Seeking Feedback from Moms Who Have Attempted VBAC

Updated on June 05, 2009
H.L. asks from Austin, TX
21 answers

I am 23 weeks pregnant and debating whether or not to attempt a VBAC for my second child's birth; I had a c-section last time because the baby was breech, and my doctor is in favor of either decision I make for this birth. I had a very rough recovery from my previous c-section, so I'd love to avoid that this time around...also a VBAC entices me because I know it is often better if you want to have three or more children than having multiple c-sections. I am very familiar with the technical risks and benefits of the decision, but would love to hear some personal testimony from moms that have successfully or unsuccessfully attempted VBAC. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much to everyone for all your replies! I read "Thinking Women's Guide to a Better Birth" and 2 other books that dealt specifically with VBACs, one which was neither for nor against them, but just very straightforward. Reading so much ahead of time made me feel much more comfortable proceeding with the VBAC, which I had last week! I had a very long labor with strong contractions at home for 3 days before I went to the hospital, and it was slow going there too, but still so worth it. The whole experience was more satisfying than the c-section, especially recovery which has been SO MUCH better this time. While all that really matters is having a healthy baby after delivery whether vaginal or surgical, I am so pleased that I did the VBAC--thanks to ALL of you for your helpful replies that helped me make a decision!
H.

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L.F.

answers from Houston on

I had my 2nd child VBAC and everything worked out wonderfully. No problems at all. I'd do that again...anything to avoid a c-section. Good luck.

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C.P.

answers from Austin on

my first was breech also - i desperately wanted a VBAC, but my second child was breech as well. I just had my 3rd CSection and though recovery from it gets easier with each birth, I sooo wish I could have experienced a vaginal birth. Good luck in whatever decision you choose.

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S.H.

answers from San Antonio on

Yea for VBAC!! I VBACed at home and had a healthy 8.5 lb boy. Have you read the Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth? That will provide you with great statistical information to quell the strong opinions of nay-sayers.

I labored, btw, for 44 hours. 20 of those were transition. I had an AMAZING team of midwives. If you are in the San Antonio or surrounding areas, I HIGHLY reccommend Alisa Voss and Jennifer Kelleher as midwives to assist a VBAC.

I had been seeing the Lone Star Midwives who deliver at St. Lukes. To my knowledge they are the only hospital midwives in town. They said they wouldn't let me labor for 14 hours, so he would have been a repeat C-section even with them.

As it was, I was encouraged to eat and drink, my midwives took EXCELLENT care of me, and my baby was born safely in the presence of saintly people and was laid on my chest to nurse as nature intended as soon as he was born. I'm fairly certain I drifted in and out of sleep. It had been one of the hardest labors/ births my midwives had ever seen. It hurt for sure, but I would make that same decision again in a heartbeat.

Dr. Lackritz, my OB, encouraged me to VBAC, though he admitted he could not assist the birth due to insurance reasons. He said that in 1994 there was one single case of a ruptured uterus in SA and the doctor had left the hospital for lunch at the time, so the woman bled a lot. She sued and since then no OB in town will do them. Dr. L told me that before that he did them all the time and never had a problem. He encouraged me to VBAC at home. I'm grateful to him for being so candid.

You probably already know this, but there are some conditions that need to be met for optimal VBAC success:

1. Low transverse incision
2. Four years since your last birth
3. Be under 35 years old
4. Double sutured uterine closure.

So I wish you the best, H.. If you have any other questions, please PM me.

Umber

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A.M.

answers from Austin on

I just delivered my three-week old daughter via VBAC, and I was really surprised at how much faster the recovery time was than with my 3 year old (delivered via C b/c of fetal distress). I chose this VBAC, and my doctor was very supportive, and I had an overall good experience. It was a long labor (my daughter was born almost 22 hours after my water broke), but only an hour and a half of pushing. (I wonder if labor might have been shorter if i had skipped the epidural, or if I had labored lying on my left side instead of flat on my back. The last nurse I had encouraged me to move, and helped adjust the monitors so I could, but the others wouldn't allow it b/c moving disrupted the monitors. I wish I had insisted on moving; it would have been worth a few arguments w/ nurses to cut an hour or two off of labor.) You will be monitored more, b/c of the slight increase in a chance of uterine rupture (about 1% increase, if I'm not mistaken. Check out www.ican-online.org) And while it's true that you can't be INDUCED with a VBAC, I was augmented with pitocin (with even more careful monitoring). W/out the epidural or the pitocin, I would have had the option of wireless telemtric monitoring, I'm told, and would have been allowed to labor like any other mom, just have gotten more frequent checks.

I do have to say, though, that this feels sort of - weird. The C was so much harder to recover from (at three weeks, I think I was still on painkillers), and I suppose that combined with the epidural during labor, I feel like this was so fast and easy. It was like, pregnant, brief hospital stay (for various reasons, we opted for early discharge), home and not pregnant with a kid. I was sore and swollen for a couple of days (and I still have some tingling and itching where the stitches and catheter were) but overall, I feel great!

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M.W.

answers from Killeen on

This should be your personal choice. If you want a VBAC or another c-section, you should go with the one you feel most comfortable with. I have had 5 c-sections and one VBAC (she was my second baby.) Although they stress not to have multiple c-sections, it's really not THAT BAD. My first baby was an emergency c-section (for multiple reasons) and my second was a VBAC (due to Womack Army hospital INSISTING that they wouldn't do another c-section unless I was DYING...their words.) At any rate, the VBAC was the hardest and longest recovery of them all. With each section, the healing time was quicker. With my last baby (he's now 3 months old) I was power walking 4 miles a day after delivery. Good luck and what ever you choose will be the right choice for you, regardless of what others opinions are! :)

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J.N.

answers from Houston on

Hi H.,

I had a successful vbac in september of last year. I have had a total of 4 children. I had 2 natural births, a csection (breech), and a vbac. My vbac was "risky" because it had only been 13 mos since my section (to the day). However, everything worked out great. I was so happy to have a vbac, since I hated the section recovery, having to depend on other people for so long. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I'm gonna have my 2nd vbac in October (Lord willing) so hopefully everything will go well then.

God bless,

J.

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L.K.

answers from Austin on

Hi,

I am a midwife here in Austin. I just attended the birth of a mom tonight who was a VBAC. She had a beautiful birth. You should for sure try to have a VBAC. It is so much healthier for you and the baby. I am also a former NICU Respiratory Therapist and a c-section is so hard on the baby. I would highly suggest you switch to a midwife. It is very difficult to have a successful VBAC in the hospital. There are some great books you can read. Another poster suggested The thinking woman's guide to better birth. I love this book. Another great book is Pushed by Jennifer Block. If you have any questions about homebirth or midwives please feel free to ask me.

Blessings to you,
L.

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R.B.

answers from College Station on

I haven't had a c-section--I've had 3 babies, all vaginally without drugs--but I've had a number of friends and family members who have had multiple c-sections, and their experiences with c-sections have echoed mine with the vaginal deliveries: the first one is hard, but the next ones get easier. They've said that the recovery from the second c-section is much, much, much easier than the recovery from the first one. I'm not telling you this to persuade you that you shouldn't have a VBAC--obviously I'm personally in favor of natural deliveries!--but I wanted to give you another perspective which I didn't see among previous posters, so you can better make your decision. I hope you have a healthy pregnancy and a happy delivery, however you decide you want to do it!

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S.M.

answers from Austin on

Cudos to your doctor for even being open to VBAC!!! So many doctors and Hospitals are so closed minded. The research is out there, c-sections are still major surgery! Have you seen the Business of Being Born?
This is a tough choice and I'm sure you will make the right one for your family! Best of luck!

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D.K.

answers from Houston on

I had three c-sections. The last one was 14 years ago so some things may have changed but let me give you my experience. After my first one, I too wanted to try and do a vbac. My doctor, who had done OB-GYN work while in the military, said that the women in the service were the "trials" for this type of procedure. What he told me was that if I chose to do this, I would have to find another doctor because he didn't recommend it. That at the point you realize there is a problem, you've already lost the baby. So, I went with the c-section on baby number two. Baby number three comes along and she's almost 9 lbs. three weeks before delivery. For other reasons, they decide to take her early and this delivery was video-taped. The doctor states quite plainly on the tape that he could SEE THROUGH my scar to the baby, it had stretched that thin! Any attempt at a vbac would have resulted in a rupture and this pregnancy was 13 years following my number two baby, so it had plenty of years to heal. Obviously, this is not a typical situation, but I thought I should share. Good luck in whatever you decide. Just remember, it doesn't matter how they get here just that they arrive safely and healthy!

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S.C.

answers from Houston on

Hi H.,

I have not personally done a VBAC, but my siter-in-law did and it was the bet experience of her life. She did tons of research and I am sure she wouldn't mind sharing her story with you if you are interested. If you are interested let me know and I am sure I can get you hooked u through e-mail.

God Bless,
S.

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D.

answers from Houston on

I've had two babies by vbac. I would absolutely never repeat my c-section experience on purpose. VBAC is awesome. I highly recommend giving it a go. Do your research and surround yourself with people who are comfortable and knowledgable about natural birth. "A Thinking Woman's Guide to Childbirth" by Goer is a great resource.

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J.M.

answers from Austin on

First, I am so happy to hear that your doctor is letting you decide! I had a really hard time finding someone who would let me make my own decision, because most doctors I looked into are no longer willing to try for a VBAC. I am also a VBAC and wanted very badly to avoid another c-section. I am proud to say that I was very successful and was only in labor (from the first pain to holding my beautiful baby boy) for less than two hours. I prepared myself mentally for the possibility that it may not work out the way I hoped, and I was worried for a while because he was breech up until 38 weeks. I did all the tricks to flip him, including going to a chiropractor and following the stuff suggested on spinningbabies.com. The difference between births has been absolutely amazing! I didn't get the skin-to-skin time with my first child for a whole hour and I was shaking from the epidural. I hated the long recovery time and wanted to avoid it if at all possible. I cannot describe the difference that first hour makes. I also appreciate that I was able to be home sooner, I was able to move without pain the same day I gave birth. I am the biggest advocate of a VBAC. I know there are lots of risks, but I would take the risks any day personally!

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M.K.

answers from Houston on

hi

i had a vbac, even though i didnt want one, because my daughter had other ideas.

i had a c section the first time coz my son was posterior positioned, and i pushed for 3 hours and he wouldnt budge, this time around my dr told me i would have to have a c section because i had one the first time.
i was actually quite glad because i didnt want a repeat of last time.
well i was scheduled for 6 am on the 3rd of april, and on the 2nd of april at 2pm i started to feel labor pains, by 5.30 my duaghter was born, 30 mins after we reached the hospital, i had no pain meds and was out of bed within an hour - SO much easier than the c section.
i was healed up within a week, after the vag birth, i had a little tear which they stitched up right away, and a little swelling, which was tender for a few days.
of course it depends on the reason you had a c section in the first place - i wouldnt like to have a vaginal breech birth, but if your baby is normal then go for a vag.
i think the possibility of a uterine rupture during vbac is absolutely tiny - i have no idea why dr's insist on c section after c section

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S.B.

answers from Houston on

I echo everyone else in saying that you need to make the decision that you are comfortable with. I had my first by c-section 14 years ago because he was breech. Since then I have had 3 VBACs. All were fairly quick and (relatively) easy. My longest labor was 14 hours. The last one (he's 2 1/2) was delivered 14 minutes after we arrived at the hospital...with no drugs! I'm really not sure I'd want to repeat that experience. :-)

J.B.

answers from Houston on

I haven't had a c-section but most women I know say that a vaginal birth is so much easier to recover from than a c-section. I felt great after my vaginal delivery even though I had to have 18 stiches! I was really proud of myself for doing it successfully and I felt really empowered! Right after I pushed him out I shouted "man, I can do anything!" and I wanted a cheeseburger:) I am really glad I got to hold and breastfeed my little one immediately and I personally did not have any trouble with pain or rough periods, but I was nursing exclusively so I didn't have a period for a year, yeah!! Thank God for medically necessary c-sections, but I can tell you that from my experience I had my last natural and recovered really easily and plan to do the same with the one I have in the oven now. I know whatever you decide will be great, congratulations!!

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S.M.

answers from El Paso on

Hello Hillary,
My second child was a c-section (she was also breech) and I had a VBAC with my third. My doctor was very supportive of either decision I made. After much prayer, discussion with my husband and research on the internet I opted to try the VBAC. I went in for a scheduled inducement in order to have close observation and also to have the epidural in place just in case they had to perform an emergency c-section. The whole experience was positive and much better for me than the c-section (although my c-section was without incident). Good luck with your pregnancy and birth (whichever way you decide). Congratulations. An interesting side note, not long after I had my VBAC, both the hospitals in my town decided they would no longer allow VBACs, if you had a previous c-section you had to have a repeat c-section.

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S.K.

answers from Houston on

My first son was breech and I had a c-section. I had planned on having another c-section with my 2nd son, partially because I knew what to expect, and partially because we wanted to be able to somewhat plan his birth since there was a very good chance my husband might not be there for the birth (you can't induce after having a c-section). But I went into labor the day before my scheduled c-section. The baby came pretty fast, so by the time I got to the hospital he was already headed down the birth canal (dr. said he probably would have been born in the car except that he was face up and resisting). I could have still had a c-section if I wanted to, but it would have been more difficult. My doctor had already told me that I was a good candidate for a VBAC, so I opted to have one. It was definitely an easier recovery. My suggestion would be to go for the VBAC, but have a tentative plan with your dr. as to when you might decide to have a c-section. In other words, if you have been in labor for several hours with little progression, then you might want a c-section. My dr. said that women that labor for a long time and then have a c-section have harder recoveries. I would also talk to your dr. if you are planning a VBAC without an epidural. There might be a concern that if something goes wrong that they might have to put you under general anesthesia to get the baby out quickly. If the epidural is in place, then they won't have to do that. But more than likely, nothing will go wrong.

By the way, you are lucky to have a dr. that supports VBACs. My dr. did also, and I didn't realize how lucky I was at the time.

Good luck with your decision and with the birth. Please post your decision as well as how everything goes with the birth!

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J.C.

answers from San Antonio on

Hi H.,

I had a VBAC, not by choice. My first was a c-section because he was breech. The night before my scheduled c-section, I went into labor unbeknownst to me. I recovered very quickly with my c-section. I had him on Friday and was out running erands on Monday. It took a lot longer to recover from the vaginal birth and the periods were much heavier and more painful afterwards as well. I am done having babies, but if I were to have any more, I would definitely do the c-section. Just my personal opinion. It seems like you had a harder recovery with your c-section. We can all give you advice, but only you will know what is best for you. Good luck!

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M.W.

answers from Houston on

I have never had a c-section and had all 5 of my kids vaginally. However, a friend of mine had 3 c-sections. During the procedure on the 3rd one, her OB told her that the lining of her uterus was so thin that he could see through it like a window. He told her it wouldn't be safe for her to have anymore babies either Csection or vaginally. He was surprised she didn't rupture during the pregnancy. I think every woman is different and it just depends on how well your body handles it because I don't think that her situation is all that common. Maybe your OB can tell you.

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K.D.

answers from Houston on

Make sure you are comfortable with your own decision! That is my number one piece of advice. I was convinced by my doctor to have a VBAC after my 1st was c-section because he was breech. I was scared to death to deliver, but finally decided to try. My dr. explained to me that your first VBAC is like a first delivery and mine was not a good experience. I pushed forever and they just about stopped when she finally dropped and delivered after an episiotomy. I had a much harder time with the recovery and wished I'd not let myself be pushed into this decision. I'm not trying to say my feelings are right or wrong, just that you have to look at every possibility and make sure you are comfortable, and making the right decision for your body and mind. Every birth experience is different! And, be prepared for the possibility that your body may make the choice for you, like some of the other women pointed out. Good luck and stay strong. Make it your own birth, not your doctor's.

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