Why I Chose to Have a Repeat C Section Rather than a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and What I Wish I Considered
When I found out I was pregnant with my second child I was surprised, elated and thankful. My husband and I instantly went on to talking about what having two kids meant. We imagined sisters or a sister and brother and planned our little family of four. We had a boy and girl name picked out pretty quickly (okay, we had them picked out since college) and we were already planning his or her room. We can’t help ourselves. We are planners and dreamers and always have been. I thought about the birth of my second briefly (because I can’t help myself from planning) but tried my best to put it out of my thoughts.
At my first midwife appointment I was quickly asked how I thought I would deliver our new little bean. The right answer, what I thought the ‘good mother’ answer was, the answer I thought she’d want to hear is that I would try for a VBAC. She went on to do her pelvic exam and the images of being checked during labor flooded through my brain as they have all pelvic exams since my first labor. I tried best to control my shaking and thoughts. For the next few months I told myself Sure, Kim you will try to have a natural birth again, it can’t be worse, right? This is what the right thing to do is.
Around 7 or 8 months I confronted the fact that baby will indeed be born and I have to actually decide what I think is best. After a hard decision process I finally decided on a repeat C-Section for a couple of reasons, Self-Preservation being the first but also the convenience factor played in.
I am a big pregnant lady, I mean BIG, that makes BIG babies. I have a small frame and basically no torso so baby goes out. When I first had an appointment with one of my doctors she looked at my file and explained that, of course, I could end up with a cesarean. The second doctor said the same thing. Due to my anxiety about delivery and the size of my baby they believed C-Section would be the best option for me. I knew this information but hearing it out loud made it real. My first was over 9 pounds and she had a very large head. I was measuring ahead the whole pregnancy. I was horrified of going through another long labor, with meconium in the water and heartbeat dropping, to end up with another c section. Both doctors agreed that my daughter could be stuck in the same position as my first due to my uterus and hip placement. Thoughts kept running through my head: Did I really want to go through the emotional stress of that let down or sense of failure again? Did I want to spend my time with my newborn depressed about how my labor ended in another ceserean despite all of our best efforts? I didn’t. I know myself and I know that going through with a repeat c-section would be the best decision for me. I could focus on my newborn baby. It being all about her and not about the process. I wouldn’t worry about my uterus rupturing (which I know is rare but it was one of those things that made me crazy) and not being able to have another child. When my husband and I finally decided to have a Repeat C-Section it was like a wave of relief hit me. The rest of my pregnancy was a breeze and I felt at peace. This was the best thing I could due for my little babe in utero.
Besides all of the scary, intense stuff..the convenience of having another C-Section also played into our decision. As shallow as this sounds, it’s true. With a scheduled c-section you plan the day. This makes it easy to schedule for family or friends to watch your older children. It’s quick; for Natalie we got to the hospital at 6:30 and by 8 had a BABY! The whole system was familiar because I had been through it before. My midwife accompanied me through my Repeat C-Section and I was able to nurse right after and have most of our golden hour. My arms weren’t strapped. I felt in control. This was the best decision for my family. I could focus on my newborn (Natalie) without feeling stressed or disappointed.
What I wish I had considered before having a Repeat C-Section was that recovery is tough. You’re probably thinking, umm.. DUH? But for me my first recovery was relatively easy. However, I didn’t have a toddler to chase around. I came home from the hospital with a baby for Claire to share Mommy’s love with and I couldn’t pick her up. FOR THREE WEEKS. Claire was still in her crib! Why didn’t I think of this?? We made a stepstool contraption so that she could go in and out by herself. Before Natalie was born I rocked her to sleep every night. All of a sudden I couldn’t do that anymore. In hindsight, I would have put Claire in a toddler bed and I would have worked on strategies for getting her to bed without me rocking her. When I came home and realized the massive change Claire had to deal with becoming a big sister and also having her mommy have a booboo that prevents her from picking her up broke my heart.
Could I have had an VBAC? Maybe. Both of my doctors and my midwives thought it was a long shot. When Natalie was born at 9 pounds 9 ounces my midwife even said she was glad I went with the Repeat Section as Natalie would likely have gotten stuck.
Was trying for a VBAC worth risking my anxiety? Not for me.
Share your story. Did you choose a VBAC or a Repeat C-Section. Why?