFing, especially if the baby does not yet have a suck reflex. A paed should be able to given an idea of what to expect at 36ish weeks.

If the baby does need special care, a tour of the unit before delivery will be immensely helpful to her...especially when she is down in recovery by herself.

I personally find that having a plan in place, an idea of the different things that may happen, reduces anxiety.

Best wishes.

#5 noi'mnot

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

I had an emergency c-section so I'm not sure if I'll be totally helpful, but here are my thoughts.

I would presume that the hospital will be used to these kinds of anxieties, and very much able to deal with them. Honestly, the thought of a needle going in to my back and being cut open while awake is terrifying!!!

Perhaps it would help her to read some positive birth stories about caesareans? I'm sure you could find them in the relevant part of the forum here, or elsewhere on the internet. I'm pretty sure that her concerns are very very common, and would have been shared by many other women, so it shouldn't be hard to find some stories that talk about the journey through anxiety and the surgery itself. It is something that I (a very non-anxious person) was terrified of at the time, and the nurses and particularly the anaesthetist were brilliant at allaying my fears.

Apart from this, I think just being there as a sounding board and somebody for her to talk her feelings out to will be such a valuable thing. I think you're a great aunty. original.gif

#6 PrincessPeanut

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:33 PM

I felt the same with my c section but doctors were reassuring....I have a very low pain threshold and was so scared - but with my spinal it didn't hurt at all and worked in seconds and they constantly monitor - and its minutes and baby is out - it is scary but I am sure she will be ok...but yeah she should share her fears so they can reassure and comfort her...I had a ces as I was THAT terrified of a VB with anxiety

as a PP suggested a general may be an option if the anxiety is that bad

#7 JBH

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:41 PM

I too had an unexpected emergency c section and then a scheduled c section. I was also anxious. The thing that helped me was my caregivers know I was anxious. It was in my notes so the anaesthetist knew.  He couldn't have been more reassuring. He gave me gas to calm me down while he did the spinal. He also agreed that he wouldn't cut until he'd done a "test poke" with a sharp object to make sure it didn't hurt. I also hate needles and I felt s lot better once I knew the difference between the spinal (for my planned c section) and the epidural I'd had previously.

#8 Madnesscraves

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:48 PM

I think I was borderline hysterical when I was told I needed a cs. Speaking to nurses and the OB helped, sort of... What helped most was just having my husband just chat about other things other than the impending cs.

It didn't hurt. As PP said its like some one rummaging in my handbag. It was painless. Even the epi was painless.

Just get her to keep informing her carers of her anxiety.

All the best luck OP!

#9 Domestic Goddess

Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:59 PM

I had an elective cesarean. Because it was elective and not an emergency, things were quite relaxed and amicable.

When you go to the pre-op appointment, I would discuss what procedures they use when closing up.
Preferably ask if they could use internal stitches and steristrips on the outside instead of staples. Staples take longer to heal and leave a hideous scar. The steristrips left nothing. You have to look really close to see my scar.

I would also have a good chat with the anesthetist who will be on duty at that time and tell him/her about the anxiety. He/she will discuss options on how to deal with the anxiety (like giving some gas like a pp mentioned) and will also discuss what kind of anesthetics are available, what the risks are, etc.

I personally, chose for a spinal and not an epidural as an epi lasts longer and that would mean it would be harder for me to get moving as soon as possible.
I have a crook back and the longer I stay rigid, the worse my back is going to freeze up. So with the spinal I got moving and walking within 12 hours of the surgery. Another bonus is that breastfeeding is heaps easier when you have movement in your legs.
Also, spinal is just a 1 off injection where as an epi is a drip that is stuck there throughout the whole procedure.

The anesthetist talked me through everything he was doing which made me feel a bit more at ease and I did not feel the needle go in as he first numbed the area before giving the spinal.
I really didn't feel a thing, just some light tugging.

Oh and just 1 important thing..... If she does not want to see the surgeons cutting her open and all that.... Do NOT look into the light above your head. They can work like a mirror ;)
I personally was intrigued and found it a truly miraculous experience. Especially the moment they took him out as I had been so worried about him the 3 weeks leading up to his birth.
He had a 75% risk of stilbirth, so yeah, when he started to scream (hasn't stopped with that one 3 years later), it made me bawl my eyes out lol. Im such a sook   :rolleyes:

#10 Jillian75

Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

With my second child I had a caesarean.  I was going to have an epidural so my husband could be there with me.  He really wanted to be there.  

While preparing for the epidural, I had a panic attack whenever the doctors explained to me what they would be doing.  I had the epidural no problems, but once I was wheeled into the room I had another panic attack and they ended up putting me under.

With the twins I told them I wanted to go under a general due to the panic attacks which they had no problem with.

Honestly, if she is that worried now, I would simply insist on the general anaesthetic (sp) .  
For me, no amount of talking was going to calm me down ph34r.gif

#11 Julie3Girls

Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

Tell her to talk to her doctor, let them know how stressed she is.

And while I know from experience that is doesn't really help, because it is hard to believe it until you have been through it ...  it really IS going to be ok.  The staff during a csection are wonderful, they are very aware that you are awake.  I was very stressed with my first (breech baby no labour) but the anaesthetist, hjs assistant and the midwife were fantastic, chatting to me the whole time, placing bets on whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, taking photos for us.  And once your baby is in your arms, you really do tune out what else is going on behind the screen.

Tell her to talk to her dr about keeping the baby with her through to recovery ... Some hospitals do this, depending on who else in recovery and if they have enough midwives available for one to stay with you in recovery.

#12 lilmissmars

Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:04 PM

My anxiety about being awake for a c section has been so bad that I have had my second two (first was an emergency under ga) under a general as I was unable to be calmed down.
I requested it and the drs saw how anxious I was and agreed it was much safer than having me awake and stressed out.

If her anxiety is that bad maybe a ga is an option?

My issues were not so much about an epidural or spinal but were to do with being awake while having the surgery. It's honestly the most terrifying thing I can think of and there is still no convincing me that it's not that scary.
I'm honestly quite jealous of those that have been fine with it. I would have loved to see my babies right after they came out.

Edited by lilmissmars, 22 February 2013 - 01:06 PM.

#13 Bwok~Bwok

Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:25 PM

I thought I'd add that she asked for a General and they advised against it! I don't know why?

She's been sick throughout the pg - and been hospitalised a couple of times because of dehydration, (she's lost alot of weight) so I don't know if it has something to do with that?

Edited by Bwok~Bwok, 22 February 2013 - 01:26 PM.

#14 Domestic Goddess

Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

Those who had a general anesthetic, did you manage to breastfeed successfully after you woke up?
The anesthetist told me that having a ga, will make it harder to breastfeed as it can delay or completely stop your milk from coming in........

I think perhaps she should ask for a spinal/epi, but make them aware of her anxiety and the chance that she might have to get a GA in the end.....

#15 ~~Cleopatra~~

Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:48 PM

I thought I'd add that she asked for a General and they advised against it! I don't know why?

The recovery is longer and you do miss those early moments with your baby.

I had a GA for my emergency ceaser and a spinal for my elective. I found being awake very unpleasant (as did my cousin who did have GA's for last 3 after being awake for the first). That said I wouldn't have missed the early moments for anything and for me that made the unpleasantness worthwhile (it was worse for me as I did have my tubes done at the same time so it took longer). If she is very anxious the experience of being awake could be very difficult for her and I think she should discuss again the GA.

Breastfeeding - I cant really say due to the circumstances of the first birth, we were seperated for 16 hours and it did take us a few weeks to establish feeding. For my 2nd one we breastfed in recovery original.gif

#16 Isolabella

Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:03 PM

QUOTE (Domestic Goddess @ 22/02/2013, 02:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Those who had a general anesthetic, did you manage to breastfeed successfully after you woke up?
The anesthetist told me that having a ga, will make it harder to breastfeed as it can delay or completely stop your milk from coming in........

I think perhaps she should ask for a spinal/epi, but make them aware of her anxiety and the chance that she might have to get a GA in the end.....

My sister had a full on emerg GA cs. She ended up in ICU, bubs in NICU. Didn't BF her bubs for a week didn't even see him for five days.

Her milk came in day 2 (mine was day 5) and had no troubles BFing.

#17 Ferelsmegz

Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:24 PM

OMG - I was pretty much the same with my CS - first one was a emergency and I was under, second time I went in and it was all planned and my surgical team were AMAZING.. totally put my mind at ease.

You have a local before the epidural so you dont really feel it.. and they test your legs with ice before they cut to make sure you cant feel.

Sure there is an amount of scary as it is out of your control... but I can say that the birth of my DD was a much better experience then my DS - I got to see her straight away and heard her first cries etc - ALL things I missed before... for me it was the next day before I could hold him as it took ages for me to wake up properly and i was scared of dropping him but with DD as soon as I was out of recovery she was in my arms... comparitivly my second CS with an epidural was an amazing experiance.

PM me if you want to know anything specific.

Good luck to your niece!

#18 Ferelsmegz

Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:26 PM

Oh and I couldnt BF with the GA... it took 5 - yes 5 days for my milk to come in.... and sadly the midwives had made me express to the point of bleeding because they didnt believe I had no milk - so when it finally did come in i was way too much pain

#19 purple_daisy

Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:29 PM

Perhaps you could talk about the short amount of time she will have to wait until she meets the baby. So when she talks about being scared of the needle and the surgery you could talk about how quickly the five minutes will pass until the baby is out (once the surgery starts) and how happy she will feel then.
Perhaps suggest a mantra for her to focus on while she is getting the needle or lying on the table such as a little song/rhyme she could silently say to herself with the baby's name in it, or something that focusses on the surgery being the means to an end such as 'The needle means the surgery won't hurt, the surgery won't take long, the surgery is so I can meet my baby, my baby is totally worth it' or something along those lines? Not sure if that would be remotely helpful to your niece, but can't hurt to try!

#20 Duck-o-lah

Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:33 PM

I personally find that having a plan in place, an idea of the different things that may happen, reduces anxiety.
Absolutely. I am having a scheduled CS following a horrible emergency CS. Once I had made the decision to have a CS I was hit with a wave of anxiety regarding the surgery, spinal, and all manner of things associated with it! I have found the best cure for my anxiety is completely understanding what will be happening minute-by-minute on the day, in the best and worse case scenarios. I have asked loads of questions so hopefully there will be no suprises.

The other thing that helped was reading through others experiences, pop in to the 'caesarean' forum here and maybe copy some of the positive experiences for her to read?

I would definitely discuss the anxiety issue with her health carers, I'm sure they have dealt with a wide spectrum of anxiety and have procedures in place to help.

In regards to the GA, I had a GA for DS's birth and I am doing everything in my power to avoid having it happen again. I had it about midday and I was out for the rest of the night. They wheeled me in to meet DS but I hardly remember it sad.gif I had difficulty establishing BFing, but DS was not well, so I don't know if that had more to do with it. The thing about GA's is that the baby gets the anaesthetic in their system too so they can be born very groggy. I know everyone is different, but that was my experience. Sure if the risks of having mum so stressed and anxious about the surgery outweigh the risks of the GA I'm sure this is an option that can be discussed.

You sound like you're already doing heaps to help her deal with the anxiety, it's amazing how much difference one person can make original.gif

#21 Domestic Goddess

Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:35 PM

QUOTE (lsolaBella @ 22/02/2013, 03:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My sister had a full on emerg GA cs. She ended up in ICU, bubs in NICU. Didn't BF her bubs for a week didn't even see him for five days.

Her milk came in day 2 (mine was day 5) and had no troubles BFing.

Ah ok. I guess specific cases only. Good to know original.gif

#22 tle

Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:38 PM

I've had 4 c-sections and for me the worst part was getting the spinal, but even that wasn't too bad. It was just uncomfortable trying to bend right over when you have such a big belly.

The c-section itself was easy. At one of my births I was busy chatting away to one of the nurse and then asked the ob if we were nearly ready to start. He gave me a very strange look and within a few minutes lifted up my baby boy. I didn't even realise he'd already begun.

#23 angel2010

Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:43 PM

My c-section was such a positive experience! Not much discomfort with needle,not much sensation of tugging- more like butterflies on tummy!

The anesthetist said "we're not here to have an operation... We're here to have a baby!" they played music and our footy team's song as our son was born followed by 'whatta man'!!! We were all laughing and smiling.

I was not in much pain afterwards and recovery was fine!

Might be lucky, but it was really lovely experience. hugs to your neice

#24 Starrydawn

Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:49 PM

I am a person who needs to deep breathe through a blood test let alone anything else. I don't care about needles it is blood and veins that make me hyperventilate.

So you can imagine having a drip being induced then having a caesarean was not my idea of a good time. But it really was quite calming. I barely felt the epi too busy deep breathing through a contraction lol. Then you feel nothing. The anaesthetist  was great. I was waiting for it to start and he says well they are getting the baby now. So really felt nothing.

If she feels too anxious definitely keep talking to people.

#25 tibs

Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:11 PM

I've had 3 elective c-secs.  Can you ask for her to be first on the list for the day because I can tell you first hand nothing is worse for anxiety than waiting around in a hospital for your turn, feels like forever and your mind goes to all the possible things that can go wrong.  First up = less time for anxiety to build.  Good luck original.gif

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