Once a Cesarean, Always a Cesarean isn’t the case anymore. I just had a successful vaginal birth after a cesarean or a VBAC. I have had two c-sections so it was a VBA2C. For those interested or thinking of one yourself, this is my story…
With my first child, I had to have an emergency c-section due to unexplained bleeding. With my second, my doctor briefly mentioned a VBAC but hinted that a repeat cesarean was the most common. There was an air of it being safer in his voice. I was young, uninformed; I took his word for it. My husband and I only planned to have two children anyway so I didn’t put too much thought into it. I kicked myself big time over this one. Never in a million years did I imagine that I would divorce, find my perfect match, and want to have more children.
When I began dating my soul mate (he even composts!!!), I knew he wanted to have his children…two. Ooey gooey in love, I asked my OB-GYN at my next appointment about having more children after two surgical deliveries. His response to me was that he would do a third cesarean, but that was it. He said a VBAC was not an option after 2 c-sections and three were his limit. I told my doctor that we may want to have two children together and asked if other doctors would do a fourth c-section (because at this point I did not think any doctor would do a VBA2C). He grew irritated and with a condescending smirk stated that “certain doctors would” (and by his tone, they MUST be very undesirable doctors at that). Then he added “I will be happy to give you a third cesarean, but after that, I will not be your doctor anymore” and left the room before I could comment.
I didn’t know what to do. I started to review my options- possibly four c-sections or find someone who would let me have a vaginal birth. Older, wiser, and more in charge of my health, I knew that I wanted a vaginal birth. I wanted that experience and I wanted to avoid surgery if I could. The key was finding a doctor who would let me try.
Many of the doctors I spoke with said that they would only do a VBAC or if they would do a VBA2C it would only be with a mother that had had a prior vaginal delivery at some point. Nope, not me. Again I kicked myself! Why didn’t I try the VBAC when I had the chance? Fear, I guess. But now I felt like I would be undertaking something where there was much more to fear. But I wanted it! And in my quest to live as naturally as possible, I wanted it even more! What I came to learn through my research was that statically the risks of things happening, like uterine rupture, are not that much higher from a VBAC to a VBA2C and c-sections come with their own set of risks. It seems that medical professionals have also come to this conclusion fairly recently because soon after I found a doctor who said he was comfortable letting me try.
First came love, then came marriage, and then yes, the baby in the baby carriage!!!
When my due date was approaching my doctor stressed that going into labor on my own was my best bet for a successful vaginal birth. Pitocin and other labor-inducing drugs were not in my best interest. Labor with them comes on fast and strong and we didn’t want to put any additional stress on my scar. He said that if I did not go into labor on my own he was going to recommend another c-section. I tried everything. Check out my post, Inducing Labor Naturally to see how far I went. Four days after my due date I started to get worried. My doc scheduled surgery time with the hospital and I knew the time would soon run out. I was so disappointed. I had prepared for this birth! I took a HypnoBirthing class, the house had pillows on the floor, a labor ball, candles, music, and essential oils all laid out and ready for me to labor at home. After I had come to terms with the fact that it just might not happen, it did.
Following a massage and a full day of gardening, labor started during dinner out with my husband.
It started slow, about every ten minutes, and just a little uncomfortable at first. We went home and watched a little t.v. Every ten minutes they continued…but the intensity was picking up. Eight minutes. Back to ten minutes. FOR 15 HOURS! By morning, teary and tired, we headed for the hospital. I planned to go when they were five minutes apart, but at that point, I thought 8 minutes was close enough. By the time I got to the hospital they were at five and we checked in and settled in.
Ok Ok Ok. I am going, to be honest here. I know I have my little tagline “trying to live as naturally as possible” and I am. I prepared for natural childbirth. But I will not lie! After three more hours of labor for a total of 18 hours, I did a little begging for the epidural. And I took it. But I don’t feel like this lessened my experience or made it a failure in any way because after two c-sections I still gave birth to a beautiful baby girl the old-fashioned way. The experience was amazing. It was so much different than the bright lights of the operating room. The lighting was dim and, with my doctor, I had my doula on one side with a nurse and my mom and my husband on the other side. Everyone was chanting “You can do it. Yay, you are doing great!” I felt so powerful! It took only about an hour.
As soon as she entered the world the doc rested her on my chest, slime and all. She nuzzled in and even started to feed right away. We stayed that way for some time and I just couldn’t believe I did it. I felt so lucky. Only one stitch and no complications after two c-sections. And did I mention I am almost 38!
(FYI: I followed the advice of my doctor and I stress that you do the same in making a birth decision. My doctor thought I was a candidate for a VBAC because there was no explanation for the problems that I had during my first delivery and no reason to believe it would happen again. Not every woman has the same medical history and not every woman is a good candidate for a vaginal birth after a cesarean. It is important to research and even get multiple medical opinions.)