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I just had my 2nd c-section last Tuesday... this one was planned.
Mommy to Danny (12/21/04) and Hayley (12/02/08)!!!
Apparently the choice on if your arms get strapped down is at the disgression of the anestiologist. With my first section, I did have my arms tied down and the doc was a bit of a weirdo. My doula undid one of the straps and I felt much better. With my second C section, I asked if I coul dhave my arms free and the doc looked at me like I was crazy b/c apparently she never did that with patients. Both of my sections were emergency.
I know what you mean about feeling confined when you have your arms tied down. I would recommend just asking if you could have at least one loose and if you get pushback from the doctor in the OR then ask if it would be okay if whoever is in the birthing room with you can hold your arm down -- that might work!
I try not to think about the surgery - just the baby. Having my DH in the room with me was always helpful for relaxation.
I agree with you that the whole idea of having your arms held down is horrible. I had a c-section 2 years ago and they did that to me and I had major anxiety about it....it was so creepy and "unnatural". I am 6 month pregnant and I have a scheduled c/s for March. This time I will ask not to be restrained if at all possible. I had my hospital tour today and the nurses made me feel a lot more comfortable. This time I will ask that the "tools" be covered up before I enter the OR. I don't know about you but seeing the tray of "utensils" made me queasy and panicky. (which is never a good feeling right before the surgery). I am hoping to be more in control this time instead of a bystander.
I've had 2 C-sections (1 unplanned - 1 planned) and they tied my arms down both times.