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Possibly the most stupid question ever asked on MN

(34 Posts)
forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 10:43:24

Ok... Deep breath...

Writing my birth plan at the moment and I'm pretty much 'I will take things as they come and I feel informed enough to make decisions'...

With one exception. I really, really don't want to be under general anaesthetic as I don't want to miss baby being born (please don't think I'm judging anyone who has done this, it's personal preference and I know I would be really upset).

Feels to me that the only way I can be certain of avoiding this, even if an emcs were needed, is to have an epidural early enough on, so that I can have a section and be awake.

Is this the most stupid pregnant-lady logic ever? Can I make a case for this to avoid the one scenario that is making me a bit tearful? I've genuinely no idea... Help please!

RandomMess Sun 12-May-13 10:46:10

Honestly they would one ever give a general in a crash emergency section when they had no other choice for mothers or baby's life. There is a difference between an epidural for pain relief and spinal block needed for a c-section.

Only person I know who had a general rather than spinal was due to prolapsed cord - they were too busy physically pushing the babies head back in to the womb to consider a spinal!

I don't think you can totally rule it out though - an epidural may not work well enough for you; I know a couple of people who have had that happen to them.

If you look at your birth plan as preferences, but ultimately accept that you will need to go with the flow to some extent, you'll be better prepared.

FWIW I was terrified at the thought of a general anaesthetic too but when it came to labour I was so preoccupied I forgot I was worried about it. Didn't need one luckily but it didn't even enter my head in labour.

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 10:48:32

That is great to know randomness - I knew I was missing something - just dawned on me in a 3am panic

LowLevelWhinging Sun 12-May-13 10:50:36

general anaesthetics are not a choice! they are life saving and for when there is no other way.

RandomMess Sun 12-May-13 10:50:52

The hospital will be as keen as you to avoid a general but it's not silly to really not want to have one.

As an aside with all my labours I was just glad when it was over grin

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 10:53:23

Thanks gozer. You're right and I feel pretty relaxed about most options... Just trying to engineer a way round this one if at all possible! I probably wouldn't have strong views on pain relief in most other cases.

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 10:55:31

I know lowlevel - and what will be will be, but I know a couple of people who had them and wouldn't have necessarily had them if they'd taken an epidural. Quite prepared to be told this logic is mad, it's born of a sleepless night with terrible heartburn and bizarre dreams smile

Just wondering how I can make it clear on my plan that this will upset me and if there are any, any ways of avoiding it sign me up...

stargirl1701 Sun 12-May-13 10:57:25

It is incredibly rare to need a GA. I only know 1 person who did. She went in for a routine 36 week appt and mentioned a pain at the top of her bump. They took bloods and it turns out she had HELLP syndrome. She was in theatre within 10 minutes of the bloods coming back.

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 10:59:18

Maybe this is what it is - I've met a few people who have had them and I've thought it's more common than it is (ie most c-sections that weren't elective far in advance). That is reassuring to know and means I can see it a lot more like lowlevel was suggesting.

TiggerWearsATriteSmile Sun 12-May-13 11:00:14

I had an emergency section and was awake.
It's only very extreme cases that you'd have a general anaesthetic. In those cases a prior epidural won't make a difference I'd imagine.

Don't worry about something that might never happen.

Surfybridge Sun 12-May-13 11:01:29

Firstly, congratulations on your pregnancy! smile

Hard as it is, try not to worry too much about having a general anaesthetic with a section. As far as I'm aware, that is quite rare nowadays. Could you ask your midwife/obstectrician what would lead to someone to have a general rather than an epidural. I'm sure they would only do it as a last resort where you didn't really have any other option anyway or with someone who couldn't have an epidural for some reason (some spinal deformities). That might reassure you?
You're not being stupid at all, just trying to give yourself as much control as you can over an unpredictable situation! Early epidural might well be an option but check with your care providers. Good luck smile

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 11:01:34

Thanks tigger, you are all calming me down a huge amount on this (may even be able to get a couple of hours sleep now...!) smile

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 11:03:39

Thanks surfybridge for being very kind to the mad neurotic woman! smile I have the midwife during the week so I think I will talk to her about it then... But I'm so glad to hear it is much rarer than I thought (MN is great!)

MrsHende Sun 12-May-13 11:04:05

I had an emergency section and had time for a spinal - I do think it's really rare to need a general.

And, like the others say, it's not silly to not want it but, if it came to it, then all you would want is to have both you and your baby as safe as possible and I'm certain that would overwhelm all other feelings about not seeing the birth.

MrsHende Sun 12-May-13 11:05:07

Cross posts with lots of people!

Lots of luck xx

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 11:07:01

You're spot on mrshende.

I wouldn't do anything I felt would risk me or baby. At all. But hearing that even in emergency there is time for other options is great - I think I have met a disproportionately high amount of people who've had GA and it's freaked me out a bit as I was genuinely thinking of it as a very last option (which seems to have been right!)

The likelihood if you needing a crash section (as opposed to an emergency section) is pretty low. And if you DID need a crash section, it's a life threatening situation and a GA is non-negotiable. Try not to worry about it smile

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 11:20:41

Thanks victoria - again I'm ill informed about crash/emcs differences - knew there was a gap in my understanding!!

Can kip now instead of fretting smile

Snowflakepie Sun 12-May-13 11:29:28

Don't fret love - and it's not a stupid question either. DD is now 3.5 yrs and with all the groups we have been to, I have never met anyone who had a GA. They really are for life and death situations when there is no other choice. The only one I even know about was on OBEM when the mum was hysterical about needles and they couldn't give her a spinal, so just had to knock her out.

There are many, many other options for birth that will be considered before GA. Listen to your mw, try to stay active and don't let the fear take over. Bet you manage with nothing but gas and air, only have the epidural if you honestly feel you need it as it can slow things and change the whole process. If a GA was required I don't think having already had an epi would avoid it.

Good luck, enjoy your nap!

larrygrylls Sun 12-May-13 11:36:07

My wife had a GA due to a crash section and the block not taking. To be honest, at that point, she was so far beyond caring that the anaesthetic came as a huge relief. She was out for about 40 minutes and mother and baby were fine. The advantage was that I got about 40 mins of solo time with my first born (although I had no clue how to get a nappy on him!) so it was not all bad.

Generally they far prefer not to use GA unless absolutely necessary as it is costlier and adds some (tiny) additional risk.

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 12:34:04

Thanks snowflake pie, very kind smile and larrygrylls for sharing your experience... I think now it's getting closer the worries are coming out now! You've all made a paranoid waddling woman much calmer, thank you flowers

fairimum Sun 12-May-13 20:35:20

i have had 2 emergency sections and had spinals, i was awake and although emergency everything was calm (other than me!) and saw baby straight away. I ahve also had a crash (GA) section and they are only done if you or baby is in immediate danger, it is very rare and happens very very fast - think plugs pulled from wall and off down corridor, stripped off and cleaned before even asleep - was that or risk both baby and i not being here - we were both fine, but it is only ever done if they have to.

TheApprentice Sun 12-May-13 20:40:56

I had a ga because the epidural and spinal didnt work. But its very rare - don't know anyone else this has happened to. Also, let me assure you in the strongest possible terms that, in the very unlikely chance that it should happen to you, it does not matter. Of course it was my wish to see ds being born but I couldn't and didn't and it made not the slightest bit of difference to our bonding etc. He's now 6 and we are very close. There have been far more important things to be focussing on over the last few years than whether I saw him being born!

forgetmenots Sun 12-May-13 20:47:39

Thanks theapprentice - that's exactly why I was worried, again through talking to someone who hadn't had a good experience (coupled with lack of sleep and nerves). So pleased to hear that it didn't make any difference, that really does make me feel a lot better.

And thanks too fairimum - really really appreciate people taking the time to share their experiences to calm down my mad notions!

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