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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,109

    General Anesthesia For a C-section

    Okay, I know I've shared my birth experience a few times before but for reference, I had a c-section with Rowan after 23 hours of labor (failed induction) and long story short, my epidural did not work because it was not placed properly and I had to be knocked out on the operating table with nitrous and ketamine. It was extremely traumatic and obviously I am absolutely petrified of another c-section/epidural. I am not pregnant, but we will soon be TTC our 2nd and final child. Ever since Rowan was born, I have been researching ways of making my next birth less traumatic. So I have a few questions and I'd like to hear from mothers who have had general anesthesia, a VBAC with no epidural, or medical professionals.

    1. What are the risks of a c-section with general anesthesia compared to one with an epidural/spinal?
    2. What is the difference between a epidural and a spinal?
    3. What are the risks of a VBAC with no epidural, and would it be less risky than a c-section or more so?
    4. Will the hospital/doctors fight me if I choose general anesthesia? And do I have a right to demand it?
    5. I never got past 4 cm dilated, I was induced 4 days past my due date. Is it silly to even consider a VBAC?

    Any information, advice, or stories you have will help me greatly!
    My cherished daughter, Rowan Jane. ~b. 10/2011~


    Sawyer ~ Aven ~ Elowen ~ Sage ~ Eilonwy ~ Eleanor
    Morgan ~ Asher ~ ___ ~ ___ ~ Currently trying to fill the blanks...


    Trying for #2 in January 2014.

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    26
    I totally understand why you are freaked out! I've had two epidurals and one spinal and none of them went well. I am likely having a repeat C-section with this baby and told my OB yesterday I was most anxious about the anesthesia! I've done a lot of research on this and will tell you what I know..

    1. What are the risks of a c-section with general anesthesia compared to one with an epidural/spinal?
    -general anesthesia is not an ideal choice - more issue with mom's breathing and likely greater blood loss because uterus will not contract (someone correct me if I'm getting this wrong...) Plus the anesthesia will get to baby and likely will affect baby's breathing.

    2. What is the difference between a epidural and a spinal?
    -a spinal is a one time shot deeper into the spine, whereas an epidural is a catheter placed in a different area of the spine (not as deep I believe). The epidural can be used for longer amounts of time, whereas the spinal is 2ish hours.

    3. What are the risks of a VBAC with no epidural, and would it be less risky than a c-section or more so?
    -The American College of Obst. and Gyn. recommends VBAC as a safer option for *most* women over a repeat C-section. There are risks (most people think of uterine rupture), but usually the risks are lower than with major surgery. Of course, this changes if you have an induction, other medical issues, etc. VBAC is great, but is not right for everyone. A VBAC without an epidural is fine to my knowledge. I had an attempted VBAC last time without medication. My doctor said he preferred it because I would be aware of signs of uterine rupture.

    4. Will the hospital/doctors fight me if I choose general anesthesia? And do I have a right to demand it?
    -From what I've read, they will fight you on it and some doctors will refuse to give it to you because of the added risks to you and baby. It's considered "emergencies only" when there is not time for an epidural or spinal to take effect (or certain situations where the patient has metal rods in the spine, etc.).

    5. I never got past 4 cm dilated, I was induced 4 days past my due date. Is it silly to even consider a VBAC?
    -I don't think it's silly at all. I would recommend waiting for labor to start naturally if there is no medical issue - this could be up to two weeks past your due date! ICAN is a good resource if there is a chapter near you.


    I hope this helped a bit. I HATE HATE HATE the idea of getting another spinal/epidural, but my doctor reminded me yesterday that a C-section after a long labor is much harder than a planned C-section. The anesthesia, for me, is a necessity (I wouldn't want surgery without it!). I am spending way more time freaking out about it than it will actually take to have it inserted. Plus the stress isn't good for baby. If you decide on a C-section, I encourage you to search out information and talk to your doctor about what choices you would have. Some areas offer more "gentle" C-sections. The more I am reading, the more in control and empowered I feel, which takes away a lot of the stress. Good luck to you!
    Jacqueline Renée

    Mommy to Ethan Thomas Sebastian (3.12.02), Bianca Felicity (10.18.03), Phoebe Valentine (10.21.13),
    and our daughter in heaven, Ivy Electra (stillborn at 40 weeks on 3.13.12)

  3. #5
    Though I can't answer all your questions, I am about a month away from attempting a VBAC and my best advice is to find an ob that you trust and have an honest conversation with him or her. A good doctor will listen to your concerns, answer all your questions and discuss any risks, as well as go through a VBAC success rate calculation with you, which can be a great help as you decide what route to take.

  4. #7
    I am pregnant and planning on trying for a vbac. I have a similar story, 41 weeks, failure to progress and c-section (no general though). What I have come to decide (and obviously this is not true for everyone) is that I cannot have too much of a plan about this. My Dr. feels I have a good chance of a VBAC if I go into labor before 40 weeks. At or after 40 weeks will likely lead to a c-section (we have big babies in our family). Also, while some doctors will do a gentle induction with a vbac, my doc says absolutely no pitocin or labor progressing drugs due to risk of rupture so if I do go into labor but don't progress-c-section. There are too many variables involved for me to get my heart set. But I do believe that a vbac is my best option if it works and so I am am going to do everything I can toward that end. But I know that in the end, my odds are probably 50-50 at best.
    Mama to little Ramona Mae 3/2011 and Sylvie Joy born 11/2013

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,109
    Thanks for your stories. I had to fight so much when I was pregnant with Rowan, I wanted an elective c-section because I have a family history of traumatic births and shoulder dystocia. I happen to live in a very "crunchy, natural" kind of town and the local hospital advocates natural birth and does not perform elective c-sections. I feel like I wasn't listened to, I wasn't treated like an individual case... I was just another scared first time mom that was terrified of labor. Honestly, the idea of having another epidural is the worst to me. It was horrible. The idea of a natural birth with no pain meds is less scary than another failed epidural and being cut open still feeling a lot of it.

    When I left the hospital, the hospital administrator came into my room to "talk to me" and apologize. She was basically talking me out of suing and even tried to get me to sign a form releasing the hospital of liability. They knew how much they messed up and were trying to cover their tracks. She tried to blame the epidural not working on me being too twitchy and being slightly overweight. I don't know how my next birth will go, but I am preparing myself for a fight either way. Whether I want a VBAC, general anesthesia, or something else. I have been going to the gym 5-6 times a week so I can be in the best shape possible so if I end up wanting a VBAC, they can't use my health or weight as an excuse to say no.
    My cherished daughter, Rowan Jane. ~b. 10/2011~


    Sawyer ~ Aven ~ Elowen ~ Sage ~ Eilonwy ~ Eleanor
    Morgan ~ Asher ~ ___ ~ ___ ~ Currently trying to fill the blanks...


    Trying for #2 in January 2014.

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