Tell Me About Your C-Sections WITH Adequate Anesthesia

I’ve heard so many horror stories about c-sections, specifically about the notion that adequate anesthesia is apparently optional. People who felt themselves being cut open, or had an epidural start to wear off while they were still wide open, or woke up from general without being medicated for the pain first (waves at Zsofia I knew I shouldn’t have read your thread, but yeah, I’m pregnant and that’s the kind of thing pregnant people do, right?) I don’t really get it. It’s surgery! They don’t just start cutting for a knee replacement without bothering to knock you out all the way.

I’m under the impression now that this is how all c-sections go. I know the recovery sucks either way, but please tell me about your experience where the staff endeavored to provide adequate pain control. Please. I hope they exist.

I had a c-section under general anesthesia. When I woke up, the morphine button was in my hand. It stayed in my hand for 24 hours, at which point they cut me off, and I discovered that ibuprofen worked way better.

I still had to shuffle down the hall every six hours, in my gown that didn’t fasten in the back, to beg for it. They do not come around offering your pills to you, in a hospital.

That is all.

My baby was looking to be big, and the doctor basically said I could try it on my own, but she wouldn’t recommend it. After some serious research (including her on the Dope), I came to the conclusion that it was the best option. Thank goodness I made that choice-- she was 10 lbs, and there were a couple other little issues that would have made it an emergency situation if we had not had a C-Section.

The whole thing was surreal, but not particularly painful. I went in at my appointment time and was eventually walked to the OR. My husband had to stay behind while the did the epidural. It was a little painful and just and odd sensation, but nothing too bad. Then they put up the shields, brought in my husband, and went to work. I felt like I was having trouble breathing and was shaking, which is apparently normal, but other than that I was fine. The baby came out and hubby came over to let me look at her. Then they spent quite a while sewing me back up, but at that point I was in endorphin rush planet.

I had to spend a few hours in the recovery room (which isn’t particularly private or comforable), waiting for feeling to come back to my legs. I was able to nurse the baby at this time, and then they took her for bathing and shots. The first day and night was pretty miserable on a catheter, but the next day they removed that and I was able to walk short distances. By evening, I was fairly mobile. By the third day, I was doing laps around the ward. There were times when I felt pain, but nothing too bad. I did need a lot of support in the hospital because I wasn’t mobile enough to change diapers, etc. It definitely wasn’t fun or restful. But again, nothing too bad.

By a week after release, I was pretty much fully mobile with no pain. I’d say by 3 months out I was jogging again. And now 10 months out it’s like it never happened.

Honestly, when I hear people talk about labor, I do kind of think I got out the easy way.

I didn’t want a c-section because the whole idea squicked me out.

Like many people, I opted for an unmedicated labor … which went on forever with no progress and the pain levels were very high. I finally agreed to a c-section, at my doctor’s urging.

WELL, the administering of the epidural might have seemed uncomfortable to someone who hadn’t just been in labor for hours; I barely noticed it. The relief was within minutes. The c-section itself had zero pain or discomfort while it was happening.

At the very beginning, the anesthesiologist told me “some people feel like they’re falling, because you can’t feel the table underneath you” and about 30 seconds later, I told him I was falling off the table. I’m sure he gets this a lot. He patiently said AGAIN “okay, that’s because you can’t feel the table.” It was a weird feeling, because it did feel like falling, only you’re obviously not because you can see with your own eyes that you haven’t dropped down to the floor.

I will mention that in my childbirth class, I heard a million times that the epidural doesn’t alter your mental state, it only relieves the pain … but that was not my experience. I was high as a kite, and jolly about it. I did feel a tugging or rocking sensation as the OB was getting in there, so to speak, but it wasn’t unpleasant and it was kind of a disassociated feeling, because I was really too anesthetized to feel any specific area.

My recovery was quite uneventful. I didn’t feel great the first day or two, but it wasn’t unbearable and the hospital provided plenty of medication to deal with it. I took the advice I received here on the SDMB – try to walk as soon as you can. Obviously it’s slow walking, and for short distances, but I got myself to the bathroom and back as soon as I could manage it. (My hospital wouldn’t remove the catheter or the compression stockings until I proved I could walk, so my baby’s birth was recorded at 3:02 PM, and I was walking by 6:30 PM.)

At home, recovery continued to be fine. I wasn’t bed-ridden, I wasn’t in pain.

One weird incident happened about five months after the baby, by that point I considered myself completely recovered. Then our cat jumped up on the bed in the middle of the night, and landed squarely on the incision area. I think my screams woke up everyone in the county. So yeah, your insides are still sorting themselves out months after the fact.

I have had an epidural, but not a caesarian. I didn’t feel like I was falling off the table but I did think my legs were perpendicular. It must have been for the same reason of not being able to feel the table.

I labored for ten hours before my c-section. Nine of them were transition. I agree, the c-section was a doddle in comparison.

I had my c-section under general anesthesia. I also had a morphine button for the first day or two. Then some sort of pain meds, I don’t remember what. It was 16 yrs ago (next week!). I had a relatively easy recovery. The hardest part was that I wasn’t suppose to lift anything over 10 lbs, including my own baby who turned out to be 10½ lbs.

Sattua, they did come around offering pills to me. (Although if I wanted the Percosets, after they took out the morphine, I did have to hit the call button and ask.). Which is a very good thing because I had a hard, hard time getting mobile and if I’d had to shuffle down to the nurses station every time it would have been a half hour affair with me hanging on to my husband’s neck.

If it makes you feel any better, it was two weeks ago today and while there are still a lot of things I can’t do - certain twisting movements hurt, etc. - I went to the movies today with a newborn, had lunch out, etc. I did have help and I can’t technically lift the car seat but I’m sooo much better, and I had a really rough one. So even if it’s bad it isn’t THAT bad.

Unscheduled cesarean at 2:30am after 14 hours of unmedicated labour. No pain, just a feeling of pressure. Also my chest got very itchy. The anesthesiologist saw me scratching and told me it was a side effect of the spinal block. I had the catheter removed sometime the next day and started walking as much and as often as I could right away. Day 7 I experimented with not taking my painkillers and got through the day ok. I went off them on day 9. I wasn’t allowed to drive for four weeks (and was warned my insurance wouldn’t cover me if I drove in that time), but some doctors insist on 6-8 weeks before they permit driving again. I was also told not to lift anything heavier than … Either my baby or my toddler. I can’t remember anymore, and neither can my other half :slight_smile:

It’s been over 3 years and my scar still gets itchy, which is irritating. Otherwise the recovery wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be. My first had been a vaginal birth with intervention - forceps, suction and an episiotomy that the nurses kept referring to as quite severe, and recovery from that wasn’t long but was uncomfortable (it hurt to sit for a while). If I had another baby and was told a cesarean was necessary, I’d be ok with that. I have always been disappointed to miss out on the “natural” (unmedicated, vaginal) birth experience because I’m just some kind of weirdo like that, but I could make my peace with a scheduled cesarean if I had a third pregnancy to sidestep the end of pregnancy problems I had with the first two.

Thank you, but I’m not actually afraid of the recovery aspect. It might suck a little or it might suck a lot, but either way it won’t preoccupy my thoughts the way the spectre of surgery without anesthesia does.

Thank you to all of the contributors so far, and keep the non-horror stories coming please. :slight_smile:

I had an emergency c-section.
I already had had the epidural so they just upped the amount I was getting.

I could feel the cut and some tugging but it didn’t hurt and I had somebody sitting by my head, holding my hand and reassuring me that everything was okay.
The worst part for me was that even though they put a screen up so I couldn’t see what was going on, the overhead light was like a mirror and I had to look away. I didn’t want to see anything.

I don’t remember being in a lot of pain afterwards, I’m not sure what pain medicine I had but it worked.

My only complication was
My c-section was on a Tuesday and the insurance company wanted me out by Thursday.
The doctor wanted to keep me until Saturday so they compromised and I went home on Friday.
I was not ready to go home Friday, when the nurse took the staples out I had a huge gap on one side of the incision. My incision got infected and I’ll skip the gory details.

Make sure you have somebody around to help you when you get home. You don’t realize how much you use your abdominal muscles until they have been cut.

If it is a planned c-section, they will run a test to make sure you are numb before they cut.

And by “planned” you mean well in advance without even a trial of labor, right? Because I get that there are super-emergency ones but I seem to hear a lot of stories from people who are in “we need to get this baby out, but we can take thirty minutes or so to set up” situations. And still a crapshoot as to whether mom will be numb or not.

Well, yeah. Planned, as opposed to emergency. When they did mine, after the epidural they placed a strong clamp somewhere, and asked if I could feel it. That’s how they knew I was fully numb.

I had an unplanned C-section after about 20 hours of labor, 12 of which was unmedicated. (Way less hellacious than it sounds.) Basically my baby was trying to head out on the diagonal. We were given the option to go for the C-section or continue trying labor, but since I hadn’t progressed for like four hours at that point, I was more than ready to be done. It took about half an hour to get me down to the OR and prep me. The only real issue I had was that the anesthesia initially made me shake uncontrollably, so they had to strap my arms down, which again sounds horrifying but felt quite nice and snug at the time.

The anesthesia did what it was supposed to, though. The only thing I felt was pressure - a little tugging, then a LOT of tugging, and some kind of jiggling around, maybe, and then the sound of a baby crying. And then my husband crying. It was actually kind of great.

I had no pain whatsoever until the anesthesia wore off after I was back in the recovery room, and by then I was on pain meds. The recovery was really pretty minimal.

I had two vaginal births after that C-section, and I wouldn’t exactly recommend the C-section, but my experience with it was very positive, all things considered.

But there’s “emergency” c-sections and then there’s EMERGENCY ones. For cases where nobody’s dying but nobody’s moving, either (like MsWhatsit, thanks for your story btw) I don’t see why there wouldn’t be time to put a clamp somewhere and then top up the meds. But I hear so many stories from people (both online and people I know personally) who were in that situation and still wound up feeling excruciating pain during the c-section itself.

I’ve had three C-sections. Baby 1 - Transverse Breach, Baby 2 - Head circumference to large for pelvis, and by Baby 3 - I was told the dangers of ripping during a traditional labor and delivery were too high for me. That proved to be true, because I went in with pre-term labor two weeks before the last scheduled one and was already tearing. It was an extra hour and a half of surgery for me after the baby was delivered for them to stop the bleeding and repair the tear.

I was always adequately numb, and in reference to someone mentioning being high as a kite, I had additional anxiety meds pumped into my IV during the surgery to keep me calm. My anesthesiologist seemed to indicate that was pretty standard.

Two C-sections, one the kind you describe, semi-emergency after 14 hours of labour (‘The baby’s getting tired, we’re whipping her out in twenty minutes’ rather than ‘GO GO GO’), and one semi-planned (it was scheduled for the week before my due date, I went into labour a week before that). On the first one they just upped the epidural; on the second I had a spinal block, which was horrible for a minute after it went in - I couldn’t breathe, the room was spinning, I thought I was going to pass out - but the anaesthetist told me it would be fine in a minute and it was.

I didn’t feel the slightest bit of pain on either one. I have vague memories from the semi-emergency one of someone saying ‘Can you feel this?’ to check whether I was fully numb.

I had a planned c-section and the meds worked just like they were supposed to, although I couldn’t have made it easy for the doctors. I have a fear of needles and they gave me an epidural during which I cried and screamed like they were trying to stab me to death. Then I was shaky and itchy which is par for the course but I didn’t feel even a moment of pain. the worst part of it was that after it was all over I was insanely hot. I freaked out on them for bundling the baby because it was about 150 degrees in there until they assured me the temperature was normal and I felt so hot because of the morphine.

Sometimes Csections are emergencies. If you are having knee surgery, you’re not likely to die if they wait an extra 10 minutes. In a crash C, mom and babe are both in a potentially lethal situation.