{GRFB} Why I’m Choosing Not To Have A Repeat C-Section

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012 | 4 comments

{This post was written in honor of April being Cesarean Awareness Month and inspired by the various brave posts I read this month on Mommyish.com}

Most pregnant women carry for 9 months with the expectation that at the end of the pregnancy, they will delivery a baby the old fashioned natural way– and by natural, I mean vaginal. Unless there is a pre-existing circumstance that would require a woman to plan for a c-section in advance, the c-section conversation/decision usually doesn’t come until the final days of the pregnancy (most times the final moments!), when an issue presents itself. Because I have had one prior c-section, I have one of those “pre-existing circumstances” and therefore have the option to choose a c-section now.

I am choosing not to.

I originally planned to call this post “Why I’m Having a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)”, but I realized that’s not necessarily a true statement. Just because I want it, doesn’t mean it will actually happen. The only true statement is, that at this point in time, I am not electing to have a repeat c-section with this pregnancy. I am hoping to have a VBAC. No, that’s not even right. I am hoping that circumstances with this pregnancy are good/normal and that allows me to have a successful VBAC.

Why VBAC?

Even though VBACs are becoming more common, I am still often asked, “Why not just have the repeat c-section?” This is generally followed by… “I mean, you’ve already had one. You know what the recovery is like. You can actually schedule your baby’s birth date. You don’t have to carry to 40 weeks. Why would you choose to go through labor when you can just skip it? Don’t you want to keep your who-ha in tact? You are bat shit crazy, girl.”

Believe me when I say this isn’t a willy-nilly decision. We’ve given the matter plenty of thought. The Hubs and I started talking about it just after I scheduled the c-section with Brady (yes, BEFORE we had him). We discussed it in greater detail in the months we were trying for baby #2, and we gave it another round of thought after our first meeting with my new OB here in CA. Opposite from my OB in Chicago, he actually prefers repeat c-sections and tried to talk us into one. But we had done our homework; we had all the facts and knew we were making a sound, rational decision, and we stuck to our guns. Luckily, he was “supportive” of our choice, though he still prefers the other route.

I guess what it comes down to is that I want to make the best decision possible for me and the baby (and *gasp* possible future babies), given the specific circumstances at the time of this birth. I had a c-section with Brady because we found out at 41 weeks and 1 day that he was breech. It was too late to do anything else. But if this baby is a normal size, he’s not breech, and I don’t have any other extenuating circumstances that would put him or I at risk, it’s a perfectly reasonable request to try and have a vaginal birth. Why prepare now for a surgery that I may not actually need?

Then why stay with this OB, you ask?

Well, it’s a good practice. My PCP highly recommended him. They deliver at a good hospital. He’s delivered many babies via VBAC. Plus, I was already 12 weeks along and I’m just not a “shop around for an OB” kind-of girl. I hope and pray it’s not a choice that’s going to come back to bite me mid-July (statistics show that women have a higher rate of VBAC success with an OB who is fully supportive of this approach), but I’m okay with my decision at this point. And I am I’m not a “fall-on-my-sword-I’m-going-to-push-this-baby-out-of-my-who-ha-no-matter-what” kind-of girl either. If there is a sound medical reason to have a c-section when the time comes, I will do what the doctor recommends.

So why the push for the VBAC, really?

I’d be lying if I said this was all about science, but there is an emotional piece. My physical recovery after having Brady was actually not all that bad. I can’t compare it to a vaginal delivery, obviously, but as far as other c-section recovery stories go, mine seemed relatively easy. Yes, my abdomen was extremely sore (thanks to the nurse who stopped bringing me my pain killers in the middle of the night!!), I couldn’t walk up the stairs to my second floor condo without assistance, and the area around the incision was numb for almost a year afterwards. But the emotional recovery was much, much more difficult for me.

{Now, before I go on, let me say this… While researching, I read accounts from many other women who have gone through similar situations and feel exactly the same way as I did/do. I’ve struggled with my feelings of sadness, shortcomings, and selfishness and it helped to know I was not alone. I’ve found comfort in their words. I’ve also seen how readers have torn them apart for being honest about their feelings– telling them to get over themselves, to stop being so selfish, that they’re lucky to have a healthy, happy baby and to shut their mouths. To be honest, I reconsidered writing this post several times out of fear of being judged, but then I reminded myself that the encouraging words I post on those blogs applies to me as well… my feelings are real and I’m entitled to them. I am not ashamed for wanting to experience a vaginal birth.}

I was actually somewhat terrified of a vaginal delivery and had joked many times prior to Brady’s birth that I was probably a “c-section kind-of girl”. No mystery, no awkwardness, no mess, and best of all, virtually no pain. Perfect. But I wasn’t prepared at all for the feelings that came in the weeks and months after the c-section. I couldn’t have imagined the emotional void that also came along with my mess-free birth.

I found myself longing for the “delivery” that never came to be. The water breaking and contractions that signaled the end of pregnancy was near. The unexpected excitement and anticipation that we were going to be meeting our little one whether we were ready or not. The hours of laboring with The Hubs, calling him terrible names and unleashing years of pent up anger about how he loads the dishwasher all wrong (ok, that part is only somewhat true). The intimacy that is shared between two people when you experience the greatest gift God gives us. The pain that would later become a badge of honor. Holding my baby for the very first time, skin on skin, creating a bond that would last an eternity. The story I would share with my son years later when he asked about the day he was born.

Yes, there is still a story, and all that matters is that he is here. Safe. Healthy. Happy (most days). In my head I know that the c-section was just a medical procedure and that I am as much a Mother as anyone who delivered vaginally. That I couldn’t do anything to prevent the outcome; that I am not a failure. But there is still so much that is missing for me and I have never been able to fully get over it. I know there are no promises that I will come out of a vaginal delivery with everything tied up in a nice, neat package. Who knows, I may actually come out with a whole new mess of problems! But in my heart I know I just have to try.

Boy, I used the word “vaginally” more times in this post than I have in my entire life {breaks awkward tension of telling complete strangers way too much about my personal feelings.}

So there you have it. 28 weeks pregnant and Getting Ready For Baby. I would love to hear from anyone who has attempted and/or had a successful VBAC. What worked for you? What should I know that I might not have read? Any tips and all words of encouragement are much appreciated!

4 Comments

  1. First of all, you look darling in your black and grey striped shirt. :) I am proud of you for sharing your personal thoughts. Well said girlie!

    • Thanks Kristin! More stripes… yikes!

  2. Go for it! People assumed I would have a c-section with twins. My docs preferred natural delivery, especially since I had a child at home. My little stinker, Olivia, went breech at 31 weeks— what were the chances! I was so upset and a c-section was scheduled. How was I going to care for my oldest son? I live in a town home that has four flights of stairs? I had weeks of anxiety about it. At 36 week check up–stinker was head down again. I went home, said my prayers to St. Jude and my water broke at midnight. Seven hours later I met Olivia Virginia and Nathaniel Jude. (Yes, St. Jude for all of his help that day. ) I think I was so anxious about a c-section, that I forgot to get a "game face" on for the delivery. Even though I had a vaginal delivery with Johnner–he was only 2 lbs. So the experience was totally different. The delivery was longer, it hurt more, I puked more-I didn't get an epidural until the last minute. So, I say go for it! Just make sure you have your game face on the day of delivery–it will help you be in the moment more. P.S. I know at least 5 people who had VBACs. It can be done!

    • Thanks Beth, I am definitely saying my prayers and "preparing" as best I can. I had no idea your son was so tiny when he was born. Glad everyone is healthy, happy and doing well. I just hope this little guy doesn't start mimicking his big brother in-utero and go breech himself! Keep thinking good thoughts for me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge