C-section or Vaginal Delivery

Updated on September 11, 2007
P. asks from Houston, TX
23 answers

Hello all,

I feel like I always have questions. Here comes another one! I'm full term today at 37 weeks...hooray! I'm ready to have this second child but I don't know how I should get him out :( With my first child, I deliver vaginally and I had 3rd degree episiotomy extension/ tear. It was very very very painful and it took me a month to recover. The baby wasn't that big, 7lbs 6oz (I'm 5'3" prepregnancy size 4-6) This second time around, the doctor recommends me to get C-Section but I'm scared of the postpartum pain. I asked 2 of my friends you had C-Section and they both told me not to go that path! But I'm also scare of the possibility of having the tear again! Any suggestions and/or supports will be greatly appreciate.

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So What Happened?

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for your advices, supports, and sharing your stories. Some stoies are dreadful than the others to tell you the truth. But I'd rather hear about them all than not know enough. Now I feel like I'm well prepared. More importantly, I think I've come to a conclusion...I'd go with Vaginal Delivery. I am going to ask my doctor if I could induce my second child about a week or so before the due date so that the baby won't get too big and ask not to have an episiotomy. There's a posibility that I won't get a tear this time and I'd like to take the chance. The reason I choose deliver vaginally is because if there's no tear, the healing is much much faster than having c-section. Also, I have a 15 months old daughter at home. I may forget and try to hold her every now and then and that might be bad with the incision and all. But in case I need an emergency c-section, I won't be too horrified since many of you went thru the procedure and didn't have too much trouble with the healing process.

Once again, many thanks to both V-moms and C-section moms for responding to my request. Your inputs are more important to me than you thought...!!!

Wish me luck
P.

Featured Answers

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M.L.

answers from Houston on

Hi P. my name is M.. I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 9 month old. I had a c-section with both. In my opinion (and I know this may not help) recovery from a c-sec and a vag delivery are different for every woman. We each handle pain differently and the recovery time differs too. I was in pain for about a month and a half, the first few weeks were really bad but as the days went by it got better (walking helped big time!). I am glad to have had c-section's, mostly because I was scared about the whole episiomety situation about how painful it would be. If I had to do it again, I would still get a c-sec. Hope I helped. Good luck either way you go.

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V.W.

answers from Houston on

I had two c-sections and it it not that bad. I had more pain after the first one with the second. I had the second c-section by choice, and I would choose that route again.

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A.R.

answers from Houston on

Vaginal delivery is safer for mom and baby. You need to make sure you don't push on your back though and don't let the cut.

-A.

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B.W.

answers from Houston on

A C-section is major surgery with risks for infection, abdominal adhesions, etc. They are meant to be done in an emergency, however it seems some hospitals and docs have forgotten this.

Episiotomies often CAUSE tears. (cut a piece of paper and then try and tear it. much easier than without the cut. same type of idea).

Just because you tore last time, doesn't mean you will this time. I would avoid a C-section at all costs, because the risks are there.

Also, there are some important things that happen for the baby by going through the birth canal. Compression and colonization being two important ones. Unless you need a C-section in an emergency, your baby is better off being born vaginally.

I am sorry to hear you had such a bad experience last time, and I think that this birth will be totally different (as they all are different).

Best wishes to you mama!!
XOXO
B

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W.C.

answers from Tyler on

I have three boys (seven, six, and three). All were vaginal deliveries. I am 5' and my last baby was 8lbs 10oz (due to gestational diabetes). I had some tearing, and the worst recovery pain I had ever experienced (more pain than the labor)!!! I was unable to walk or sit for atleast 10 days and the healing took about three-four weeks. As hard as it was, I know of many close friends who were bed ridden and unable to lift anything over 5-10 lbs for six weeks because of their C-Section. As long as you are able to heal, and there are no risks to you or your precious child, I would suggest the vaginal delivery. I would ask your OB why they are leaning toward the C-Section and let them know of your hopes and fears for delivery and recovery. Best wishes to you and your family. God bless you!

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P.L.

answers from Houston on

I had a C-section with my first child (he was breach). I have not experienced childbirth yet, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it was so easy. Yes, the first couple of days afterward were really painful, but childbirth in general is not something a woman looks forward to! I have, however, talked to other mothers who have delivered both ways and say that they would go C-section every time if they had known. When you have the C-section, you and the doctors know exactly what's going on and can be prepared for anything. For example: a friend of mine just had her baby 2 weeks ago via a scheduled C-section. It turned out to be the best choice because the cord was wrapped around baby's neck and they could avoid any damage because they could see it. There are pros and cons to each. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and try to be informed about it. Good luck!!

S.C.

answers from College Station on

My first child I had an epideral and couldn't really feel when to push (that was almost 10 yrs ago so I know now they have a way to let you control the numbness--yay)and the dr. performed an episiotomy but then I tore on down into my rectum 4th degree .Yes, recovering was difficult. The 2nd baby I told my doctor NO EPISIOTOMY. I would rather tear, at least it won't go as far. I had no epideral, nothing. I wanted to know what childbirth felt like as I knew this was my last baby. Recovery was not bad at all.(compared to the first time). I think the episiotomy is what causes further problems.
I have never had a C section obviously but I have heard it does take a long time to recover. Just be aware of how much you use your abdominal muscles in everyday activities and how that will be affected with surgery.
What I am saying is, just because you had a month-long ordeal with your first, doesn't mean it will happen again. At least mine didn't.
Best wishes.

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S.

answers from Houston on

Hi there !
I had a c-section with my 1st & 2nd child ! My 1st (after 10 hours of labor) they decided she was turned wrong & i wanted my tubes tied after my 2nd, so we did a 2nd c-section ! I got to pick my own delivery date ! I was working f/t with my 1st child, i was back to work in "2" weeks after i had my 1st child, ( i was working contract, had to have my paycheck ) ! My 2nd child i took off 2 mos. I had gotten a better job, that paid for maternity leave which was nice ! The recouperation is not bad as people say it is ! I had no problems ! I couldn't imagine having a bad tear & all that pain ! If i were you i wouldn't want to do that again !!
Good luck & hope this helps you ! :+)

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L.G.

answers from Houston on

Don't let people scare you from having a C-section. I had 1 child and had a C-section after being in labor 24 hours. The only reason I was in so much pain after wards was because all the muscles in my abdomen had already been through 24 hours of hell because my doctor was trying to induce me to deliver vaginally. My sister in law said that happened to her too the first time but after the 2nd and 3rd baby, the C-section was a breeze. The pain was not really that bad. Let me tell you that the C-section will take maybe 15 minutes tops that doesn't include the prep time which will be another 15 minutes. So do you really want to go through hours of hell when you can have your baby in 15 minutes. Also, I did not feel a thing when they took my staples out. Most people would be horrified at being stapled together but it was painless removing the staples. Ultimately its your decision but don't let fear get in the way, because there is nothing really scary about having a C-section. Trying to have a child vaginally seems more horrifying to me because of all the hours of labor pain you will be in. Whatever the choice you make, you will still be okay and so will your baby. Good luck!

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S.C.

answers from Houston on

Hi P.,

I feel as I'm especially qualified to answer this! I too am vertically challenged, I'm 5'2" and my husband is 6'1". Our son was 21" long and 8 pounds 7oz. I was a 4/6 prepregancy also. (your story sounds soo familiar!) Anyway, I was induced on a Wedneday morning, and that night he still was not coming after full 40 weeks. They let me rest that night, and the next morning started the pitosen again. I finally had him at 1:30 that afternoon! You talk about tearing and a hemroids! It finally got better after about a month.

So the next time around, the baby's heartbeat would drop when I would have contractions. I asked the doctor if we could schedule a c-section. I told him I didn't want to go through what I had before, and that I felt "something" wasn't quite right. When he was in surgery and pulled her from my womb, he said boy am I glad your mom instincts kicked in. Her cord was wrapped around her neck twice and labor would have not been good for her to go through.

But I'll tell you, the recovery from the c-section for me was light years better! The next day they was a bit rough as your system gets going again and there is lots of gas from being open and your innered being shut down (sorta) while in surgury. So they said there would be some gas and there was! With it being planned, there can be a small scar near the pubic bone. Now, I've have gained weight and when you've had a c-section there is a pouch of a belly. I've seen other moms that have had c-'s bit are the size I was before and there isn't a pouch or shelf. So that's kinda the key, is to try to stay on the smaller side so you don't end up looking like a kangaroo. But on the other hand I've not observed a larger mom and asked her if she's had all v-deliveries! So could be the pouchy pooch just comes with 40 extra pounds!

Oh the 2nd child was 20 inches 7pounds 11 oz and would have been more, but we took her 10days before her due date! So I'm glad for the choice and very happy with my decision!

S.

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A.H.

answers from Dallas on

P.,

You can never ask too many questions. Only problem is when you are pregnant asking questions everyone seems to tell you all their horror stories.

As a mom of 4 and someone who has worked in post partum, every baby comes out different. Just because you tore on the first, doesn't mean you will on the second, and doesn't mean you won't. My first episi was terribly painful and he was 6# 11oz, so obviously size (of baby and you) doesn't matter there. My 2nd baby was 8 1/2# and I had to ask if the doctor cut me! I tore slightly and never had any problems with it.Once I got home I never had to even mess with it. Much different from the numerous cysts baths and foams and sprays of #1!

I always thought I wanted csections (I had problems where I was prepped for a csection in 3 of my 4) just because I was so scared of the pain of labor. (all mine were vaginal deliveries) One of my friends had csections with all of her 3. I always teased her that she got off easy with no labor, picking the day of birth etc...but seeing her and tending to women in post partum, it is by far the easy way out. Once my labor was over, I could enjoy my babies. There is more healing and picking up your other child will be a task as well.

I would attempt vaginal and then the csection is there if you need it. Once you agree to the csection, vaginal won't be an option. Most importantly is doing whatever makes getting your baby here the safest, happiest event possible. Generally, doctors know best, but if your doctor is giving you the option then the doc must think you will be ok either way.

I know it is scary, but you really have to remind yourself that every delivery is different or all those women that had the terrible first time would have stopped with #1 LOL!

Hang in there 2 of my babies were late and those last few weeks seem like FOREVER! Try to rest and relax! Congrats!

SOrry had to add a pS- if you do have a csection- make sure you get up and around and walk as soon as possible- the more you are up and going the faster your healing will be and the better you will feel.

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H.S.

answers from Beaumont on

Well, I have just had my first child, and it was via C-section due to complications during labor. I have nothing to compare it to, but it wasn't as bad as I was told it would be. Yes, the pain was pretty bad for about 2 weeks, but the medication the OB/GYN gave me kept it managable. It certainly didn't last a month the way your pain lasted. My biggest disapointment, I must say, was that I didn't get to hold my baby until 5 hours after she was born. It got the breastfeeding off to a rocky start, and it made me anxious. But, everything worked out in the end with the breastfeeding, and I suppose the disapointment for 5 hours pales in comparison to a month of pain. I am not advocating a C-section or vaginal birth, just giving you an account of my personaly experience. I know this is a tought decision...good luck! Congratulaions on the new little one you will see soon! :)

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S.G.

answers from Sherman on

Dear P.,
My first child was a vaginal delivery and she was 9lbs 5oz and I tore with her. With my second child I had a c-section and she was 8lbs 11oz. I am pro c-section. The recovery time was not much different from vaginal delivery for me. I got up and started walking as soon as they let me. I am not going to lie to you, it does hurt getting up for the first time and there for awhile after that. My incision was healed by 2-3 weeks with no complications. I was up walking good just after 5-6 days later. As long as you get up and move you will be fine. I wish the best for you in whatever you choose. And congratulation.
S. G

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T.D.

answers from Houston on

Both my children were C-section the first time around i was soooo scared but it wasnt nothing. The scar was so little and the pain wasnt that bad. The 2nd time around was a breeze, i was walking around the hospital the next day. This may sound crazy but i love c-sections, i heard so many stories about vaginal tears and itching that i didnt want to deal with that. Another great thing about c-section is that they clean you out so good that you hardly bleed afterwards. I bled like 3 days and that was it, also i have no scars from by bikini cut and i barely have a pouch, its like a pouch that a woman who had vaginal birth would have. Don't be scared its not all that bad. If you want to know more u can email me.

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M.G.

answers from Houston on

It's highly likely that the severity of your tear the first time was due to the fact that you HAD an episiotomy. They usually are unnecessary and add complications. Talk with a certified nurse midwife or with a doctor who has a very low (<10%) c-section rate for a fairly clear opinion on the matter. Also, read <I>silent knife</I>, <I>Spiritual Midwifery</I>, or any number of other books on childbirth. There's no reason you can't have a perfectly normal, relatively trauma free childbirth this time around, but it's important you educate yourself and choose your doctor/midwife carefully to have a positive outcome.

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A.S.

answers from Houston on

My first baby I had a huge, painful episiotomy that went to the side. It hurt for weeks, and I was not sure I wanted to go through childbirth again. Oh, he weighed 9-2. The second baby weighed 9-7 and was shorter, and I had just a small episiotomy. With the third baby (who, by my standards was tiny -- 7-11) there was a small tear because I pushed his shoulders out too fast. So, there's no guarantee that you will have anything as bad this time. And, as one of the other posters said, sometimes an episiotomy leads to tearing.

A.

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T.S.

answers from Houston on

Hi, Congratulations!!! I had a c-section with my son, and although I don't agree with the medical decision made on my doctor's part, it really wasn't that bad. I mean, there's no waiting around in hours of greuling labor wondering when the baby's gonna decide to come. I had him on Tuesday evening, got out of the hospital Thursday morning and was at Target walking around on Friday morning. It's kinda uncomfortable turning over for the first few days, But I was off of the pain meds within 5-6 days. You have to remember that scar tissue is more fragile than regular skin tissue, and there is a likelihood of you having a repeat with a possibility of a worse outcome. Well, good luck and again, CONGRATULATIONS!!

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M.W.

answers from Lansing on

Congrats on the 2nd baby! I will just tell you what happened with me just for another point of view. My first son was breach, so I chose to have a C-section. I got to pick the date and time (usually 1 week before your due date), and I arrived at the hospital with no signs of labor. It was really laid back and I just "had a baby". They give you all of the drugs and you're not in labor, so I really didn't have any pain (totally different than an Emergency C-Section when you're rushed because you're already in labor). The recovery is longer because you have to take it easy since you had surgery. It wasn't anything terrible though. I had such a pleasant experience that I chose to have a C-section with my second son (not a VBAC).

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S.L.

answers from Houston on

Hi there, I have had both 1 vag, and 4 c-sections. My first c-section (second child) was an emergancy, I was NOT expecting it in any way shape or form. The reocover was still fast for me, I was out of bed about 18 hours after, and felt pretty great about 3 days after.
The second c-section (3 child) was planned, and even though I had the nightmare still in my mind of the first c-section, it was wonderful! I was so happy! I had great pain managment, and was back on my feet even faster! By my 4 c-section, I was out of the hospital 34 hours!
Looking back if I had a choice from the vag and the planned c-sections, I would have taken the c-sections in a heartbeat. I am also only 5'2 and normaly about 108, my first baby who was vag was early and only 6'9. The next 4 (all sections) 10'3, 7'9,8'6,and 9'11.

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S.H.

answers from Houston on

Congratulations on baby #2. I've had 2 daughters, one vaginally and one c-section. Here is my experience:
I had my first daughter vaginally. She was 8 pounds, 9.7 oz. I had a 4th degree episiotomy that took over 40 stitches and my rectum had to be reinforced. It was definitely no picnic. I had a very difficult time getting around for about 3 weeks and it took me right at 4 months to completely heal from it. Then I still had problems after that. (Poor Hubby!) I made up my mind then I wasn't going to have any more babies.
Well, life has it's wonderful little surprises and 4 years later, I found out I was pregnant again. I was terrified when my doctor told me that if I had done it once, I could do it again, and the second time was always easier. And I must admit, that for me, the labor pains the second time around were a piece of cake. I barely noticed them. I went through the whole labor experience only to find out that although my DD was in the right position, her head was trying to come out sideways. I was taken for emergency c-section. They simply upped the level of my epidural and off we went.
Other than freezing, I was very comfortable and slept through most of it. I had her on Tuesday afternoon and was sent home Thursday morning. I was taped so I didn't have to worry about stitches or staples. Thursday and Friday were VERY difficult, but by Saturday I was up washing dishes and cooking dinner. I moved slowly for about a full week, but after that I just watched what I lifted and took things easy. I did end up sleeping on the couch simply because of the position I was in, it was easier for me to get up to take care of my daughter's midnight feedings. I had to send my mother to buy one of those detachable shower heads so that I could shower without help since bending over was out of the question. But I was pretty much healed in only 3 weeks. I just had to make sure not to lift anything too heavy. If given the opportunity to do it again, I'm personally choosing the c-section!!!!!

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J.W.

answers from Houston on

I had a c-section with my child. he was 7lb. 14oz!!! i didn't choose to do this, it was an emergency procedure. but i will tell you, i will do it again in a heart beat. it was so quick, he was out in no time! i had to stay in recovery for 2 hours afterward, before i was able to hold him. but i was on such strong meds, i needed it! i was up and walking with minimal pain 2 days later. by a week after, i was feeling fine.don't get me wrong i was a tiny bit sore, but nothing excrotiating! I found it better than being in labor forever! Just my opinion though! if you have any other questions feel free to ask!

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A.P.

answers from Houston on

I just had a c-section in March and it was wonderful. I actually experienced 8 hrs. of labor and my contractions digressed. Just make sure that the I.V. stays in during the actual C-section. Mine somehow fell out and needless to say, that was MAJOR pain that I will NEVER forget. I think the recovery depends on how well you take pain. It was fine for me.

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S.O.

answers from Houston on

First above all you want to do what's best for your unborn child and of course what's best for your health as well. Talk to your Dr about whats on your mind and he'll explain his reasoning to you. You should consider the c sec route if that is what your dr. feels is more safe for you and your child. The vag especially with a tear is hard they say, I never had one, it seems your down for the first month, varies from mom to mom I guess. I do know that we c sec moms are up and about quicker, however, the recovery is longer. Your sent home with meds that you need to take and its really not so bad. I had three. The only time I had a problem is when I would wait too late to take my med and then I only had a problem getting up and down. I learned to take it 15 minutes before the dose was due and I was fine. I had a wonderful dr at the Woman's hospital, for assurance you should talk to another Dr for a second opinion, you may want to talk to one of the Dr's that sees your Dr's patients when he's out, that should calm your nerves. After my first 1st one I kinda wanted to do it again and then after the no 2 was so easy I was relieved when I learned it was the route we were going again. Your up out of bed in 2 days. I remember seeing those vag moms not getting around and I was like wow. Oh and that wait for 5 to 6 hrs till you see your child again didn't mess up any bonding time for me. My kids are very close to me. I had that fear of not feeling like I gave birth thing but I'm telling you I got over that within a month, after all those demands, I felt like a mom who went thru the whole thing. OH another plus is there head is perfect and not mashed up!!!!!With a c sec at least you'll know your baby will get here safe. God Bless and Good luck!!! Hope you have the patience to read all of this.