Ever since becoming pregnant again I’ve been thinking how on earth is this baby going to get out of me? It’s been a question that’s been weighing on my mind pretty much since the birth of my daughter 2 and half years ago. How would the next baby be born, and what would my choices be. I knew that at some point I would have to make a decision between VBAC or C-Section, and right now I am making that decision.
It’s a really tough one. They both have their pros and they both have their cons. For any parent-to-be expecting their second baby I’m sure that this is also a question and decision that you have to make, if you had a c-section with your first born. Whether that was elective or emergency, we still have choices for our second birth.
In recent weeks I’ve had meetings with my midwife, consultant and birth clinic midwife to discuss my options, and what I could and could not do. I was really surprised during these meetings as I had expected to be pressured down one route. That route being VBAC, purely because it’s cheaper for the hospital. But, no I wasn’t. Instead I was first asked “What do you want to do?”. I liked this approach as it put me in control, plus it meant that they were actually willing to my needs, and they did listen.
For those of you who don’t know I had a failed induction with my daughter that resulted in a semi-emergency c-section. She was born 17 days post dates weighing 9lbs 4oz. So she was pretty big, and they say second babies are bigger. The induction process lasted 60 hours! 60 hours of pain, no sleep and exhaustion for me to only reach 4 centimetres. I’m not traumatised by this experience but it’s something that I do not want to do again.
I’ve explained this to all the various staff at the hospital and they agree with me. They agree with me because the chances of another induction working without ending in an emergency c-section are pretty much zero. Plus the chances of a uterine rupture carry a higher risk with an induction. So it’s good news that I won’t be having another induction.
This leaves me with two options:
- Try for VBAC and allow my body to go into spontaneous labour. If this does happen there is a 75% chance I’ll be able to give birth normally.
- Book in for an elective c-section. I have been told that I could request this to be booked at anytime between 39 and 41 weeks.
So my current thinking is a combination of the two, and my midwife was happy and felt that I was making the right decision. Our plan is to book in an elective c-section between 40 and 41 weeks, and if my body decides to go into spontaneous labour before that then we will try for VBAC. There will be no induction, however I can have sweeps.
I feel happy with this decision, and I feel happy that my midwife and consultant agree with this. I still have so much time to think about it as the final decision does not have to be made until 34 weeks. But right now I think that this is the best approach to take, and we will just have to see what happens at the time.
I’m not overly precious about this birth just as long as both the baby and I are safe, and I definitely won’t be writing a birth plan this time round. What’s important is that we are given choices and understand the risks, and that both Mother and Baby are safe.
This topic is really high on the agenda for women who have had a previous c-section, and I wanted to find out how they came to decision between c-section or VBAC. Here’s what they had to say:
Pondering Parenthood says I’m 29 weeks pregnant with my second child having had a planned caesarean with my first after her being breech and measuring small. At the moment I am hoping for a VBAC provided that this baby is healthy and in the correct position. I had issues with breastfeeding my daughter and I partly put this down to being in recovery for too long after her birth and not being given immediate skin to skin. Having said that, if this baby were to be in the same situation as my first, I would definitely opt for a c-section as I know it was the safest way for her to be delivered.
Emma Reed says I had an emergency c-section the first time around which took a long time to recover from. It was very clear in my mind that a natural birth was the way I wanted to go with my second. When the consultant agreed I could go ahead and have a vbac. The main reason I wanted it was because I already had a four year old and I didn’t want to have to worry about not being able to drive, to lift things, to change his routine etc. My recovery this time around has been amazing.
Something About Baby says This is honestly the hardest decision I’ve had to make about my entire pregnancy this time round. After being adamant I was going to have a vbac, I have just booked an elective caeserean with 3 weeks till my due date! I’m still not sure if I’m making the right decision but all that matters is my baby getting here safely.
Maidenhead Mum says I felt the doctors were keen to push a VBAC second time around, it’s definitely cheaper for the NHS. But I couldn’t face the thought of a long drawn out complicated VBAC and then having to have a c-section anyway. I preferred knowing what I was dealing with, especially with a 3 year old at home too. In the end baby made the decision and due to placenta praevia we had to have an emergency c-section 4 weeks early!
Mum, That’s Me says I had an emergency first time round and had originally planned to try vbac. A week before due date they wanted to get the baby out due to low platelets so I ended up with another c-section.
Sinead Latham says After having my first with a terrible labour resulting in an emergency c section. I always said number 2 will be a planned c section. I know I cannot go through the same physical and mental experience again. My well-being is just as important as the safe arrival of a baby.
Family Travel With Ellie says I had an elective c-section with my second child. I had an emergency c-section with my first after a long and difficult labour and I was so sure we were going to lose him at the end. I then suffered two ectopic pregnancies before falling pregnant by some miracle with my daughter. Due to the scar tissue that I now have and the terrible fear of a repeat nightmare of my first birth I opted for what I, and the doctors perceived to be the safest way to bring my daughter into the world. I’m so happy I did. I was able to enjoy her entrance to the world without the fear and anxiety of something going wrong.
Motherhood Diaries says I had a traumatic emergency caesarean with my first and went 2 weeks overdue with my second, so had to have a planned section. But, I tried from 37 weeks to give birth naturally. However, I was told that baby was too big and I couldn’t push back anymore, even though, it was a much calmer experience. A friend of mine, who was lucky enough to have her VBAC for her second (I think it was down to the experienced consultant), healed within a week, while I was trying to heal 6 weeks later, with a 15 month old running around me! I know what I’d pick next time! VBAC all the way!
Little Pickle’s Mom says I had an emergency c-section first time round, and have been told that I’ll never be able to birth vaginally, and that a VBAC isn’t an option for me unless the baby is known to be small or is delivered early. I’d relish the chance to give it another go, and part of me thinks that may still be possible… but the realist in me says that the more sensible option is to go for the section.
Popitha says When my twins were born, twin 1 was born naturally, and twin 2 by c-section. It took me a week to start to feel more normal after my section, but over 4 weeks to recover from the natural birth having lost 3 litres of blood and an episiotomy. I got 3 infections and was in constant pain with this. I wanted a section with twins but the consultant changed my mind when I went into labour at 34 weeks saying it would be safer for the babies. Having spoken to a few midwives since, they told me twin 2 would never have come come out naturally. I should have followed my gut and stuck with a planned section. I am now expecting my 3rd (just 1 this time!) and I have opted for a c-section. I feel this is the safest option and I found the recovery quicker and safer.
Beauty and the Bibs says I opted for Vbac as a part of me longed to go through a ‘normal’ delivery . Although things happened and I had to have an emergency c section again . I still have that longing for a ‘normal’ delivery but I don’t hate the fact I had to have a c section again.
Twinderelmo says I had an emergency section with my first as he was back to back and basically got stuck! I wanted a VBAC with baby two however we found out at my 12 wk scan baby 2 was baby 2 and 3! I instantly opted for an elective section. I have to say both experiences were incredibly positive and never once regret not experiencing a vaginal birth. I feel so sad reading such negativity toward sections as both mine were both lovely experiences that resulted in three healthy babies and that to me means more than anything.
Mumma Scribbles says I had a planned c-section with my first as he was breech. With my second, my hospital was very pro vbac which really helped me because initially I was thinking of having another elective. A massive part of me was terrified of a natural labour and despite it being absolutely horrendous at the time (sorry!), I managed to have a successful vbac on just a bit of gas and air, and am so glad that I got to experience natural labour – I just wish it hadn’t have been so quick, that he hadn’t been back to back, and that I hadn’t needed an episiotomy that made my recovery far far worse than my previous c-section!
Nomipalony says I had a VBAC with my second, a HBAC in fact and I’m so incredibly pleased that I did. It was such a healing experience for me. My first was a typical failed induction with cascade of interventions that led to category 1 emergency section and a fair dose of birth trauma. With my second I did a tonne of research and my gut instinct was I wanted a vaginal birth and a home birth was the way I would be most likely to achieve it. I worked my arse off preparing for it that pregnancy (chiropractor care, hypnobirthing, research, diet, hired a doula, 3 birth plans etc) and the birth was everything I could have hoped for. I’d always try for a VBAC if I was to ever get pregnant again.
Emmy’s Mummy says My first was an emergency section as she was in distress so i didnt have much choice. My 2nd was a planned section because after all the struggles I had with Emily’s delivery I couldn’t bear to think of going through another 36 hours and then being rushed to theatre once again. The emergency one was so traumatic and I had to have a blood transfusion after it as I lost so much blood that in my head I need to olan and prepare. Turns out my 2nd turned and was breech 2 days before the section anyway so I would have needed that birthing choice after all and then at least I was already booked in.
The Mummy Toolbox says I had an emergency C-section with my first and a planned VBAC for second which turned into a failed induction and C-section anyway. Although I’ve not experienced natural birth, my second C-section was amazing and recovery much shorter (we went on holiday 4 days later) having been more relaxed all round! So regardless of what happens don’t rule out a planned C-section!
Arepops says I had a c section under general anaesthetic with my first and my aim this time is to have a vbac. I struggled a lot after the birth of my daughter with what happened and still do now, I would regret it if I didn’t at least try this time round.
Have you had to make the decision between c-section or VBAC? And how did you come to reach that decision?