Scared of C-section!

  • Being an older mom, I automatically think that a C-section may be in my future and it is something that I should mindful of.  Just because my other 3 births were normal, I don't want to assume that this will be the same.  I have not heard any positive stories about them, and I am looking for insight to mentally prepare me - WAY ahead of time - as to what to expect.  Can anyone help me with this topic?  

  • Crispin-

    I often find that if I face what my "worst fear" is about something my anxiety gets much lower.  So, I think it's awesome that you are looking ahead as to what might be.  I have heard of lots of moms that have had babies into their 40s, esp. with previous successful vaginal deliveries, vaginally.  That being said I'll answer what I can of your question.  So, first of all I have not had a c-section myself.  However, I've been in many c-section deliveries AND I have had several epidurals for other surgeries.  So maybe I can indirectly answer some of your questions.  First of all I think that many people are worried about epidurals. I have to admit I was a bit nervous about them.  I had surgery on my foot and I had a previous Lumbar puncture (LP) (where they take out spinal fluid the same way they put the epidural in).  The LP I had was not a good experience.  I got stuck several times and it hurt a lot.  Now here is the key to this -it was in the ER of a teaching hospital-residents were doing it and they were not anesthesia residents.  So, when I went for the surgery I was nervous.  First of all I told them about my previous experience and the anesthesiologist offered me some IV anxiety medication.  This was a GREAT plan for me.  I just had a little bit and it took the edge of my worries.  He then had me sit on the edge of the OR bed feet dangling and said he was going to feel my back and then I'd feel a little prick (he numbed the area before using the epidural needle-they didn't do this in the ER), then all of a sudden he was done and I didn't know anything had happened.  For the duration of the surgery I could feel some pressure, but no pain.  I think it's really important to communicate with the OR team-let them know if you are scared, in pain, cold, hot, ect.  They are there to keep you comfortable and at ease.  So far as the c-sections I've watched...The epidurals get put in the same way I just explained mine.  I've then seen that Dad sits at the head of the bed with mom until it's time for the baby to come out.  I have not seem moms have anxiety or pain durring the delivery, and that baby is put right on mom's chest, just as with a vag delivery.  Several of the c-sections I have been in had cd's playing with music the family had made for the event.  I thought that was pretty cool.  

    I am hoping that a few others will respond to this as I know this wasn't the perfect answer, but thought it might offer some reassurance.  Keep posting and let us know how we can help!


  • My epidural was put in the same way only without the anxiety meds before hand. I could actually see everything the anesthesiologist was doing (inadvertently of course; there was a huge framed picture at the head of the bed and the way the light hit it kind of turned it into a mirror and i could see an oddly clear reflection through it). All in all I had a wonderful experience getting my epidural. Another thing that might help alleviate you of you fears, concerns or questions about c-sections is watching TLCs programs like Birthday and A Baby Story. Discovery Health has some neat programs as well. At the beginning of every year they have a program called One Born Every Minute I watch this religiously.  Anyway these shows have a lot of information in them if you just pay attention to it. They tell you what drugs are being given to the mom and what purpose they have and why it is important to have it. They show the deliveries and have testimonials from the parents. I think that it could give you some comfort in actually seeing their experience (assuming you don't have a weak stomach). The show isn't too graphic, but it could be considered a little gorey on occasion.

  • I think one of the first things may be to think positive! Just because you are an older mom really doesn't guarantee you will end up with a c-section. You can do a great job just like with your other deliveries. If you do have a c-section, they aren't necessarily the horror stories everyone makes them out to be. You get an IV started and usually some type of an epidural and then you head back to the OR and the doctor will put drapes up so that you don't need to watch what is going on. Your support partner is usually able to go sit up by your head. The doctor can tell you what all is going on and when the baby is out - usually the nurses will check out the baby before wrapping him/her up and bring him/her over to your support partner. Recovery is somewhat painful - it is abdominal surgery after all - but with pain meds and some good help around the house so that you can rest, you can heal up withing a few weeks! I hope this gives you a little picture of what goes on with C-sections but I'll be crossing my fingers you never need one! :-)

  • Crispin,

    I have had two c-sections both because my children were breech.  The first time I was nervous but the staff in the perating room were fantastic.  They were kind and sweet and very calming.  My husband was in the room in no time and he was comforting me as well.  I didn't know what i was having so that helped me keep my focus.  The recovery afterwards is tough.  I can't take pain meds so that made it difficult.  But the other women in the ward did and they seems to be walking around in much more comfort than I was.  Now the second time, I did know what i was having and he decided to come on his own time but i still needed the c-section.  It was much harder because i knew what i was up against.  So my advise to you is, assume you won't need one and if you do, don't ask anyone else about it, just deal with it if it happens and focus on your baby.  (listen to the nurses when they tell you to get up and walk around, you don't want gas to build up that is uncomfortable)

  • Thanks Jess ~

    I have had epidurals with my previous children and all went well (thank goodness) because the thought of anyone shoving a needle and tubes in your lower spinal area is nerve-wracking enough!   It's the thought of being cut open, staples, stitches, infection, bleeding, and recovery that makes me nervous because I don't hear any good stories about it.  

  • Brinny..!

    Thank you so VERY much for sharing the TLC and Discovery Health program options to view!  That was a great idea and I have watched some of the episodes.  I even clicked on some of the 'I didn't even know I was pregnant' episodes.....good grief!   I don't have a weak stomach and only one episode 'got to me' but I think that was because I wasn't feeling my best that day.  :o)  Thanks again...

    ~ Crispin

  • AMN ~

    Wow....interesting to know about the gas buildup.  Thank you so much for sharing your stories and passing along some information that I can keep in mind when the time comes.  Sorry to hear that you could not take pain meds to aid in an easier recovery.  I know that if I get a c-section I will need a lot of meds or a higher dosage because I have a very high tolerance.   I remember having a laparoscopic surgery and going into a light sleep after counting down from 100, but I awoke to the nurses talking and feeling something very cold on my bottom.  They were shocked to find out that I was not 'asleep' yet and proceeded to give me more anesthesia.  


  • PediNurseJulie1 ~

    I much appreciate your positive thoughts and advice about C-sections.  :o)  One thing that will always stick in my mind is someone I know who coded on the table while having a C-section.  She is alive today thanks to a fast acting team of OR staff, but scary!  Do you happened to know anything about cameras or video cameras allowed in this particular situation?  I ask because it is such a sterile environment.  

    ~ Crispin

  • I just Had my twins August the 10th. I had a C-section and during the proceedure, no pain at all is felt just alot of pressure when your doctor is working around your body to deliver your baby. you almost feel like you are short of breath. The C-section is a cake walk, just the healing is a little more difficult. The first week is just full of aches and pains but probably no more than what you have endured in your last 3 pregnancys. I would do it all over again, I'd rather have a C-section than regular birth if I had to do it all over agin. You will be fine and good luck to you.

  • I've seen some episodes of birthday in which the mother requests a mirror in the OR so she can see the birth and i regularly see cameras and video cameras in the OR on the show as well... as far as if this is regularly allowed or if it was just allowed for the TLC show i don't know. I will tell you that anything allowed in the OR as far as camera type items are concerned are strictly confined behind the curtain they put up during c-sections.  That being said if you indeed do have to have a c-section then you'll probably have to ask the hospital at the time of the delivery. They may or may not allow it, but you won't know unless you ask.

  • I'm so glad your friend is okay after coding in the OR. There is certainly risk involved with any procedure but, like you said, the OR team is carefully trained and retrained every year to deal with emergencies or any tricky situations. Your support partner is usually allowed to bring a camera into the OR and often they are able to go over to the radiant warmer where the baby gets checked out and take some pictures of the baby in his/her first moments. The OR team will make sure you all know what is going on! :-)

  • My wife had three C-sections and will have a fourth when our baby is due in February. For my wife, after going through labor and pushing for hours to no avail with our first, she prefers the C-section! But it is natural to be concerned because it is considered major surgery. The bigger factor for my wife is the recovery and the restrictions associated with a section versus a vaginal delivery. If you do end up having a section, it seems like you will be well prepared. Good luck!

  • I am in total agreement with getting up and walking around.  I had a C-section with my son who is now four years old, and I didn't listen and had such bad gas.  I am 25 weeks pregnant now and I will be having a planned C-section with this baby, and will be more apt to follow the doctor's and nurses order.

  • I just had my son the 9th of August in an emergency c-section. Like you I was nervous about it. I was only 25 weeks a long and started going into labor. The doctors tried to do a vaginal birth, but he was side ways. I can't help much with what goes on during the c-section they put me under. The recovery is not too bad. I am out doing everything on my own already. The hardest part is to member at first you can't do anything you need the help. That was the worst part of it for me.