Quick Recovery from Caesarean Section Thanks to Epidural

In recognition of National Anaesthesia Day on October 17, Northland District Health Board is sharing stories of patients who have benefited from regional anaesthesia during surgery.

Danielle Lastotchkine-Pelsky of Maungakaramea had a Caesarean section under an epidural spinal anaesthetic in August. An epidural anaesthetic is an application of regional anaesthesia designed to numb just one section of the body. The benefit of an epidural applied to the right nerves within the spine is that everything below the chest area is numbed and women can enjoy seeing the delivery of their child with minimal pain.

Danielle’s epidural helped keep Danielle calm and safe while giving birth to her baby girl Everly Vienna Drake on August 24.

“I have a massive fear of needles and so I was quite scared about going into the process,” Danielle said. “Being awake during surgery was going to be a new experience for me.

“The anaesthetist, Sharon, made me feel calm throughout and at every little step she kept me informed of what was happening and made me feel at ease and held my hand.”

Danielle said her Caesarean section took place at 9.30 in the morning and regional anaesthesia meant she started to regain feeling by the afternoon.

Danielle said the birth was successful and dissolvable stitches were used.

“I was able to watch Everly coming out. I hadn’t experienced that before and from what I’d heard that normally hadn’t been allowed. When Everly was coming out of my stomach I was able to look over the curtain to see her. My partner Lochlan was allowed to take photos of her coming out and cut the cord”

“I was moving around by the next day. Obviously it was a bit painful but pain relief was given which helped with the recovery.”

“I’d had a previous C-section with my son, he was a breech birth. This time my daughter hadn’t arrived three days after her due date so that’s why I had another Caesarean.”

“Surgeons do try to get you to give birth naturally if your first C-section was without complication, but they will generally not allow you to go overdue and have to be induced.”

Everly came out healthy and weighing 7.1 pounds.

“I was really thankful to the team. I was really nervous about the procedure. They made me feel so calm. My anaesthetist Sharon was the best I’ve come across. She was amazing, so friendly and she walked me through everything and made me feel so calm. When I came out of it I didn’t feel like I had gone through a traumatic experience. I even took a hamper of goodies up to the team to say thanks.”

“My midwife was there as well. She said it was one of the best Caesareans she’s ever witnessed.”

Whangarei Hospital anaesthetist Sharon Dempsey said epidurals are “monumentally safer” than other anaesthesia options for mothers and allow parents to be with their baby when they’re born. “We allow patients into our living room essentially, treat them as guests and give them a really good experience.”

Obstetric regional anaesthesia allows the patient to be present for birth of babies.

“It’s good for people to realise it’s just a small dose of local anaesthetic going into the spinal cord. It makes patients numb from their breasts down and enables them to have surgery while being awake. Patients feel the pushing and the pulling but they don’t feel pain, and if there are any problems we are here to facilitate that.

“Our epidural uptake rate is extremely high further down the country but not as much up here. But we do aim to have Caesareans done with a spinal or regional anaesthesia because it’s safe, low risk and very effective.”

Danielle Lastotchkine-Pelsky with baby Everly

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