VBAC or Repeat Cesarean?

Being pregnant is scary.

Aside from the constant questions; Is my baby healthy? Are they growing properly? I have to get another ultrasound to make sure they don’t have what?

And also knowing once they are here, every aspect of your life is changed forever.

Then there is that looming thought hanging over your head every waking moment-this kid has to come out of me somehow.  I only know of two options, and neither is a day at the spa (I guess unless you have baby in a tub at home…)

My oldest was born via emergency c-section. When I was first pregnant with my son, I just assumed I would have to do a repeat.[Tweet “When I was pregnant with my son, I assumed I would have to get a repeat cesarean. I was wrong.”]

I quickly found out I was wrong and  I started researching VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean).

I wasn’t given a whole lot of help from my midwife or my OB. They just kept throwing facts and statistics at me.  And they didn’t recommend one way or the other.  They did say i was a “good candidate for it”.  But I wanted a, “you should do this, because of this.”  No luck. This decision was to be made by me.

I had to decide whether I should try for a VBAC or if I should schedule a repeat cesarean.

Once I decided to try for a VBAC (they always say “try” because if the tiniest thing doesn’t go their way, you’re rushed into surgery), I was surrounded by support.

I started contractions on a Friday morning and they were intermittent throughout the day.  Finally at 9 pm, we went in.

I was far enough along for them to keep me.  I got the epidermal by about 11 pm because the contractions were getting really tough.  Unfortunately my buddy, the anesthesiologist messed up the first time (not his fault necessarily, I have a 96 degree curve in my spine.) So he had to do it again.

I don’t remember a whole lot through the night, I think I slept, and played a word here and there in “Words with Friends”.

At 5 am I got to start pushing. It took a looooong time. His head was crowning with each contraction, and he would start to come out, then back in. Out a little, then back in.

My husband watched the whole thing.  The midwife offered me a mirror so I could see. I politely (I hope) declined.  I was too embarrassed to see what my husband had been staring at for 5 hours.

Finally, they called in the OB. He helped pull my little guy out.  Literally. During each contraction he would reach in and grab baby’s head and pull.

Then, just like that, as if it was nothing, baby was out and on my chest.

His right hand was on his left cheek the whole time.  Which is why he kept going back in.  Also, he was 9 lbs, 15 oz.  That’s one measly oz away from 10 lbs, folks!  If they had known he was that big, I would not have been able to “try” for a VBAC.  Side note-it took the good doc over an hour to stitch me up.

This birth was empowering. I felt the immediate connection with my son that took several months to feel with my daughter.  I felt like I got my body back.

Don’t get me wrong. I love c-sections.  Surgery saved me and my daughter. And it saves hundreds of thousands of others daily.  And if I needed to, I would have gotten one again.

But I didn’t need to. And for that, I am thankful.  My recovery time was very short and not as scary.

Remember.  Every birth story is different. Don’t let anyone and their birth story scare you.  This is just one of mine.

Have you had a VBAC? A second cesarean?  Are you faced with making the decision now?

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  • Reply Kirsty

    I just assumed I’d go for another caesarean whenever we have our second child, but after reading this you’ve definitely given me the courage to look into a VBAC. What a great post 🙂 x

    June 26, 2014 at 1:10 am
    • Reply mamabyfire

      Thank you! It’s definitely worth doing some research and having that conversation with your doctor. They used to be so uncommon-now women are having them all the time!

      June 26, 2014 at 7:41 am
  • Reply Rachel Bruck

    I know you wrote this a while ago but that is amazing. You birthed an almost 10 lb baby!!! I am always inspired at how people bring a new life into the world. Birthing my baby was the most empowering event in my life!
    xoxo Rachel

    October 2, 2014 at 7:10 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire

      Wow, thank you Rachel! Yes, he was a big one-still is! It was very empowering-there’s nothing else like it.

      October 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm
  • Reply Amanda

    What a beautiful and inspiring birth story! I’m so glad that you got to experience such an incredible journey and it gives me hope that I can do the same when we decide to have number two 🙂 Thank you for sharing this.

    November 16, 2014 at 11:41 am
    • Reply mamabyfire

      Thank you! It was amazing! There certainly is hope! Absolutely! Thanks for coming by!!

      November 16, 2014 at 11:47 am
  • Reply Poekitten

    I’ve had two c-sections. I really, really wanted a VBAC but since I get gestational diabetes, waiting to go into labor is not going to happen for me. I need to have my baby by 40 weeks and if I don’t go into labor on my own they will not, for my safety, induce me. So instead of the VBAC I really wanted I got a second c-section. I was much more ok with it because I knew it was most likely going to happen that way. However, I did tell my OB that I’d like to try for a VBA2C and she’s ok with that. My recovery the second time around was much easier than the first:) That was nice!

    July 6, 2015 at 3:58 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      I’m so glad your recovery was better the second time around. That was my biggest concern if I got a second c-section, recovery. The first time was terrible! Wow-a VBAC2 would be really cool!

      July 6, 2015 at 7:26 pm
  • Reply Alana

    Why is it that they make it our decision?!?! I would have found it sooooooo much easier with my son if they had said, “Let’s go with a VBAC.” I opted for the c-section because the kids were so close together and my OB said something about 18 between c-sections and higher are considered very safe but there was a slightly, slightly hightened risk of uterine rupture outside of that 18 month marker.
    You’re story is REALLY inspiring!!! Most women shy away from the VBAC, I think. I both wanted the badge of honour and was PETRIFIED of working as hard as I did with Angelina and ending up in the OR.
    Honestly, this post (and I know it’s from the archives) is really awesome!

    July 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm
  • Reply Monica - NYCTechMommy (@nyctechmommy)

    Pregnancy is scary for sure! I had both through c-section but now after experiencing the birth of my niece, I really wish I would have gone for a VBAC my second time around. I had gestational diabetes and was expecting a big baby which is why I just went with the c-section the second time around. I think my doc did mention I could go for the VBAC but I didn’t give it much thought. Just figured the c-section was best, easier, quicker (I had been in labor for 28 hrs with my first). Baby girl was born at 10lbs. but looking back now, and after reading your post, I wish I would have given the VBAC option a bit more thought. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

    February 8, 2016 at 12:13 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      It’s amazing how much more accepted it is now. Even 5 years ago, women had to search for a hospital that would be willing to allow it. I definitely saw the appeal of getting a second c-section, picking the birthday, and knowing what to expect as far as recovery. The most important thing is, we both had healthy babies!

      February 8, 2016 at 7:51 pm
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