A Repeat C-Section vs A VBAC

I’m still a few weeks away from the ‘completion’ of this pregnancy right now, but I can’t stop thinking about my upcoming labor. It’s on my mind all the time.

I’ll try not to bog you down with information of my labor with my first, as everyone has their own delivery story and everyone has had their own struggles and complications. (I wrote about it all here.)

The basics from my labor – I was induced 9 days after my due date. I hadn’t been feeling any contractions and was barely dilated. Long story short, I wasn’t making any progress, even though my doctors were aggressively trying to get my body to get itself going with lots of Pitocin. After almost 12 hours of labor, I had only dilated to a very generous 3cm (don’t forget, you have to get to 10cm). My son was also face forward (sunny side up). His heart rate was dropping into uncomfortable territory, so we decided to go with a c-section. It was a really routine surgery.

Looking back, I should have done a lot of things differently. I should have been more patient. I should have waited it out a little longer. But I didn’t, and I can’t dwell on the past. I have to work with the hand of cards I’ve been dealt.

Right now my doctors and I are discussing what to do with this delivery. Two of my doctors strongly encourage a repeat c-section, especially given how my son’s delivery went. The third doctor is encouraging me to consider a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), especially given my age and health (two things that can potentially work in my favor). I know ultimately the decision is ours to make right now, but I am really, really torn.

There are risks to both – a c-section is major surgery, so there are risks with that, and a VBAC poses a 1 in 100 chance of your uterus rupturing. And while that means there’s a 99% chance it won’t happen, it’s not a scare tactic- it does actually happen.

csection or vbac

Now, I know it’s a very personal decision, and I know some people believe some doctors are quick to jump to a c-section even when not medically necessary. I personally don’t feel as though any of my doctors recommend a c-section because it’s easy for them, or because they can bill me more, or other various arguments I’ve heard. I trust my doctors and I believe they have my best interest at heart. And I understand why they are recommending a c-section again – I was told during surgery that I could have pushed for days and my son wouldn’t have come out because my pelvis was too narrow. Those two doctors are also supportive if I decide to try for a VBAC.

My husband is also pro repeat c-section. He truly believes that our son was stuck in my hips and is terrified of the emergency situation we potentially face if I try a VBAC and our new baby gets stuck again. Here’s a summary of his thoughts:

“…But just because men can’t have babies, it doesn’t mean that we don’t feel pain. It’s difficult to watch your wife in stress, and to not know the status of your unborn baby. As a man, I found it incredibly difficult to not be able to do anything. All I could do was sit around, wait, and hold Lauren’s hand. That was a challenge.

To understand why I’m on #TeamCSection (<- is this a thing yet,) we need to discuss motivation. My logic is pretty simple.

The doctor is motivated by one thing. Get the baby out. I take a lot of comfort in this. That’s all they care about (and maybe sometimes to a fault, but I can appreciate that their main concern is the mother and child’s safety.) If the doctor feels confident that a repeat C-section is the safest and most efficient way to get the baby out and protect my wife, then sign us up, please.

I am motivated by the same desire, but I’m also motivated by fear. I’m afraid of attempting a natural birth, not progressing, and finding ourselves in an emergency C-section, where the tension, urgency, and anxiety is spiking all around me. Being in that situation, unable to do much to support, unsure that everyone will make it out safely, and being filled with fear and regret is my biggest reason to want to elect for a repeat C. I can’t imagine being in that situation, and I’m hesitant to make decisions that may lead there. At the end of the day (or really at the beginning of the day since we scheduled so early,) I just want mom and baby to be safe and sound in a hospital room, on the road to recovery and heading home. That’s my motivation.

Lauren’s motivations are different, and rightfully so. We’ve talked a lot about electing to go into surgery and how frightening that is (and I agree, and I know it’s difficult for me to discuss since I’m not the one on the operating table.)”

As of this time, we are on the OR schedule for a repeat C-section. If my body happens to go into labor before that date, my doctors are very supportive of trying for a VBAC. So, in essence, we plan to sit back and see what my body decides it wants to do.