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Planned Section Moms.....Spinal vs Epidural

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

My last section was an emergency section and I had a spinal.  This time I want to do whatever will get me up and out of bed the quickest.  My VBAC has gone up in flames so I am trying to make the best and most informed decisions about the C-section as possible.  Which is a better choice?


post #2 of 22

I haven't had an epidural, so hopefully some of the others can chime in. I had a spinal (she was born at 9:04 pm) and if I remember correctly I wasn't "allowed" up until the next morning, that was after the catheter was removed. It's all kind of "foggy" though - is it possible it's based on when the catheter is removed as to when you can get up and move around?

post #3 of 22

I had a spinal when I had knee surgery and had an epidural with my last birth. I thought the spinal hurt more when they were doing it (although it could've just been the anesthesiologist) and I had a horrible spinal headache a few days later that required IV fluids at the hospital. The epidural though, I think does last longer so I see your dilema. I just found out that I will be having a planned section this time as well and your post has given me some food for thought....hmmmm. I think maybe I'd rather have the spinal. They give you fluids anyway, and if they don't maybe ask for some just to make sure.

post #4 of 22

REgardless of spinal/epidural the time you spend bed ridden is about the same I think.  I ahd my first under general after a failed epi, and my second was a spinal, and I was bed ridden for about the same amount of time with each.  I think the spinal actually wears off faster, but it's the actual incision that keeps you in bed longer.  

post #5 of 22
The method isn't the only thing that matters. I had spinal, but not with the normal cocktail meds because I can't take what they normally use. I was able to get out of bed within about 4 hours. The downside is that I had no post-operative pain treatment so that pretty much sucked. I moved like I was 90 years old. I was up and getting to the bathroom though because the catheter was way too painful so they had to pull it quickly.
post #6 of 22

I've had a spinal both times.  I like that it's a one shot deal and nothing to take out of my back later.  I also like how quickly it takes effect.  With my 1st, I wasn't allowed out of bed for 24 hours, not sure why so long.  With my 2nd, though, it was definitely no more than 12 hours...could have been sooner, but I don't remember exactly.  I was up and walking with my catheter still in (which was lovely by the way greensad.gif)  I start regaining feeling pretty quickly.  I can move my toes toward the end of surgery and can move my feet and just barely lift them off the bed when I'm wheeled into recovery.  My c-sections have taken longer than "normal" c-sections, though, because the first time I had a vertical incision to sew up and I requested that they re-stitch my muscle layer.  Same the second time, but the vertical part had to be re-sewn because it had pulled apart from the stress of labor, not because of an actual incision.  I have taken 800mg of motrin orally for post-op pain management.  I'm scared of percoset because it makes my mom sick.  I'd rather feel pain than be nauseated.

post #7 of 22

I'm not having a c-section, but I talked to my OBGYN about it just in case of an emergency I wanted to ask about epi vs. spinal. I thought I wanted the epi. But she absolutely recommended the spinal. She said it's a lot easier and quicker going in (just one shot, no tube in your back), so they concider it better for mum. It also wears off quicker, it's affective for about 2 hours, and then they top off with other things if needed. Often drugs in the morphine-family, and I don't want that so I wanted her to put that in my journal, that they are to use other things. (Personal reasons only.)

So here, you aren't bedridden at all with spinal, and not really with the epi. either, as long as you physically can walk, you're allowed to (but it has to wear off first, and that takes longer).

post #8 of 22

Do you HAVE to have a catheter??? Yuck! Not looking forward to that. After you have the section what all goes on? You go to a recovery room? and for how long? I wanna see my baby!

post #9 of 22
Originally Posted by BaileyB View Post

Do you HAVE to have a catheter??? Yuck! Not looking forward to that. After you have the section what all goes on? You go to a recovery room? and for how long? I wanna see my baby!

After the section my husband went with my daughter to be looked over, he was with her the whole time. Once she was weighed/measured, etc my husband brought her over to me. After surgery I was taken to a recovery room, with my husband and daughter present. She nursed for the first time there, I don't really remember. We were there for an hour or so? During our hospital stay the only time she was away from us was for about 10 minutes during her hearing test. 


I will say that if you are getting a spinal, be aware of the drugs. I apparently am allergic to morphine and had to get benadryl to counteract all the itching...

post #10 of 22

Yeah no morphine for me either. Luckily I have a high pain tolerance and heal fast. Although, healing fast and healing fast while taking care of a newborn are 2 different things, I'm sure. I'm thinking I will probably want to bring my breast pump and bottles just in case I can't nurse right away. What about doing stairs while you are healing? Our bedroom and baby's room is on the second floor but the bathroom and the rest of the house are all on the first floor. Maybe I will have to move down stairs for a week of so.

post #11 of 22

If you can't nurse right away you should see if they will get you a hospital pump, apparently the difference is night and day especially when trying to start up a supply. 


If you can I would strongly suggest moving downstairs for at least the first week, it was almost 6 weeks before I could manage a grocery trip without having to stop due to pain.

post #12 of 22

Thanks for the info! My to do list just got a tiny bit longer, haha.

post #13 of 22

Holding a cranky kid now, but after my section, babe and I were never in seperate rooms, and I nursed in the recovery room within 30 minutes of his birth. 

post #14 of 22

Yes, you definitely have to have a catheter.  They pump you so full of fluid, it all has to go somewhere.  During the c-section they can't risk nicking your bladder if it starts to fill.  I don't have a problem with the catheter going in since they do it after the spinal has taken effect, but it did cause a lot of pain and soreness afterward and I begged and begged them to take it out.  I still think I could have had it out sooner than 24 hours since I was up and walking without any problems.


My first c-section was for my preemie, so I didn't get to see him at all.  I'll talk about my more normal 2nd c-section.  Right when DD was born, the OB gave us a glimpse of her on my side of the curtain, then they took her to the warmer, dried her off, DH took a few pics, and I assume they did her 1-minute APGARs.  Then they brought her over to me.  I held her, but I asked the pediatrician to keep holding onto her as well...laying flat on my back, I was scared to death that I would drop her.  After a few minutes, she said "be right back", and they went back to the warmer for a few minutes (I assume to do the 5-minute APGAR).  Then she was back with me for a while.  I started feeling bad, so DH took her.  I had requested no bath and no nursery until I was out of surgery and I got to hold her and nurse her.  DH left the OR with DD and the ped and went to my recovery room.  I had her with me for an hour or so before they took her to the nursery while we slept for a bit.  Well, DH slept, I was way to wound up.  I sat there and watched the clock until 6am when I called my mom :)  DH had called her when I was out of surgery but I was busy nursing and hadn't talked to her yet.

Originally Posted by BaileyB View Post

Do you HAVE to have a catheter??? Yuck! Not looking forward to that. After you have the section what all goes on? You go to a recovery room? and for how long? I wanna see my baby!

post #15 of 22

Haven't read all the responses yet but I had an epidural (actually an inter-thecal (not sure of the spelling) which is placed in the same location as an epidural but is just a single bolus instead of a taped in place tube continuously infusion drug) with the first and a spinal with the second.


With the epidural I did feel some pinching and a bit of burning as some of the layers were stitched, but no real pain. With the second I opted for the spinal as the anesthesiologist mentioned that the sensations I felt with the epidural were common. I hated the spinal. It's set high enough that I couldn't feel my diaphragm moving which made me feel like I wasn't breathing well (I was O2 sats were 99-100) but the sensation caused me to panic so bad. It was a really uncomfortable sensation for me.


With the second I was up and about and needed no pain meds. I however, don’t know if that had more to do with the spinal vs epidural or more to do with the fact that I had 24 hrs of labor prior to the section with the first and not with the second. Plus I deliberately got up and moving as soon as possible after the second (planned for morning) where I slept all night before getting up with the first (unplanned at midnight) .But, comparatively, I felt fantastic after the second.


Both made me itch like crazy afterwards. With the spinal the itching was worse. But that has more to do with the cocktail used than with the place the catheter is placed at. In my case I probably have an allergy of some sort to the morphine derivative used. I was told that in the future I can ask that the cocktail be mixed differently to exclude those.


Good luck with whatever you decide.

post #16 of 22

Havent read all the responses and only have a min but i wanted to chime in.  I only had spinals for all 3 c/s.  The difference in recovery for me was with #1 i had a hb transfer and very scary/emotional/traumatizing c/s and recovery.  we were both really damaged inthe hosp and i was in the hosp 7 days (and then i only left because i signed out AMA) and dd was in the nicu. 

#2 was a vbac transfer.  I was a wreck.   I was terrified of the cs so recovery was not great.  This was also after around 45 hours of labor.


both cs #1 and 2 i was tired, had labored long, had not eaten, slept, etc. 


With #3 i had a scheduled cs and it was amazing.  I got to sleep the night before (thank you valium!), i got to eat the night before, and i felt more at ease.  I was out of bed very quick and recovered so much faster.  The difference was so huge.


I have never gotten a spinal headache and for me the spinal is the scariest part of the whole c/s experience. 


I am NAK so i am rambling :P  sorry. 


With the 3rd since i had scheduled i got to make my needs clear early on.  I was repected and treated with kindness.  All the staff knew that i had had previous traumatic c/s and they were very caring.  I was able to talk to the doc about pics, the baby being given right to me or dh, and all my other requests.



I slept downstairs for a month with my first 2 sections and i think only a week with the 3rd.

post #17 of 22

with my c section I remember afterwards a nurse pushing on my stomach for some reason. That hurt the worst. I think maybe they were trying to push the blood out or something? Does that sound farmiliar to anyone?

post #18 of 22

The nurse did that to me after my vaginal birth. I think it was to check how much I was still bleeding.

post #19 of 22

I have a random question I just thought of...how/when do they take out your placenta? Do they have to wait a certain amount of time while you are cut open to take it out?

post #20 of 22

The pushing is to help your uterus contract and shrink after birth to prevent excessive bleeding.  It hurts like &^$* after a c-section.  After my first they did it a lot more than they did after my second, but I think it had to do with how quickly I started nursing with my second.  They were concerned about how much I was bleeding in the recovery room, I told them repeatedly to let me nurse since I knew that would help.  I had to get pretty firm, but they finally helped me getting him latched on (I was still flat on my back, so I needed help to get him latched.)  Within a minute my bleeding slowed waay down, and one of the nurses said "I didn't know that worked".  Duh.

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