Monday 17 August 2015

C-Section - My Epidural went wrong

I am going to take you back in time a bit to Jacks birth I haven't felt ready to talk about it on here but there is such a lot going on with the press about C-Sections/caesarean sections I wanted to share with you my story.

I knew right from the very beginning of my pregnancy with Jack that I would be having a C-section for medical reasons you see with Liam I had a terrible time and ended up having an emergency C-Section then with Adam he was laying the same and was stuck so I had an elective C-section with him so you see it was no surprise when the consultants told me it would be better and safer for me to have another.

They told me they didn't want me to go to term as it would be dangerous so they gave me my C-section date at 38 weeks plus 2 days which would be the safest option all round.

The 27th of January came and I have to say I was very nervous probably because I knew what to expect and its not the nicest thing in the world but I focused on baby being born safely.

I arrived at the hospital at 7.30am in the morning I had my bloods taken and signed up to the Antony Nolan cord donation service they took all my other observations and I was told I would be the second one to go down for a section the hospital carries out three elective C-sections a day.

C-Section when an epidural goes wrong

I was walked down to theatre at around 11.00 Am, they took me straight in and started preparing my back for the epidural, with both Adam and Liam this procedure was really straight forward I had no problems, but this time the sharp scratch turned to a scrape and then another sharp scratch - I don't know if you have ever had to try and bring your knees up and bend into a ball when you are pregnant but its near on impossible and that's what you have to do while they are putting in the epidural - needless to say around 30 minutes later they had got it in correctly and in the right place as lots of tears flowed from me, I am not usually really scared or a wimp with procedures but they had really hurt me.

Jack was born safely at around 12.30 and I gave a sigh of relief that it was all over and I had my beautiful baby boy - the  anaesthetist came to see me after and told me they had, had some problems with the epidural and that they would keep a closer eye on me - to be honest I didn't really think much of it at the time I was just glad it was over and Jack was alright. Later on that evening I started to get a terrible headache, sometimes with the epidural this can be a common side effect. This head ache just was not shifting, none of the pain killers I was taking were helping it at all.

By the time the anaesthetist came back to see me the following day my headache wasn't any better and my ears had popped as if I had been on an aeroplane flying. The Anaesthetist explained to me what he thought had happened, the headache was caused by them inserting the epidural in badly and into the wrong space meaning I had leaked spinal fluid which usually sits around the brain so instead of my brain floating in fluid it had dropped down in my head causing a post dural puncture headache.

The anaesthetist told me the way to fix the headache would be to take me back to theatre give me another epidural and to patch the hole with blood from my arm. Even though I felt so poorly I refused to go back to theatre as I was so frightened because of the bad experience I had, had the first time around he did also say the hole could heal itself or it could take a few weeks. I was willing to wait at this point there was no way I was going down to theatre again.

Another day had passed and by now the headache was getting worse, I couldn't hear and my nose had become bunged up it was horrible, I felt awful I couldn't even get out of bed without being in pain it was like everything was bouncing with me when I walked and the pain in my head was excruciating. A different anaesthetist came to see me she explained that I needed to have the procedure as I was at high risk of having a stroke because of how poorly I was, this time I agreed I couldn't take any more of the awful headache and not being able to do anything.

C-Section when an epidural goes wrong

They took me back to theatre that afternoon - in fact I insisted one of the health care assistants came with me because I was so scared, I didn't want to be on my own I had a lot more tears on the way back up to theatres I was so scared they were going to hurt me or do more damage.

The anaesthetist inserted a needle into the same space as the epidural or if they couldn't get it exact it would be next to the old place  The anaesthetist  then took a fair amount of blood from my arm and injected it back into the epidural space. The blood clots and seals the hole that caused the leak. in the hope this will then eventually after a few weeks heal itself.

After the procedure I was told I had to lay flat for about four hours whilst the blood clotted - I was warned that the blood patch might not work the first time and I might have to have it done again.

Around an hour after the procedure my ears had come back to normal and my nose wasn't blocked, I still had a headache but it was no where near as painful and the headache had completely disappeared by the next day. I cant describe how painful the headache was all I can say is it was excruciating, it was actually worse than the pain from the C-section itself so I was amazed it went as quickly as it came on.

You see not all births are straight forward even if you have a C-section, nothing comes with out risks, but until this happened to me I didn't even realise this was something that could happen, and the reason why I had never heard of it, is that this procedure or side effect isn't very common, but it does happen. 

Even now just over six months later I still have a lot of lower back pain which is down to where the epidural was situated, the only good thing of course is that I have beautiful Jack and I wouldn't change that for all the back pain in the world.

C-Section when an epidural goes wrong

Have you had a C-section? have you ever been through something similar I would love to hear your thoughts and stories? 



  1. I had a emergency C-section way back in 1994 - my epidural didn't work (I could feel everything during the op) & I had to be put under GA pretty darn sharpish. It was the stuff of nightmares, but after all said & done I delivered a healthy son (who's now 21 & serves in our Armed Forces) & I recovered without any side effects & went on to have 3 more 'normal' deliveries of beautiful bouncing babies! #anythinggoes

  2. Oh gosh how scary! I hope your lower back pain subsides going forward!! #anythinggoes

  3. Thank you for linking up with #anythinggoes linky with Blogging Mummy. Omg Helen I am so glad that I didn't read this before having my section. This is so scary. Lucky Ive had 2 and they were both fine but as you say don't take anything for granted as things can go wrong. x


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