Opinions on Repeat C-seciton Vs. VBAC

Updated on January 16, 2009
J.R. asks from Toulon, IL
39 answers

My first child had to be born by c-secton, after 10 weeks on bedrest because of pregnancy induced hypertension, we were doing an NST at 38 weeks, and she was not responding favorably, so we looked at an ultrasound, and she had the corb around her neck, and my blood pressure was rising. I had a pretty uneventful operation, except the Dr. had a hard time getting the baby out of the incision, since her cord was around her neck 3 times! I was in recovery for one hour and then got to hold and nurse my beautiful baby. Her only complication was little jaundice, since she was a bit early. My recovery was relatively good, compared to many I have heard about, my mom and aunt who both had sections too were amazed by how soon I was walking and how well I recovered.

So I got pregnant when she was 8 months and then had a miscarriage at 12 weeks, all natural, no D&C, no painkillers, etc. It was horribly paiinful, physically.

Now I am pregnant again - 32 weeks, so far I am planning a scheduled C-section for the 19th of Feb (due date's not till the 26th). I am still waffling a little towards trying VBAC - I am going to talk to my Dr. on my bext appointment on the 5th about what his opinion is. (BTW/FYI, I do have a smaller frame, 5'2", whereas my Hubby is 6'4" - first baby was 19 " long and 6lbs. 11oz. at birth, at 38 weeks - he and I were also both in the high 6 pounds range and aroun 19-20 inches long at birth.)

Ok - so I am asking for all your own opinions and thoughts on the VBAC vs. repeat/scheduled C-section dilemma I am in right now, just to see if there are some other viewpoints, or if you all have thought of some things I haven't.....here are the things I have already thought of on both sides of the coin:

Pro C-Section/Drawbacks to VBAC:

1. I already have had one C-section, and it went really well, recovery was pretty quick, considering it was a major surgery - basically I know what to expect, and there are less "unknowns", than waiting for nature to take its course.

2. Team of Drs. and Nurses will already be scheduled/lined up for the surgery on that day rather than getting "whoever" is on call if I waited to have it vaginally, and/or then ended up needing an emergency c-section for whatever reason anyway.

3. Longer hospital stay = more help with yourself and the new baby, and more rest for the first few days, with nurses etc.

4. Less/shorter bleeding time after c-section, they clean/suction in there before sewing you back up, I think.

5. No episiotomy/tearing/sexual/bathroom issues/side effects during healing or later on. This baby already seems bigger than CJ was at this point, so I am guessing I would have to have an episiotomy or tear - not that I know, since she never went through that way. I have a few friends who had 3rd and 4th degree tears and their healing was AWEFUL, plus they all say sex has never gotten to be good again ( it has been a few years for all of them), in fact that it HURT for more than a year. I think Dane and I DTD about 5 weeks after birth, and it was just fine after the c-section.

6. The date can be scheduled, so my hubby and mom can arrange their work schedules, and we can make sure there is someone here to take care of CJ at all times. Our closest family is a SIL 45 miles away, in the opposite direction of the hospital we are planning to use, so we can't just "drop CJ off on the way to the hospital", ya know? If I were to do a VBAC, I wouldn't want to be induced (seems to raise incidence of c-section), I would want to let nature take its course, and who knows when/where I would go into labour then??? Everything with the VBAC is so unpredictable, whereas the C-section seems much more planned/controlled????

7. I get to have the baby a week early, so I can quit getting kicked to death, and get to meet him or her sooner, no waiting game.

Pro VBAC/C-section cons:

1. Theoretically, shorter recovery time, can still lift the toddler, and drive myself places and go up and down steps (as long as all goes well - and there is no need for an emergency c-section).

2. Vaginal birth being the way we were designed, is naturally better for the mom and baby, as long as it is a "normal" birth. My body will be ready and do things in its own time/manner.

3. Immediate contact with the baby, easier to start nursing etc., less pain (maybe) during recovery, so easier time bonding with baby and still handling the toddler's need for attention too.

4. Shorter/less expensive hospital stay - fewer bills. Able to get home to CJ sooner.

5. C-section, though common, is still major abdominal surgery, and as such comes with risks of various complications, during and after surgery. These include infection, plus the subsequent scar tissue internal and external, which I believe causes anyone with more than 2 c-sections to have to have repeats....whereas if I were to have a successful VBAC this time, I could have other VBACs after that.

6. I don't know if all you other c-section moms out there feel/felt this way, but there is so much focus these days on the "birth plan" etc....it almost makes you feel "less of a woman" to have had to had a C-section, especially for a first, single baby. Don't get me wrong, I am so greatful that we did decide to do it - it was the right decision, for CJ's safety and mine (my BP was high, and her cord was around her neck 3 times - the Dr. had a hard time getting her out of a c-section!!!). BUT I DID feel that I missed out on/lost something, and that my first couple months with her were effected/"tainted" by my recovery from the surgery. I know I may have these feelings of inadequacy again, because just taking care of myself and one newborn were hard enough the first time, and I can't imagine how I will take care of me, the baby and the toddler while healing....of course I will have help, but you know we all want to be "Supermom" - and you just CAN'T after surgery. So anyway, having a VBAC successfully would be great if it made things seem more "complete", and easier after getting home, too.

7. Hopefully less pain meds, so they wouldn't affect the baby or me in the breastfeeding arena.

Ok, so I think that is all I have thought of.....I still can't decide, though I am meaning towards the C-section out of feeling more "in control" of it, for the convenience of scheduling, and because that seems to be the standard medical answer for someone who has had one before.....I don't know anyone personally who had a successful VBAC.

Please go ahead and give me all your thoughts/ideas/opinions, pro or con on either side of the coin....either post here or PM me. It'll give more food for thought, and I'd really appreciate it!

Thanks!

Jessie

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So What Happened?

Update 1-16-09: I went to the Dr. for another prenatal appointment today, and we scheduled he C-section for the Day of my 39th week, February 19, 7:30 am!!! Wow! I will have to get up early! That's alright, then I will have the whole day to enjoy my baby!

Update 1-12-09: I talked to the Dr. on Friday,and the decision was made easy for me, the local Hospital just put a policy in place not to allow VBACs, so I would have to travel 45 miles each way if I were to have a VBAC at the bigger hospital in the next larger city. I decided, I would rather be closer to home and to CJ (my 2year old), and just go ahead with the planned c-section, we will be scheduling the surgery at my appointment this friday the 16th. Now I just have to clear up my questions about how everything will go with the C-section.

Thanks for all your support and opinions, I feel much less stressed about it now that the decision is done, and that alot of you repeat c-section moms had BTDT and got through it fine!

Jessie

Featured Answers

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

I had a c-section with my first pregnancy, and VBAC 3 times after that. I MUCH preferred the VBAC to the c-section. I,too, am small (5'2'') and had big babies (over 9 lbs.) and had no trouble. Discuss it with you doctor, and if he/she thinks it's okay to do the VBAC, I'd go for it! K., mother of 4

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W.D.

answers from Lincoln on

I had 2 c-sections. The first was because my baby was breech and that was the oply option for birth. The second was a c-section because thats what my dr recomended was the safest. I too am small framed and there was only 19 months between my babies. My recovery fromt he second c-section was WAY faster, i wasn't even in the hospital as long the second time around. I knew what to expect so I think thats why recovery was faster. For me c-section was the safest way and i feel no less as a mom.

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D.C.

answers from Rapid City on

I have two WONDERFUL girls, the first was an emergency c-section and the second was planned. The deal breaker for me was putting as little stress on my older daughter (19 months when her little sister arrived). We were able to have her needs met with as little diruption to her schedule as possible. I tend to bounce back fast and went into the hospital at 6 in the morning, had my daughter at 8:05 and was home the next day after lunch. My husband was on leave to help us all with the adjustment, but there was no waking anyone up in the middle of the night, no crazy rush to the hospital, no fantic phone calls- everything went very smooth. (On a side note I was so excited about being able to hold my newest bundle of joy that I slept very little the night before) I know not everyone will feel the same and I wish the very BEST! Congratulations!!

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K.M.

answers from Des Moines on

My first was a c-section and my second was a VBAC. My doc group did support me, but always talked about the possibility of it going to a c-section. Since nothing was wrong with my pregnancy or my baby, I ignored the negative talk and kept positive. Whenever c-section came up I just responded with "I would like a trial of labor" as that at least doesn't come across to the docs as being on the defensive. We had a natural VBAC and it was the hardest thing I have ever done, but so rewarding and I would take a VBAC over c-section any day. C-sections are definitely more risky than VBACS (rupture rate after one C is about .05%) as I know a few who have needed blood transfusions afterwards due to loss of a lot of blood during surgery. Do listen to your docs but take it all in and weigh it up, then proceed with what you think is the best for you. YOu will never regret a well thought out decision. Also I did notice that our second babe did nurse SO much better and I wasn't sore.... very suprised! I wish you and your baby all the best.

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L.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

You obviously know all the pros and cons, so I guess I won't go into detail explaining why I think you should go for a VBAC. I always lean toward the natural way of things. It's like that one story about the kids who watched butterflies struggling to get out of their cocoons. They felt so bad at how the first one struggled that they decided to help the second one out. Well, the second one died.

I'm not saying that having a c section is bad or anything. It's still a birth. However, I think there are great advantages to giving natural birth. Hey, I tore when my son's shoulder's came out and no, it wasn't fun, but I recovered. I've also heard that c-section kids have more respiratory problems. I also asked my friend who was scheduled for her 2nd c-section (who "accidentally" gave birth a week early, the natural way), which way she liked better, now that she's done it both ways. She said natural...definitely.

If you want a good book to read, look for The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. You strike me as a thinking woman...very much so. I think you may enjoy the book.

Best of luck to you, whatever you decide.

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

You will know what course is right when the time gets closer. Of course the most important thing is to take care of your health and the baby's.

But I wanted to say that episiotomies and tears are not a given with vaginal birth. Many mothers give birth with neither. Mid-wives are the most skilled and especially the most patient at doing the things needed to avoid both episiotomy and tearing. Six to nine weeks is common before sex is OK again, but that's a minor issue with a new baby to take care of...

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R.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

Read what you wrote . . .it sounds as if you have already made up your mind to go with the repeat c-section.
I have at least four friends that have had successful VBACs, one of which delivered the baby by herself in the comfort of her own home. Two of the friends are very petite women and had babies that were over 8lbs.

B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

If you are questioning it, then you should talk more with your doctor. Your first chidl was born via emergency c-section, and was quite small. This baby will probably not have the same emergency, so going with a VBAC would be a good choice.

C-sections are major surgery, and while alot of women seem to prefer them, I fully 100% believe they should be used for emergency purposes only. If there is no emergency in this pregnancy, then you should labor and deliver naturally.

I have two boys, both born vaginally, my first was 8lbs 3oz, and my 2nd was 9lbs. Both had 15.5'' heads! My youngest was born with hte cord around his neck 3 times, in a knot, and twisted down around his body.... but his cord also made it into the record books at the hosptial for being the longest! LOL! He wasn't breathing when he was born, but I thank God for that long cord as I really really really would nevre want a section. Also, with two big babies like that, I had 5 stitches with my oldest, and none with my youngest, and I didn't use drugs so I walked around the whole time I was laboring and let nature take its course, and gravity! I also don't have any bathroom, sexual, or other problems.

ANYWAY, talk to your doctor. If you are questioning it now, then you need to talk it out now. The chance of a uterine rupture is only like .01% higher with a VBAC than it is with a repeat section. With those oddds, I'd rather have the birht of my choice.

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A.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Your risk of a post pregnancy hysterectomy with a repeat extraction is 1 in 90!! (research on the link below)

I was given a post pregnancy hysterectomy that I did not want, did not medically need and refused consent for.

I am bias however to help you make an INFORMED decison is
http://pph.a-little-wish.co.uk/

Message board http://forums.a-little-wish.co.uk where you can ask questions

We know of MANY sucessful VBAC and 2HBAC :) some on the message board :)

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P.P.

answers from Minneapolis on

I personally wanted to do a VBAC just to have that experience but worried about the baby lodging or complications. Both my kids ended up breech in the end so I never experienced labor and had scheduled c-sections. Maybe that was a good thing because they were 8lbs. 5oz.

The 2nd time c-section was a breeze because I was already numb. My oldest visited me everyday with my husband. I actually wanted to get home as fast as possible so I left after three days instead of leaving on the fourth day. The only sucky thing is that I can never have a VBAC. No doctor will take on the risk.

You could see if staff would be ready and available should you need an emergency c-section. In some cases they are there and others they need to be called in.

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R.P.

answers from Green Bay on

I know this is late and you've made up your mind but I wanted to add this...I had all three of my children C-section (only one scheduled). I thought I healed best with my thrid and I honestly believe it's because I stayed in the hospiatl as long as they let me. If you have good insurance I highly recommend it! Reason being, once you go home it's to easy to do the day to day things when you really should be resting and recovering. I was told I had the option to go home or stay one more day and I stayed the one more day. I was bored to death but I think the extra day there resting made all the difference in the world. Even though you feel good if you do too much to soon it will take longer to recover. Besides the hardest part for me was getting up from a laying down position and you have the hospital beds to raise and lower you as well as the side rails. Good luck!

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S.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

J.,
You certainly have thought a lot about the issue. The only one I would add would be -- "is this your last child, or do you plan to have more?"

I had to have a c- with my daughter (she was breech and had cord wrapped around neck too). I went into labor before the scheduled date (yeah), but while prepping me for the operation, I asked if I was getting a tubal as well. I was not prepared for the question and had really thought my husband would have handled the reproductive issue with a vascotemy.

At any rate, had we thought about the question prior to the c-section, I would have gone ahead and had the tubal right then -- after all I am already open, it can be done within the same time period -- cost and recovery about the same, as opposed to having it done later....

I didn't have the surgery, got pregnant with 3rd child just before my husband was scheduled for a v-... so at that point we did opt to have my tubes tied with the last pregnancy and therefore, I had a c-section vs V.

That would be the only other matter that I can think of to consider within your decision.

My first was vaginal and although he showed up about 4-weeks early and I had to be induced. I think my recover was just as long between him and my daughter's c-section.

I really boils down to some of your own mind-set. If you are prepared to do the best thing for your child and your well-being, the right choice and mental support will help you to recover regardless of the delivery.

good luck

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J.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

I had a repeat c-section due to also having some complications during labor the first time (her heart rate dropped) and I also think it's b/c I have a small pelvis - I'm 4'11. But, the reason why I had a repeat section was because I didn't want to go through the stress of "what-ifs" that come along with firstborn births. Meaning - it was planned this time and you are aware of what happens during surgery. I didn't want to think VBAC all the way and then find out a few hours later they were prepping me for surgery. BTW - they would have had to do another c-section again either way because he was too big. Quite a shocker - he was almost 10 lbs. I think the biggest "CON" that you missed when it comes to having a VBAC is that there is a bigger risk to having a ruptured uterus after you've had a c-section. I do know of someone that lost her baby due to this happening (however, it may have been more b/c she got pregnant soon after her firstborn). But, that chance was not something I really wanted to take. Best thing to do (in my opinion) - talk with your doctor. Some dr's these days will not even due VBAC's due to the risk. So, if you LOVE your doctor - see what they are willing to do. My dr did give me the option but I went with the less stressful option. I was able to hold the baby after I delivered him (for a few minutes) before they weighed him and checked him over. By the time that was all done - I pretty much was back in my room and starting to nurse. Another suggestion for you - go to the birth class again or maybe the c-section class. The hospital may even have one that is VBAC vs. c-section. This did help me in making my decision. They didn't tell me to do any particular thing - I just went with my gut.
You are NO WAY less of a mom or any different with choosing c-section. God makes all of us unique and I always feel like it's up to me to make a decision that is right for ME not for what "society feels". Everybody parents different - think of how many different birthing plans are out there.
As far as recovery - I had less of a problem 2nd time around. I think it was b/c I knew what to expect. I was walking around the next day - I thought I had more of an issue with cramping when my milk supply came in. But, I had no problems nursing with pain meds. Just drink a lot of water to help with milk production. It was AWESOME to have everything planned out for my dtr as well and have helpers for a couple of weeks following the birth. I did not feel overwhelmed b/c I had the help already set up - with lists and things to do. The hospital should also have a Brothers/Sisters class that you're dtr would enjoy. My dtr LOVED it and she enjoyed the hospital tour as well. The instructor even went through delivery of babies using a doll. This helped my dtr understand too that Mommy's tummy will be sore for a little while and not expect to be picked up but that hugs and kisses are definitely still available to her. We even had lunch in the cafeteria so that she felt very comfortable when she would visit Mommy in the hospital. Only problem . . . when she did visit me in the hospital, she loved the attention the nurses gave her and she wanted to stay longer. Ha! At the class, they want the kids to know that their parents are safe and being well cared for - however, they don't want you to put too much emphasis on the kids visiting you in the hospital just in case if they have a cold or are sick with something. You don't want them to expose you or the newborn with anything. Best of luck to you in making your decision!

D.K.

answers from Sioux City on

The only thing I could add to what you have already pointed out is that you may go into labor earlier than your scheduled c-section date. Keep that in mind. Those little ones have a mind of their own. I have had repeat c-sections. In fact I am scheduled for my fourth c-section on Feb. 2nd. I have given birth both ways. The hardest part about VBAC is not knowing what to expect. If your doctor is very good at explaining what to expect, you will be far more comfortable. I just kept asking the nurse what should I look for next and she was very helpful.

Congratulations on the baby!!!!!

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L.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

I don't know where you live, but I live in the Twin Cities, and my doctor told me he only knows of one group of OBs who will allow VBACs...just too much risk involved, and most moms wind up with an emergency c-section.

I had a planned c-section with my son. He just kept growing and growing in the ultrasounds. I am SO glad I had one - I went in at 39 weeks, 5 days, and I hadn't dilated or dropped at all. He was 10 pounds, 10 ounces at birth, 23 inches long, with a 15 1/2 inch round head!! My nurse said I would have torn bladder to bowel had I tried to deliver him - or I would have had an emergency c-section, or I would have died had I given birth 100 years ago. So, I don't feel bad at all about my decision, and I don't feel like 'less of a woman'. I have a beautiful, happy son. After reading your pros/cons, if I were you, I would just go with the scheduled c-section again. If you wind up with an emergency c-section after suffering through labor, your body is going to take even longer to recover. But, it is ultimately your decision, and I wish you luck with whatever you decide.

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J.G.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi J.,
You shouldn't be worrying about these things. Your baby will let you know. My twin had her first baby C-section ( not by choice)due to the same things you experienced. She got pregnant again, and was going to try that one VG. But the baby had different thoughts. She ended up having C-section for both.

My other sister had her baby later in years and had such high blood pressure during labor they thought thye were going to lose her. 400+ But she had hes VG. And they both were great. But my sis was on a lot of bed rest due to how sick she got from the hyper-tension.

You're baby will let you know.

One thing that I have learned is not to over think things.

Best of luck to [email protected]

J.

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M.F.

answers from Minneapolis on

i had two c-sections. 1st one was not planned, after 40+ hours of back labor. Kid wouldn't come out and was sunny side up. My doc was leary to let me try VBAC, was concerned about bleeding (another complication I don't think you mentioned) and the labor issues. I was surprisingly o.k. with it. I don't feel any less of a mom and really enjoyed the much shorter recovery time. I felt more ready to get up and go with my daughter, I think the lack of labor helped. While it's true I had lifting restrictions, I really shouldn't have been lifting my son much anyway.

I had a friend who also had an unscheduled 1st c-section and was going to try VBAC the second time around. She ended up with an unscheduled 2nd c-section anyway.

So, while this is a personal decision, I think c-sections aren't the enemy everyone makes them out to be.

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C.G.

answers from Davenport on

I asked my doctor if I had to have a c-sec with every birth after my first one. She said no, unless I had to have the c-sec because of complications (my son was breech, otherwise no problems). I think you will know more after you talk to your doctor. It sounds like you would of had a normal delivery if the cord did wrap. If the doctor tells you it is your choice...than do what you feel comfortable with. I have only had a c-sec, so I can't really give you any advice on the difference between the two deliveries. P.S. Congratulations!!

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M.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

I sense that you are leaning toward the C-section. I had 20 hours of labor for my first child with a suction cup and forceps and still ended up with a C-section. I had two more C-sections after that.

My doctor recommended doing it that way and it worked fine with me. I was in the hospital four or five days. My last baby was in 1989 and I know the stays are shorter now.

You can have a spinal for a C-section and be awake when the baby is born. You don't have to use a general anesthesia. I wouldn't accept pressure for doing it all the "natural" way. You carry the child for eight or nine months and take good care of yourself and the baby before and after the birth. Just do what you need and want to do. You will be just fine!

M. W.

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A.B.

answers from Fargo on

I completely understand where you're coming from. My 1st was a C-section because she was breech. I had the feelings of "inadequacy" because I couldn't do it naturally. With our 2nd, my doctor (who wasn't the same as with my 1st because we moved to another state) said I had the potential to do a VBAC as long as I had certain criteria. The major one I can remember is that I had to go into labor "spontaneously" which meant not being induced. I also was told that I had a small birth canal which meant that I probably wouldn't be able to have a natural birth with a large baby. I decided to try having a VBAC and at 33 weeks, I went into preterm labor and had my 2nd by VBAC. I did get an epidural with her just in case I ended up having to have an emergency C-section. I did get my regular OB for that birth. My 3rd, was also a VBAC but with the doctor on call which worked out best because just after she made it to the hospital and got in the room, I had him. She just made it time to basically "catch" him! :) We also didn't have family around to watch our other children(especially since the 2nd & 3rd were each 7 & 6 weeks early) because we were living 8-10 hours away. With our second, we were able to drop her off at our daycare because I went into the hospital that morning. Our 3rd, I was on bed rest and my MIL was staying with us helping take care of our other 2 so it worked out well. However, we were close with a couple of our neighbors and had some friends living nearby that would have gladly helped watch our kids while I was in the hospital.
Congratulations on your 2nd! Let us know what you finally decide. I would recommend at least trying for the VBAC.

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J.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

I have had a C-section, and my doctor said having VB could tear or rupture a utrus after a c-section.(that is just one dr opinon). In your case I would go for a second c-section based on the cord problem. If the cord gets wrapped around the neck during VB, it is harder to remove and sometimes not at all possible.
I too felt like something was missing after the c-section, mine was an emergency and I did not get to hold the baby until the next day. I know she is mine and we have a great relationship now. I am now a grandmother.

Have a safe and happy delivery any way you deceide.

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M.W.

answers from Madison on

Wow. I totally could've written that request letter myself as I'm in very similar circumstances. I had HELLP syndrome (preeclampsia) with Baby #1 and was induced 4 weeks early and delivered vaginally. With Baby #2, I also was induced early (not as early) and ended up going through labor only to have an emergency C-section because the baby was in distress. I had a miscarriage at 13 weeks a year ago and now I'm a little over 34 weeks pregnant and need to determine how I want the baby to be delivered. I remember feeling so disappointed about having to have a C-section before, but the baby would not have gotten out safely had I continued to try to labor. I feel pressure from both sides of this argument about how to deliver. Ideally, I would like to do the VBAC, but I'm afraid of having to go through labor and end up having a c-section anyway. Plus, as you know, with toddlers at home, the recovery is easier with vaginal births because then you can still pick up the kids.

Are you feeling pressure to have the baby one way or another? Does your doctor give you advice or are they leaving it up to you? This is definately a tough decision. You covered the pros and cons very well. I'm hoping that my gut instinct (which should be quite large since I'm so huge right now!) will guide me once I'm closer to delivery. If I end up having a successful VBAC, I'll let you know how it goes! Best of luck to you in this decision-making process!

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C.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi J.,

I will preface my comments with the fact that I have had one vaginal birth, and no personal experience with a c-section....

I think it is sad (and disturbing) that you know so many women who have had 3rd and 4th degree tearing. This is totally avoidable. First of all, episiotomies actually INCREASE the chance of tearing. (Try to rip a piece of paper that already has a tear in it, and then one that doesn't. The torn paper is easier to rip.)

Episiotomies have their place during an emergency, but are by and large only considered "routine" by the most archaic of clinicians. (When I was first pregnant, and looking around for a birth attendant, one of my questions was if and when they performed episiotomies.)

Perineal massage and the use of Evening Primrose Oil can decrease the chance and severity of tearing. The last few weeks I was pregnant, my husband and I did perineal massage with Evening Primrose Oil. Our nurse midwife had given us a great handout on it. I also inserted an Evening Primrose Oil capsule vaginally each night before bed. Both efforts took 10 minutes/day, and the Evening Primrose Oil cost us like $7 for an entire bottle, yet these simple, effective measures are rarely practiced in "mainstream" OB/GYN medicine.

When labor is rushed and the baby is either "yanked" out, or a suction is used, this can cause tearing. My nurse midwife was very gentle and did not try to rush things. (Yes, I did give birth in a hospital.) As I was delivering my son, once his head was coming out, my midwife asked me to stop pushing for a minute while she massaged and stretched my skin.

Evening Primrose Oil, perineal massage, and having an educated clinician at my birth resulted in me needing ONE measly stitch. I am 5 ft 2 in, and I gave birth to an almost 9 lb baby. I had no sexual side effects, and no vaginal pain after birth. The only post-birth pain I was my neck and shoulders due to pushing, and it was nothing that ibuprofen didn't take care of.

Second, I will comment on your fear of going into labor at an inopportune moment. I think this is a very common fear, and I felt it myself. However, just about any woman who has had a vaginal birth will tell you that you will have MORE than enough time to make arrangements for your son, and then get to the hospital. From the time my water broke until I had my son was 35 hours!

The stories that make the news about the woman who births while at the grocery store are one in a million. Also, you may have a lucky aunt or friend who was in labor for 1 hour, but statistically, these are the exceptions, not the rule. Ask anyone who works in a maternity ward, and they will tell you that women coming in "too early" in their labor--it's not unheard of for women to be sent home to wait things out--is far more common than women coming in "too late".

You sum it up nicely when you say that our bodies were designed for vaginal birth, but I know that VBAC is not without its risks. Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

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L.J.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

What does your doctor say is the safest. I am in a similiar situation and was told that a c-section would be smartest way to go. VBAC would not be safe for my baby or me. Which ever way does not put your or your baby at risk or danger. Talk with your dotor. Good luck

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C.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

I haven't read the other responses, but one thing to consider is how many kids you want to have. Many OB's will advise against getting pregnant again after a couple C-sections. However, that being said, I am guessing that when you go into the doctor, he will lean a bit toward the c-section while saying you can try it the other way, but he won't let you go past such and such a date w/o inducing for fear of the baby getting too big (which is a misnomoer, anyway. Many very big babies have been delivered vaginally.)He will probably tell you of increased risk of uterine rupture after having had a c-section.

If you truly want a vbac, you really don't want to plan on trying it with an OB, since the model of care they follow is very interventive and it has been shown that more interventions lead to more c sections. And, since you are trying for a VBAC, they will tell you that many of the interventions are necessary (possibly electronic fetal monitoring, maybe an internal monitor which requires breaking your water then sticking an electrode to the baby's head before birth, having an IV placed or at least a heparin lock, etc. These all depend on where you are planning to deliver.)

So, your best bet for a VBAC is at ACT FAST since you are already past 30 weeks and find a group of nurse midwives that can still take VBACs.The model of care for midwifery is very different than doctors. I would also highly suggest finding a doula. Labor is difficult, but it is mostly a head game. You need someone to help you stay in the moment. Also, midwives don't routinely do episiotomies. These, also, have not been proven to do much in assisting with the delivery. Tearing really depends on the skill of your practitioner, the speed of the baby being born, and the position of the baby (if there is an arm or hand next to the face, for example). I would guess that your friends who tore so badly had episiotomies first.

BTW...you are no less of a mother b/c of the c-section. You were acting in the best interest of your baby. That is what being a mom is all about.

Also, don't be too concerned about the cord. Many babies are delivered with the cord around their necks. The doctor/midwife just unwraps it before they are completely delivered. The incidence of a cord being truly too short or wrapped for the baby to deliver is EXTREMELY rare. I wouldn't let this factor into your decision.

A good book to read is "The Thinking Woman's Guide To a Better Birth".

Hope that helps! Bottom line, if you go into the OB with a "Lets try a VBAC and see what happens," you will most likely end up with a C-section again unless you are one of the lucky ones that delivers very fast. However, if you really want to go the other way, it is VERY POSSIBLE to do. You just have to be very motivated, proactive, and find the people with the skills and knowledge to support your choice.

Best wishes!

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K.M.

answers from Madison on

The reasons for your first C-section didn't seem to have anything to do with whether or not your pelvis could deliver the baby. Sounds like it was very specific to that pregnancy.
My own experience was that recovering from C section the second time around was VERY difficult partly because of having a 3 year old. Couldn't take it as easy as I should have. I would say it took me a good year to finally feel myself again, and the scar is still funny to the touch sometimes.
I would say VBAC would make sense to try if you aren't having the pre-eclampsia. Maybe you could convince your OBGYN to do another Ultrasound around 38-39 weeks to make sure there isn't the cord situation.
NO matter what decision you make - it won't be wrong. You cannot predict with any certainty how either situation will play out so just do what Feels right.
Congrats!!!! and good luck.

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L.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

I was right where you are one year ago! My first was an emergency c-section because they discovered when I was at 9cm that he was breech and stuck, pinching a nerve! OUCH!
So with my daughter I had the choice - I had a lot of the same thoughts you are having. I also just thought about having the "experience" of natural childbirth... in the end, I went with the repeat c-section when I went into labor a week before my scheduled c-section. The biggest factor for me, was that I knew what I was getting into. Because I knew what mistakes I'd made (careless with leaning against things in my numb incision area, ended up infected!) I was able to recover faster and more comfortably the 2nd time around. I was only in the hospital 2 days my second time around.

I guess, my opinion was, the damage had been done the first time around and despite a lot of problems the first time, it wasn't that bad - and I didn't want to have the fear of the unknown (i'm a huge worrier) the 2nd time around. I wanted to enjoy the whole process more since I'd had a horrible experience laboring with my first (before they made the discovery at 9cm!) And by the way - my aunt had 4 c-sections due to her own medical problems 30-35 years ago and never had a problem due to the repeat c-sections. And I was able to left my toddler after a few weeks (very carefully - I'd have him stand on the couch if he wanted me to hold him) and you can still cuddle with them while sitting down with out hurting yourself.

But these are just my opinions and experiences - it sounds like you are leaning the same way, but facing that same regret of not doing it naturally - of missing that experience? I've gotten over that - I have two healthy, wonderful, beautiful kids and that's all that matters.

Good luck, both with your decision and with your childbirth - which ever way you end up doing it! I hope you have another wonderful, healthy baby!

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A.M.

answers from La Crosse on

I have not had a c-section, so I really can't help you with that, but I wanted to suggest that you contact your local ICAN group. I have a friend who joined one after a planned breech baby c-section, and I know it really helped her decide to have a VBAC with babe #2 (which she did, very successfully).
If nothing else they will have lots of information and things you maybe haven't thought about. And they are great support to help you through, no matter what you decide.
http://www.ican-online.org/

Good luck!
A.

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L.W.

answers from La Crosse on

J.,

I really think you have thought of everything. I had my first by unplanned c-section and three successful VBACs. First, rely on your doctor's advice. I healed quickly from the c-section - but still have scar tissue problems 13 years later. My sister, who has her 4th c-section scheduled for May, would have ruptured her uterus if she had even attempted a VBAC with her second child. The doctor's recommendation is very important. Then the rest is up to you and what you want to do. Right at the end I almost backed out and scheduled the c-section - but I was glad I didn't. I felt my recovery from VBAC was actually easier than c-section because I could get up and walk right away. I really missed my abs after the c-section; however, making sure we had someone to watch our nearly 3 year old when I finally went into labor was a big concern - the scheduling is really nice for planning purposes. I hope you have a wonderful experience and a happy, healthy baby!

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K.W.

answers from Omaha on

I had to have a c-section with my first because she became non-reactive. I did not enjoy the c-section experience at all. It was cold and sterile. I felt disconnected from the whole birth experience. I became pregnant 6 months later. Thank God I have a doctor who isn't on the "scare train of V-BAC's are bad." She watched me closely throughout the pregnancy to make sure everything was on track. I ended up having a V-BAC and it was awesome. The recovery time is MINIMAL compared to a c-section. I could still pick up my other daughter afterwards. I was able to do skin to skin in 20 minutes and attempt breastfeeding within a few minutes after that. I was so much more involved in the delivery and felt like I was actually there for the experience. It was hands down the best thing for me to do. I have another friend who has had 3 c-sections and swears by them. But please, please don't fall into the conception that V-BACS are nothing but dangerous...that is an outdated concept.

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C.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hey, J.! I don't have much personal experience to share with you. I have one daughter that I had vaginally after 36 hours of labor (24 of hard labor). I begged for a c-section at the end, but was very glad that I stuck it out and had her vaginally afterwards. I have a sister who's had 4 c-sections and I can tell you from what she's said...everytime they cut into your stomach muscles to get to a baby, it causes further damage. She's debating getting a tummy tuck right now because there's no amount of situps and weight loss that will fix her stomach.

From my experience with vaginal birth. Yes, I did have some tearing and an episiotomy. Honestly, it wasn't that bad to recover from though. They do give you medication to help ease the recovery period. As for sex, I've honestly had the opposite experience as your friends. I was amazed by how much more I've enjoyed sex since giving birth!

I'm in a similar situation to you at the moment. My daughter is 20 months old and I'm due in just a couple of weeks with my second child. The doctor is concerned with the size of this baby and has offered me a scheduled c-section. I think she was surprised by my "hell, no" response. I would rather have the opportunity to at least try to birth the baby vaginally than to jump right over that and schedule a c-section. They can always give me a c-section in the hospital if complications come up. As for baby size...I was told with my daugther that she would be at least 9 lbs (she was 7 lbs 9 oz, not even close) and this one I'm being told is already at 9 lbs. I've felt this baby's movements more and felt them higher up. Each pregnancy is different and they have no accurate way of determining the size of the baby (my sister was told she was having an 8 lb baby and her daughter was over 10 lbs!). You have to do what you feel is right for you. Doctors don't know everything and only you know what you're going to be most comfortable with.

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J.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi Jesse,

I've had an emergency c-section (2/25/05) and a VBAC (8/31/08). I was also concerned about an emergency c-section with #2 but was thankful I went for the VBAC. I had a shorter recovery time and less pain. I started to feel like myself a lot sooner. With the c-section, I was on painkillers and this time, just had to use motrin. I did have an episotomy but the recovery from that went well. We don't have family close by so our son was there when his little sister was born. Having a c-section costed a lot more plus there were complications with my baby leading to more hospital bills. With #2, she was healthy and we both had a short hospital stay. If you decide to have a VBAC, do not get induced or have an epidural. I think that helped me be successful. I also had a midwife versus an obgyn and that also increased my odds. I also did not notice a difference with bleeding versus a c-section or VBAC. Whatever you decide, I hope everything works out. It is a big decision to make and for me, the VBAC was the right one.

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G.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

Go for the v-bac Birth can be a very empowering experience and can be very healing. I also wonder if not trying would bring on more should or could haves if dont try if you do and it doesn't work you know what plan b is you've been their already but at least trust yourself enough to try. Also lok for a vbac support group like ICAN on line they would be great help. best of luck!

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S.S.

answers from Green Bay on

Hi Jessie!
Congrats on the new baby! I wanted to tell you my experience with c-section and vbac. My daughter was born by c-section because she was breech. She was born at 40w6d (never went into labor) and was 22 in and 8#2oz. I had an uneventful c-section and recovery. My son was born 2 1/2 yrs later at 38w2d and was 20 in and 6#9oz. I had a wonderful vbac with no meds and was in labor for about 5 hours. One of the best experiences of my life. I did have a 3rd degree tear, but it healed nicely. My next son was born 2 1/2 yrs later at 36w6d and was 19 in and 6#8 oz. He was also born by vbac and I was in labor about the same amount of time. This time I had a 2nd degree tear outside and one inside. I felt so great after I had him that I was up and around very shortly after. I had no recovery because there was nothing to recover from. I am pregnant again and due in June. I will be having another vbac as long as it works out. I personally feel vbac was best for me and I know I would have regretted it if I hadn't at least tried.

Good luck with whatever decision you make. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them for you.

S.

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M.W.

answers from St. Cloud on

Our first was born by c-section after 13 hours of labor and then 3 hours of pushing. She just wouldn't (or couldn't) come down.... She was 7# 12 oz.

Our second was VBAC. I had 6 hours of labor and then 4 hours of pushing. I did get him out but it was a complicated birth because I started hyperventilating and my blood pressure sky-rocketed and he was not breathing because he got stuck (shoulder distocia). THIS IS NOT A TYPICAL THING HOWEVER. Our son was 9# 2 oz. and is PERFECTLY HEALTHY TODAY!!!--now 19 months old.

+ On that note: They had to use a vacuum to get him to start crowning and I would NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!!! Those interventions are so hard on the baby. They actually thought our son had brain damage because of it. Thankfully God spared him from that. So, if you chose a VBAC I would research all the interventions that they may suggest and have a plan written up so you know what you want. That way you can switch over to a c-section if you chose with all the knowledge you have learned....

Most VBAC's are safer than c-sections. Depending on the reason for the first c-section. My labor was AWESOME with my 2nd and I would LOVE another v-bac EXCEPT the doc and midwife said my pelvis is not shpaed well and I will have trouble getting every baby to come down..... So, I will have to have c-sections for any future babies that God choses to bless us with.

You need to chose what you are most comfortable with. You are the one going through this and you are the one who has to live with the decision. Don't let anyone convince you one way or the other. ULTIMATELY IT IS YOUR DECISION!!!

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B.W.

answers from Fargo on

My first child was born via c-section & when I was pregnant with my second, I too had to weigh things out to decide. I chose another c-section.
1. I could arrange for someone to take care of my 19 month old while my husband & I were in the hospital for the procedure.
2. I could go in a week early.
3. I already knew what to expect with a c-section & this time I wouldn't have 9 hours of back labor prior to it.
4. I was told if I chose VB, I would be confined to the bed since I would need to be constantly monitored to make sure I didn't rupture from the first C-S. When I labored with my oldest I was walking the halls, using a birthing ball, sitting in a rocking chair, took a shower, etc & these things I was told would not be allowed for my second. I didn't like the idea of being confined.

Honestly, the second c-section was much easier to recover from. Maybe it's because I knew what to expect??? I had my son in the morning and was walking the halls that evening. I am glad that I chose that route & have not regretted it.

Good luck on your choice! I know it isn't an easy one to make.

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R.P.

answers from St. Cloud on

Hi J.
I had an emergency c-sec w/my first as we had 'failure to progress' after 3 1/2 days of labor, 5 epidurals, and lots of petocin! That said, I was terrified of labor again and opted for a planned c-sec w/our second baby. I wish I had known that, although it's considered 'routine surgery' it is still major surgery. Let me also preface my response with this: every woman and delivery is different, and my story is not meant at all to scare you, just to help motivate you to do more research and consider VBAC. (and also i realize mine is a freak incident and not likely to happen again) I had major internal bleeding moments after my 2nd c-sec and almost died in the recovery room on the day of our planned c-section. They had to rush me back into the OR, open me up again, and pump me full of 5 blood transfusions to save my life. My doctor had to remove an ovary just to find the source of the bleeding. She didn't want me to have any more kids since the rule around here is that they won't open you up more than 3 times. I burned up my 3rd time when they had to keep me alive w/the emergency surgery. So my recovery time was weeks. I spent 2 days in the critical care unit without my baby and fighting for life. It was after this trauma that I started finding all sorts of information on the internet about how internal bleeding is very common in planned c-sections. I wish now that I had at least tried for labor first. I have a good friend who is on baby # 4. She has had 2 VBACs and is planning to do this next one at home! She did the others with help from a dula and a midwife. I also have a friend who gave birth to a - not joking - 12 pound baby, at home, also with a midwife and dula around. I am starting to see that these 'alternative medicine' practices maybe aren't so crazy, and there may be something to them. My friend believed that if she could relax properly (without meds) then she wouldn't have needed the first emergency c-sec, and now i'm wondering about it myself. I had soooo many feelings of failure after the first one, and felt that I was less of a woman for not being able to deliver vaginaly. With the 2nd pregnancy I lived in fear and let that fear of bad scary labor push me into the un-educated decision of a repeat c-section....maybe I would've tried for labor again. Best of luck - and know that it'll all work out in the end. your health and baby's health is really all that matters, no matter how baby shows up!

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B.C.

answers from Des Moines on

I had an emergency C-section with my daughter 4 months ago. I asked my doctor afterwards what their policy is on VBAC for our future second child. He said there are very few Drs. that even try VBAC in the area(Des Moines, IA). The main concern is uteran rupture. He said if I wanted to try VBAC I would need to switch to another Dr's office. Otherwise they do a scheduled C-section at 39 weeks. I told him I would rather be safe than sorry. I have no problem doing another C-section. I would rather have alittle more recovery time on my hands so that the baby is safe. Good luck with your decision, but your Dr will be the major deciding factor. They might not give you the option of VBAC.

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C.D.

answers from La Crosse on

One of my best friends had a vbac twice, so I know it does happen. I struggled to have a vbac but I ended up having another cesarean section surgery to birth my second child (she was almost 9 1/2 lbs, half a pound smaller than my first!). I think your best chance of having a vbac is to do as much relaxing as possible right now until the baby is born. Get prenatal massages from a licensed massage therapist and avoid caffeine. The less stress the better for you, and the better for baby. I think that you are trying to decide something that is undecidable at the moment and you know that deep down, you will not have a choice in the end anyhow. I think both methods of birth you are trying to choose are risky given your circumstances. A cesarean section way of birthing is, as you know but I am sure do not hear often, major abdominal surgery. I do believe it can be a difficult process to live through. In the way of which birthing method is more difficult, one thing that speaks for itself is with insurance: there's got to be a reason why my insurance covers me to stay in the hospital only up to 2 days for a vaginal birth--and for a cesarean section birth I can stay 4 days (and I did both times, thank you very much!). Your chances of another cesarean section are greater because you have already had one with your first baby. From everything you wrote it sounds like you are worried about getting some awful tear (a very, very reasonable concern), and you are worried about the unpredictability of a vaginal birth. I have had two non-vaginal births and I really don't feel I was missing anything by having to go that route both times. I am actually glad I didn't have to vaginally deliver two very large babies--my body's just not equipped for that! Congratulations on your new baby. I think everything will be just fine for you!!

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