Monday, November 28, 2011

The Complication

Many of you have been asking what "snags" I ran into, so I decided to post this separately. It's kind of graphic so if you want to stick with the hunky dory version previous, stop reading now. :)

So, the major problem during the c-section was that the anesthesiologist could not get the spinal needle in properly to administer the anesthetic. I don't know if it came down to technique or the shape of my spine or what but he tried 5 or 6 times... I lost count. That means 12 needles total, one for freezing, one for the spinal. Repeat process. Finally, he was able to get in using an epidural needle. Success. For the moment.

In the recovery area I was doing pretty good, but by the time I was wheeled to the mother-baby side, my head was throbbing. I was suffering from a spinal headache. Now, if he had been able to use a regular spinal needle, the risk for a spinal headache would have been very low. But, because he used an epidural needle (which is a bigger needle) to do a spinal needle's job, it passed through the dura matter (covering of my spinal cord) and created a passage for my spinal fluid to leak out, changing the fluid pressure around my brain and spinal cord. They began to treat my headache with medication and caffeine drinks, which did relieve some of the pain. I tried to lay still for the next few days but every time I got up, it felt like my brain was going to explode. On day three, I began losing my hearing from the pressure and also was losing feeling in my arm. I was ready to take the next step.

In order to fix the leak, the anesthesiologist (a different one) would need to do a blood patch. They would take a fair amount of blood from my arm, put another epidural needle in place in my spine, near the site of the original puncture, and inject me. My blood would clot and the resulting clot would "patch" the meningeal leak. The result would be a wonderful compression effect... kind of like letting the air out of a tire that was too full. This compression release would eventually reach the fluid around my brain and I would be fixed.

They prepared me for this procedure, which was done in my room, with Joe and my entire family waiting on pins and needles (no pun intended) all around me. He inserted the needle first try, injected my blood, and I immediately needed to lay down flat for the next 3 hours. As I lay flat for the next 3 hours, I prayed my blood would clot and to take my mind off things, Joe and I watched 3 ridiculous episodes of "Kourtney and Kim Kardashian Take New York". What a stupid show! LOL. But, it did the trick because after 3 hours, I sat up and was cured.

Thank God. :)

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