The one about the Anesthetist …..

I deal with things well if I am given time to digest them and work them over in my mind.  I can pretty much do anything given the time to mentally prepare.  I however do not react well to being put on the spot.  For this reason and this reason alone, the odds of me winning “The Weakest Link” are remote at the best.

While pregnant with my third child, I really enjoyed the pregnancy – or shall I say I lived in the moment through the pregnancy. I enjoyed each week and the development and the changes in me.  Sure there were parts were I felt pretty grim, and I am sure bitched and moaned because I was so sore, but I lived the experience.

The experience I shunned was the birth.  I had experienced two elective c-sections and they were both fine, there really was no problem.  It was an odd experience in terms of feeling the sensations, but not feeling the pain, but overall it was a good experience.  For some strange reason, I decided that I would not mentally deal with the birth the third time around. I would keep blocking it out and deciding than I would deal with it later.

I was busy planning, and organizing and all of that, but decided that when I went on maternity leave – before I had the baby – I would spend a few days allowing myself to think about it and deal with it.  Well, it seemed I didn’t.

Even on the day I was going to hospital – I spent my time planning and organizing what would happen with the house and the kids in my absence.  I just took no cognizance of how they were going to get her out and that process.

Even at the hospital in my “gown that opens the wrong way” I quietly sat there talking to Kennith about other things.  They came along and took my blood pressure and gave me a little tranquiliser – bless – and still I put it totally out of my mind.

Wheeling me down the passage to the theatre, started to set off little alarms in my head, as my body was going “er brain, you have not mentioned this part ….. we are getting a little concerned here…er brain, BRAIN are you even there??”

Right up to pre-op I was lying on the trolley bed and trying not to deal with what was going to be the inevitable proc ess, slowly, slowly the panic started to set in.  I was trying to look really calm and relaxed as I had Kennith there and my friend Dave who was going to do some photos.

I think the final straw the broke the camel’s back was the anesthetist.  You know how they come over and reassure you, and tell you it’s all going to be fine.  Not this guy.  He came over and asked a few questions, which I duly answered.  Then he started to explain to me all the things that could go wrong – including the fact that a spinal block doesn’t always work.

It pretty much had a similar effect to police firing bullets into a crowd in the hope of calming them!  Do you think at Riot Control 101 – there is a class where the lecturer does role play where they police fire bullets into a crowd and they calmly go and take their seats??

After the anesthetist left, my sanity seemed to leave the room at the same time.  They wheeled me in and then they prep you for the spinal block, so it is you, anesthetist guy and anesthetist nurse person.  By some act of mercy, my OBGYN came in to the surgery and asked if he could stay there and then he held my hand and let me cling to him while they jabbed a giant needle into my spinal coloumn.

Any semblance of restraint and comfort left me about then – things start to move swiftly once that is done and you have lost feeling in your legs.  They lie you down, pop up that screen, and suddenly a large group of theatre people enter the room and everyone starts doing things.  Moving trays, wiping me with iodine, putting blue/green sheets everywhere and just being busy productive people.

My anesthetist guy suddenly became my best friend, as he was the guy who single handedly was going to be responsible for me not feeling pain!

I started to panic – like really panic.  Kennith was holding my hand, or I was grabbing his arm – I can’t recall now.  But I just recall being panicked.  I felt like something was going to go terribly wrong – what I am not sure, but I did not feel ready for them to do anything.  My heart rate picked up and the anesthetist guy gave me an oxygen mask and tried to bring my heart rate down.

I was telling Kennith to make them stop.  Kennith looked over the curtain and explained that they had gone a bit far, and they sort of had to finish.  I was so anxious and just wanted to sit up and go “Ookaai everyone, let’s stop, take a breath, calm ourselves and talk a bit ………….” Clearly none of that was happening, what was happening was they were cutting through what felt like my entire body, and then the pulling started.

The not-so-funny-part was I know this part, I am well verses in this, I’ve been there, got the t-shirt and went back to get the commemorative silver spoon.  But because my little brain had not decided to deal with this and had instead packed this issue in a box, and kicked it under the bed, I was in full fledged panic mode.

It really was one of the more terrifying experiences of my life.  There was nothing about the procedure that was bad, I had just chosen not to deal with it and prepare myself to go through it. It is strange how your mind is such a strong controlling force when you experience something, and has a direct effect on how you experience that moment.

Lesson learnt:   Stop procrastinating and deal with your stuff – I was going to say shit, but decided not to – for your own sanity.

Leave a comment


  1. Nicky

     /  February 17, 2010

    Tania, I suppose in hindsight, it would have been better to go natural…or maybe not. I had 36 week 4kg baby (my prepregnancy weight 49kgs, so that a bit hectic) and I was so so huge, I could barely walk, my body couldnt hold the weight anymore.My blood pressure spiked, and I was such a nervous wreck, I reckon it wouldve just gotten worse. I often feel like I did something “wrong” by having a C-section, and I always feel like I missed something with the labour and birth- not really my true feelings, but more a reflection of what other’s think…. I got so much flak about how “natural” birth is so painful etc etc, and you’r only a “real Mother” if you had that, but I had hectic pain with my C-Section as well. And what’s “natural” anyway? Dont you mean vaginal birth? Is this not an implication that C-Sections are somehow abnormal???

    • reluctantmom

       /  February 17, 2010

      Here – here Nicky.

      I chose c-sections – the idea worked for me. I think the argument of a c-section vs a vaginal birth can be argued about as strongly as the breast vs bottle debate.

      I know that society tells us we can decide – but what they don’t tell us is that we will be judged for the decision. I hope that we have started a revolution in thinking that allows woman to choose and not be judged for that choice. I can show you as many women who had wonderful c-section experiences as I can women who had vaginal birth experiences.

      I am happy with my choice – sure I “wonder” what the experience might have been, do I feel I have missed out, no. I had a birth that I planned and I felt in control – most of the time. I have three healthy children and no complications. So for me it worked, but it might not work for someone else – and I always say that – this was my choice and my experiences, yours may be totally different.

      • Nicky

         /  February 18, 2010

        I agree with you…it is your choice, and it shouldnt matter what other people have to say…but of course it does!!!

        I also didnt breastfeed, for selfish reasons, and I was judged for that too! Guess that makes me an “unatural mother”.

        If only everyone can just accept that we are all different, and stop judging other’s for their decisions.

  2. Tania

     /  February 16, 2010

    i had both my children natural, no drugs, no drips, luckily there were no complications that i needed to have a caeser. sure it was sore and tiring but i don’t regret going completely natural. its better for Mom and Baby during and afterwards. anyway, just my 2 cent worth for anyone mulling over the decision between natural, epidural, caesar.

  3. reluctantmom

     /  February 16, 2010

    So you can see my panic – while this guy is standing there trying to tell me all the things that may go wrong ….. WTF??

    There really was no way I was going to be going through that experience calmly.

  4. Nicky

     /  February 16, 2010

    I’ve had a C-Section with a spinal, and I was terrified as well. My blood pressure was sky high during the procedure( I watched the monitor) and was nervous even afterwards…but I NEVER IMAGINED THE SPINAL BLOCK NOT WORKING, ONLY NOW I’M GETTING NERVOUS IN ADVANCE FOR MY NEXT BABY(i’m not pregnant…can you see the extent of my paranoia)

    I will just have to pretend that I never read this, lol.


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