There’s Nothing Funny About Gigli

While watching fictional television programming the other night, the Wild Boar and I encountered a scene where an actor, stranded on a remote island, required emergency surgery.

The patient, who happens to play a doctor, chose to remain awake during his appendectomy in order to guide another less experienced doctor during the procedure.

Yeah right, I thought to myself.

I turned to the Wild Boar and said, "Give me a break, no one could stand that kind of pain with only local anesthetic." 

Of course he looked at me and said, "Yeah, it's horrible, but I've seen emergency surgery on someone who was awake and without general anesthesia."  Of course.


During the Wild Boar's training he did an obstetric elective in a foreign country. The small village hospital had a patient whose placenta separated during labor.  With this type of placental separation the baby no longer receives oxygen and would die almost immediately from suffocation if not delivered.

Although there was no anesthesiologist in the hospital, one was on the way.  

The doctors at the hospital tried in vain to improve the condition of the unborn baby with oxygen and IV fluids but the baby didn't respond.  A C-section was done using only lidocaine (local anesthetic) for pain management with her consent.  

The patient was injected with lidocaine, cut.  Injected.  Cut some more.  Injected.  Cut.  Through every layer of tissue to get to the baby.

Honestly, I was now rolling around on the couch holding my lower abdomen, imagining this poor woman in excruciating labor pain, holding completely still, essentially without anesthesia.

This woman did everything she was instructed to do while in unimaginable pain, begging and pleading only to save her baby.

I cannot even fathom how she must have felt?  How painful?  How terrifying this must have been?

What amazes me is what a mother would endure to save her child, one she has never met, but loves unconditionally enough to say, "Yes, cut me open, just save my baby".

I'm sure this is not the only woman who has experienced something so utterly horrific, but I am amazed at the human capacity to tolerate this type of pain in order to save another life. 

It left me speechless.

I was glad to hear she was fully medicated when sewn up.  The anesthesiologist was there and all was well.

Of course the Wild Boar went on to tell me about even more horrific procedures used in more historic times and potentially even recent times in countries where there are not facilities to perform C-sections safely.

Let me just share with you one of the most (what I think gruesome) procedures my lovely husband informed me of....maybe to make me feel better.  However, I'm not sure.  He loves to get a reaction out of me which is not hard to do.

This is the Gigli Saw.  Looks like a torture device doesn't it?

It is a flexible wire saw, essentially a bone cutting device.  One of it's many uses is to get babies out of patients who would normally be given a C-section in a more modern, medical community.

A handle is removed and one end of the saw is pushed through the skin, and threaded under and around the pubic bone until it comes back out where the handle can be placed back on.

The saw is then used to cut the pubic bone allowing the baby to come out.

Is anyone's hiney cringing like mine right now?   

So after this type of procedure the woman had to recover from her pelvic bone being sawed apart.

Just writing that gave me another hiney twinge.  Go figure.

So I just thought I'd share this with all of you while you ate your breakfast,  lunch or even dinner.  Enjoy.

I know you are all are feeling so much more informed right now.


Post a Comment


  1. Ruth 1

    I’ve just written this frst sentence three times trying to describe how this makes me feel. ‘ouch’ doesnt quite do it…

    i think if that was me i’d be cutting my wrists with the gigli saw rather than go through with that…

  2. giz 2

    As I wait for orthopedic surgery on my knee I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be introduced to the Gigli saw. I’m not sleeping for the rest of my life. :)

  3. I cringed watching that scene on television too. Ew.

    There’s a Japanese horror film where a woman uses a saw like that to amputate her victim’s feet…though she made it herself with piano wire.

    These are great thoughts to be thinking as soon as I wake up. ;)

  4. * turns green, vomits and promptly passes out *

  5. Oh. My. God.

  6. Dawn 6


    That is just wrong…both stories.


  7. grace 7

    first, lost rules.
    secondly, i am thoroughly disgusted and uncomfortable. if that was your mission, milady, you have succeeded.

  8. Mike 8


  9. krysta 9

    I can’t breathe. But I am now fully awake!

  10. Alisa 10

    Ouch. Hope those kids were very good, well-behaved ones. I’d say they owe their mamas big time.

  11. Oh. My. GAWD.

    That is unreal. I mean absolutely, terrifyingly unreal. I cannot imagine having to endure that kind of pain. No way, no thanks.

  12. Flea 12

    I’m such a wuss when it comes to pain. I’d like to think that I’d endure that for my unborn child. Yeah. No. Yeah. I’m pretty sure I would.

  13. Tipper 13

    Ouch-I’m not sure I’ll be able to walk the rest of the day. Very thankful my Doctor was able to do a pain free C-section.

  14. Teri 14

    Deep breath in… deep breath out…. i think i forgot to breath while reading this article!

  15. Stephanie 15

    After reading your post, something stuck with me. Most mothers in the world will do anything to save their child, even the unborn ones. I guess that’s why even though I felt as if I was pressured by my OB to have a C-section (my son was going to be 10 lbs, according to the ultrasound) so there wouldn’t be the risk of his shoulder dislocating during the birth, I’m glad I did it. He’s healthy and I have a scar to guilt him later (mine runs vertical from the belly button)

  16. Ummmm- ow. That’s all I can say. Ow again.

  17. i was so not expecting this… so i had to read about the peanut butter cookies a second time after this post – just because…

  18. I can’t even think straight looking at that tool from hell! My hiney is doing a permanent cringe.

  19. Why Cathy WHY?!?!?

    All the wonderful things I read & learn about on this site are my only justification to return after this piece.

    I guess some (sadistic) people like a little “gross out” every now and then, but…

  20. Liz C. 20

    I cannot begin to express to you how much my ass is twitching on that one, lol!

    I’m ever so thankful I didn’t marry an OB/GYN, even though I have a strong stomach. Your hubbies stories never cease to crack me up.

  21. I am so very sure now that men should experience the joy of giving birth!
    And my butt cheeks clenched so tight with the sawing…oommyyyfriggin lawd :O

  22. Minnie 22

    I actually had to google that to make sure it was real.
    OH MY GOD!

  23. Kathy from NJ 23

    In 1997 I had an emergency appendectomy on a Saturday night. I stayed in the hospital on IV antibiotics until the following Friday; at home on Saturday my stomach under the staples began to ooze & bleed – back to ER for surgeon to look. He removed all the staples and had his hand inside of me mopping up infection and rinsing my insides with saline or something – after a time his assistant asked how he could be doing that to me while I was awake and NO ANESTHESIA. He said, “Oh, this lady walks on hot coals for fun.” I had mentally taken myself away to a happy place, if I had thought for a minute about what he was doing I wouldn’t have been able to stand it. He taped it up, put a binder around me and sent me home.

  24. Jeff 24

    On one hand I am happy I got to learn something new today. On the other hand great probably won’t be able to sleep tonight.

  25. So far tales from the Wild Boar are rather interesting and that fact that you are willing to share them here among cookie recipes and wine tips is quite funny! Makes for a great mix.

  26. Informed yes, breathing no.

    I have my own set of standards regarding how much of a procedure I’ll tolerate under a local. Neither of the above procedures falls into that category.
    And that last one. Yikes.

  27. sharon 27

    I could only read every other word so I didn’t have to experience the full horror of what you were explaining. Eek!

  28. Firstly… bless that mom. Yes, only the love of a mother.

    All the rest – My Gah! Since my 3rd was born I have had a FANTASTIC gag reflex develop… so – this post definitely got me gagging!

  29. Pain is a weird thing. You endure what you have to even when you think you can’t. Though this entire blog caused me emotional pain I read it all.

  30. Marcy 30

    OOh, bet there will be many hiney twinges after reading this one!

  31. The lady in the hospital having the C-Section without pain relief, did the baby make it OK? Maybe I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have when I read your post… Those of us here in the U.S. have no idea how good we have it when it comes to great medical care, compared with what is available in less affluent countries.

  32. While reading this I broke my own personal record for the most cuss words strung together at a time. The new current record is 38. It’s a gift.

  33. HoneyB 33

    Wow, its amazing what the body can endure. That saw is just horrific, to think it actually was used is insane.

  34. Vonda 34

    ACCKKK. My feet hurt now. Don’t ask me why but my feet hurt every time I hear or see something that is creepy. I can’t even imagine the pain. The pain!

  35. Jessica 35

    Oh geeze. Thanks for the info. lol.

  36. Mrs. L 36

    I guess I need to stop complaining when I break a nail…

  37. I can’t get my pajamas to let loose of my butt.

  38. I’m here by way of Fresh Fixins. Very interesting info. I was awake during a surgery to remove some lumps from my breast and I watched the whole thing. It was very interesting. Of course, I couldn’t feel anything The doctor and nurse kept telling me not to look but I couldn’t help it and I asked a bunch of questions. At the end the surgeon told me I should go into medicine. LOL!

    And… LOST is on TONIGHT! Yessssss! It is so incredibly weird but… I am hooked. I’ll be mad later though, when it ends.

  39. bravo to the mom! You want ot hear something gross, have him explain partial birth abortion on a full term baby. That saw was created by Dr.Frankenstein. someday we are going t have a mammogram machine for testicles. That ought to balance things out a little. SICK just SICK. Gigli as in haha where did that name come from?
    I have a stomach ache. I want my mother.
    I’m going to have nightmares.

  40. Holy sheeeeeit! I’m covered in goose-bumps and have tears in my eyes…and that’s only from me *imagining* the pain. *shudder*

  41. Rita 41

    yikes….mygosh…i shouldnt have read this right before dinner eh

  42. Molly 42

    I know it’s been said, but what else can you say, but… OH. MY. GOD!

  43. From cookies to hiney saws… wow, the places you’ll go on Noble Pig’s blog, huh?
    I came to copy recipes and realized this post got by me somehow… I’m leaving the room with my legs squeezed tightly together now.

  44. melissa 44

    I didn’t cringe, but I did choke up on the story about the first woman. *sob* Wow.

  45. vanessa 45

    & to think I squealed watching the birth scene in knocked up the other night. .
    thanks for the perspective.

  46. mitchsmom 46

    I’m an L&D nurse here in the U.S. and sad to say, I’ve seen two cesareans under only local anesthesia just as you described.
    I also have a nurse acquaintance who had a c/s around 10 years ago with nothing, not even local anesthesia, in her home country during a war. There were NO supplies, electicity, or medications *at all* to be had in the hospital.
    Thankfully this is rare here, it is awful.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting