Racing Questions

Is general anesthesia very dangerous for caesarian delivery? I can guarantee a panic attack if I have to have a c section. I can guarantee a more severe panic attack during a c section with only a local anesthetic. The feel of blood rolling down my skin. Feeling skin spread wide open and hands reach inside of my body. Feeling muscles separate from facia tissue. It’s major surgery. Awake. I already had one of those. I’ll never have one again. The thought of a c section with only a local anesthetic makes my heart race, my blood freeze, and the fear strangles me. I can only imagine the panic will manifest physical symptoms which will endanger my life and my daughter’s life during the surgery.

Why did my legs hurt so much even with the epidural? George needed to be repositioned. My right leg was folded over my body and over the left side of the bed. It hurt so badly. My whole body was in agony. The pain was incredible during contractions. The weight of my leg dangling off the bed was excruciating. I remember this pain so vividly and I don’t understand what caused it, so it frightens me. I am afraid of that pain. I hope that if I can understand why the stretch hurt, then I won’t be so afraid and anxious about it.

Can we use the mediport for IV access? I hate, hate, hate the peripheral IV in my arm. It doesn’t hurt, but the touch of it freaks me out. The mediport and I are well acquainted pals.

I asked these of the MFM, Dr. Bolnick, and his responses were helpful. I didn’t expect much from the conversation because he usually enters the room and leaves the room behaving like a very busy doctor needing to attend to far more interesting patients. My pregnancy has turned out to be extraordinarily boring and healthy, and that’s great! It just means that the fetal specialist doesn’t really have anything to contribute to my gestation. Again, that’s good.

But it means that I’ve not gotten to know him very well. So I was nervous to voice these concerns (which are literally keeping me up at night). Additionally, this isn’t the doctor who will deliver my baby, this doctor really doesn’t have much impact on my labor and delivery, he won’t be in the same the room, or the same hospital, or even the same zip code when I get induced. However, this is a medical professional who knows about the concerns I have. This visit was a perfect way to audition my anxieties and fears with real low stakes.

I first asked if it was very dangerous to have a c section with general anesthesia. He leaned back in his chair and asked me why I was concerned. I explained that I have a lot of anxiety and fear, he nodded and politely interjected when my words faltered: there are so many things an anesthesiologist can give me to improve the experience. He cut himself short to ask if I wanted an epidural, and when I explained that sure, but I wasn’t convinced it would help because in my first childbirth they were bending me into a pretzel to reposition George, and it was excruciating.

Now Dr. Bolnick was nodding and understanding where my fears were really coming from. I had labored with an epidural that had likely worn off hours before pushing and pretzeling. He made a new and very compelling suggestions of getting a consultation with an anesthesiologist before labor; he’d put it in my chart for Dr. Mechtler to see.

With this consultation I can ask all of my questions and explain what I experienced and get some reassurance and some context for what I am afraid of. It was this moment that I realized that I’m not opposed to being convinced into a doctor-preferred method of c section, a safer c section (if my life is in danger), as long as I can better understand what happened last time, and what my options are this time.

I would love to not have the pain of child labor this time. I have gone through so much to get to that moment. I have been in control of all of my faculties every moment along the way and I am exhausted. I want to let go and just have everything be okay. I want things to be easy and convenient. I want to not overthink things.

I just happened to pause for some tiktok. Adam Sandler was talking about his left hip replacement with Jimmy Kimmel, during which it seems he had an epidural. He was describing what I would like to experience if I need a c section. He was so drugged that he couldn’t remember if he had responded to the anesthesiologist during their conversation. That sounds about right. I would like my mind to be so far removed from my body that the professionals have an emotional reaction to my experience.

Now if I can have that experience with just an epidural, and I don’t need to be fully sedated, and all the medical team is more confident with the procedure, I don’t see why I can’t get on board. Let’s see what the anesthesiologist consultation has to add.

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