Question for you all...

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2003
Question for you all...
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 5:57pm
I have a question regarding panic attacks during a c-section. (m)

I have had two - both sort of unplanned - 1st DD (Kelsey 7/26/98) was breech, my membranes 'leaked' fluid and I spent two weeks in the hospital before her birth at 36 weeks. The version didn't work, and I had a c-section with an epidural.

With 2nd DD (Kylie 6/16/01), I actually planned on a VBAC if possible, and went into labor on a Saturday morning. I was having contractions every 2 minutes, which I still couldn't feel, and nothing was happening - my cervix was still so high they could barely find it to check me. I'm also short and small, and I have big babies, so I didn't know how well it would work anyway...

I have read most of the posts, and I haven't seen anyone discuss an experience I had with both of my girls. I suffered MAJOR panic attacks from the epidural with my first c-section. I FREAKED when I was numb. I couldn't stand the feeling of not being able to move. Then, I threw up all night after it was over.

With Kylie, I told the doctors how I suffered a panic attack the first time, so they did a spinal the second time. The panic attack was just as horrible, but I didn't have to wait so long for them to get started.

Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how did you deal with it? My DH brought my 'focal point' picture into the OR, and talked to me the whole time, but I still was a wreck. Maybe I'm the only person that feels like this - I broke my arm and had a car wreck when pregnant with Kylie, and the cast on my arm caused panic as well...

Anyway - that's my question. I would (as DH reminded me through both sections) go through it a hundred more times to see my baby's face the first time, but it still freaked me out.



Avatar for cl_kellybethinca
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 12:09pm
Hi Marti! There have been several posts in the past about this subject. It is pretty common to have such attacks during a c-section. I myself have not experienced it, but I can understand what triggers it. There are a lot of emotions leading up to a new baby, plus the sensation of not being in control of your body. I think this is something you should discuss with your doctor and anestheologist. I'm not sure if there is anything "extra" they can give you to calm you down during the surgery, but its worth mentioning so they an anticipate it. Other ideas would be to try to learn to relax yourself, maybe by music in the OR, or with DH helping you concentrate on a photo of the kids. In this situation, it really can be mind over matter, and you need to keep control and relax.

As for the vomiting - I've had that. I don't think it stemmed as much from the panic attacks as it does from the overall hormone surge in your body and the mix of drugs you are given during surgery. I actually threw up more with my second c-section than with my first. Sometimes they can give you something for that as well.

I agree with you that it is worth it to be there to see the baby first. Some women with this problem have asked if they should insist on taking a general (to be completely knocked out) but I think its so much nicer to avoid that if you can and see the baby.

Best wishes to you - hope I've been some help.


Avatar for baby_stinkbug
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Mon, 04-21-2003 - 2:31pm
you're not alone in the least. I had a really bad experience with my c/s as well as far as that went. I couldn't breathe during the surgery (or at least felt that way) and was majorly panicked. I was feeling such a way that I could have cared less if I would have died right there, just to stop that feeling. I also threw up for the next 12 hours or so nonstop. I thought it was a medication thing (I had a spinal), but I was told that if you're prone to nausea at all (which I seem to be- morning sickness, motion sickness, nausea during migraines, etc), then it's more likely you'll be nauseous after abdominal surgery as well. cutting through the layers makes you nauseous to begin with, and some women tend to have worse nausea anyway. At least that's the way it was explained to me ;)

Honestly, that feeling during the c/s is one of the biggest driving forces behind my second being a vbac. The experience was really long and difficult (no pain meds by choice- they make me puke- over 4 hours at 9cm with contractions during the last 6 hr of the 22hr labor being nonstop on top of one another, and a large (unmolded) headed baby who was pretty big, and compound presentation, tearing, etc), but I was not willing to stop and have a c/s if the baby was doing ok because I remembered how horrible and out of control and panicky my c/s was. I'm pregnant again and planning for another vbac and am partially terrified that I might need another c/s, the actual experience was that bad (although the recovery was pretty good as far as that goes).

All that is really just to say that you're not alone in feeling the way you did during your c/s- I certainly did. I'm sorry your vbac didn't work out for you- that was my best defense- lol ;) I'm not sure what to do about it all really... I might think breathing exercises would help, but it sounds like you tried all that the second time around. I would think being able to plan for it and go over your concerns and feelings with your doc and your anesthesiologist might help though. Perhaps you could also have music playing in the OR that calms you down usually to help you focus a big better.

((HUGS)) you are definitely not alone in your experience though! When I think back to my c/s, that's *all* I can think of, and it scares me to death to feel that way again. Obviously if I have another c/s, I'll get through it, but it's definitely not on my wish list! LOL!