Wednesday, September 12, 2007

33w3d: The guided tour

In brief: Insider still in breech, pondering C-sections and my irrational fear for an epidural.

Today we had the guided tour of the maternity ward, followed by a graphical movie and slide show about the birth process.
The midwife demonstrated all of the positions of the delivery contraption, I mean bed, the bath tub, birthing ball, ...
All fine and dandy, but it's unlikely I'll be needing any of those in the near future, since the Insider is still firmly lodged in the head up position. All that reading up on (semi-)natural birthing for nothing, not to mention sparring with the ob/gyn! I can pretend it doesn't matter to me all I want, it does. But yes, I will get over it and yes, it's a minor bump in the road compared with a lot of things.

The movie and slide show were accompanied by an ob/gyn who claimed that the hospital supports natural birthing. Perhaps, but I'm sure independent midwives would beg to differ.

After the movie and slide show, it was question time. I asked about epidural versus general anesthetic in C-section procedures. 99% of C-sections involve epidurals. General anesthetic is only done when absolutely necessary because the medication reaches the baby through the placenta. This means the surgeon has to perform the surgery as quickly as possible. With an epidural, the anesthetic doesn't go into the mother's blood stream and thus shouldn't affect the baby.
Should be a no-brainer in my situation, but I have an irrational fear of the epidural. The risks of complications are very, very small and the anesthesiologists get lots of practice (75% of women have an epidural). The ob/gyn said they'd never had any serious complications in their hospital.
That said, 'the odds are low' has long lost it's soothing effect on me. I've heard it before. Only recently, someone told me that the odds of a baby staying in breech until delivery are 3%. One guess what my money is on. Fortunately, the odds of serious complications with an epidural are much, much lower than that.

What can I do about an irrational fear? Inform myself to a certain point. When push comes to shove, I'll grit my teeth and find a way through. When it's over, I'll probably be ashamed for making such a big deal out of it.

The good news is, as long as I'm fretting over the epidural, I don't have time for that other irrational fear that something will go wrong during delivery.

Work is still crazy hectic. Can't wait to start my maternity leave!

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16 Comments:

At 13 September, 2007 03:39, Blogger My Reality said...

It won't be long now. I guess the hips up haven't helped.

I don't find the idea of an epidural particularly exciting, so I understand your hesitation.

 
At 13 September, 2007 03:55, Blogger Bea said...

I know what you mean. I hear "low odds" and I think "guaranteed to happen to me" these days. Of course that's not rational.

Bea

 
At 13 September, 2007 07:07, Blogger M said...

I have the same fear of epidurals, when I had my rescue cerclage with the twins I was offered epidural or general - I went with general. It was a totally stressful situation anyway, and I just couldn't bear to be awake not knowing if I'd lose them or not. The general didn't adversely affect them, they were a little quiet but at that point it was a good thing!
You musn't have too long to go until you finish work?

 
At 13 September, 2007 07:08, Blogger soralis said...

I have had 2 spinals and they scared me at first but they went well. Good luck and hope that baby flips for you!

 
At 13 September, 2007 08:54, Anonymous Kath said...

Dear Lut, I have the same fear of low odds... I hear "one in a hundred" and think "uh-oh".

I was surprised at the percentage of epidurals vs. general anesthetic you were quoted. Seems very high. Anyway, I do understand your fear of an epidural, but I hope it subsides with time. More than that, I hope that the Insider still decides to turn around. It's not too late.

 
At 13 September, 2007 10:27, Blogger Thalia said...

In my antenatal class they went through in some detail how they make sure epidural needles are in the right place. Apparently it's quite hard to get them in the wrong place (the spinal cord cavity) as there's a lot of resistance to moving them out of the epidural space. I know you know this, but it's a really really safe procedure, and the advantage of being properly awake to meet your baby is pretty substantial...

 
At 13 September, 2007 14:09, Blogger The Dunn Family said...

Before I had my twins, I always used to say to my DH "Please let them just knock me out, cut me open, take 'em out, and then wake me up when two healthy cute and cleaned up little babies are in my arms." ... Well, it didn't work that way. We had a c-section, and the epidural. I was REALLY scared of it. It was really a painless thing. My fear was WAY worse than the reality. Unfortunately, you won't know this until you go through it yourself, if that happens. Either way, it won't be too long before you hold your baby in your arms, and that will make whatever crazy road you take to get there worth it in the end!

 
At 14 September, 2007 04:40, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what is strange...I never gave any thought to the epidural! Come my DD's birthday, all I could think was, "please get her out healthy!" -- I could have cared less what they did to me!

Oh, and please give The Insider a stern lecture on turning from her inter-auntie. Enough already! :)

lucky#2

 
At 14 September, 2007 05:22, Blogger Tinker said...

Let them give you some morphine to "take the edge off the pain" before you go for the epidural. By the time you're ready for the epidural, you'll be significantly less concerned. This is experience speaking -- I was so loopy from the morphine that my fear of complications from the epidural were lost in the hippie kaleidoscope spin my head was in. Oh, and don't believe that the morphine really takes much of the pain away either.

 
At 14 September, 2007 07:01, Blogger namaste said...

Giving birth is such an overwhelming experience that thinking of all the things there are to be afraid of can be paralyzing. My epidural was a godsend during delivery and allowed me to concentrate on delivering versus pain. Hopefully the little one will do what needs to be done and everything will go the way you want it to... but in case you need one, truly, an epidural is a good thing. Hugs to you.

 
At 14 September, 2007 17:07, Blogger Rachel said...

I had an epidural for my intestinal surgery, and it was fine. It was weird to not have control of my legs, but it was okay. I've also had at least 4 spinal taps. They're not fun, but they are safe.

 
At 17 September, 2007 18:20, Blogger Beagle said...

I've seen more epidurals done than I can count (former OR nurse here). I have never seen a "bad" one.

The trouble with irrational fears is that there is no logic that will make them go away.

You've been through so much to get here. You'll make it through this part too.

Will be thinking of you!

 
At 19 September, 2007 06:01, Blogger Chee Chee said...

I am so happy that you are doing so well. You are almost there! No need to worry about the epi - a good friend of mine has a serious pain condition and has had upwards of 20 of them. She has never had a serious problem. You'll be fine!

Perfectly rational fear, but you'll do just great!

Take care,
CC

 
At 19 September, 2007 18:21, Blogger A said...

Epidurals definitely seem scary when you think about them, but I had one for surgery on my tailbone, and it really was fine. It's a little strange when the numbness wears off afterwards, but you'll be holding your baby and I doubt you'll even think about it!

On the breech thing...I don't know what your OB says, but mine said she wasn't concerned about breech vs. vertex until at least 36 weeks. And even then the next step would be to try to turn the baby. Have you talked to your doc about that?

I think it's great to do the research on c-sections and epidurals in case the baby doesn't turn, but wanted to also put out there the option of trying to turn the baby...

Either way, you'll do great and the end result will be your amazing little baby in your arms!

 
At 20 September, 2007 04:32, Blogger Just another Jenny said...

Do not fear the epidural, it is the most amazing thing ever!!!! My fear would be a delivery without one.

 
At 20 September, 2007 04:49, Blogger AshPash said...

Hoping that little one decides to do a nice flop and go head first to save you the worry about the epidural!

 

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