“Will you be scheduling the cesarean on your youngest sons birthday?! That would be so cool.”
The first question asked of me after I told them this due date was the day after my youngest’s and man…it was a doozy. Not because we hadn’t considered them sharing a birthday, but because it seemed like the decision had already been made for us-it would be a second c-section, no if ands or buts.
Luckily, this question came from a well meaning friend, and I simply replied with, “Oh we aren’t sure if we’ll attempt a VBAC this time or not.”
The first person took this in stride. Since then, I’ve heard every reaction-from telling me how dangerous it is, to telling me it’s impossible, to telling me I am being selfish for choosing the birth I want instead of the birth that’s safest.
The thing in-VBACs, in my personal case, are not dangerous and my chances of having a vaginal birth are pretty high. In the general population, the success rate of a vaginal birth after cesarean is anywhere between 60-80%. Those chances increase depending upon a few things-the reason for previous c-sections, how VBAC friendly your birthing place is, etc.
I’m pretty blessed to be giving birth in a place that is filled with amazing and supportive midwives. Each time I’ve discussed wanting to attempt a vaginal birth with them, I’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback and kind thoughts towards having one. Where most hospitals have a huge list of things you must do in order to try for the VBAC, my birthing place only has two requests-you allow an IV put in, just in case a cesarean becomes necessary and they do pretty consistent monitoring of the baby’s heart and vitals. There’s no time limit of “You must go into labor by this certain date” nor is there a “Only if the baby is measuring under this weight.”
One midwife even said how I am a pretty darn good candidate for a VBAC-healthy pregnancy, very few complications in birth/with my emergency cesarean and dedicated to making this birth a vaginal one.
This is not to say a vaginal birth doesn’t come with the possibility of complications. There is always a chance of a uterine rupture when birthing vaginally after a c-section. The midwife we met with this week did say, while it’s not a common occurence, she has seen it happen. However statistically speaking, my chances are still pretty small. And not all uterine ruptures are created equal; some are far less dangerous for both mama and baby.
However, in our case, I believe the possible positives of having a VBAC outweigh the possible negatives.
Here are some things we are doing to help increase my chances of delivering vaginally this time around:
–Healthy eating and exercise! This one has been harder in the first trimester, with morning sickness and all, but I am still walking and I am still squatting. I will continue to exercise as long as possible. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can decrease the chances of complications that would lead to interventions in pregnancy.
-Working with a wonderful community of doctors and midwives. As I said before, your chances of a VBAC increase with a VBAC friendly staff-and mine seems to be the best kind of staff! I am eternally grateful for how awesome and supportive they’ve been. While my first birth wasn’t all I dreamed of, they have been a great asset to both my pregnancies. If anyone is looking, it’s The Birthing Place!
–Allowing myself to “get over” my last birth-and planning what will happen if a c-section occurs again. There is a lot in my last birth I still regret; I didn’t manage immediate skin to skin, being the number one. A cesarean was so out in left field, we never really discussed what we wanted to happen in the OR or afterwards. This time, I will be prepared, and my wonderful group of midwives have already gone over their idea of a gentle cesarean with me.
–Having supportive people there with me, who know what they’re doing. I had a great support team last time, but to be honest…they weren’t the smartest idea to keep around for the first birth. Even my husband, who we jokingly laugh at having pulled cows from their mothers, wasn’t 100% on what he was supposed to be doing. This time he and I will attend a class, as well as my hope being my wonderful, and sort of hippy, mother in law may be present to help with the labor. She had my sister in law in the upstairs bedroom in her house while tending to three other children…if anyone knows pain management without interventions, it’s her.
-Avoiding induction methods. While we still be using those good old natural induction methods, which haven’t been proved but spicy foods and sex are great either way, we are going to try and avoid medicinal induction methods at all costs. Using these methods not only heightens the chance of a repeat cesarean but it also heightens my chance of a uterine rupture.
Obviously, if anything occurs from now until labor, we are ready and willing to have the most gentle repeat cesarean we can. I’m not in anyway against c-sections; when used correctly they are necessary and life saving medical interventions and I am forever thankful for the fact we had one to ensure my sons safest journey into this world. However at this time, we are aiming for a VBAC!
Who else has tried for a VBAC? Any success stories out there you want to share?
**I use we in this because I firmly believe that while I am the one giving physical birth, this experience is very much a family one; my husband never left my side last time and he is a rock throughout not only birth but also day to day. If you don’t feel the same way, feel free to replace the we’s with I’s.**