If you have had a previous C-section birth, you now have a choice for your next birth. Will you move forward with a repeat C-section or try for a vaginal birth?
I thought I would take some time to share my insight as someone who has done both. For my first kiddo, I had an induction that led to a c-section. When I got pregnant again, I was told “once a cesarean always a cesarean”. I didn’t even question if I could have tried for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I went through my whole pregnancy with the thought that I would schedule my cesarean and that was it.
I had a very traumatic first c-section so to say I was not looking forward to this one was a HUGE understatement. Nonetheless, the chosen date came and the walk to the operating room was long. I remember laying on the table and my only desire was to be awake for this baby’s birth since I wasn’t able to be awake for my first.
The C-section was actually very quick and he was born. All 9 pounds and 2 ounces of him. I thought in my mind, I was glad I had a c section because he was the same size my daughter was, and she had to also be born via C-section. I felt good about my decision and good about this birth. I got to hold him very soon after in recovery and it was such a different experience than with my daughter.
The recovery was still rough however. I am a self named wuss and whiner. I don’t care to be in any pain and taking care of a 3.5 year old and a newborn was harder than I thought. My daughter was super self sufficient and helpful but I still had to move more than when I was just caring for a newborn.
When I got pregnant again with my third, I just assumed I would have a three peat c-section. I was a little more nervous because the risks do rise with each cesarean a mother has. Yet until about 20 weeks I still planned on my surgical birth.
At my 20 week ultrasound, the doctor I was using said this baby looked to be on track for normal weight. That was a huge shock to my ears. My kids always ran large for gestational age, and this baby was normal size. That one thought burst into my desire to try for my vaginal birth.
I accepted the c sections because I thought my kids were too big to come out vaginally but this baby was shown to be different. Could I do it? Could I finally get my vaginal birth?
Unfortunately the doctor I had at the time was not comfortable with my desire to attempt a TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean). I was now on the hunt for a provider that would support me through an attempt of a VBA2C ( Vaginal Birth After 2 cesareans) The risks of a vaginal birth after two c sections are higher than after just one c section, but I wasn’t giving up yet.
I must have met with five different doctors and all but one said they would consider it **IF**
1. I went into labor on my own by my due date.
2. I didn’t require any medications like pitocin.
3. I would accept an epidural incase we needed a repeat c section in the end.
4 out of 5 of those meetings left me in a puddle of emotional tears. BUT the 5th doctor gave me a green light with no rules attached. He and his female partner were 100% comfortable and said I deserved a chance to achieve my birth goals.
This was my smallest baby. My basketball baby 🙂
I had a great rest of pregnancy. At 39 weeks and 6 days (Friday) my cervix was 0cm open, firm, posterior and long. I was showing ZERO signs of having this baby anytime soon. I was drained and defeated. Plus my “smaller” baby apparently had a growth spurt because my son looked very nice and large.
Sunday night around 8pm however, my baby and body decided it was time! My VBAC was amazing. It was the healing birth I needed. I was able to prove to myself I was not broken, I could do this and I pushed out an 8 pound 10 ounce healthy baby boy, in only 20 minutes.
My recovery was just night and day different from my c sections. I did end up with a 2nd degree tear and that recovered easily.
When considering if you want to have a repeat cesarean or a VBAC, look inward. What feels right for you mentally and physically at this moment. The good thing is there are no wrong answers. There is not a right or wrong way to give birth. If you feel cared for, respected, honored, a part of the team and listened to, your birth will be something you look back onto as a good experience.
- Make sure you feel comfortable with your provider
- Read up on the risks and benefits of VBACs and Repeat C Sections
- Write down your concerns and fears for both options and see if hiring a birth doula may be helpful.
- Have a deep honest conversation with your provider about your desires and concerns.
- TRUST YOUR INTUITION
- Make your plan and prepare for a great birth
If you happen to desire to listen to my VBAC birth experience, you can listen to that here or at the Omaha Birth & Babies Podcast on Apple Podcasts.