Living in Los Angeles comes with the prerequisite that you know everything that’s going on with celebrities. I am nothing if not serious about my duties, and I do what I can to stay up to date on my chosen celebrity major: their babies. Victoria Beckham and Kate Hudson had babies this past week. As I did my research, I read an article in the LA Times that spoke less about the celeb offspring and more about how they were born.
To boil it down, Beckham had a repeat C-section, while Hudson had a vaginal birth. Hudson’s first pregnancy was a C-section. The article then goes on to discuss the risks and rewards of VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section), and how many women want at least the chance to deliver naturally but aren’t offered one.
My C-section with Madeline was an emergency surgery that required a “classical” cut on my uterus instead of the common low transverse scar. The doctor that delivered Madeline told me I would never be able to give birth vaginally for subsequent pregnancies. At the time I didn’t give it a second thought, as I was totally wrapped up in Madeline’s NICU stay.
Dr. Risky, my OB for Annabel, was different. At our first appointment, she didn’t tell me a vaginal delivery would be impossible. Instead, she went over my risks for a VBAC, carefully explaining everything to us. She told us she was strongly against it, but in the end the decision was left to Mike and me. After listening carefully and weighing the risks of a VBAC on top of my other risk factors, we chose a repeat C-section. And honestly, after losing Maddie we weren’t willing to take any chances.
That being said, I’m curious why some women do make the choice (when they are allowed) to have a VBAC. I am obviously super-sensitive to anything that will put the baby at risk (and I know C-sections come with risks), so I have a bit of a colored view that I’m trying to rectify. I hate when I hear women say things like, “A C-section isn’t real birth” because I gave birth to two babies that way and I think that’s so insulting. And I hate when other women say that having a C-section is a failure. If the baby is born alive and healthy, isn’t that a success? Isn’t that the POINT?
OK seriously though, I want to understand. Illuminate me, mamas!
I had an emergency c-section with my 1st & only baby so far and I had a “friend” who was super set on having an unmedicated vaginal birth with no medical interventions (she even refused the fetal heart rate monitor) tell me after I had my daughter that I “cheated” and didn’t really give birth. SO OFFENSIVE.
I’ve done it both ways and quite frankly, a living child is all that matters. If given the choice, I’d go for vaginal because I healed so much faster after those… but when it comes down to what is safer for my baby, extra healing time doesn’t mean jack.
My first c-section was a vertical cut too during an emergency- and that baby died 9 weeks later. I did get to have a VBAC, because my next baby died at 24 weeks and I refused to have a D&E- I wanted to hold my stillborn son and say goodbye. If he wasn’t already gone, they’d have done a c-section but since the risk of fetal demise wasn’t part of the equation, they let me go for it.
When I got pregnant again, they said if my incision wasn’t vertical they’d let me VBAC again, but because it was, and because I was carrying twins, they were more comfy with me having a repeat c-section even though I’d had a successful VBAC because I hadn’t gone to term & now there were two babies. After doing some research, I agreed.
I think the best choice for each mom is totally dependent on the mom & baby- I believe in researching your options and asking questions.
hugs to you and your angels.
So sorry to hear of your losses.
Well, when you have a low transverse scar the risks are REALLY small: 0.4% risk of uterine rupture. Yes, a c-section’s risk of uterine rupture is slightly lower, but when you’re talking about risks that low it doesn’t make a ton of difference in my mind. And of those 0.4%, very few of those ruptures are catastrophic (where mother or baby’s life would be in danger), according to my OB (I don’t remember the data).
So, if that risk is close to equal, then there are the other risks to consider. A c-section is major surgery and, as you mentioned, comes with other risks. Plus, ACOG says a VBAC is safer than a repeat c-section for low-risk mothers.
For my own experience, my first c-section sucked. It was traumatic. I planned and attempted a VBAC for my second son because I wanted a different experience, one that I felt would ultimately be healthier for myself and my baby. My son had other plans though and I ended up needing another c-section. I don’t consider myself or the birth a failure: I got a c-section that was necessary and even though the end result was the same, the whole birth process was much easier, both emotionally and physically. I’m still a VBAC advocate though, for those women who want one.
I agree that the risk is so low, and the benefits of a VBAC are so great. I find it interesting when people fail to mention the gazillion risks with having a c-section. It’s a dangerous, serious, major operation. Natural childbirth is not. I had an emergency c-section (low transverse) and three years later, a successful VBAC at a major woman’s hospital with midwives. It was fantastic and I could not believe there was no pain for weeks on end like I felt with the c-section! Obviously everyone reacts differently but after my VBAC I was up and running 24 hours later. I left the hospital before the 24 hour mark.
Maybe your “natural” birth was a breeze, and that’s great, but I won’t stand to hear someone say that natural childbirth isn’t dangerous or serious. My vaginal delivery left me with 4 months of extremely painful recovery.
She didn’t say vaginal doesn’t have dangers or risks. She said it wasn’t major abdominal surgery. Which it isn’t.
Hi, I agree with you Carmen. Only having two vaginal, I cannot comment on C-section. But I was pleased I was up and around less than 24 hours after both my sons. Regardless, either vaginal or c-section, both are “real” births! Shame on people who think a c-section is otherwise.
heather mcconnaughy says:
I’ve been told that recovering from a c-section is a much longer/painful process than a vaginal delivery.
A birth, is a birth, is a birth. We all panic, cry, yell, and in the end have a (hopefully) healthy baby.
Whoever thinks a c-section isn’t a real delivery is nuts.
I haven’t had a vaginal delivery, but my recovery from my second c-section was easier than recovering from having my wisdom teeth pulled! Seriously. I don’t count my recovery from my first c-section since I’d been on bed rest for months and, 24 hours after delivery, checked out of the hospital. I didn’t take care of myself after Maddie’s birth at all.
Heidi T says:
I have had both (emergency C and then a VBAC). I had a great recovery from my C-section, but I showered within 1 hour of giving birth vaginally and walked to my post partum room. I didn’t have to hold my belly every time I coughed with the VBAC. I have to say recovery wise a vaginal birth beats all.
I was walking around five hours after Annie was born! I think when you are in good shape going into delivery, it makes a huge difference!
I totally agree with you Heather. My two c sections were both easy peasy. No pain, very little discomfort and up and walking as soon as the anesthesia wore off. It was a really positive experience for me.
Melissa E says:
I always said that I would rather have another c-section than have my wisdom teeth pulled again!
That is funny! I thought the same thing. Thinking about wisdom teeth removal still makes me shudder. My teeth recovery, as I remember it, was also much harder.
I learned years later after arguing with my dentist that not all of my wisdom teeth were removed. The whole ordeal was so traumatic that when I asked if all of the wisdom teeth were removed so that I’d never have to do that again my mom and dentist told me “yes” because they didnt think I could handle the truth.
Ten years later I’m arguing like crazy with my dentist about needing to have my last wisdom tooth removed. I called my mom on the way home to tell her about this butt-crazy man who should lose his license because he thought I still had a wisdom tooth. There was a long pause, then my mother said, “Honey, we didn’t think we’d ever have to tell you…”.
I’ve also had 2 c-sections and my recovery was a breeze! I was up walking the next day and since my kids were both NICU babeies, driving in less than a week! I’ve seen some of my friends who delivered vaginally have WAY more complications and discomfort!
I’ve had one of each, and the healing from the c-section was FAR easier than the vaginal birth. Granted, I am not the norm, but after needing an episiotomy revision when my first was just months old and having that area not be anywhere close to normal for YEARS, a c-section was a cake walk! Who cares how they get here as long as it’s as safely as possible!
I planned a home birth for my second baby, aiming for a VBAC. There are stats that support vbac as less riskier than a planned c-section. Of course everyone has to weigh up their own feelings and circumstances with regards to what studies can tell us. As it turned out, we had more complications and had another c-section. But I was glad to have had a red hot go at home rather than be shuttled off for another unwanted c-section without a try. It also resolved some angst about the first one, which I thought was a result of some medical railroading. Because for us, it was more a case of “optimising” health rather than a clear cut “we gotta get this done”, both times. But I see now that the additional benefits we’d gain from a vag birth (hormonal stuff uninterrupted, potential easier recovery, lung clearing and gut flora being imparted) would have been paid for with us becoming more unwell as a labour went on.
If I had a third I would have a c-section, because I think the odds are stacked against us. I have come from a place of really caring that the first birth didn’t happen as well as I’d like, to really being at peace about what occurred both times, and seeing the positives. I am sure it would have been awesome to be able to not be in surgery and get at my baby straight away. But that doesn’t always happen anyway right? My SIL had a nurse yelling at her to look at her baby, she couldn’t care less! She is pregnant again and terrified of birth. Maybe she’d be more excited to see her baby in a theatre, not feeling pain … I really think women need to get information and then follow their gut as to what experience will be safest for them, and what makes them feel comfortable. It’s just so personal and then there’s all the other baggage of previous experiences, both physical and emotional.
I had to have an unplanned C Section with my first. The scar on my stomach is classical but the scar on my uterus is VBAC friendly. When I got pregnant with my second child my OB did the same as yours – discussed that a VBAC was possible but outlined how complications from my first could repeat themselves. We opted for a scheduled c section – it made it so much easier to plan everything and I had a great recovery from my first so I wasn’t scared.
I too, HATE when people say that I didn’t give birth. One lady told me, “You didn’t give birth, you had a surgical procedure done.” Needless to say, she’s a moron and so is anyone who puts down c sections. Walk a mile in my shoes is all I have to say to people like that. Healthy/alive babies are the goal – NO MATTER how they get here!
With my kids I chose to have a C section and I get judged for that choice all the time. I don’t feel like I cheated birth and I don’t feel any longing for a vaginal delivery. I did my research and made my decision on what was best for MY family. I will never understand why we as women judge others just because they make a decision that is different from our own.
Could not have said it better myself! I had two elective csections, recovery was not difficult, and I don’t feel any less of a woman. I carried those babies, did I not? I threw up daily (upwards of 9 times a day, in fact) with my first and about half the time with my second. I felt every kick, flip, and skin-stretching movement. I got little feet lodged in places like my ribs. I looked at my newborn sons and felt emotions like I never thought I was capable of feeling. I GAVE birth. Who cares HOW? People are judgmental assholes and need to get over themselves.
AMEN!!!!! A baby is a baby, and is a mama’s pride and joy no matter how she/he enters this world!!!
Hi, a healthy baby is all that’s important. People who say having a caesarian is not giving birth are just too stupid and insensitive to acknowledge.
My first son was born completely drug free, but basically because it was such a quick delivery. After one hour of contractions I arrived at the hospital fully dilated. I must say though that recovering from an episiotomy (where they cut you, this is what we call it in Australia) was very, very painful. Felt like sitting on barbed wire and ache in the area for months. Second son born with just gas and no episiotomy and recovery was pretty easy.
Recovery from caesarians and vaginal births I think depends on the individual and the circumstances of the birth. Noone should feel guilty or be made to feel less than because of the way they deliver their child.
My first son was born via emergency c section after 12 hours of induced labour and 43 hours since my waters had broken and I was only 2 cm dilated. During an internal exam the midwife could feel his ear, rather than the top of his head, so his head was on the side and he wasn’t moving down the birth canal. I don’t know what type of scar I have, it is low, beneath my pubic hair line. The only disappointment I felt, and it was literally a fleeting moment, was that I didn’t get to hold my baby first, my husband did, but like I said it was a fleeting moment. It took 24 hours before I was able to stand up. I used lots of pain relief in the first 2 days but then was fine.
Second baby was a VBAC. My midwife was all for it because it wasn’t my body that caused the c section, it was Benjamin’s head position. Dr thought there was no harm trying it. I was told all the risks and decided to give it a try. Jacob was born after a 4 hour labour and 3 pushes. (No pain relief either, the anaethetist was in the room starting to set up the epidural when they decided to check my dilation before he did it, and I was 10 cm!) However, I also had 18 stitches, and one of those was in a very sensitive place that starts with a C!! After Jacob’s birth I was up and in shower an hour after he was born and walking around. But those stitches were rather annoying! I required no pain relief after the birth. Having Jacob delivered directly onto my stomach was THE most amazing thing I have ever experienced. It did feel different than the c section delivery. I don’t really know how to describe the feeling though. One of fulfillment? Satisfaction? Those are big words and big feelings, but I think that is what it was. However ..
We are not planning any more children, but honestly I don’t know which I would choose a c section or a VBAC again. Both have their merits. After c sections you remain “untouched” down there, no stretching, no stitches, no changes to how you feel down there. After vaginal birth you haven’t had major abdominal surgery that you have to recover from and be kind to your body about.
I don’t know how to answer you Heather…
But personally, I’d do anything ANYTHING to have a baby. Alive, screaming, wet, pink, slippery baby. I don’t care if its C-section, or a vaginal birth. I don’t care. Having lost a baby in 2009 and being unable to get pregnant once again, a baby to me and my hubby would be a pure miracle.
For some reason, women are so good at judging each other about something as personal as giving birth!! How weird is that? Heather, any woman who dares to utter ‘c-section is not a real birth’ needs to look in the mirror…… But then again, that’s just my point of view….
You are so right. Why are women so mean to one another? I have never heard of these kind of remarks before and I feel like I would be so angry to have someone tell me I cheated after having a c-section.One of my daughters had to have 3 sections and it broke my heart to see the pain she was in. Oh hell yes she delivered that baby. All of you that go through that surgery have my respect. I had 5 babies. 2 were home births and the others at the hospital. My youngest is 20. I never had any drugs and my only problem with how things are today is how many women have epidurals. But I also think that to each his own. One of my girls was supposed to get an epidural but went so fast she never got the chance. Her baby was very large and got stuck after the head was born. Had she had the epidural and been unable to feel and use her legs she very well may have lost her baby girl. She had to jump up on all 4’s and they yanked that baby out. Any birth that ends with a baby in your arms is a good one.
Your complaint about women being so mean to each other is followed by criticisms of women having epidurals? Are you not seeing the irony here?
And for the record, I had an epidural and I could still very much feel the pressure of the baby coming out, and my pushing was very effective. Maybe it was different for your daughter, but not all epidurals render you incapacitated.
Like I said Megan- To each his own. I never wanted to upset anyone. Like everyone else I was only giving my opinion and not mean at all. Hope you feel better.
I hope you have a wonderful baby. I too lost my third baby still born delivered by classical c section. First child was c sec. Second 10’6 was vbac. I nearly died. I had planned a c section for lily but got sick and lost her. I never even checked what sex any of mine were as as long as they were healthy I would be grateful. Gratitude that we can have c sections to save us and our babies. Gratitude that they come out screaming.
B/c the risk is overblown. This fear of VBACs came from malpractice lawsuits and the CYA (cover your ass) medicine that doctors have to practice to protect themselves these days. I’m in the medical field, so I know just how defensively doctors practice medicine to minimize the risk of a lawsuit.
That said, yes, the risk is increased. But it’s not increased as dramatically as people seem to think. Quite honestly, the increased risk of a VBAC could easily equalize with other risk factors, like surgery complications and bleeding and etc. So basically, as always, it comes down to what each individual patient is comfortable with.
What you said about not wanting to take additional risks after losing Maddy makes absolute, 100% sense, and that was the right decision for you. If Kate Hudson had a terrible recovery after her first C-section and wanted to try something different this time around, that was the right decision for her. Etc.
I agree with many of your comments. My husband is a doctor (albeit not an OB) and they do have to practice defensive medicine sometimes. Obviously, there are some reasons why a c-section is absolutely necessary, but there are some (not high risk) docs out there with strangely high c-section stats. There’s also some who believe, perhaps rightly, that because insurance often pays a hospital more for a c-section than a vaginal birth, some docs prefer performing them.
The thing is, every woman is different and every birth is different. As long as you’re being appropriately guided by your physician, I think each woman should decide for herself what kind of birth she would like.
I have had two children vaginally and I’m actually on my way to the hospital in about 20 minutes to be induced for my third child. The induction was our choice, but was encouraged for medical reasons. I assume I will end up having another vaginal birth, but because I’m being induced (I’m 39w4d) and plan to get an epidural, my step-mom continually tells me that I’m “cheating” and “not brave enough” to try to deliver med-free like she did 30+ years ago. “I guess everyone’s pain tolerance is different.”
As you said – if the final outcome is a healthy, living child, it’s a success and people should let families make their own educated decisions about how to reach that goal.
I know this isn’t really want the question was about… but it’s something that has been bugging me. If I were the kind of person who didn’t educate myself on the pros and cons of things, ok fine… call me a cheater and lecture me on the “right way” to have a baby, but that isn’t me, I’ve done my research, and this is my (and my husband’s) choice.
OMG. Tell your stepmom to shove it. I’m so tired of this crap. Healthy baby = big goal. Suffering doesn’t make you a better mother. Making responsible decisions based on your personal circumstances does. We need to all just stop judging each other.
There are risks to all kinds of birth. Some women have short labors and push babies out in one shot with no tearing or complications. Others have protracted labors, push for three or four hours, and tear into their rectums. If those women do not have access to advanced medical care, they end up with fistulae that radically diminish their quality of life.
Before my first daughter was born, I was hoping for a “natural” birth but wanted to keep an open mind, since who knows what life is going to throw at you, and I didn’t want to feel like a failure if I didn’t end up with that kind of birth. Good thing: after 48 hours of labor (including 30 of those on a pitocin drip) and three hours of pushing, I ended up with a c-section. Although I didn’t get the natural birth I’d hoped for, I felt completely at peace with the birth we had; it’s not like I hadn’t worked for it. I recovered pretty easily.
Fast forward 23 months later to baby #2. Attempted a VBAC, dilated naturally after 12 hours (made it to hour #9, got the epidural, propositioned the anaesthesiologist), pushed for another 2.5 hours, could see the top of her head but couldn’t get her below 0 station. Midwife called OB, who started talking vacuum birth, which I was in the process of refusing when my daughter started having decels into the 50’s. Immediate emergency c-section, serious blood loss and bladder injury, but healthy baby. No regrets. Two healthy little girls after I was told I could never have children. No. Regrets.
How you give birth is one of the most personal experiences out there. No two births are the same because no two mother/baby pairs are the same. We need to respect each other’s individual stories as unique and amazing – -because they ALL are.
I’ve never had a c-section but I get really upset with people who claim that they are not real births, just as I get really upset with people who claim that having medicated vaginal labour somehow makes it invalid. There are no points in how we bring our babies into the world, just that they get here alive.
Having said this, I had two unmedicated home births largely because I thought that the idea of risk is OFTEN overrated and that doctors use scaremongering tactics. I had a haemorrhage after I gave birth to my first child, but it was fine because there was a plan to deal with that, the ambulance was there within minutes and I was in a hospital and being attended to very quickly. Therefore, I weighed pros/cons and decided to have a home birth for my second as well even though it was against the advice of my doctors (but with full support of the midwives).
I can really understand why labouring naturally is important to women. Natural, active labour is normally the easiest labour with the fastest recovery time. My first labour was really stressful at times (largely I think because at the time I had an undiagnosed stress fracture of the pelvis) but the second was just wonderful. It was so calm and so peaceful. My daughter was born into the water, her father lifted her out. She took her first breath in our arms, calm and looking at us. She didn’t cry, she was just looking at us. There was no trauma to my body, and her birth remains one of the most blissed out moments in my life and I am really grateful to have had a chance to have an experience. It is a very powerful feeling to know that you have delivered your baby yourself, you ride an incredible hormonal high and I can really understand why other women strive for that experience.
I don’t think that another kind of birth is meaningless, and if I had to have a C-Section or a hospital birth I would have been a bit anxious and dissapointed but I would have dealt with it, because however you birth it’s just one day in your life. Having your baby is the key part.
The story of your second birth was beautiful. I never got the chance to have a water birth.
Cecilia @ Parenting Controversy says:
In response to your statement: “I hate when other women say that having a C-section is a failure. If the baby is born alive and healthy, isn’t that a success?”
Yes, in reality a C-section birth is a success, but it doesn’t change the fact that deep down, even 9 years later, I still feel like I failed.
Oh Cecilia… you are too hard on yourself and it makes me sad that the discussion in the mom community online and in our real-life communities hasn’t encouraged you so that you don’t feel like a failure.
I understand – I had medically necessary c-sections with both of my children, I also died on the table with both of them and if I had insisted on vaginal delivery there is no telling where we would be right now. With my first I was very disappointed, but by the time I had my second I had come to realize that instead of resenting the fact that I didn’t/couldn’t give birth vaginally I should just be thankful that I could have my child and hold it in my arms – rather than leaving it motherless like what probably would have happened if we had lived 100 years ago.
There is a lot more to my story…. if you want to know more contact me through my blog. Praying encouragement for you.
Cecilia @ Parenting Controversy says:
I’ve actually never admitted this to anyone before, and in all honesty, I rarely think about it all these years later.
Then a link on Twitter led me to your post and bang… there it was… that small twinge of sadness that I couldn’t give my daughter a natural passage into this world in the warm, cozy birth center with nurturing midwives as planned. Instead my daughter was pulled out of me into a brightly lit, freezing cold operating room and whisked away to be examined. Not a fond memory and not a birth story that I’d ever want to journal about.
Yes, it is often necessary, and yes it saves lives, but the reality is that it can be devastating if it wasn’t planned, and in particular if you feel like you were railroaded into it.
You’re right though, I am thankful that I could have my daughter and hold her in my arms.
Nobody has ever made me feel like I failed because I didn’t give birth to my daughter vaginally, I just felt that way myself.
Again, it doesn’t bother me all that much anymore, but it does feel cathartic to “type it out loud”. Thanks for listening.
I hear you on the cathartic “typing it out loud” part
The only thing that I was ever jealous of the women who I know that were able to give birth vaginally of was that they seemed to recover so much faster than I was able to after my c-sections. The recovery wasn’t terrible – but oh the soreness – especially when laughing or coughing!
I’ve had an “emergency” c-section an a VBAC. I was pretty bitter after my C-section because I learned, after the fact, that it was completely unnecessary. I agonized over it for months and it took forever to heal. When I got pregnant again, I was so terrified of another c-section (I had a horrible experience). I decided to attempt a VBAC, but prepared for a CBAC either way. My ultimate goal was the safe delivery of my child, but for me, the risks of a CBAC way outweighed the risks of a VBAC. I almost bled out during my c-section, but things went smooth during my VBAC. Ultimately, I feel like the best decision is the one that is safest for mom and baby.
I suspect the controversy over c-sections vs. vaginal births has a lot to do with (1) medical professionals interested primarily in convenience/scheduling as well as liability management (meaning that many women never really get the chance to have a ‘natural’ birth) and (2) the kind of competition that leads women to ostracize each other for not having the ‘right’ stroller (meaning that judgment is the order of the day).
As other commentators here have pointed out, experiences vary. My only child was born via emergency c-section. She was premature and in genuine distress, and the c-section — which got her out of the uterus and into the NICU rapidly — saved her life. As for me: I am an avid urban cyclist and was back biking just over a week later. I had minimal pain and healed very quickly. If I were to have second child I would almost certainly opt for a c-section. It was fast, efficient and put me in good shape to care for my tiny little girl.
It’s my view that whenever the issue of what is ‘natural’ is raised in an argument, it’s a red-herring that cuts off any possibility of meaningful conversation. Very little about pregnancy and birth are ‘natural,’ including folic acid, fertility treatments, doppler and ultrasound monitoring, vitamin D supplementation for breastfed babies and so on. It is also worth adding that in ‘natural’ settings the mortality rate for both babies and mothers is considerably higher even than in over-medicalized environments.
This is why I think the best way for a woman to give birth is between her and her obstetrician.
… or midwife.
Eek — I should also clarify that in speaking about mortality rates in ‘natural’ settings I am speaking about the romantic notion that in pre=industrial societies women gave birth clinging to vines and then got back up and continued cooking/farming/travelling.
My first was a c-section, after 5 days of labour, 3 of which were contractions on top of each other lasting almost 3 minutes each. She just wasn’t going to come on her own but wasn’t in any distress. When she showed signs of distress, there was no question. Out she came.
My second was 18 months later and I opted for a VBAC. I made plans in case that didn’t happen, we laboured in hospital instead of at home. I declined pitocin (it’s known to create a situation where uterine rupture is a strong possibility with vbac) and I had a plan… another c-section meant tying my tubes because while I wanted a third child, I didn’t want another c-section recovery time. I got lucky, Miss D barreled out into the world after less than 24 hours of labour, less than 8 hours of active labour and I got my vbac.
I would never judge anyone except the doctor who doesn’t discuss the options and leave it up to the patient to decide. Parents are making judgement calls on available information. Classical is a serious cut with a much higher rupture rate than trans verse. Kudos to Dr. Risky for explaining all of your options, even if she doesn’t agree with them!
You make the decision that’s right for you, your family, your baby. That’s how it should be.
I wanted a VBAC because I wanted that experience (some people want to run marathons, some want to climb mountains, I wanted an unmedicated VBAC delivery). Partly because it is just generally better for baby and mom to as someone said above, “let the hormones” do their thing. I also wanted it because, me and hospitals don’t mix well–what should be simple procedures turn into crazy extended stays for me due to allergic reactions to medications.
With my first child, I had to have an emergency c-section because she was full breach after being in labor at work all day . I felt as though I was hit by a significantly sized truck and the recovery took a very long time.
For my second pregnancy, the doctor supported doing a vbac, but we all agreed the goal was healthy, living baby.
In the end, I had to have a second c-section with my son, because I was having no regular contractions and my due date was slipping away. There are also too many risks associated with going beyond the due date. Thankfully this time my allergic reaction happened on the operating table (I was one of the 5% who experienced could not take the antibiotic they gave me to avoid infection) and the doctors worked quickly to correct it. Since my daughter (by then four) loved to do my prenatal workout with me, I was in decent shape and the recovery the second time was not as bad as the first.
I would love to get to a point where women supported each other no matter what their experience and choices.
Well, I’ve only had one child-natural, vaginal birth. I support the “get the baby out whatever way it takes” method. That being said, my child ended up having some problems a few hours after birth, even though he was a super star throughout pregnancy and no distress during birth.
Here is where it worked out well because I didn’t have medication or surgery—when they transported my son 8 hours post birth from our hospital to a hospital with a higher level NICU, I threw my clothes on and hit the door running. Literally to the ambulance. (It also had helped that I got 2 hours of napping that day).
My wonderful husband is THE BEST in the world, but does not handle emergencies so well (deer in headlights), so I was so very happy that I had already recovered enough to physically handle the stresses of handling the transport. In fact, I was in shock how good I actually felt after I delivered. I was tired and some of my southern bits needed a few sutures, but I felt better (physically in my body and mentally alert) than I had in 6 months.
So, given the choice of another vaginal birth, I’d go for it simply for the recovery issues. But, as I said, I support whatever birth movement that gets baby out. :>
Having four vaginal deliveries, I am no expert. But I taught classes to women who tried for the VBAC. I personally feel that if there were no physical problems with the uterus, or the mother’s ability to carry to term, then a VBAC, transverse scar or not, it doable. I believe problems arise more so when women have difficulty carrying to term or must be on meds for other issues.. People scar differently, as well and that can be a problem.
I was threatened with a section after pushing for 2.5 hours and thankfully, I managed to “get it out!” I have helped moms in their recoveries, some super, some not so nice. So, the choice really is a personal one.
Jenni Williams says:
My second son, was premature c-section because my water broke, he was also transferred to a higher level NICU. I left the hospital less than 24 hours after he was born to join him at the other hospital. I WALKED into his hospital, with no pain meds for 12 hours, to be with him.
People just have no idea what they are saying sometimes. It’s just so sad that people judge all the time. ” you didn’t really give birth” or “you aren’t a real mother because you miscarried at 12 weeks” or “if you give your child formula you are feeding them poison” People are just really mean.
You have gone through horrible things that people shouldn’t have to at all you are stronger than most people and the most wonderful mother.
Here’s what I don’t get about the whole “you cheated/you’re not a real mother” argument. Would those same awful people make a comment like that to an adoptive mother? A mother who adopts didn’t give birth at all, but does that make her any less of a parent?
SUCH a good point!!!!
My daughter was born via vaginal birth. I had a very bad tear that took months to completely heal. My sister-in-law had an emergency c-section because my niece was too big to fit in the birth canal. My sister had a c-section to deliver her twin baby girls. The end result: 4 beautiful, healthy baby girls. It saddens me that rather than be supportive of one another, women make each other feel guilty with snarky comments regarding their births of their children. There is no shame in vaginal birth, c-section birth, epidural, or home births. I feel like this is a similar debate with breast-feeding. You have to do what is best for your baby and you; you should never have to worry about judgmental comments from other women.
I have one son, but two failed inductions. I was in labor for 4 days and pushed for 4 hours. He crowned and then they attempted a vacuum assist, but I had to have a c-section. He wasn’t in stress, but my body couldn’t progress any further after all it had already been through. After all that work, I felt like I failed as a mother. I know I didn’t, but the loss of control was incredible.
My recovery from the c-section was the most painful thing I’d ever been through. I had severe nerve damage in one leg and couldn’t move it fully for months, which kept me from regaining my independence. I slept in a recliner for months, and couldn’t fully stand up without support. I couldn’t shower, couldn’t make myself food, couldn’t walk around the block. I felt injured.
My emergency c-section impacted my nursing, my mental health, and of course my physical health. It was all because of the induction I supposedly needed. So when I think about future pregnancies, I will avoid doing that to myself when at all possible. I want nature to work her magic because I believe I was cheated out of that experience.
I’m sure if the emergency had been on my son’s end and not mine I would think differently, though. Your situation is different than most others. I have this deep need to prove to myself that I can do it, and even though it means I may have a harder recovery next time I still want to try again.
Many obs can’t do VBAC due to restrictions by their medical malpractice carriers (no insurance coverage if they get sued) and hospitals often don’t allow them either for this reason. So that’s something to keep in mind as sometimes there isn’t much “choice.”
Dee Dee says:
I agree with previous posts that in the end it doesn’t matter how that precious miracle is born, as long as a new life is brought into this world safely. I get offended when people shoot down c-sections as lazy or an easy out! They by far are not an easy out and are done for a variety of reasons. I had a c-section with my twins and it was for my own personal medical risks, not because they were twins. I have really been looked down upon by some mommas who say I should have tried vaginal birth….I really think it was better for the twins to have a momma who survived delivery without any lasting effects!
My sister had an emergency C-section with her first, and planned a C-Section with her second. She ended up going into labor with her second, and by the time she got to the hospital, the baby’s head was so low that she had an… emergency VBAC?
She had one of those awful labors with her first (pitocin for days, until her OB realized the baby’s head wouldn’t fit, anyway, so then a C-Section) and was looking forward to just having a planned C-Section. As people above have said, there isn’t always much choice in it.
All told, I would never criticize a woman’s idea to have a C-section ( it IS real birth, I mean isn’t there a baby at the end?) or a VBAC (the extra risk to the baby is tiny, and oftentimes health concerns for the mother or baby are the reason for it).
I had an emergency c-section at 30 weeks with my baby. I was told she wouldn’t survive a vaginal birth.
I couldn’t hold her for the first week, and in that time, somebody had the nerve to tell me I hadn’t really given birth. Really? Really?? You’re going to tell a mother who can only look at her baby through an incubator window that she didn’t really give birth?
Anyway, I have no idea why I had major abdominal surgery that day.. But I have a happy, healthy 9 month old to show for it.
I would have taken a blunt object and beat them with it. THAT isn’t an acceptable thing to say to someone who had an uneventful delivery let alone someone in your situation.
Send over a name and number, I’ll take care of it for you. : )
Their Mom says:
I had our first the good old fashion way and it was a great experience. I had our second via emergency c-section. With both, all I worried about was “is baby being under stress” and “is the baby ok”. I never really cared how it is they got here – I just wanted them here safely. I think if I were to get pregnant again – all I would want was to do it the safest way possible. Both of my closest friends birthed all their children via c-section and I never thought “well, they didn’t ACTUALLY give birth”! And, as a side note – recovering from the c-section was way better then the latter – being terrified to go to the bathroom was enough to put me in a psych ward! Jeeze!
Three days after my 1st c-section, my mother told me that I didn’t give birth to my son. She spent the next year repeatedly telling me the same thing. As a mother I can not comprehend how a woman can tell anyone, let alone her own child, that they did not give birth. I gave birth to my children just as much as my mother gave birth to her children. It pains me that my own mother felt the need to try and make me feel like less of a mother because of the way that I gave birth.
Really the decision between VBAC and RCS is a very personal decision. I had a c-section when my oldest son turned breech 5 days before his due date. I never had a single contraction, never labored, nothing. That experience was important to me. But so was the safety of my children.
After my son was born, I did a TON of research on VBAC and talked to my doctor. When it came down to it, for me the risks of another c-section were greater than the risk of VBAC. Again, this is just my personal opinion.
When I had my second son in September, I attempted a VBAC. He had other ideas and after 20 hours of labor and being stuck at 7cm for 8 hours, my doctors and I decided that a section was best. I am glad that I attempted a VBAC. It was the right decision for me.
Even vaginal birth mommies get the “not a real birth” thing- if they got an epidural, which I did. I had someone ask me if I felt like I missed out on something, and I replied “yeah, a lot of pain!” I mean, I got a baby at the end of it, and so did they, so why make such a big fuss about how it happened?
My first child was a c-section because she was a frank breech and there was no way that baby could be turned nor did the doctor even want to attempt it. My recovery was quick and I had no ill effects from it. My husband’s sister was furious that I didn’t attempt to delivery vaginally and I asked her why on EARTH would I want to take that chance. Three doctors said that if I did that, there was a good chance that both of us wouldn’t survive. There were cord issues with the baby to consider and the fact that she was a pretty big baby. So, 16 months later when her brother was born, I opted for a repeat c-section. The OB left it up to us to decide but our pediatrician said that if I were his wife, he’d insist on the c-section. Reason being my son was a 10 pound baby and the short amount of time between the two births would have been an issue as well as the size. Once he was out, the OB said that there was no way I could have SAFELY delivered that child vaginally. So, the sister-in-law is up in arms again because I ‘cheated’ and didn’t get the true birthing experience and really, I hadn’t given birth. Well, gee. I left the hospital with a baby both times so SOMEBODY gave birth. People who say that you haven’t truly given birth just don’t get it. The whole point is to end up with a baby no matter HOW you do it.
This is infuriating. There are risks to delivering a breech baby. The baby’s position needs to be a certain way for a good outcome to be a possibility. And only a well trained doctor who has experience in breech deliveries should deliver a breech baby. On top of that, who does your sister-in-law think she is by questioning how you choose to give birth? Grrr. It makes me so angry.
I had an emergency c-section with my first, and scheduled c-section with my second 17 months later. With my first, I never progressed past 5 cms dilation, and she was in distress, had meconium aspiration, and spent several days in NICU. Both girls were under 8 pounds, but evidently my sacrum is quite flat and I was later told that I could never deliver an average size baby vaginally.
I thank God for c-sections, because without them, both my daughter and I could have died. I think of how many mothers died in childbirth in earlier times before c-sections, and I realize how lucky we are to have the medical technology we do.
I think a lot of the “C-sections don’t count” attitude comes from the misconception that tons upon tons of women plan for C-sections so they don’t have to go through the “trauma” of a vaginal birth. I’ve heard more than one woman sneer at “Oh, she just didn’t want to go through a vaginal birth, that’s why she had the C-section”, but I’ve also never met a woman who voluntarily had a C-section (unless it’s in a case like yours, Heather, in which there were risks associated and it was sort of “the lesser of two evils”). It’s one of those misconceptions we use to paint other women as villians, like the old belief that there is a secret sect of women who use abortions as birth control.
One of my dear friends had to have a C-section about a year ago. She’d had two failed inductions and also had a massive infection in her leg, and it just all came down to her needing to go in and have the C-section. In the end, it was the best for her and baby; he turned out to be over 11 pounds, and the doctors said she probably wouldn’t’ve been able to give birth naturally if she’d wanted to. But she was really upset about it for several weeks, because it wasn’t the birth she’d wanted, and from the first time she’d heard “Baby’s going to be awfully big”, like, two weeks before she actually gave birth, she’d fought desperately against the C-section. Obviously, she’s recovered, and she doesn’t care anymore (though she enjoyed telling me, the single girl, the whole saga!), but it was traumatic at the time.
Which I can understand if, I guess, but it all comes down to, like you said, having a healthy baby. Which is perspective she got because she was the one with a healthy baby, but the Judgy McJudgersons in the world, they don’t have that – they just have their bitter thoughts to fall back on.
11 pound baby! OH MY!
Actually my SIL is one of those women who just didn’t feel like going through vaginal delivery. Her statements to me were that she didn’t “want to have to worry about tearing and urinary incontinence” after a vaginal birth (I’ve told her that peeing my pants is not a problem I have). But she’s a physician and her husband is as well, a surgeon actually, and they knew the risks going in, so why not? (Her sections were scheduled for 40 weeks both times, and she went into labor at 38.5 weeks and 39 weeks, so her babies and her body made the decision)
I had two unmedicated vaginal deliveries with slight tearing both times. My first my recovery took a few days before I was up and around as usual, with my second, I was on my feet shortly after the birth showering and cleaning up the hospital room an hour or two later until the midwife yelled at me to sit down!
I don’t really care how someone gives birth, the giving birth part of parenting is a tiny moment in time. Everything that comes after that is so much more important than how the kid came into the world.
Also, with both my girls after their shoulders started to emerge, I reached down and pulled them the rest of the way from my body. That moment is very special to me, and wouldn’t have happened had I had a c-section.
I had a c-section (transverse) with my first child and vaginal births with the 2nd and 3rd. My eldest daughter was breech and there was not enough room to turn her. I was given the option with my 2nd daughter and it was taken for granted that the third, my son, would be born vaginally.
I decided to VBAC because it seemed as though another c-section would be unnecessary surgery. I don’t remember the doctors really giving me the low down on what could happen. I just remember being told there was a slight chance that my uterus could rip during childbirth. I had no idea how serious it was until I was about to push and the room began to fill up with people and equipment who were alerting one another that this was a VBAC.
I had an unplanned C-section for my son after 48 hrs of labor and “failure to progress”. I recovered fairly quickly (relative to others I know who had C-sections.) I had a VBAC nearly 4 years later with my daughter, which I attempted for a couple of reasons: 1) Hoping for an easier recovery (like i said my C-section recovery was relatively easy, but it still was a couple of weeks before I felt like myself) ; 2) Not wanting to stay in the non-private hospital ward (I’m in the UK) after giving birth. After my 1st, I was there for only 2 days (which is VERY quick post-C-section) but I hated it. Loud, too cold or too hot, lonely (partners not allowed to spend the night), miserable; 3) Wanting to feel more in control of the birth. I felt like even during the laboring part of my son’s birth, I wasn’t completely in control. It went on so long and I felt so weak by the end that I didn’t feel like I could make the decisions I wanted to. 4) A hope that breastfeeding would go better with #2. The fact that it didn’t work so well with my son may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that I had a C-section…after all, lots of people successfully breastfeed after having them, but there was always that seed of doubt in my mind.
In the end, it was quite an easy decision for me, partly because my community midwife was SO supportive of it and my body & my daughter cooperated! But as others have said it is such a personal decision that I would never judge another mom for making a different choice. I just cannot get over how mean women can be to each other over issues relating to having kids, starting even before birth and continuing…well, my son is 5 and I still experience it, so I’m thinking it’ll always continue. Why the hell does everyone feel the need to judge everyone else?
First, I agree completely that however a baby comes into the world is a miracle and I get frustrated with women who say my birth wasn’t how I planned it. Do you have a baby? Yes, then your end game was realized, success. And no one should call a c-section a failure.
That isn’t to say I don’t understand the disapointment. I had a natural vaginal delivery. I think the reason some women, myself included, would prefer to explore that route before going to a c-section is all about control and nature. I feel if women have been doing it for ever, then I should be able to. Also, that it is my baby and I want to be as invovled in their delivery as much as possible and a surgery has a much longer recovery time. A C-section takes some of that away. BUT, if there was any chance of complications I would jump on a c-section wagon so fast because it is not worth risking my child’s life.
I had an emergency c-section with my son 3 years ago and a VBAC 8 weeks ago with my daughter. I was induced with my son and really felt like my body was not ready to have him – hence, the c-section. While I know it was a “real” delivery and I didn’t feel like I failed with my first delivery, I really wanted the experience to let my body do what it was designed to do and experience a vaginally delivery. I found a wonderful doctor who was so open and willing to let me try for a VBAC. And boy, did I get my wish.
To make a long story short, I was laboring at home and ended up transitioning very, very quickly. We rushed to the hospital, I was already 8 centimeters. About 10 minutes after arriving, my water broke and it was time to push. Less than an hour later, my daughter was in my arms. There was no time for any medication – which is not something I had planned at all – but it all just happened so fast. It was an amazing experience. I am so glad that I tried for the VBAC!
As an L&D and NICU nurse, this topic gets me a bit worked up. As mothers we spend way too much time comparing ourselves/babies to others when we should be supporting each other. Why anyone would tell any other mother that her birth experience was any less important is beyond me…and beyond annoying. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to council women on their feelings of failure after getting an epidural/ending up with a c-section etc. Nobody gets a medal for a vaginal birth.
Jackee – after I had my daughter (via C/S) a neighbor happened to spot my husband and I when we returned to our home to clean it from top to bottom before we brought the baby home from the NICU.
The neighbor, who had 1 child, asked about the baby, I explained she was in the NICU, etc. The neighbor grimaced and said, “Oh. Did you need a C/S?” I told her yes, I did, it was an emergency C/S, and that’s what I needed.
She proceeded to tell me how upset I must be to have missed a vaginal birth, how much a C/S sucks (she’s never had one), etc. I cut her off and told her that I had a healthy child who was in severe distress after I’d been on bed rest for a week after PPROM. However the doctors got her out of me was just fine with me, and I felt no regrets. I have no misgivings about having a C/S, and I hate when women try to one-up each other with birth stories, etc. We’re all women and mothers – can’t we embrace that and support one another? (Sorry for writing a novel, ha.)
Amen. You hit the nail right on the head!
What a perfect response Laura! I agree completely.
I had an emergency C/S with my first child, but have a low transverse scar. I am not pregnant with a second right now, but have already discussed a VBAC with my ob/gyn, who said she is supportive of them in general, that it might NOT be possible, and that we’ll discuss it throughout my next pregnancy.
Here is an NIH panel report: http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/vbacstatement.htm
After my daughter was born, I had a MALE friend (with whom we’re not longer friends, as his and his wife’s true colors came out around this time) tell me that I didn’t give birth and that I would retain the baby weight forever. I could have punched him. I was a few weeks postpartum with a child who’d been born 8 weeks early and spent 3 weeks in the NICU. Don’t tell me that I didn’t give birth.
Anyway, I think I want to TRY a VBAC. Just try. If it doesn’t work out, or if after talking with my doctor and reading through research I have doubts, then a C/S it is, and I won’t be upset.
A birth is about the baby, in my opinion, and less about the mother. (I don’t mean that the mother’s health isn’t important; I mean that I, as a mother, will do what is best for my baby, and forget about what I want or don’t want as long as the baby is safe.)
So I’d like to try. I had an incredibly easy recovery from my first C/S, but I would love to not experience a surgery again – I’m thinking that at that point, I’ll have two kids, be busier than I was with the first, and wouldn’t it be nice to have a vaginal birth so that I can get back into jogging (i.e., my time to space out and think about nothing!) and not have to worry about lifting restrictions, etc.
But however it works out is how it’s supposed to work out – if I have a successful VBAC, great. If I have a repeat C/S, great. Healthy baby is most important.
Judy Merrill Larsen says:
25 years ago I had an emergency c-section because my placenta separated at 36 weeks and I was hemorrhaging. Fortunately, my son and I were fine. 19 months later, I delivered my second son vaginally after 20 hours of labor. Each was its own different experience, but both were wonderful because I had healthy babies. I was glad to “experience” labor, but would have been totally fine if at any time my doctor had said, nope, we need to do another c-section. They had tons of monitors on me throughout the labor to make sure neither of us were at risk.
Anyone who criticizes HOW a baby gets born is just an idiot.
I had a vaginal birth and considered needing forceps a failure for ages afterwards. I dont even know why, like hell is having forceps a failure. I think we put alot of pressure on ourselves and the ONLY result you want during labour is healthy baby and mummy.
Patti B. says:
I had an emergency C-section with my first daughter…I was always a little sad that I didn’t have the experience, but always happier I had the baby I entirely planned for a VBAC, even though I was carrying twins, but my larger baby was breech so my dr. said no go – and the delivery ended up as an another emergency C-section as well anyway…So I have heard a few times how I didn’t deliver any of my girls. I like to kind of cock my head to the right and say, “Yes, you’re right, I was simply filleted and was rewarded with 3 beautiful babies. FEEL BETTER??”
My first was a c-section due to placenta previa. I didn’t have that issue with my second so there wasn’t a reason to not have a vbac. The doctors and staff at the National Naval Medical Center were very supportive and it was a long, painful but wonderful experience. I felt that I was in good hands and the risk wasn’t any higher than had I had a c-section. The recovery was a breeze. I thought that I recovered quickly from my first birth but nothing compared to the second. Whatever choice you make is the right choice for you.
Once upon a time, I dreamed of waterbirth. I refused to even consider the possibility of any other birth. Then, complications happened and my son was born via emergency c-section. After his birth, I asked about the possibility of VBAC for the next one. The doctor said that conditions would have to be absolutely perfect due to my son’s small size, because my uterus could easily rupture. When we decide to have child #2, it will come via scheduled c-section. I don’t feel the need to play around with anyone’s health.
I don’t understand all the mean-spiritedness of discussions about how babies are born. Each woman/couple/family makes the best decisions they can with whatever information they have. Unless we are in one another’s shoes, we don’t have the right to judge. Ever.
I have had two babies, the first was delivered vaginally and the second via c-section. The first baby was 8 lbs 11 oz (I”m 4’11”) and I didn’t have to be cut, no tears, no stitches and was up and walking around as soon as my epidural wore off. It was fabulous. My second baby was due via emergency c-section because of a prolopsed cord. I was scared of losing him (heartrate had dropped to the 40s) that they could have cut me open with no meds and I wouldn’t have cared, I just wanted him out. That said, I wasn’t allowed up for 24 hours, required a blood transfusion the next day, and wasn’t able to stand up straight for three weeks. It was so much more painful and such a difficult recovery compared to my first delivery.
I am getting married again in September and my future husband and I would like to try for one more baby. I have already discussed with my ob/gyn my desire to have a VBAC. Because I do have a low, bikini cut my risks of rupture are low, and this time I plan on going completely natural. Becuase I know I can have a successful vaginal delivery, I feel that a VBAC is best for us.
Excuse my spelling and grammar errors, geez, I should proofread before I post.
We had a c-section for both kids. I was a week overdue with the first child, with high blood pressure, and no sign of the baby dropping/any dialation. For the second, we wanted to have a VBAC , as I had never experienced labor.
The night before the scheduled c, I went into labor. Seventeen continuous hours of contractions later… I was not dialated at all. *sigh* I had the c-section, and it turned out to be a blessing, as there was apparently a knot in the umbillical cord, which would have been a problem during delivery if I had been physically able.
I will say that with my first pregnancy, I had a lot of hormone issues after he was born (I wasdying of heat, then freezing; I couldn’t sit still, was weepy and giddy; it was like menopause at 32 ). The contractions on the second baby seemed to burn off the hormones, and I felt like myself immediately.
I think choosing to have a c-section for “convenience” or so you “don’t get stretched out” is silly and ridiculous. And I do believe the statistics show there are a lot of unnecessary sections being performed, which is a shame. People think this is the “easy” way, but I’ve worked on a postpartum floor and I can guarantee that the c-section Mamas have a lot more pain and more difficult recoveries in general.
However, I think c-sections can be necessary and life saving procedures, and I am grateful that we live in a day and age where women who need this procedure can have it in a safe and sterile place and have a healthy baby.
Giving birth though is giving birth, we are all Mama’s no matter which way our our babies come in to the world.
I agree–we are blessed to live in a time when mothers and/or babies in need of C-sections can get them … on the other hand, I have heard so many stories of doctors inducing babies for their own convenience, with the ultimate outcome being a C-section that might otherwise have been unnecessary. I have a friend who tried for a VBAC but happened to be giving birth on New Year’s Eve, and the doctor basically pushed her into having another C-section so that she (the doctor) could leave. Having given birth unmedicated (but in a hospital–safety first!) I would wish that experience for as many women as possible–but I know it’s not possible for everyone.
My first born was breech so i had to have a c-section. I did not want one, bc i was terrified of it. I had a very very traumatic experience with it, and had a very long recovery period. Many of my friends had a speedy recovery with no problems though. Everyone is different with how they react. I opted for a VBAC with my second, bc i was so scared of a repeat of the first. My doctor was very honest, told me all the risks, and let me go only to a certain point etc…my daughter held out until the day of my schedule csection when she was born VBAC. I opted for no drugs, so my chances of having a successful VBAC were higher. It was an experience for sure!!! I think it all depends on every individual. I felt very confident in my doctors care, and knew he would take all precautions to make sure we were not taking any unnecessary risks.
(Disclaimer, I’m an OB nurse) A vaginal delivery is safer for mom and baby, unless the baby is in distress or the mom has had a classical C/S like you, Heather. VBACing, when you’ve had only one or two prior C/Ss and both with the low transverse incision, is safer than a C/S, which has higher risks for mom and baby when all else is ok (i.e., mom should be able to deliver vaginally, no complications, etc.). C/S is a major surgery. That being said, every woman has the right to choose what’s best for her and her babies!
I had to have a C-section with my daughter. She was born at 42 weeks and 1 day, after 36 hours of induced labor and 2 rounds of pitocin. She just wasn’t coming out. My midwives did what they could. My C-section wasn’t a failure, it was medically indicated and I’m grateful it wasn’t an emergency situation.
My husband and I hope to have a second child and I am really, really hoping that I can deliver vaginally.
The risk of uterine rupture is extremely low- and there are other health advantages to avoiding repeated c-sections. I think this article covering the recommendation of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does a nice job of discussing it: http://www.ourbodiesourblog.org/blog/2010/07/acog-releases-updated-vbac-practice-bulletin-emphasizes-individualized-approach-and-maternal-autonomy
Also, my recovery was prolonged and difficult. I didn’t have any complications, but I also didn’t have enough help- I was solo with the new baby 6 days after my C-section. At my 2 week follow-up, I had to take the elevator and stop to rest hunched over because of pain and fatigue. It took me 6 weeks to feel 85% back to normal, and 8 weeks to really feel 100%. Spending the first 2 months of your babies life recovering from abdominal surgery blows.
Friends who have delivered vaginally were out for walks with the baby stroller in 2 weeks!
Hopefully there will be a second time around and I can’t imagine not being able to lift my toddler for 6-8 weeks while I recover. Also, where we live now has stairs, which were extremely hard and painful to navigate. So these are the reasons I definitely want to give a VBAC a try.
I think women need to make a decision about what’s best for their own physical and mental health. Might it have been ‘better’ for you to have had Annie by VBAC? Physically, perhaps- although you have the risk of your C-sec with Maddie. Mentally, definitely not- the fear, anxiety, and worry alone would be reason enough to do a repeat c-sec to me!
Cecilia @ Parenting Controversy says:
Courtney, oh my gosh woman, after reading your story now I’m terrified of having another c-section. If I decide to go again, I definitely want to give a VBAC a try.
Also, thank you for posting the article link, it’s comforting reading.
Cecilia- didn’t mean to scare you! Just trying to give Heather my perspective to help her understand my reasoning for opting for a VBAC versus a repeat c-sec.
You’re a mom and you’ll do what you have to do. If I have to have a repeat c-sec, so be it. But I’d really prefer the (generally) speedier recovery of a vaginal birth so I can spend my maternity leave enjoying my family than recuperating!
Cecilia @ Parenting Controversy says:
I’m with you. I’d much prefer to be up and about right away with minimal lingering pain.
Side note: I’d also like to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes right away – a girl can dream, right?
I had my first son via emergency c-section and I saw 3 docs who told me that I had very little chance to deliver my 2nd via VBAC (given the reason that my first son got “stuck” and I have big babies). That was all that I needed to decide to do another c-section-I did want to explore all of my options due to the longer healing times + increased risk. I’m all for doing things that are natural but I think sometimes when it comes to babies we are over the top (i.e., taking risks to have a natural birth that don’t need to be taken) and making people who feed their babies formula feel like they are feeding them battery acid. It’s ridiculous and I think it stems from people having their own HUGE insecurities and wanting to feel superior. I’ll step off my soapbox now..
I had a c-sec with my first. After 39 hours of labor we discovered that he was a footling breech. So the c-sec was absolutely necessary, but unplanned. I had a lot of trouble recovering and a lot of trouble nursing. I knew I wanted to try a VBAC for our second. So I did LOTS of research to help me determine what would be best for our family.
By the time we were ready for a second we had moved to a new state and I had a different doctor. I found a great doctor’s office where they were very supportive, but realistic. I have a low, transverse scar, have average/smallish babies, and had actually labored and fully dilated with my older son. So, basically I was a good candidate.
Bottom line, after another 30+ hour labor I was successful and my second son was born healthy 4 months ago. The recovery was much easier and the nursing (despite some issues) has been much better. I am truly happy that I had a successful VBAC (and actually felt like sort of a celebrity at the hospital. Apparently I was unusual!) but if I had had another c-sec that would have been okay. As long as I came out with my healthy babies that is what matters.
As to why I chose VBAC, in my situation a VBAC was the safer route. For me, the risks of complications from a subsequent c-sec were equal or higher than from a VBAC. That being said, we were cautious. Our constant refrain was that the ultimate goal was a healthy mom and a healthy baby. I labored at the hospital where my doctor could monitor me and the baby as much as possible. At one point when things sort of stalled, she even told me that if things didn’t progress soon, we would have to discuss a repeat c-sec. I had no misconceptions then nor do I gave any now, about one type of birth being more “real” than another. I do, however have two friends who nearly bled out during their c-secs (one of whom ended up with a hysterectomy). So really there is no such thing as a risk free birth. Whichever route you choose. Ultimately you have to do what is right for your family. And women really need to stop being so mean and judgmental. Calling a c-sec not a real birth is madness.
I believe it’s whatever works best for mama and baby! And that is what is KEY! Many mothers want to have the “most natural” birth and aren’t able. That doesn’t make you a cheater or a failure it is what was meant for you and your child’s health. I had my first child this past December and I delivered her naturally. I personally was not up for a C-Section and expressed that to my doctor. But at the same time I said we WILL do what is in the best interest of my child and myself. Anyone who can carry and deliver a child is a success in my opinion.
I have had two vaginal births but if it were medically necessary for either of my children to be born via c-section, there would have been no choice. The health of my daughters is paramount.
Giving birth is giving birth no matter if it is vaginal or by c-section. Anyone who says otherwise is a bully. Kind of like the breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding and cloth diapering vs. disposable diapering debate. I breastfed my girls for a year each and pumped after I went back to work but I did have to supplement some with formula once they got to be about 6 months old.
We are all moms and we all make choices depending on what we feel is the best for our children and ourselves. I get so tired of
My first daughter was born via c-section after 24 hours of labor. It was fine, but I suffered many complications as a result, including a severe infection that resulted in a second hospital stay, pic line, and home iv pump. I didn’t leave the house except for dr appts for 5 weeks.
When my second daughter was on her way, I knew I just could not risk all those complications again. I was determined to have a VBAC. My doctor’s only concern was that my daughter was large, but we agreed to see how the labor went. I’m so glad I had a doctor who listened to me and heard where I was coming from. He worked with me every step of the way.
I was able to have a VBAC with Grace. And she weighed 1 pound 4 ounces more than my first daughter. Having had both experiences, I can attest the main difference is the ease of the recovery with a vaginal birth. Obviously. No major surgery = easier recovery. But really, one is not “better” or “more real,” either way, at the end, they hand you a beautiful baby.
I’ve never even had a c-section and this topic makes me upset! lol
It’s so bizarre to me how mothers can criticize and judge other mothers about how their babies are born. It’s ridiculous! I’ve had four babies, and it just happened to work out that all were vaginal births, but ALL that ever mattered to me was that they got from my belly to my arms healthy. (And one didn’t, and a c-section probably could have helped him out.) I was a little scared of the idea of a c-section only because I’d heard horror stories of recovery times and scars and bellies that would never be flat again, but if I’d needed one to get a baby out safely? Bring it on! I also think it’s so funny when woman have to brag about their “natural” births and judge mothers who get epidurals. I had two babies without pain meds and that was NOT by choice. My two epidural babies were the best birth experiences ever for me!! It was like date night with my hubby, hanging out, playing cards, watching t.v. together and then a little pressure, push the baby out, and voila! My make-up and hair still looked great for pics. Hehe.
Anyways, I happen to be someone who takes a tylenol when I have a headache. I don’t say, “Ooh, wow, look at me. I’m such a strong woman that I have a head ache and I’m going to deny myself pain meds and get through it naturally and it will make me a better person than people who take tylenol!” I feel the same way about labor and delivery. If it can be painless? Bring on the pain meds. If I push my baby out, or they cut my baby out? I DON’T CARE, as long as it’s the best option for my baby.
People who judge and criticize over how other woman birth their babies have too much time on their hands and need to get a life.
To the c-section mommies, PLEASE stop letting other woman make you feel like you didn’t have a “real” birth. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!
I totally agree with the sentiment that a healthy baby is the desired destination. However, I disagree that the journey to get there doesn’t matter. For me, implying that can be very offensive to women that put a great deal of thought into their labors & deliveries (whether it be a planned c-section or a natural birth). That’s like saying just because the destination is the grocery store, it doesn’t matter if you walk, fly, or drive (not comparing any birth choices to these transportation methods, by the way). Whether you choose to walk, fly, or drive can actually greatly impact your experience. It will influence what you see, how you enjoy your journey, how tired you are when you arrive to the destination, etc.
For some women, it doesn’t matter how they get their baby in their hands and I think that’s fine. If they’ve done their research and truthfully know what is right for them, that’s great. However, not all women feel that way. For many women, the laboring process is extremely healing. It gives some women strength they didn’t know they had. It gives others reassurance. Some survivors of sexual abuse have even said that control over their laboring process was therapeutic for them in ways nothing else has been.
I guess my point is often I see people defending the right/choice to have a c-section but failing to respect the right/choice for a woman to care about how her baby arrives and how it will impact her emotionally and mentally. We need to respect all views and beliefs and not just blow off each other because a “healthy baby is all that matters”. That doesn’t mean you can’t hope, plan, and pray for a safer/easier journey or emotionally invest in your birth plan.
Eek – I should be extra careful here to clear up that in my last paragraph the way I worded it might suggest that women who choose a c-section don’t care about how her baby arrives, and that’s not what I meant.
I just mean no matter which route a woman takes, she may weigh the risks through her own personal lens & decide what’s best for her, and that’s what should be respected.
I like that. Food for thought for sure.
And then there are the doctors that go the other direction. I had an emergency c-section with my first due to placenta previa and abruptia. When I got pregnant with my second baby, four years later, my doctor was of the belief that a vaginal birth was best and there was absolutely no physiological reason that I should not be a good candidate for VBAC – even though I was perfectly willing to have another C-Section. As it turned out, the baby was bigger than they thought and a botched forceps delivery ended up severing a major artery and causing severe hemmoraghing. Two D&C’s and 17 units of blood later, I finally got to see my baby. Go for the C-Sections ladies!
I had a medicated vaginal birth. I pushed for just shy of 3 hours, which while “numb”, still sucked! I had QUITE the tearing (grade 3, however they “grade” these things), and horrible ‘roids that were there before but in big, angry, bad shape afterwards. My stitches hadn’t healed properly by my 6 week check, and I still had a open sore spot along the tear line. They had to use liquid cauterization junk to “stick it back together”. That burns like hell and required numbing first. Not sure why they didn’t just restitch it, as I had to have the procedure done again a few weeks later. So I wasn’t cleared for anything down below until 14 weeks postpartum.
So, while I was certainly up and about during that time, I frankly would’ve rather had a c-section than the mess I ended up with! I know most women recover quickly from a vag birth, not sure what my deal was!
” I know most women recover quickly from a vag birth, not sure what my deal was!”
Aieee, Jen, sorry to hear that you were so unlucky with it. How the pushing is done seems to make a difference to vag outcomes. Babies who barell into the world fast often cause worse damage than the ones where the pushing is done slowly and in response to the contractions rather than the whole “now strain as hard as you can while I count to 10!”
With my first kid when I began to feel the burn of the crowning I just wanted him out ASAP, pushed hard and ended up with two tears. I remember uttering strings of curse words whenever I had to pee for a few days afterwards, but on the whole it wasn’t too bad. On the other hand, with my second kid, she was born much more slowly. I just breathed calmly into the crowning burn, didn’t strain, didn’t push, just waited for the next contraction. Shoulders came out slowly and then the rest of her and I had no damage whatsoever.
I was a bit of a fanatic about perineal massage the second time around too and I think it really helped, mostly because it helped me get used to the sensation of the tissue stretching, which helped me stay relaxed and not birth her in haste.
Christina Cox says:
Just so ya know – you can get mad ‘roids from c-sections too! I had them BOTH times!
mom of 2 says:
Had a vaginal birth the first time and can’t really remember what the recovery time was like. Maybe a week. I do remember watching the whole miraculous thing in a mirror and that indescribable moment of bliss when they put that baby on my stomach. But I had an emergency c-section the second time and the recovery time was a month at least. Woe to those women who have stairs in their homes and a bathroom only on the 2nd floor, like I did!
But my biggest problem about having a c-section was that they strapped me down to a table with my arms spread out to my sides. I had no choice in how I want to be situated; I had zero control. I couldn’t hold my baby in my arms until well after delivery because one, they wouldn’t let me and two, I had no feeling or strength left in my arms. Oh yes, I’m so very glad there’s the option of having this surgery to save mom and baby lives. It’s just that I can understand some women’s feelings of loss when they can’t delivery vaginally, especially when they can compare it to other births that they’ve had. But it goes without saying that each person’s choice in this is beyond criticism.
One other thing, I can attest that I had an inner voice when I had my first daughter that sounded out, “you failed” because I had a C-section. I knew, logically speaking, this wasn’t true at all. How could I have failed at all when I had something so precious. That being said, hormones are funny things, and I think for some women, it’s just hard to accept that by not delivering vaginally, it was in some way failing to do what we always heard was the way to deliver. In other words, we grew up our whole lives hearing about pushing your baby out via your vagina. Then you suddenly can’t or don’t. It’s just something that some women might need more time to adjust to.
Heidi T says:
I had an “emergency” C-section with my first and an unmedicated VBAC with my second. The difference between the two was night and day. Both kids were late. With my daughter I was in the bed until the next day, nursing was harder, I had gas pains, getting up and walking was a pain. With my son, I got up about an hour after giving birth and took a shower. I walked the halls right away. I was able to accompany my son if they needed him in the nursery instead of being stuck in a bed worrying. I also was able to get the IV out right away and not be constantly monitored for blood pressure like I was with the C-Section.
There is way more risk with any surgery (including a C-section) than there is with a VBAC.
Also – no matter how you have a baby, be it by C-section, Vaginal, Adoption, Surrogacy, you are a mom – there is no such thing as better than.
Just a pet peeve here: Moms deliver their babies, whether vaginally or by c section. Doctors DON’T deliver babies, MOMs do. We’re giving doctors WAY too much credit here. Moms carried babies, had morning sickness, gained weight, went without some of their favourite foods because it wasn’t good for them during pregnancy. Moms are responsible for growing that baby. They push, sweat, scream, undergo agonizing amounts of pain or sometimes make the decision to undergo surgery so that the doctor lifts the baby from their stomach.
Point is, MOMS deliver babies, not doctors and midwives.
Now that that’s out of the way:
Are some babies (and moms) lives saved by c sections? Yes. Do c section moms give birth? Of course, and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot.
I had 3 vaginal, unmedicated, births. I felt like I could have gotten up and run a marathon after giving birth (to my first especially). I had midwives. I’m very crunchy that way and I believe *most* births would be fine if moms were left alone to labour when their body is ready with no interventions. Without doubt there are way too many c sections performed in North America. And they are performed by doctors who are hounded by liability issues, huge insurance bills, and backward laws in places where lawmakers believe VBACs are dangerous. And some doctors simply don’t want to wait out a labouring patient; they would rather head home when their shift is over.
I think too many forget that a c/s is major surgery with many risks. And the reasons for a c/s can be flimsy. Doctors often say that a baby is too big for a vaginal birth (from the ultrasound which is notoriously inaccurate) and demand a c section be performed. Out comes an 8 1/2 pound baby.
Yes, a healthy baby and healthy mom is most important, but the journey to a healthy baby is important too.
Heather, I’m so glad to see you post this & to see the thoughtful, considerate responses from your readers.
I have one biological child (2 step children) and due to a genetic condition (XLI/STS), my chances of going in to and having a ‘normal’ labor were very low. Pitocin (sp?) is counter indicated for the condition that I have. My doc recommended a c-section, particularly after hearing that my grandmother had 12 pregnancies, with 8 live children, with all losses due to complications during child birth. In one pregnancy she was 4 weeks overdue and gave birth to a stillborn child.
So I had a planned c-section, low transverse, with a slight complication. While they were taking my son out, my incision ripped. My healing time was a bit extended due to the tearing, but over all I recovered well and was simply happy to have a happy, healthy baby.
My husband has PKU (Phenylketonuria), a rare condition in which a baby is born without the ability to properly break down an amino acid called phenylalanine. Again, on doctor’s advice, I elected not to breast feed. The results of the test to see if my baby also had PKU (50% chance) took ten days. During that time the pediatrician highly recommended that my son be fed a special low protein formula, to avoid brain injury if he did have the condition. Once the test results came back (negative) my little guy was happy with the bottle, and we switched him to regular formula, as breast feeding was no longer an option for us.
The combined reaction I got from some friends and co-workers to the fact that I a) had a planned c-section and b) didn’t breast feed was ridiculous. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply offended I was by the comments and ‘input’ I received from people who didn’t even want to try to understand why we made the choices that we did. Those same folks took real issue with the fact that I planned to return to work and put my child in daycare. What a horrible mother I was going to be!
My son is three now and he is smart, funny, independent and HEALTHY. We are considering having another child and based on my experience I will likely make all of the same choices I did the first time around, for the same reasons. The one thing I did learn though? Not to tell people about my experience or my plans if I have any inkling that I will get the same response I did last time. Who needs that kind of negativity!
Ultimately, it’s the Mom’s choice and the safety of the baby should be the number one concern.
Mama in the Moon says:
My horrendous ex-SIL once told me she thought that having a C-section is the “easy way out”. I’ve had vaginal births with both of my kids, but I don’t believe there is ANY “easy” way through childbirth. Most of my friends have had C-sections, and I know that they struggled with a lot of pain and time healing their incision after the birth. I agree that as long as the baby is born healthy and happy, and the mom is healthy too, then it is a success. Period.
So, this is a very touchy subject, as you know. I have had 1 c-section and 4 vaginal births.
My decision to have a VBAC with Seth was because there was no physical reason why Emma didn’t turn. She was footling breech and stayed that way until my water broke. I asked the doctor who did the c-section if there was anything wrong with my uterus, if there was any reason why she couldn’t turn. He said that there was no reason why she didn’t turn, and that I would be a good candidate for a VBAC.
For me, the risks of a VBAC were ok. The chance of uterine rupture between 1st time Mom’s and VBAC Mom’s only goes up by 1%, so I felt comfortable with that risk.
Also, as a very spiritual person, I prayed about every one of my births. If I had ever had a complication, felt worried or not ok about how my baby was going to be born, I would have hightailed it to the hospital for a c-section or whatever was necessary.
Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby. That is the most important thing to me. But, for me, the best way to get that was to have my home birth VBACs.
I don’t have an exact number, but was under the impression that the rupture rates for VBAC following classical c-sections was much higher than low transverse. Possibly in the ~15% range.
I had a classical c-section during my 1st child’s delivery, following ~12 hours of labor. The c-section was prompted by my daughter and I crashing (I know I heard them saying her heart rate was in the 20s and my BP was very low) because my uterus ruptured (even though I had never had surgery on my uterus). My daughter was big ~10lbs 11 oz and I was 17 days past my due date and apparently I have a very thin uterus. She was born without a heartbeat and they finally got one back after ~10 minutes. She survived in the NICU for 7 hours and then passed away.
My second child was born via a planned c-section at 35w5days to prevent any chance of me having another rupture. When my OB saw my uterus he said he would never want me to be more pregnant than I was that day because he barely had to touch it with the scalpel before it opened up. So… obviously if I ever get pregnant again I will have another early c-section and likely third child in the NICU.
If it hadn’t been in the hospital when I ruptured during my first delivery I may have died too or they may not have been able to save my uterus For my first pregnancy I had received all of my prenatal care from midwives at an independent birth center and had labored there for about 9 hours before we saw that the baby was having late decels and had heavy meconium in the fluid.
I wish I had been ‘bullied’ into an c-section with my first by an OB due to being over due with a large baby and low fluid because then I might have a 6yo daughter at home.
omg! 17 days past your due date! Shame on your OB for letting you go that long! So sorry you lost your little girl.
It was my midwives at an independent birth center who let me go that long… It will always be something that I wish I done differently.
I delivered Maya vaginally but had some major tearing and an emergency repair surgery a week after she was born. It was scary and at the time we were told a c-section would likely be necessary next time. I didn’t give it much thought at the time. When I got pregnant this time I had a new OB (the partner of my previous OB). He had a different take and thought that as long as we kept on top of things and monitored baby size, how I healed, etc. I’d be able to avoid a c-section if that is what I wanted.
We gave it a lot of thought. I decided I wanted to avoid a c-section because I didn’t like the idea of having major surgery if I could avoid it and the likelihood of what happened last time, happening again were minimal. I’ve opted to try a vaginal birth again. I hope I’m successful, but if I end up with a c-section I’m okay with that too.
I don’t see c-sections as not a natural birth, or a failure. They are necessary sometimes, the better option. If that is how a baby is born who cares. The end result is the same, a baby. It is more important to consider the baby’s health and the mom’s health and deliver the way that ensures both.
Natural childbirth at home has been best for me (so far!). I don’t want any big medical interventions during my births for a variety of reasons, mainly because its just the way I want it! That being said, I am so glad we have the ability to get babies out safely with medical intervention, including c sections, when needed. If I ever need one, I won’t think of that birth as any less real or any less difficult. Birthing is hard work, whether it’s “natural”, with pain management or by c section. We all do what works and what is best for our kids. All birth is real birth.
I would be all for c-section if I could be knocked out, be it drugs or a sledgehammer. I don’t care, truth be told, I think I’d probably pass out because the thought of getting cut open through my skin, muscle, tendons, uterus and all that jazz……scares the everliving crap out of me. I think that any woman who goes through a c-section awake needs to be bowed down to and worshiped.
The women who give birth without any drugs are only just giving birth. That’s it………but the c-section moms….WOW!
“The women who give birth without any drugs are only just giving birth. That’s it………but the c-section moms….WOW!”
Now that comment made me laugh out loud! I was awake through both of my c-sections… after they revived me that is and it is SCARY! But for me and the medical condition I have natural birth would have been scarier – since instead of only flat-lining on the table once I probably would have flat-lined into oblivion. Stupid severe vasovagal syncope – my heart actually stops beating in response to pain triggers, natural un-medicated birth was highly risky for me – I’m only 36 and the doctors already want to put a pacemaker in, apparently it’s fairly hereditary – and there are lots of only children born to mother’s who died during childbirth back in the day as a part of my family tree – I’m thankful that I’m not one of them!
I was awake for mine too. I think the whole procedure took 15 minutes from cutting me open to sewing/stapling me back up.
I am of the opinion a birth is a birth, it doesn’t matter the method. I firmly do not understand the vitriol about c-sections. I had an emergency C-section with my first as she was transverse and stuck and her heart was decelerating, and a VBAC with my second. I don’t believe at all that I didnt experience birth with the first, I mean, I was pregnant and I had a baby, how else did she get there but by a birth? The method isn’t important. I wanted to try a VBAC mostly because I still have numbness at the incision point, and I was afraid it would be worse if I had a second. Plus, this may sound really silly, but her conception was so medical (we did IVF after years of trying), I wanted her birth to be as simple as possible. The VBAC was super fast, my water broke at midnight, she was born at 6am. She didn’t breath for the longest 3 minutes of my and my husband’s life, and immediately after all they could get her to do was sort of grunt. I also began to hemmorage and had to get whisked away to surgery. I’m fine, she is fine, my husband on the other hand probably is still recovering. I always say how easy the VBAC was but typing it up it doesn’t sound all that easy LOL, plus I missed the extra 3 days of help in the hospital, and an extra 4 weeks on my maternity leave for work. On the plus though, I was up and about a lot more quickly even with a ton of stiches, but I was up and about pretty soon after the C/S too now that I think about it.
Well, I won’t be able to enlighten you, because I had 2 c-sections. I had many risks, a misshapen uterus, and both kids were breach. In fact, after my 2nd c-section, I was told my uterus was “bubble-gum” thin and if I’d been in labor longer (I went in to labor 2 weeks before scheduled c-section) that it could have ruptured. Any future kids would be much riskier, needing to be delivered at 36 weeks. After 2 miscarriages, and 2 high-risk pregnancies, all that matters is a healthy child!!
Yeah, you know that super-super low risk of uterine rupture with VBAC, that is so low that you are just a stooge of western medicine to consider it? Well when they opened me up for my second c-section, both the doctors and the nurses looked in and said it was a darn good thing I hadn’t tried to labor. Even though my first c-section was planned and healed just fine, my uterus probably would have ruptured. I think about that a lot — my son and I might not be here just so I could have had a “better” birth? So I think VBAC is a little whack. And I also am insulted by the implication my births weren’t as good. They were awesome.
I won’t bored you with all the details, but there was a natural disaster involved with me not getting my VBAC. As a result I have had 3 C-sections. After the first 2 and no real medical records for me before 2005, most OBs wouldn’t take that risk. We did what we thought was the best in our situation.
I call my births a success and really it doesn’t matter, except on the Internet.
Jenni Williams says:
This subject gets me all riled up!
When I was pregnant with my first son I planned a natural delivery in a birthing center. Well my son had different plans. He was frank breech from 27 weeks on and NEVER budged. There was no way to turn him. I took the drive know as much about natural birth as I could and turned it into learning about csections, I even watched them on youtube. I went into his delivery feeling confident and even had a birth plan. I recovered pretty easily and NEVER once felt like I failed. When son#2 was on the way I thought briefly about a VBAC, but once again the baby was breech! Thank God I didnt, my water broke when I was 35 weeks pregnant and I had an emergency csection, my uterus was SO thin they could see his face perfectly. My doctor was certain I would have ruptured in labor. I recovered even faster this time and was able to join him at another hospital within 24 hours. With my 3rd son, also breech, I didnt even think twice about having another csection, by now I was a pro and had a WONDERFUL birth. I did eventually get an unplanned VBAC, delivering our 4th son, at just shy of 5 months pregnant. I know you cant compare a still birth with a live one, but delivering vaginally wasn’t any more rewarding than my csections. Here I am 7 months pregnant with our first daughter and I am having my last csection.
I have never once felt like less of a mother for not pushing out a baby. I will not allow anyone to tell me it is not a real birth, that is total crap. There is no right way to give birth, any way that results in a healthy living baby should be celebrated.
Heather, I also had an emergency c-section for my only pregnancy. I really wanted to have a vaginal birth, but my daughter came 10 weeks early and my liver ruptured as a complication of the pregnancy (HELLP Syndrome). The only option to save both of us was a c-section. Like you, all subsequent births would be the least risk to have another c-section. Unlike you, the risks of even just being pregnant are too great and I will never again be pregnant.
There are so many views on this subject. It’s usually from people who have the ability to have a vaginal birth. They have the uncomplicated birth and their biggest decision is whether or not to have an epidural. I’m so glad that is their experience. However, it doesn’t make any other experience wrong or not real. I would gladly trade my birthing experience for theirs and see how their view changes.
C-sections aren’t because the doctors want to get on with their vacations and they aren’t the “easy” way. Sometimes they are a neccessity, a life and death neccessity. Quite frankly, if it weren’t for the option of a c-section, neither my daughter nor I would be alive today. When someone who is very opinionated about the whole c-section issue, I just tell them how blessed they are that they get to have an opinion about something they have zero experience with. Because I would’ve loved to have had their experience instead.
For all the people who think it’s not a real birth, I can tell you, her birth was very real. I had the bags under my eyes and the staples in my gut to prove it!
I agree with the general sentiment that at the end of the day, a healthy baby and mama are of utmost importance. I know that it was a luxury for me to have my birth plan go according to said plan, complete with no medical intervention and a vaginal delivery, and I’m in that position again (barring any sudden complications in the next week). While I want to avoid a C-section at all costs, if my child or I are at risk, I will obviously be open to surgery. Given that our bodies are built to sustain and recover from vaginal childbirth, I would always prefer to go with what is most natural and easy for my body and baby – but we women are resilient and able to recover from major abdominal surgery if a c-section is a necessity.
I am most sad about all the fear I hear from American women surrounding vaginal childbirth. I feel like there is a lot of misinformation and that the medical industry sets us up to fear the unknown. A C-section is far more predictable than a vaginal birth – but far riskier assuming mama and baby are both healthy. Obviously, deciding on whether or not to VBAC raises more complicated questions – but I’m always saddened to hear when women choose to schedule a C-section without any medical need because it’s “easier and more predictable.” I think the doctors are doing a disservice to that woman. But again, it’s not my body, so my general mantra is to not judge other peoples decisions because I wouldn’t want them judging mine. I just wish our American society would do a better job of empowering women to take ownership of their birth experience – whatever it may be – because a birth is a birth – vaginal or C-section!
I also had an emergency c-section for my 26-week preemie, so the cut was vertical though the skin cut is horizontal. I didn’t find this out until my second child and we discussed a VBAC. Essentially it sounds very very risky to try and my doctor wouldn’t do it. She has been right about everything else, so I went with a repeat c-section, this time a low horizontal cut. The surgery itself was much better the second time (not an emergency and full-term) but I’ve had a full-body rash for 3 weeks now that isn’t going away!
I also had an emergency c-section for my 26-week preemie, so the cut was vertical though the skin cut is horizontal. I didn’t find this out until my second child and we discussed a VBAC. Essentially it sounds very very risky to try and my doctor wouldn’t do it. She has been right about everything else, so I went with a repeat c-section, this time a low horizontal cut. The surgery itself was much better the second time (not an emergency and full-term) but I’ve had a full-body rash for 3 weeks now that isn’t going away!
I’ve had 2 vaginal births, and I believe that the best births guarantee a healthy mama and baby, whether it was surgical or the old-fashioned way. I can’t comment on c-sections being considered a failure when it comes to other people’s birth experiences. I can only say that when I had both of my babies, a c-section was the outcome that I was dreading. I didn’t want one because the idea of being cut open while awake, or being put under anesthesia just sounds so horrible to me. I wasn’t under any special medical circumstances, so there was no reason to believe that I was going to end up with one unless I asked for it.The only reason why I would have considered it a “failure” for myself is because I had a very specific plan in my head, and I would have taken it very personally if things had turned out differently, even if that meant having a healthy child. I know, ridiculous, right? When it comes time to have that baby, your body is going to do what it is going to do. You kinda have to throw out those expectations.
But yeah. Your babies made into the world and the most important thing is that you have been the best the mother to them that you could possibly be. Haters gon’ hate.
I had a VBAC after my first pregnancy was an emergncy C section. It was something I wanted to try, I wanted to experience birth. My doctor was fully on board. I think the important thing, for me, was that I was willing to adapt if the vaginal birth wasn’t going to happen. As it turns out, I don’t know what I will do if I have a 3rd. The birthing process was easier for the c-section but terrifying while going through it and an awful recovery. The vaginal birth was pain like I have never known but the recovery was nothing and I didn’t have a chance to think about it. It’s a personal choice, but glad it worked out…for me.
amanda @ fake ginger says:
I’ve had 1 vaginal birth and 1 c-section and I’m preparing for a VBAC within the next few weeks.
My reasons for going with a VBAC are probably the same as most women. My baby was breech. That’s the only reason I required a section. I have no health problems that would require one. Other than the incredibly small chance of uterine rupture, there really are no major risks for me or the baby. A major surgery such as a c-section would be just as risky.
My other reason for not having a c-section is that my baby that was completely healthy in the womb had to spend 7 days in the NICU after my c-section. During the surgery he got fluid in his lungs which turned into an infection. I know that this isn’t the norm but it does happen more than we think.
Recovery from the c-section was also ridiculous. I was literally moving furniture in my hospital room the day after my vaginal birth. After my c-section? I couldn’t even walk without being in pain for weeks! I felt like I had fire shooting up and down my leg with every step. It was horrible.
All that said, I won’t hesitate to agree to a c-section if my doctor recommends it. I’m going to do what’s best for myself and my baby and if that’s a c-section then that’s life and I’ll be okay.
I can’t say for sure, but I would guess Victoria Beckham and other celebrities who chose to deliver by C/S do it merely for their convenience and not because it was medically necessary.
I think you may have missed the point. It doesn’t matter what you think of their births, and unless you were present in the delivery room and privy to their medical records, you have neither the right nor the capacity to comment on or judge their choices–assuming they had a choice in the matter.
#1-the first line of my comment, “I can’t say for sure but I would guess.” KY, # 146 also makes reference to celebrities.
#2- I didn’t jump on the bandwagon and debate C/S versus vaginal/VBAC, cause I didn’t want to beat a dead horse. Everyone has their own opinions on cesarean/vaginal/VBAC delivery, breast/bottle and no one is right or wrong.
#3- since you think I missed the point, here is my 2 cents. I am adopted. I am grateful to my birth mom for abandoning me on the steps of an orphanage, and I am grateful to my adopted mom who gave me a fantastic life. I had 2 kids by vaginal birth. With my son I was “threatened” with a C/S after pushing for 2 hours and then had a vacuum assisted delivery. I am a nurse and worked in L&D and am aware of the risks associated with a C/S. If I would’ve ended up a C/S I would not have thought less of myself. What matters is a safe delivery for mom and baby.
I had two c-sections. The first kid was stuck and wasn’t coming out- EVER, and the second was a repeat c-section. I am in no way disappointed about it. I am actually a little relieved that I didn’t have to poop on a table and can sneeze without leaking, but I in no way feel like less of a person and I certainly gave birth- especially after 22 hours of labor with my first. If I were to have a third (not happening), I would probably elect to have a VBAC- only because surgery and little ones don’t go well together. There aren’t even any doctors in my area that will attempt one nor will the hospital allow it! As far as health implications- I had good experiences with both, no side effects and my kids were both perfectly healthy, I was up and moving a day later (and my na na didn’t hurt at all!)
The poop doesn’t happen to everyone.
And I don’t leak while sneezing.
I didn’t have a C-section, but I was told repeatedly that my birth wasn’t “real” because I had an epidural. Someone even told me that my baby would be permanently traumatized and likely have health problems later in life because of it. (Yeah, okay. ) Just recently, I weened my just-turned-one baby, and someone commented it that I was being selfish and was depriving my child of important benefits they would only get if I continued breastfeeding until she was 2. (She didn’t know I actually HAD to stop because of severe health issues.) None of that makes any sense whatsoever, and I totally know that, but damn if having your mothering skills questioned doesn’t sting every time.
For some reason, it makes people feel really good to make what they consider to be “the right choice” and then mercilessly belittle anyone who made a different choice. I think the mean girls from high school just grew up and had babies, and “OMG, you don’t have the new Gucci bag? You are soooo lame” became “OMG, you don’t have the new Gucci diaper bag? You are sooo not a good mom .” It’s really a shame–we could be such a wonderful support system for each other.
This is such a hot topic among moms these days that I couldn’t NOT comment. I had planned a natural birth with my daughter. She ended up being footling breech. After trying to encourage her to flip (yes, I studied the Spinning Babies website ad nauseum) she wouldn’t budge (later learned she had a short cord). I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of a version. My doc was awesome. He gave me three choices: 1. switch to a local midwife practice that supported vaginal delivery of breech babies, 2. switch to another doc friend of his who did vaginal breeches, or 3. stick with him and had a scheduled C. (His practice doesn’t do vaginal breech deliveries.)
I thought long and hard about it. I loved this doctor and he and I had seen eye-to-eye on so many other topics, I didn’t want to switch to a stranger at this stage in the game. I opted for the scheduled C.
I have several friends who are WAAAY pro-natural birth, and I get it, I think it’s an amazing thing. But they have several times insinuated I was “bullied” by my doc to make this decision. I was not. I had a week to think about. I made my choice, and I am happy with it.
My scheduled C-section was a breeze and my recovery was easy. I didn’t even take anything more than Motrin for the first couple days to manage my pain. If I decide to have another baby, guess what? I’ll schedule my C-section.
To my friends who make disparaging comments I say: I don’t have to push a baby through my vagina to prove that I’m a woman. I grew her in my womb for nine months, I know she’s mine. Also, if this movement is about “taking back birth,” then why not let women make the educated choices they want based on what’s best for their family?
It reminds of the women’s movement…when women started going into the workplace in droves…and then you had the 80s when if a woman CHOSE to be a SAHM, she was deemed archaic and subservient to her hubs. The great thing about the women’s movement is now women have the ability to CHOOSE their path. I think the same should be said for birth—it’s about having the ability to make an educated decision for YOUR family, not about picking what everyone else says you SHOULD be doing (whatever that may be).
Just my $0.02.
It bothers me when moms say they want the whole “natural experience” and that c sections are pretty much cheating. Fortunately for me I had a Dr that allowed me to make the decision. And I had no desire to push a potentially 8 lb sack out of well, you know….. On top of that, I had many people tell me (like they love to do when you are preggo) all kinds of horror stories. And the one that I heard the most was the cord being around the babies neck, and well, the babies didn’t make it. The way my baby moved inside made me feel like she was on a tight leash. Like she was almost being held in one area. I was convinced that the cord was around her neck and wanted a c section for that and many other reasons. Even though I know it is dangerous. More for me than for the baby, and I was willing to take the risk. It turned out that the cord was wrapped TWICE around her neck. I was like- wow I KNEW it! And had I tried to push her out, it would have been a very good chance that the cord would’ve tightened and I would have had to have c section any way. But everyone has very strong opinions on this and to each their own. Personally, I didnt want any chances of hurting the baby in any way if I could help it. Lisa
a mom too says:
My son had the cord wrapped around twice too and he was born vaginally without a single problem. Usually when the cord is wrapped around that much, it means you have a very long cord and there’s slack. Just not sure a feeling or hunch is the right way to make a decision about abdominal surgery. Of course, survival rates are high, but you can’t wish away the risk of complications. Which plenty of people here have mentioned–the long recovery times, itching form the meds, nerve pain down the leg and back, problems with scar tissue. And you just don’t know how good your surgeon is either, unless you’ve researched that doctor by talking to former patients.
Meh. First baby was breech. Had a c-section.
Second baby was not. Really, I just didn’t want to have surgery again. So I had a VBAC. Discussed with doc. Made sure was at hospital that could handle it. Evaluated risks, etc.
In the end it was fine. Both ways were fine. I have two, fine, healthy boys.
I don’t have personal experience with this choice, my oldest and only biological daughter was born vaginally. My sister had to have an emergency c-section. Emergency, emergency. They had to put her under with general anestheisa. I think that because she wasn’t even awake when my oldest niece was born, and the baby was sent to the NICU right away, she always felt that she had missed out on everthing.
She opted for a sceduled c-section with her second child, if only so that she could at least know that she was there, awake, and would be able to participate in her daughters birth to any extent.
She has a friend who is a doula/nurse mid-wife now. Her friend wasn’t at the time of either of my nieces births, nor was she a mother herself when my sister’s girls were born. Now, she is constantly bashing c-sections. It makes me sick. My sister’s first child was a true emergency, and to make her feel bad for making that choice with her second child is just mean. Sometimes people don’t realize that their words are hurtful.
I was able to deliver my daughter naturally, so therefore have little perspective to offer on this. But skimming through the comments, I see the consensus is that when women who have had c-sections hear the comments about how it wasn’t a real birth, they are outraged. I, of course, agree. The end result is all the same.
But, just to offer a different perspective, my best friend wound up having a c-section and she really feels like she cheated. And like she failed. Like it wasn’t the “right” way to have a baby and she needs to try for a VBAC this time around just to put her mind at ease.
I was also told this by a co-worker and another friend as well. They both say that they felt no connection to their baby and that they found it very hard to bond in the weeks following and they blame it on the c-section and the fact that their baby was at least a half an hour old by the time they got to hold them, they weren’t involved in the immediate post-partum stuff, and besides that, the recovery was long and hard so they felt like that took away from the whole experience as well.
So while I agree that you shouldn’t judge anyone regarding how their births went down, just try to remember that there really are people out there who feel that way, and thats okay too.
I have to say I really agree with you here, Amy. I think we must be careful to honor the women that feel extremely scarred/torn about having a c-section and not imply that they’re selfish for wanting a different experience just because their baby is “healthy”. Once again – c-sections carry a much greater risk than vaginal birth and just because they are common, does not mean that they are safe or the right thing to do and some women feel passionately that they should avoid them.
Both sides deserve merit.
I think a lot of the emotional trauma comes from whether or not the mom had a sense of control.
Kristafied, I agree with you about emotional trauma coming from losing a sense of control. I would like to add that emotional trauma also comes from “losing” that moment when your child enters the world for the very first time. I had general anesthesia with my emergency c-section, and a part of me is still sad about missing that first cry, not meeting my baby seconds after she entered the world and being able to bond right away, and also the fact that I was dizzy and throwing up for most of that first day, unable to fully enjoy (or even remember–my recollections are so fuzzy) those first hours with my daughter. BUT when it comes down to it, I couldn’t be more thankful that I have a happy, healthy girl at the end of it.
Marie Green says:
In your case with a classical scar, I’m not familiar with the stats on risks vs. benefits of a VBAC. However, for most of us, we have the regular transverse incision, and it almost all other developed countries, a VBAC is considered safe. The risk of a rupture is less than 1%, even WITH moms that have had more than one Csection. However, the risk of getting a life-threatening infection or having a very serious complication is over 15% with having a Csection. And yet, in our country, we have a skewed view of “safety” so even with this knowledge, we as a culture consider surgery safer than vaginal birth. (Across the board, other developed countries have much lower Csection rates, VBAC is routine, and they have MUCH BETTER maternal and fetal outcomes. Like, they blow us out of the water.)
The other aspect is that uteruses don’t just rupture. There’s plenty of warning signs before that happens (bleeding, weird fetal heart tones, weird pains, to name a few), so even with a VBAC, there’s plenty of time and warning signs to do a surgery if symptoms present.
I have no energy for the whole “Is a Csection a real birth” discussion because I find it a ridiculous waste of time (OF COURSE it’s a real birth), but I WILL say that our Csection rate is shamefully- SHAMEFULLY- high in our country. Today’s mothers have a HIGHER chance of dying in childbirth than our mother’s did. Unreal.
I don’t think the risk of life threatening infection or serious complication is over 15% for C-sections.
Marie Green says:
All of the possible serious complications added together (infection, hemorrhage, etc) is. Each on it’s own? No.
My late night speed googling can’t find actual rates of complications… err… so annoying to not have real info easily accessible. I just keep seeing ‘low rates’ of serious complications but no definition of what low means.
And I also wanted to add that my uterus did rupture spontaneously in labor with my first. They didn’t know what caused my BP to drop and baby’s HR to nosedive until they were trying to figure out where the bleeding was continuing to come from after the baby was delivered during my c-section and found a posterior rupture. Very rare, but uteruses can just rupture.
Marie Green says:
That is scary! However, it sounds like you did have some symptoms… dropping BP, weird fetal heart-tones… your provider was right to listen to those symptoms and do a surgery. Also, I’ve had two long labors and two Csections, one of which led me to have a whole series of complications (surgery 4 times after my daughter was born!). My only point is, in our country people tend to be very cavalier about how SAFE C/S are, without really knowing the facts. And for many layered reasons, our doctors here are fine encouraging that line of thinking, when really for MOST (not all) women, it’s truly safer to have a VBAC. Cultural perceptions are strong though, and very hard to overcome!
I think woman want to prove something by having a vaginal birth. There is a quote that says something to the effest, “Men gain valour through battle, woman gain valour through giving birth.”
IMHO it does not matter how the baby comes. Being a mum is so much more than that. Labour lasts a day but motherhood lasts a life so do what is best for your baby.
What I’ve found is every woman, her experience, and doctor/midwife is different. And most every woman thinks her birth plan is the “only” way. Some of the women I’ve talked to feel “robbed” because their vaginal birth didn’t go as they planned. But, regardless of that, they are just very thankful to have a healthy baby and be alive to care for it. And that is the point — for both mother and baby to be healthy. So many women never get to experience a birth of any kind, or worse, go in to delivery and not get to leave with their child.
I had 2 c-sections and never felt one contraction – even Braxton Hicks. The first was because he was breach and 41 weeks. I was up walking the very next morning and took a shower. (My sister was there to make sure I didn’t fall though.) For my second, I was told I could have a VBAC if certain conditions were met (had to start labor on own and not go past 40 weeks). I never had to think about it because, like her brother, she was stubborn and never dropped and had no plans on leaving. I was actually up and walking the same day with her.
To those who have had c-sections and were told that they didn’t give birth, I am very sorry. Unless you have actually walked in someone’s shoes, you don’t know what is going on that is the deciding factor(s) for their decision. I am very fortunate in that I have supportive people around me. And when I switeched from breast to bottle due to my supply and having to go back to work, no one made me feel awful about that choice either. The worst I dealt with is the evening we came home with my first, my mother-in-law was holding him, my husband was setting up some stuff upstairs and I started to cook since I was starving. My mother-in-law kept telling me I should get off my feet and how she stayed in bed for 6 weeks, yet she never offered to cook for me.
I had a c-section with my daughter and I HATED it. For one, I felt completely bullied into it. She was breech and I was told that I had no choice but to be c-sectioned. Had I delivered with a midwife, or in Canada/England/Australia, I would have been able to deliver vaginally, but not with an OB in the USA. I have a really low tolerance for pain meds, so I cried and groaned through the whole procedure as it HURT, bad. The Drs told me that there was no way I could feel anything other than pressure, but I assure you I felt way more than pressure. Then, again, because I can’t take pain meds – I could only take ibuprofen – I was MISERABLE after her birth. I couldn’t get out of the bed on my own for over a week. I couldn’t hold my daughter against my chest/belly to nurse without crying. I couldn’t wipe myself for over a week. God, my poor husband. Because of the HUGE amounts of antibiotics they pumped me up with to prevent infection since I was laying open on the table, I ended up with thrush which made BFing horribly painful for MONTHS while I battled thrush. Because my daughter was so low in the birth canal (and totally able to be born vaginally, already nestled down where she needed to be) they had to TUG and PULL her out. It took them over 30 mins just to get her out and her back and hips were bruised black and blue for over a week. She had to see a chiropractor to help her be more comfortable because of it. 11 months later and my incision is still SUPER sensitive.
So…. like others have stated, for a low-risk woman, VBACs are less risky than repeat c-sections and I hope that IF i have another child I’ll get the chance to have a VBAC. (MY C-section and recover from it traumatized me so much that I even question having more kids because of it. Yes, my daughter is fine now, and I love her more than life it’s self, but I don’t know if I can go through all that again.)
Obviously whatever is the safest for the baby (and mom) should be the first choice. I had vag with my first and c-sec with my second (he was breech.) Hoping for VBAC with my third (this fall) as the recovery from a c-sect (especially with other little ones already in the picture) was far more difficult and I don’t repond well to pain meds.
Anyone who tells a woman their birth wasn’t real should be slapped. (Okay, maybe I’m a bit hormonal but seriously, who says that kind of crap?!)
I was induced with my first daughter, something I wish I hadn’t agreed to since it was very obvious she wasn’t ready to be born yet. I still think my dates were off & the entire 6hrs I was in labor, my OB kept checking to see if it was time to cut. The nurses were awful, telling me there was no way a first time mom would deliver without pain meds. My daughter was born after only 20min of pushing & healthy.
After the experience with my first doctor, I switched to a different one for my second pregnancy. I actually wanted to use a midwife and birth center, but I was scared since I had experienced preterm labor at 29 weeks. I went for an early ultrasound because I felt weird & discovered we were expecting fraternal twins. The first thing I said when I saw my new doctor was I don’t want a c-section. She just smiled and told me there was no reason I’d have to have one. She’d delivered many twins vaginally & we’d just have to see how my pregnancy went. I spent 2 weeks on hospital bedrest at 32 weeks. Baby A was head down & baby B breech. She said if they were over 3lbs & baby b was smaller than A, I could still do a vaginal birth. We talked risks & she told me that unless there’s a real serious problem, a c-section is always more dangerous for the mom because it’s major surgery. There’s also complications for the baby. She did require an epidural in case the babies went into distress or baby b couldn’t get out. They were born, vaginally, at 36w5d. The epidural was the worst part since I couldn’t feel to push.
I’m glad my doctor gave me the choice. I think that’s all most women want when it comes to birth. If I had successfully delivered 1 twin & needed an emergency c-section for the other, I would have been okay with that. I just wanted to try & possibly avoid surgery all together.
I had to have an emergency c-section when I was 28 weeks and 2 days along in my pregnancy. My daughter was whisked off to the NICU where she stayed for almost 8 weeks. The c-section recovery was so painful and I had a great deal of difficulty getting around for the first two weeks. (I know some people breeze through the c-section recovery. That wasn’t me!) I often thought to myself “How would I have cared for my daughter if she was home and not in the hospital?” I know I would have sucked it up and done everything for her but it would have been immensely difficult with the pain I was experiencing.
We are expecting baby #2 within the next month and have opted for a VBAC. I weighed the risks of both options and decided that they were pretty equal. So, I decided I’d rather have what I hope is an easier recovery so I can take good care of both my little ones. I don’ t see how I could take wonderful care of them during those first two weeks unless I had an amazingly easy recovery. On top of that, I wouldn’t be able to pickup my two year old for six weeks and I don’t think she’d understand why.
People who think that having a c-section means you’ve not really given birth are out of their minds!! That’s maddening. I gave birth to my daughter. She didn’t just magically appear on my doorstep. I consider my c-section scar to be a badge of honor and a special tie to my daughter. If a c-section is what it took to get her here safe and healthy, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. I’ll do the same with my second child if it comes down to that.
Have you ever watched “The Business of Being Born” by that chick from Wilson Phillips (hmmm…18mo post-partum and still have baby brain. Opps!)? It was interesting…I didn’t agree with everything but I did think it gave a nice point of view about the whole birthing situation.
To me, saying that a c-section is “cheating” or “doesn’t count” is like telling parents that if their newborn wasn’t colicky it “didn’t count”…totally illogical. No one can know how their body or baby will respond to labor; just as no one can predict the disposition of a newborn. All you can do is arm yourself with knowledge and support and steer clear of haters…
It was Ricki Lake, not Carnie Wilson
I’ve given birth 3 times. My 1st daughter had to be born via C-section because she turned breech the last week of my pregnancy and there wasn’t enough fluid to attempt to turn her so I could deliver vaginally. I was incredibly distraught at the time because I was adamant that I wanted a more natural birth but I also knew with her being breech I had to do the C-section. Both of her sisters were born vaginally. My doctors would do weekly sonograms to check the scar tissue and my uterus for any signs of distress. I was never worried, I knew that they wouldn’t recommend VBAC if they didn’t feel I was a good candidate for it.
Moms in general are VERY critical of other women. Maybe women are just insane! I don’t know why we only choose to bond with someone who can agree that we are a martyr.
I had 2 vaginal births and in both instances, the doctors all pushed for c-sections. It is major surgery and it does require pain medication. I prefered to try a natural birth. My first child was an induction because of his size. I had a 3rd degree episiotomy and it was awful. I would prefer a scar on my tummy than down there! My second child was born so fast that there was not even enough time for the boulis to be administered and he was here. I was feeling great and like I could leave the hospital that night. Of course they pushed us to stay 2 more nights to be sure all was well but the natural birth, if your body allows it, is so much less traumatic than the medical interventions. No more of a miracle by any means, but less trauma on baby and momma.
I had twins via a c-section there years ago. I was rapidly spiraling into preeclampsia and my doctor wanted the babies out and safe quickly so that he could focus on my health issues. I had no idea how sick I was until later. Hours after my surgery, my mother-in-law got all huffy with me that I had let myself be cheated out of a birth experience, so of course I would want more kids. No, I had two healthy babies and was alive myself…mission accomplished. While I didn’t experience the pain of natural childbirth, recovering from a c-section while on a magnesium
sulfate drip was brutal. She was likewise horrified that I pumped and used formula to supplement. My goals were never to take the “easy” way, but just to have healthy, living babies. Our relationship has never recovered from her words and actions.
If there are to be more babies for me (doubtful), we will go with whatever birth option is safest for all.
sheesh, I had “the mag” too. What a nightmare. Was so hot that my MIL was wearing a fur coat in the delivery room.
I had a c-section with my first because my son was breech. I was just in the hospital for a non-stress test at 37 weeks and when his heart rate dropped (and then recovered shortly after…I learned later that’s completely normal) the care team decided I may as well have a c-section. So a few hours later I walked into the OR and had one.
I admit, I felt a bit depressed about not even going into labour or experiencing what it was like. My recovery was great (probably because I didn’t go into labour) and soon after he was born, I started researching a VBAC. As others said, the risk for a VBAC was lower FOR ME than the major surgery of a c-section. My Obgyn was open-minded about it and was happy to give it a try. I’ll admit that on day two of three days of labour (back labour, yet)with my second son, I thought, ‘what the hell was I thinking…why didn’t I book that c-section) but I was also very happy to be able to push him out. Looking back at both deliveries, one certainly didn’t trump the other but I was happy to have experienced both.
With my first born I had an emergency c-section after 27 hours in the hospital with a failed induction, due to concern with low amniotic fluid. I was extremely disappointed at the time, and sobbed and sobbed before going into the operating room (and I don’t cry that often). I had never really envisioned myself needing a c-section, and had planned for a hopefully unmedicated birth with a midwife (my midwife ended up being our photographer in the OR…). With my second child I was given the option of trying for a VBAC or having a planned c-section. After weighing the pros and cons (for baby and me) I went with the planned c-section. I have twinges still of disappointment that I haven’t experience a vaginal birth, but ultimately all that matters is that I have my two beautiful children. That is really what counts, and in the end how they were born is somewhat inconsequential. I never would have thought I would feel this way when I was pregnant with my first, but now being a mother I definitely have shifted my thought process and definitely no longer view a c-section as a lesser form of birth. For me the c-section recovery was easy after the first and I was almost immediately up and moving, and very painful with my second child due to a high level of scar tissue from the first section. My doctor has explained that if I try for a third the recovery will be even worse, so this is one big downside of c-section because I would like to have another child but the idea of 2 months of little activity with two other small children plus an infant is making me wonder if this will be possible.
Do you know what you call someone who has a c-section? Mom.
A nurse said that to a friend of mine going in for an emergency C and it has stuck with her (and me). Due to advancements in medical technology, we now have a lot of opportunities to delivery healthy babies with intervention, giving us a nice, low infant/mother death-in-childbirth rate. The great thing is, everyone has a choice and can go for the method that gets them a healthy baby. Hooray science, hooray medicine… boo to the jerks of the world who view it as a contest. Get a life and find something that matters to focus on.
Rita from the Chicago says:
After being induced and 18 hours of labor, 3 of which were spent pushing, my stubborn, sunny-side up baby boy was born via C-section. And while his birth was definitely not a “failure” I was really upset about having to have a C-section. I had had a healthy pregnancy which included swimming 1000 yards a few days before giving birth, and I never thought I’d have to have a c-section. My sister had given birth to two kids, with the first she only pushed for 15 minutes, the second was out in 1 push, so I thought I’d be the same way. Call me naive, but I just “knew” I would deliver vaginally. Obviously my son had a different plan. During labor, when my doc told me I was going to need to have a c-section I cried and cried.
Recovery was hard and for a long time I felt disappointed in myself that I had had to have a c-section. It wasn’t logical since my son was happy and healthy, but I wasn’t happy with how it had all happened and it took me awhile to come to terms with it.
So when it comes to having #2, I’m unsure of what I’ll do. I still have this “fantasy” of what childbirth should be like…with the baby coming out and being placed on my chest and being the first one to hold him or her. But I know that it’s just a fantasy and that a c-section is just as wonderful because the outcome is the same, (and the idea of scheduling a c-section and bypassing labor pains sounds quite appealing) it will be a hard decision when it comes time.
Woah. I’m all about natural birth can’t wait for mine blah blah, but WOW. Any woman who tries to tell you that a c-section isn’t really ‘giving birth’ needs a big dose of reality. Any process that results in a baby = giving birth.
I’ll add to the “offensive” list – people who say “I went natural,” referring to not having an epidural. Uhhhh, I’m pretty sure that any birth is “natural,” epidural or not. I’ve given birth 2x – once in a hospital with an epidural and once at home with no medical intervention (midwife-assisted). And I still find people who say “I went natural” to be offensive and high-horse.
I do, however, have a problem with the “too posh to push” crowd of celebrities and rich/influential people who decide to schedule a c-section off the bat without even planning to try labor and vaginal delivery. I think that as a woman, this does such a huge disservice to yourself and your confidence to have such little faith in your body to do what it has been made to do. Sure, some women’s bodies need medical assistance (forceps, c-section, etc.), but the vast majority of women given the chance to birth vaginally will be able to do so, INCLUDING twins and breech births. I did a ton of reading before settling on home birth for my 2nd birth this spring, and I was shocked at the way the medical system has shifted it’s focus from the mother and baby to conforming to the doctor’s needs and schedule. I know people who were scheduled for c-sections before major holidays just because the doctors didn’t want their celebrations disrupted by possible labor. The issue of inducing labor “just because” (I know there are medical reasons, but not nearly as often as it is done) is also one that drives me mad. Watching “16 and Pregnant” would make one believe that every single birth needed to be induced, which is just not true. Our body knows what to do! We need to let it do it!
A lot of what I read about just touted a more hands-off approach to labor – letting the woman labor on her own time, not giving her a time frame for when she’ll need a c-section (i.e. labor for 12 hours and that’s all she gets), not doing so much intervention, etc. Even breech babies can be birthed vaginally – I’ve read things saying it’s just as safe if done right – if doctors and medical staff just let the mother’s body do the work and not try to rush anything.
I have had two unmedicated vaginal births. When people say something about how they were “natural”, I correct them and tell them they were unmedicated, and that I am not a fan of the term “natural”.
I think birth is a natural process, however it happens. Vaginal, surgical, medicated, unmedicated.
I have given birth to three boys. 2 vaginally and one emergency c-section. Never have I felt like I didn’t “give birth” and luckily, no one ever said I didn’t give birth either. In fact, I think I was harder on myself after my second one was born via c-section than anyone else was.
With my first baby I ended up hemorraging and having my uterus prolapse (it turned inside out and came down in the the vaginal canal) and nearly died. My recovery afterwards SUCKED, but I thought that was normal recovery.
My second baby was induced and 30 hours into labor after 3 hours of pushing his giant head was going nowhere (he was face up), so I needed a c-section. A lot of people said it wasn’t necessary (because, you know, everyone is a doctor these days, and they weren’t even there!), but I saw his head when he was born and it had two dents in it (one in front, one in back) where he was pressed up against my pubic bone. Yeah, not coming out.
The recovery wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t fun to chase a 2.5 year old around, go up and down stairs (we lived in an upstairs apt.) and all of that by myself (my husband was deployed overseas).
So, with my 3rd I said I was going to try a VBAC. Two days before my due date I was actually regressing (went from 1.5 cm dilated to less than 1 and from 50% effaced to nothing). I was super upset and sad, especially since my doctor (who was super supportive of me the whole time) said that her theory was that his head was too big and had popped out of my pelvis. That night I went into labor naturally and 8.5 hours later after only 15 minutes of pushing I had my largest of my three babies. It was all in the position of the head (and I tore, but not badly). Recovery was a breeze. I was showered 4 hours later (and only that long because I fell asleep). I was using the bathroom normally within that time too (I used castor oil to jump start labor so I’m sure that helped) and I walked to my room on my own steam 7 hours after delivery.
That said, I’m a huge advocate of trying VBACs, but I understand the fear involved and the many reasons so I try to be a good cheerleader either way.
Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts says:
Such an interesting topic. I posted on this exact subject last year and a really interesting conversation evolved in comments. You can read it here: http://tendollarthoughts.com/2010/03/12/pressured-to-push/
My son was an emergency c-section at 32 weeks – a TOTAL surprise, done only a couple of hours after what was supposed to be a normal ultrasound that proved ‘non-reassuring’. The c-section itself wasn’t especially traumatic for me, as I felt like I was functioning on some kind of surreal auto-pilot while it was all going on, but the whole set of circumstances around his birth – everything related to his prematurity and the NICU, etc – certainly was. We were very, very lucky and today my son is a completely happy, healthy, intelligent and active 2 year old, but I am keenly aware every day that it could have turned out differently, and I thank my lucky stars.
I am now 36 weeks pregnant with my second child and am hoping for a vbac for a few reasons:
1) With a toddler at home to care for as well as a newborn, the quicker hospital discharge/easier recovery/ability to move around/lift things/etc. that usually follows a natural birth vs. a c-section would be a big help.
2) I would like to experience labour – I know that might sound crazy to some, but I just want to know what all the fuss is about
3) In some way, I feel like a completely different birth experience would be healing for me after what happened with my son – I want to have those euphoric first moments and first photos with me, my husband and the baby without a bunch of medical staff stitching me up.
All of that said, as long as this baby arrives healthy and at term, I will be elated regardless of how he comes into the world! I take great offence to anyone who would suggest that a c-section makes you any less of a mother or in any way negates the experience of a baby’s birth – it takes 9 months to have a baby; how he or she ultimately comes out is just one tiny little piece of the puzzle.
I can see why someone would have “birth envy” because if you planned on a vaginal one you probably have been planning it for months. Perhaps years. We’re all over-informed and read tons of books and listen to Ricki Lake tell us how terrible hospitals are. It’s a blessing and a curse. You can feel let down when it doesn’t end up the way you had been fantasizing. It’s more emotional when you’ve spend hours and hours thinking about it and investing yourself in it…and when decision gets torn out of your hands it can feel unfair. The same can be said of bf-ing. If you wanted to and you just couldn’t get it work you can feel so let down, not only by yourself but the overwhelming public opinion that you’re a terrible person for letting your kid ingest formula. Mommas are very judgemental of other mommas…it’s uncool. There should be an cool-mom club where we stop judging one another and then swap clothes and drink wine and talk about celebrities…ya know, the really important stuff.
I can see why someone would have “birth envy” because if you planned on a vaginal one you probably have been planning it for months. Perhaps years. We’re all over-informed and read tons of books and listen to Ricki Lake tell us how terrible hospitals are. It’s a blessing and a curse. You can feel let down when it doesn’t end up the way you had been fantasizing. It’s more emotional when you’ve spend hours and hours thinking about it and investing yourself in it…and when decision gets torn out of your hands it can feel unfair. The same can be said of bf-ing. If you wanted to and you just couldn’t get it work you can feel so let down, not only by yourself but the overwhelming public opinion that you’re a terrible person for letting your kid ingest formula. Mommas are very judgemental of other mommas…it’s uncool. There should be an cool-mom club where we stop judging one another and then swap clothes and drink wine and talk about celebrities…ya know, the really important stuff.
Birth carries risk, no matter how you do it. You have to evaluate individually which risks are the ones you can live with if something goes wrong. For many women, that’s unmedicated vaginal delivery. But, others choose elective cesarean delivery. I can’t help but wonder if this is a fear based choice, or one that is thoroughly researched with a balanced view of risk. I admire your doctor’s empowering you to make the choice yourself. Few doctors are that sensitive to patient’s rights.
Current culture has really tainted our views of “acceptable risk” when it comes to abdominal surgery. It’s so common and when it’s used correctly, it saves lives. So, we hear the stories of how it saved lives, and think “well, I don’t want to put myself at risk, so let’s do the thing we know ‘saves lives'”, not necessarily realizing that abdominal surgery is way riskier in most cases than a natural, unmedicated vaginal delivery.
Many of the horrible vaginal delivery stories that you hear about start with a lot of unnecessary intervention – inductions, faulty heartbeat monitors, doctors prematurely rupturing membranes to “speed things along”, medication side effects, and many more. When I hear “emergency c-section” I can’t help but wonder what might have happened without these interventions. Would that “emergency c-section” would actually have been an emergency if labor had progressed naturally?
Our world is so septic, so controlled right now. It’s easy to see how people choose the planned induction, or the elective cesarean, thinking that we can take charge of a natural process.
But, truthfully, birth is messy, painful, unpredictable, bloody, noisy and above all – joyful. Those are not necessarily qualities we embrace in today’s society.
All of those words apply to being a child as well. How many kids do you know that are allowed to be all those things? I see a lot of today’s kids being shushed, and corrected if they get messy, expected to behave like little adults. It makes me sad to think that this is the way they’re brought into the world, and the way they’re expected to behave most of their lives. We are ill prepared for the reality of parenthood.
I personally have had 2 cesareans. My first was after a 36 hour failed induction predicated by high blood pressure. I had no pain meds during that 36 hours, but lots of pitocin and was confined to a bed on my back. Not much chance for success, since my baby was still so high. My second cesarean was a VBAC attempt that started with natural labor. My doctor was about to leave for vacation, and the next doctor on call was one with a terrible reputation. (She’s since been sued for medical malpractice in a highly publicized case.) I probably could have continued my labor and had the VBAC I wanted, but I didn’t want to be under the next doctor’s care, so I chose the cesarean. I still stand by that choice with no regrets.
I have deep regrets about my first cesarean though, and wish I’d been as educated about birth then as I have become now. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, but am grateful everything turned out fine, ultimately.
It’s such an emotionally charged time. Becoming a new mom, bringing life into the world, dealing with all those hormones and major changes, it’s just a very hard time in a woman’s life. And, she has to make the most important decisions she’s ever made before. We do what we do because we love our children and only want the best for them.
It’s easy to sound judgmental in the heat of the moment when someone makes a different choice than you did (or want to) because we hear an implied criticism of the choice we made. Time and emotional distance help give some clarity though. These were some very hotbutton issues for me when my kids were very small. But, now that they’re older, and I’ve faced some different parenting challenges, I can see things in a much more unbiased fashion.
I still hope that cesarean rates will be lower for my daughter than they are for today’s moms, that breastfeeding is more common than it is now, that women don’t have to feel embarassed or shunned for their choices (even if that’s having an elective cesarean and choosing not to breastfeed) and that the world is a more accepting place for kids to be loud, messy and happy. I do what I can for my little slice of the world though.
I can totally understand the arguments for both C-Sections and Vaginal births. What I CAN NOT understand are women who think they are somehow “enlightened” because they chose to give birth without the use of pain meds/epidurals, etc.
Sure, I could walk 40 miles to work everyday, but there are these things called CARS. I could also pull my laundry out to the creek and scrub it on a rock, etc. etc… When was the last time you went to the dentist and said “Hey doc, don’t worry about the shot. Just start drilling. I’m trying to do this the ‘natural’ way.”
“What I CAN NOT understand are women who think they are somehow “enlightened” because they chose to give birth without the use of pain meds/epidurals, etc.”
I think I am neither superior nor enlightened because I gave birth without pain meds, but for me, both of those labours were incredibly intimate and spiritual experiences. The second especially was one of the most awesome things I’d ever done. It’s not that way for everyone, and ultimately any experience has the potential to be a spiritual one. I just found the intimate and peaceful atmosphere of a waterbirth more conductive to that sort of thing than lying on a hospital bed.
Fear and stress heighten the perception of pain, relaxation decreases it. It sounds completely counterintuitive but I’ve found the relaxation, breathing and meditation techniques of HypnoBirthing incredibly effective. I didn’t have an epidural but thanks to an endorphin rush from the brain, my body was drugging itself to the gills. In the last hours of my first labour when I was done faffing and panicking, and I had gone into my groove, I was in a proper trance. I lost all sense of time and there was no sense of pain.
Anyway. There’s more than one method of pain relief is all I’m saying.
LOL! Glad for cars and modern medicine!
oops, my comment was meant for Amy’s post
Comparing giving birth to pulling out a tooth ? Really? Hardly the same, on so many levels..
Exactly where in my response did you see the words “Giving birth is like pulling out a tooth!!”? Because I’ve done both, and they are very different experiences.
I was actually comparing PAIN to PAIN, and those two things are quite similar no matter the situation.
I live in Northern CA in an area where it is considered best to go the no-drugs, all natural vaginal method o’ giving birth. I also know a lot of women who end up with c sections despite their wishes and planning, only to feel very crappy about it afterwards.
My first pregnancy was fairly uneventful and ended with a vaginal delivery. I thought a lot about the birth ahead of time and wanted to control it as much as possible. After that I lost a pregnancy fairly late in the game and suffered a lot of complications that made carrying other children very dangerous and difficult. And you can guess that after all that, I really didn’t give too figs about HOW another baby came out, so long as it came out alive and kicking.
My first child was an elective induction that didn’t work so we had an elective csection. My recovery was a nightmare. It changed my life forever. My second child we wanted a vbac but decided on a csection because my placenta was covering my first csection scar. We found out in surgery that I had placenta incretta and almost lost my uterus because of it. My recovery was easier then the first but that surgery was a nightmare physically and mentally. I am now pregnant with my 3rd and planning a vbac. It’s not worth the risk to have snother csection in my case. The risks of having a uterine rupture are so low compared to the risks of a csection. I highly recommend checking out http://www.ican-online.org/ for facts on csections and repeat csections.
Barefeet In The Kitchen says:
Good heavens! CHEATED by having a c-section?! That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. I am so glad no one has ever said that in my presence. Having birthed all three of my boys vaginally, I couldn’t care less how they came into the world. As long as everyone is healthy, THAT is all that matters. To be honest, there were a few moments in there when I would have happily traded my route for a c-section and all of the extra healing time that comes along with that.
Here’s what I don’t understand. Most of the time, the feminist take on unexpected pregnancies, or what to do about them, is an issue of CHOICE. A woman should be free to make an educated decision ON THEIR OWN about their bodies, yes??? I hear this all the time in the argument surrounding abortions. And usually my more-liberal friends lean towards CHOICE. Freedom to make an educated CHOICE about their own bodies. (sorry to be so repetitive here, but I get pretty incensed about this particular subject)
How is choosing between a C-section and natural birth any different??
And YET, those same women will turn around and guilt other women for not giving birth naturally. I DON’T GET IT!!! What happened to choice?
I had an emergency C-section for my first, and given the circumstances of that birth, I decided against a VBAC for my second and did an scheduled C-section. I now have two beautiful children who are here because I brought them here. (Okay, their dad helped.)
End of story.
Honestly, I think we’d all be better off if we just concentrated on the outcome – a baby. Most c-sections are still done for the health and safety of both mother and child. I know people who have scheduled c-sections to coincide with their spouse’s job, a holiday or even a tax deadline. While I don’t understand it, I’m not in their position so I try not to judge.
I think we should all try to be more receptive to other’s choices, whether it be a home birth, a c-section or a VBAC. The same goes for breast or bottle feeding. No one is living each other’s lives, so we have no right to judge someone else for the choices that they make in theirs.
I had a c-section with my daughter (not by choice) and I am going try to have a VBAC with our second. I do not think a C-section is cheating or not considered giving birth. I would like a VBAC because my recovery was not a breeze. I had a hard time for a few months. I am not sure if was because of my long and difficult labor but it was not fun for months after. My hubby is also in the military so we had no help since we were overseas. Now that we are still far from family and friends (Alaska) and have a toddler I would love a VBAC for the shorter recovery time. That being said, if needed I would not hesitate having another C-section, I refuse to put my baby in harms way just because I don’t another C-section. I will do anything to make sure my baby is safe.
Madi G. says:
I think that the women who claim that a c-section isn’t a “real” birth or whatever are alluding to the belief that birth is a rite of passage. I think that “rite of passage” involves the process of going through the pain of labor and coming out on the other side with a baby. Many women say that it makes them feel “empowered”.
I think these are probably the same women who opt to labor without pain medication. WTF?!?! I don’t get that, like, at all.
Personally, I didn’t feel that at all with my natural births. I felt tired and painful and regretful that I didn’t have a c-section (“This could have been over much sooner and this pain and pushing could have been avoided if I’d had a c-section!”)
I much preferred my c-sections over vaginal births. (2 v births, followed by two c-sections). I found the recoveries were just about the same (though I took more pain meds with the c-sections).
Anyway, I think that’s the logic behind c-section aversion — that you somehow miss out on a rite of passage. Personally, I don’t agree with it…I don’t need to experience unnecessary pain and pushing, all the time worrying about my baby.
I created and birthed a new person — that’s miraculous! And *that* experience is the most important one for me. How I deliver that new person is irrelevant to me — the end result is what matters.
“Many women say that it makes them feel “empowered”.
I think these are probably the same women who opt to labor without pain medication. WTF?!?! I don’t get that, like, at all.”
I was one of the people who felt totally empowered after giving birth without drugs. I remember after both births a giddyness and an incredible high, a sense that I could do absolutely anything at all. I am neither a hero nor a masochist
I just didn’t feel like I needed drugs because the experience felt totally manageable (except for one hellish hour during my first labour, when the baby was pressing into the broken part of my pelvis).
The brain makes its own drugs, the endorphins, and there are ways you can stimulate their release in labour. I’m a really big fan of HypnoBirthing – for me it was an incredibly effective way of pain relief. My labours are very intense from the start and while I would classify both as very hard work (in the same sense that climbing a hill is hard physical work) neither really felt truly painful (except for that one hour). I think mostly it’s a different frame because you have tools for every part of labour, so contractions don’t feel like something happening TO you – they are something you are working WITH and once I was in my groove I was golden.
On the other hand, I have had friends who had absolutely horrid vaginal deliveries and where they felt really awful afterwards. Unmedicated birth is great only if you have a good cast of supportive characters and the right tools and circumstances. If I had had to lie still or strapped to monitors or told I had to labour on my back then I don’t think I would have looked back on vaginal births at all fondly.
I have a history of being failed by my body – I’ve had arthritis since I was fourteen, I’ve had gastric and spinal problems aplenty, both pregnancies utterly trashed me to the point where I was unable to walk or work – so it felt amazing to know that my body could do something other than find new and ever more painful and degrading ways to malfunction.
Anyway. Take all this with a grain of salt as just one personal perspective. There are many ways to find healing and I should think a number of them involve very good drugs.
Christina Cox says:
Thanks for sharing!! Glad to hear it worked out for you!
Due to the fact I have a stitch in my uterus to keep the baby in…yep you heard it here first, I have to have c-sections. The stitch is called a Trans-Abdominal Cerclage and it is the last resort when you are not a good candidate for a typical Cervical Cerclage due to cervical incompentency. Medical “miracles” and technology gave me the opportunity to have a daughter after losing 3 babies to my cervical incompetence. If having a stitch placed to keep the baby in a good place and then a subsequent c-section to deliver the baby is not feminine or a real delivery then what is it? I gave birth to tiny little babies vaginally and it did not make me feel any more of a mother than when I had a c-section. Everyone is different and when people say it is not a true delivery they need to realize that everyone has a different reason for choosing how their babies are best served.
I went into pregnancy and childbirth with an open mind – I had to, there is no way to prepare yourself for what is going to happen, because you just don’t know until you are in the thick of it! And anyone who says that a c-section is cheating or isn’t real birth is out of their freaking minds!!! That is like saying that you weren’t really pregnant – women can be so cruel to each and that is wrong!
I wanted an unmedicated vaginal birth and I did not want to be induced – BUT – I was also open to using meds and being induced if needed; and if the need arose to have a C/S. Did I want a C/S – no, the thought of having MAJOR surgery scared the snot out of me more that pushing a watermelon out of my lady parts!
When I got to 41 weeks I had had enough of being pregnant and opted for the induction, which went well for the first few hours, then I decided that there was no way I could stand to not use some pain medication (those contractions were painful!) so I had an epidural. 12 hours after the induction began I successfully gave birth vaginally to my daughter – the destruction she caused to my lady parts caused me to not be able to walk or stand for more than 3 minutes at a time for 5 weeks. I had to use a squirt bottle to get myself to go to the bathroom for more than those 5 weeks and forget about doing a #2 like a normal person (I don’t want to talk about it!). It took me 10 months to fully recover from vaginal birth and I thought it was supposed to be “easier” than a C/S.
It comes down to the fact that each woman is different and how they give birth will be individual to them and unique to them alone and no one deserves to have any judgement passed on them based on the decision that they make regarding the way they give birth.
Jeni Seitz says:
My first daughter was born via emergency c-section after 26 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing. (I had an allergic reaction to a medication and the baby went into distress) I chose to have a VBAC with my second. My doctor said is was probably not going to work out but we could give it a chance. I went into to labor at 12:45 am and she was born at 3:11a. 13 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. (she was crowning in the car) I felt awesome after her birth. Not like I was hit by a Mack Truck (like my first). I think it is a personal choice and I was so happy with mine. My 3rd child ( a son) was born vaginally as well.
To decide what is really safest for mother and baby, I think we would need honest objective data, and I don’t know if we’ll ever get it because all the data I can find is skewed by someone’s agenda (insurance companies who hate V-BACs or natural birth advocates who hate c-sections). When I was making the decision, I asked one question and one question only. Which method has the lowest risk of a serious complication FOR THE BABY? The only risk my doctor told me about for the baby was a slight risk of the baby being nicked in the bottom with a scalpel. To me, all the risks to my own health were both acceptable and a non-issue. I understand why others would consider surgical complication risks for themselves, recovery time, and the rest of it, but they were totally irrelevant to me. It turns out both of my c-sections were scheduled and both were easy-peasy with no complications except a spinal headache. By contrast, my friend ruptured and nearly bled-out during her VBAC. We almost lost her and her baby, and she has been advised not to try for more children because of the damage to her uterus. Everyone’s experience is different, but the risks of VBAC for both mother and baby are very real and should not be understated. The risks to a baby (not mom) of a c-section, as I understand them, are quite small. I have never questioned my decision, even when people say my births weren’t “real.”
Telling someone a C-section isn’t a real birth is like saying, adopting a child doesn’t make you a real mother. Bull! If it hadn’t been for an emergency C with my first, I would have died along with my daughter. Thank God for modern medicine and the advances we have made. The purpose of birth is exactly that; to give birth. I have 2 healthy kids, both by C-sections and honey, I gave birth.
Mary @Barnmaven.com says:
It totally bugs the crap out of me that people get so caught up in their own particular ideology of childbirth and child-raising that they continually dismiss and disenfranchise anyone who’s done or doing it differently. Vaginal birth vs. C-Section or VBAC, bottle vs. breast, cloth vs. sposies. Yes, this is important stuff — but it is also wildly personal.
What if we couldn’t even use qualifiers? Then we would just say “I had a baby. I feed my baby. I diaper my baby.” All the same, no matter which way you look at it. We need to stop telling people they’re “doing it wrong.”
I already responded once, but would like to jump back in because of how many folks have commented on most or many doctors being ‘pro-C section’.
I had a quad screen that indicated the likeliness of the genetic condition that my son and I both have. I had no idea prior, nor did anyone in my family, that we carried this mutated gene. After a visit to a specialized children’s hospital & genetic testing, I returned to my small town OB/GYN’s office with a pile of paperwork and instructions from the children’s hospital genetic team about why it would be much safer for me to have a C-section vs. a vaginal delivery.
My doc’s immediate reaction was that he would read the information and come to his own conclusion. When we went back in to see him after he had time to process the information & do his own research (2 days), he said that he agreed that a c-section was safer for the baby and for me. He then explained that he attempts to keep his c-section rate below 8%, because to go over that amount increases his malpractice insurance costs. He went on to say that he doesn’t honor requests for elective c-sections, ‘just because’. He feels that vaginal birth should be the first line of thinking, simply because it is the more natural way for the body to complete a pregnancy and bring a baby in to the world.
Just wanted to point out that not all docs are pushing (pun intended!) for those c-sections. I’m grateful to have an OB/GYN who is willing to weigh the risks and benefits and make decisions based on baby/mom health in each case, instead of on financial gain, time off or other personal reasons.
i recently had a conversation with a childbirth instructor (in CT, delivering hospital, Yale-New Haven) who was telling me the risks to the mother of multiple c-sections, and that a woman had just died post-partum at Yale-New Haven. I was very surprised. She specifically talked about placenta accreta: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placenta_accreta. when i looked up risks to mother from multiple c-sections just now i found this: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/caesarian-rates-placenta-accreta-contributing-rise-maternal-death/story?id=13399308 and this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15548394
I’m not a mom, but there’s a program at the hospital I work for that has a great website with info about VBAC and birthing misconceptions. I know there are lots of great web ersources out there for this, but their website is pretty good, so thought I’d pass it along in case anyone’s interested:
I had an emergency c-section with my daughter after 12 hours of labor (her heart rate was dropping and they didn’t know why. Turned out the cord was at her shoulder so every time I would push, it would compress the cord, thus dropping her heart rate). I ended up having to be put completely under because my epidural wasn’t working well on one side of my body (ok for vaginal birth, so not ok for surgery) and they didn’t want to wait for another spinal block to take effect. Everything went fine–both Aly and I were healthy and recovered well. Fast forward seven months–we find ourselves pregnant again (surprise!). My son was delivered via c-section three and a half weeks early (and fifteen and a half months after the birth of my daughter). Early on in my pregnancy with my son, I decided that I was going to have another c-section. This was in spite of my doctor saying I should be able to do a VBAC, no problem. I came to my decision for a few reasons–I had read that ideally you should wait 18 months before becoming pregnant again after a c-section (not sure the accuracy of that article but hey, if you find it on the internet it must be true, right?). Since my daughter was only seven months old at the time, I was a little worried my lady parts hadn’t had time to heal properly which made me nervous to try a vaginal birth. Another factor was since I had given birth via c-section the first time and things had gone well for me and my baby, I found comfort in the “known experience”. The final factor for me was that my recovery from my first c-section (and my second, as well) went really smoothly. My pain was very manageable, I’m not a nude or underwear model so the scar doesn’t bother me at all, and frankly, the stories I’ve heard from friends about the physical aspects of their vaginal birth experiences and their subsequent recovery scared the hell out of me. I would hands down, any day, and twice on Sunday, have a c-section again. It’s all about personal preference for me. Frankly, I’m not a woman who always dreamed of a natural birth and all of the beauty that accompanies that birth experience. I’m much more of a “do what you gotta do” to get the baby delivered safely and “oh, I’ll take some drugs with that, please.” kind of girl. One thing I always share with my first time pregnant friends is to go into it with an ideal of how you would like your labor and delivery to go and share that with your doctors/nurses. But, mentally prepare to be open and flexible to do what needs to be done to safely bring you and your baby through the birthing process—hopefully easing some of the devastation if things don’t go the way you’d hoped or planned.
My first 3 births were unmedicated vaginal (obviously, right?) but only because they went so fast. I had time for epidurals for my vaginal births with my 4th and 5th. I delivered my 6th at home by myself when my water broke with one huge contraction and my daughter following 2 minutes later. That one was also vaginal. I had another vaginal birth in the hospital with an epidural for my 7th. Then #8 came along and was breech. She was also a 35 weeker, so, smaller than the rest. I was not given an option and was told I needed a c-section. Future Dr.’s were angered by this because, chances are, she could have been born vaginally with no complicated due to my history and her size. However, when #9 came along, I was told that because of the number of past deliveries AND the c-section, I needed a repeat c-section. They told me I *could* choose a VBAC but that it would be much riskier in my case and they strongly advised against it. So, I had another c-section. 5 days post partum, my staples were removed and a “weak spot” was noticed by the nurse. The Dr said “She’s fine. Send her home.” That night my incision reopened. I called the office and was told to come in in the morning. My incision was cleaned and packed and I was instructed to return the next day. I woke up with a searing pain in my hip and upon arrival at the OB’s office, I was examined, cleaned, repacked, and sent immediatly to the wound clinic due to infection. Every day for a week I had to return and have it cleaned and repacked with 14 inches of gauze. It measured 4 inches on the outside, 4 inches deep (ever had a wound measured to see how deep it is??) and ran hip to hip under my skin. After the infection cleared up, I was put on home health care and attached to a wound-vac (a machine that keeps constant suction on a wound, allowing it to heal from the inside out) I wore it 24/7 for 3.5 weeks, returned each week to the clinic to have it measure, inside and out. Then I cared for it with gauze and antibacterial cream until it closed all the way. Soooo, when #10 came along, you can bet I wanted to try a VBA2C. My OB agreed to it until 28 weeks when he “changed his mind”. I asked my family Dr and after reviewing my records, he agreed to see me. He was/is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and 22 months ago, I successfully delivered my 10th baby via VBA2C. And that is my story.
Wow Ashlee— I think you are pretty A-M-A-Z-I-N-G yourself!
I pee when I sneeze, and I fart when I cough. When you tack on the hemorrhoids, I sometimes wish my births had been a little less “real”.
Is it too much to ask that we just support each other as mothers without judging?
Carole W says:
I had a c-section. It wasn’t my choice precisely: I was 28 weeks pregnant, dying from HELLP syndrome and the doctors seemed to be pretty damn sure it was the right thing to do. My baby lived in a plastic box for 8 weeks (and in a hospital bed for another 6). Breast feeding was not an option either. And guess what? I could not care less. I had a baby, he lived and we fed him and he grew and is now a happy and healthly little boy. No-one has ever said that I didn’t do it “properly”, but I’d bloody like to see them try….!
Mama Bub says:
This is an argument that I’ve never really understood. If there’s at baby at the end, why do we care how it got here? I mean, I didn’t want a c-section because it seemed terrifying, but if my doctor had said that was the safest way to go in our given circumstances then I wouldn’t have been fighting it. I know there’s a very loaded argument on the other end, but I chose a doctor that I like and respect and I don’t assume that the decisions that he makes have anything less than my best interest at heart. I think what I REALLY mean is that I can understand why some people feel strongly about they way that THEY give birth, but don’t understand why we’re judging the way others do it.
Allison M. says:
Everyone has a different experience with c-sections as well as vaginal births. I had an emergency c-section at 26 weeks. No choice, my son was dying inside of me, he had to come out to have any chance of living. I had no complications, little pain, nothing negative. Who is to say that a vaginal birth couldn’t have the same pain? What if I had to be snipped from front to back and have 50 stitches down there. That is a big OUCH in my book. A lot worse than a c-section. Everybody experiences and heals differently. Keep that in mind!!!
I had a c-section. I’m damn proud of it! I can assure you that when the doctors/ nurses handed me my son I felt nothing but love and gratitude. I never felt cheated or resentful. This was one of many never-ending lessons for me as a parent that I can’t control and plan everything. Just like you, Heather, I have heard some women bemoan that the birth didn’t go as they planned. If the result was a healthy mother and child then I can’t understand their position. I’ve thought about their perspective, but I just can’t see it.
No one has ever told me to my face that I am less of a mother for giving birth via c-section. If they feel that way behind my back they can keep it to themselves or suck it; I don’t care. My son’s heart rate crashed and the only way to deliver him alive and safely was a c-section. I’d take a c-section every day if I had to give my son life. I am a mother to my core, and no one will ever take that away from me, least of all with rude, judgemental comments.
Best wishes to all of the mothers who are proud of their children, no matter how they came to know them.
Kel M says:
I had an emergency c-section with my first due to head dystocia (premature skull suture fusion) with a low transverse scar. I ended up with 6 months of antibiotics due a severe uterine infection and I almost decided not to have any more children.
I researched and thought for a long time before opting to get pregnant a second time and trying for a VBAC . I ended up needing forceps due to shoulder dystocia but got my VBAC and a second healthy child. The recovery was easily half of what my c-section was and no complicated infections to deal with. I had a lot less overall pain and definitely less incision pain from my episiotomy than with my c-section incision. I then went on to have VBAC’s with #3 and #4 with no complications whatsoever.
I am definitely an advocate for the VBAC and believe that with careful monitoring and a high-risk doctor at the helm, most woman can go on to have a successful VBAC.
I didn’t read all of this, but here’s my take: a VBAC brings a baby out a hole that’s already there, a C-section cuts a new hole in your body. When possible, one should avoid cutting holes in one’s body. When not possible, go ahead and cut that hole – healthy baby and healthy mama are what we’re after. Your pregnancies, both, pretty clearly called for C-sections, and you should not be sensitive about having gotten them.
That said . . . *commence getting on high horse* . . . I’m pretty passionate about women being told the truth about C-sections. Here’s why: out of about 25 women I know who had pregnancies with no complications, three of us had vaginal deliveries and 22 had C-sections. Planned, scheduled C-sections. In almost every case, it was because the baby was “measuring big” – and these “big” babies ended up ranging in size from 6 lbs to 8lbs and change. I find that a little shocking. I think that the medical profession (and popular culture) scare women into thinking that vaginal birth is too scary, too painful, and too hard to do. It’s like Big Brother patting us on the hand and telling us – It’s OK sweetie, you’re not strong enough to push them out on your own, we’ll just get them out for you.
C-sections should be an absolute last resort, brought to the table when the babies or the mamas are in some trouble. OR women should be able to elect them, if they want, after having been communicated accurate facts about their health, their baby’s health, and the risks of both types of birth. However, as I see so many of my girlfriends, free of all complications, electing C-sections before they even go into labor, because some doctor has frightened them into thinking they would be torn “hole to hole” by a huge child (what one doctor told a friend of mine – who had a 7 lb baby by the way) – well, I think that’s a pretty damn lazy doctor who wants the predictability, and the money, that comes out of a C-section, and is capitalizing on a pregnant woman’s nerves.
Have a C-section if you want one, or if you need one, but be aware of your doctor’s C-section rates, and understand what that could mean for your birth – it’s my opinion that an unnecessary and expensive operation should be avoided when it’s possible, and that’s why I’ve always gone with midwives whose C-section rates are below 20%. If she tells me I have to have surgery, I will believe her. If a doctor did, I’m not so sure I would. (Having had complication free pregnancies, of course, and I’m lucky in that I know.)
It’s my experience that the women who judge other women for having c-sections are the same women that go bonkers over bottle-fed babies. I am a 30 year old c-section, bottle-fed baby and I’ve never been sick and I love my Mom.
Women, especially mothers, need to start being kinder to each other.
My Husband and will be starting a family soon and I have watched two movies recently that I found highly informative and really enjoyable. Please check out The Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America. Both are available to stream free on Netflix. I’d love to hear your take on them!
And I am not necessarily a granola hippy that would like to have a home birth either. I am well aware that I’m going to be an older mom as I am already into my 30s and we aren’t even trying yet. And being older means higher risk an probably a trip to the hospital when the time comes. But I LOVE the information about the science of hormones and the idea of being empowered to make decisions about my birth experience.
Here is the deal that I gathered from my doctor when wondering the same thing: repeat C sections make your uterus walls very weak-and if you continue to have them (like say you want 4 or 5 kids) then with c sections 3 or 4 or 5, you risk having your scar tear open before the pregnancy is full term- which will lead to preemie births, which we all want to avoid. The best, it seems as I understand, is to try for a VBAC-if you can do it once, then any more births should be even lower risk for the scar to tear open and safe to deliver vaginally. The risk with a VBAC is there-but each C Section puts your uterus and future births at even greater risk, and can even complicate your chances of getting pregnant, because of the increasing scar tissue with each C. Ultimately you just have to weigh all info you have, think about what you want, and figure what is best between you and your dr. and go for that. Also, a vaginal birth is a millions times easier to recover from (trust me ) I hope that helps with your questions. I had the same with my second birth and third birth (1st vaginal, 2nd c section, 3rd, vbac)
I have 1 and still just thinking about #2. I’m considering a VBAC. I feel like my doctors rushed my c-section, but I don’t know. So much of what they told me in the hospital was bogus (“breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt if you’re doing it correctly” “1 Formula bottle won’t impact your chances to breastfeed”)… I question it.
I was 9 1/2 cm dilated and stopped progressing (I’ve read that many doctors would have let me push at this point). There were no issues, no harm. They gave me the option and I jumped at it. 4 days of teeny contractions followed by 18 hours of labor.
A nurse botched the delivery of my epidural (she let it pool even after I complained to her – long story), so I ended up being put under for the c-section.
Part of me feels “cheated” (I, too, would be insulted if someone else suggested this to me). But I didn’t hear his first cries. Everyone saw him before me. I think the risks of a VBAC are about the same, as long as it’s closely monitored. I really want to discuss it with my new OB – whom I have chosen specifically because she has done successful VBACs. I really want to know my chances of successfully delivering. If she gives me odds over 25% I’m in.
I should mention that I have nerve damage from my c-section.
I am very glad that for me my goal wasn’t an “experience” but a live baby/babies because while the whole pregnancy and birth was quite an experience, it wasn’t one I would care to repeat, my eye on the prize nature really worked in my favor for once. After a you-name-it-I-had-it complication filled pregnancy with mono/di twins, I had an emergency (general anesthesia, classical incision, 15 min through the OR doors to babies) at 33wks. Since then I have had two miscarriages requiring d&c, surgical intervention for an ectopic (recovery from that was far worse than from my c-section!) and an additional d&c for another issue, and add those to placental issues from the first pregnancy a VBAC is clearly not an option. I don’t know if I will ever get the opportunity to give birth again but if I do, they can yank that baby out through my eye socket for all I care if that’s what’s best.
Love the last line! Too true..
I don’t know any women who say, or would say, a c-section is a failure. I think that is more of hearsay or just a few women giving the rest a bad name. I think the whole opinion is more made up in the mind of women who had c-sections and are sensitive about it.
That being said, I had a c-section with my first. It was planned at 27.5 weeks because I had placenta previa and was not allowed to labor or dialate. It was horrible. I ended up losing so much blood that I had to get a blood transfusion. So given the choice, I would like to try for a vbac. I am currently 19 weeks pregnant and my OB sees no reason why I can’t have a VBAC since there was no physical reason I had to have a c section other than placenta previa. There is not any risk that wouldn’t already be there. So that’s why I am trying for a vbac.
Sorry I meant 37.5 weeks, not 27.5
It’s not hearsay – lots of commenters have said they’ve been told this. I’ve seen it on message boards. It happens and is not made up in my mind or anyone else’s.
Agreed Heather. I’ve heard it too, and I’ve seen far too many fellow preemie moms treated like broken goods over it.
I did have a VBAC, because I had a low transverse incision, and a toddler at home who was just barely walking and needed to be picked up all the time. I never would have considered it with a classical incision. In fact, I’ve never heard of a doctor who would even allow it as an option with a classical.
I’ve heard many women being extremely hard on themselves for “failing to deliver”, ruining their birth plan and ending up with an emergency c-section. I fully believe their perception is such because of unkind comments by others.
I had a c-section and my baby had a bottle. The hater comments are really out there.0
dysfunctional mom says:
I think it’s the exact opposite; I think so many women feel that they have failed after a c-section because so many other women make them feel that way.
dysfunctional mom says:
FTR- my reply was directed @ cvsbean.
Each woman’s situation is unique, and a healthy baby is the most important thing. Studies do show, however, that less intervention during labor makes breastfeeding go more smoothly. So there’s that to consider.
Like you, I had to have an emergency c-section. Only mine was a traditional cut, straight across my stomach, and he died 30 minutes later after he was born. It wasn’t because of the c-section but because he went through too much stress before the delivery.
With my second, I wanted to be induced. I wanted him as soon as possible, I did not want to chance another abruption. However, my OB said that because I had a c-section, induction would not be an option because of the risk of uterine rupture. He wasn’t going to risk it. He let me choose how I wanted to deliver. I chose c-section, because I wanted him out early. He arrived 12 days early, but it was 12 days less of me stressing over another abruption or something else bad happening to him. My OB also said, if I went through a repeat c-section, I would never get to deliver vaginally. All that mattered is that my son came happy, healthy, and alive. And he did at a whopping 9 pounds, 5 ounces. I don’t regret my decision to do a c-section at all.
Having a baby with/without an epidural/c-section is just that. Having a baby! Just like breastfeeding/bottle feeding is feeding your baby. I really wish women would be nicer to each other and support each others decisions/circumstances.
I had a V-bac. It was sort of cool to push a baby out, but it was totally not worth it for me. My c-section resulted in slightly more pain for the first 48 hours, but a MUCH shoter period of recovery than my V-bac and resulted in a 100 percent recovery vs the V-Bac from which my body has never completely recovered. I would NEVER do a V-bac if I had to do it over.
I feel like my body failed me. I have always been too healthy. Too healthy for what I put my body through. I had a perfect pregnancy. No nausea. Gained 30-35 lbs (I like to eat! ). Not really uncomfortable. Good glucose test.
At 37 weeks I was diagnosed with Pre-E. Out of nowhere. No rhyme, no reason. I ended up being induced because I also was horribly sick with a cold and had some serious Bells Palsy going on. Oh, and also, Atlanta was in the middle of the worst ice/snow storm since I don’t know when.
I labored for 12 hours or so, at some point we discovered that the pitocin was making a puddle on the floor. Nice. I also had the reaction to the epidural where your blood pressure dips WAY too low.
I ended up being a freak show. I thought I was so healthy and strong. Nope. But I had a C-section and was terrified (never even had a cavity, NO idea what pain felt like)
It was just fine. Recovery was easy-peasy and everything I was scared of ended up being non-problematic. And my face isn’t paralyzed anymore. BONUS!!!
Anyway, I’m considering a VBAC with the next baby. While I don’t have many regrets about my baby’s birth I do have some. I really thought I’d do the un-medicated vag birth route. And a part of me still wants that even though the C was so easy.
Side question – when you have a V birth do they still come in and mash on your belly? That was BY FAR my worst memory of the c-section. I hated the mashing with a passion.
I had a V birth and didn’t have any belly mashing. I do distinctly feeling the skinniest of my entire life right after birth (and after birth). Yea, I was all soft and mushy, but I couldn’t believe how light I felt. (Also, Probably too much TMI, but I seriously don’t know if I’ve ever felt better than I did after my first pee after the delivery. I think I peed for 10 happy minutes straight.)
Megan, from one Bells Palsy sufferer to another —
I know how crappy that one thing made me feel, and I didn’t even have mine with a pregnancy (happened almost five years before my daughter was born). So the fact that you had to deal with that along with all the rest of it, I just had to say I give you major credit! (And I’m with you, having a face that isn’t paralyzed anymore is a major BONUS!)
I gave birth by c-section twice also. The first, I was 3 weeks overdue & showed no indication that my baby would drop. Turned out that I had a very high uterus. Vertical incision also. The second (2nd dear daughter) started causing such pressure , 3 weeks early, my OB was concerned that I might rupture my inside incision. He was not the OB for the first baby. I did not consider a VBAC, because 31 yrs ago, it was just not done after C-section, so when she came early, I was only concerned about her health and mine. It makes me very angry when uneducated and uncaring women make statements that giving birth by c-section isn’t real birth. Well, excuse me, but honey, it’s as real as it gets. That’s right up there with my mother-in-law telling me that we didn’t need a new TV because I wasn’t nursing. Hello, just because you don’t or can’t nurse successfully, I did not just stick a bottle in the baby’s mouth & walk off.
People can really be hurtful and ignorant when it comes to anything other than what they are accustomed to doing. Stepping off soapbox.
I have only had one birth which was vaginal so I am hoping to give you the insight from my perpective of how vag birthers think. I was put to bedrest at 29 weeks for severe toxemia, so I knew that c-section was a possibility. My fear/concern was that I was not going to able to hold her for the recovery time after the section. It may seem trivial in the scheme of things, and I know a healthy living child was the important thing, but I wanted to always know that in her WHOLE life, of all of the millions of people should would come into contact with, I was the one who touched her and caressed her for the first time. I was the one who layed a loving hand on her and prayed all of my loving thoughts and hopes on her for her life into that first embrace. Not some nurse or doctor, or not even my husband for that matter, I wanted it to be me! In the end, after almost 30 hours of natural labor it came down to the wire for me to either sh*t or get into labor!!!! So somehow my body heard the threat and I was pushing within the hour and had her vaginally. I don’t regret a thing, and obviously wouldn’t love her any more or differently, but I am glad I had the experience.
I know, it’s all very selfish. But I’m a mom, I don’t get many opportunities to be selfish.
Wow, look at all these comments. I’ve only skimmed them, so I hope everyone is playing nice. It’s a topic that can get people fired up.
My firstborn was an emergency C/S after a 24 hour labour and he became stuck. I really wanted to do a VBAC for my second birth, but was not allowed at my local hospital because it was considered too high-risk. I would have had to travel 40 mins to a bigger, uglier hospital. So I chose another C/S.
Sadly, I do kind of feel like I missed out a bit, on having a “real” birth.
But they’re happy, healthy, and here. My GOD are they here.
i tried to vbac with my second delivery. i tried it because my c-section recovery after my first baby was terrible. my incision opened up, i had to have a home care nurse for a long time and they made me use a wound vac (don’t google it, trust me)… it was awful.
unfortunately though, i can’t go over 40 weeks because i have antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, so my doc induced me at 40 weeks with my second pregnancy and it caused my uterus to rupture. thankfully he was in the room with me bc he was so nervous about the possibility of a rupture, so he recognized what was going wrong, and i was whisked to the OR in a flash… baby was saved as was my uterus, but it was a scary time for sure.
i thought i wouldn’t be able to have more babies after that (usually you use your uterus with a rupture… often along with the baby) – but I was extremely fortunate and am now pregnant with baby #4.
my doc was very supportive of the decision to try to vbac, so i felt comfortable with the small risk involved… but I also knew that he was planning to stay by my bedside as soon as i started active labor. i don’t know too many docs who would go to those lengths.
fortunately my recovery was so much better with c-sections #2 & #3… hopefully with #4 too
With my twins, I had an emergency c-section. I was disappointed, but I healed very quickly. My babies were in the NICU, and one of them went on to have blood issue and some other issues that plagued us for the first year. Thank goodness only for the first year. Then I got pregnant again, this time with a singleton. My water randomly broke at 26 weeks, and I was in the hospital for 31 before I went into labor. I live in NYC and had very experienced high risk OBs who told be that VBAC was a possibility and not really that much riskier than c-sec in my case (I asked for this info). I asked to try VBAC. I had a fetal monitor on me the whole time, and I understood that if something went wrong they;d have to knock me out and do a fast c-sec. I felt safe. I did the delivery, and honestly it was a truly wonderful experience. With my c-sec, I kept feeling nauseous and faint, and I felt separate from the birth. With the VBAC I felt involved and less sickly. So for me it was a good decision. My son had some issues and was in the NICU for 6 weeks, but this would have been the case regardless. We all do the best we can and try to make the best of it. No one needs any judgment about birth! That is petty and truly lacks perspective about what matters most.
Personally, I was born via C-section. My two first-born siblings were born vaginally, and when my 2nd brother passed away at birth, my 3rd brother and I were considered too high-risk to be delivered in any way other than C-section (my brother was even more so than I was because my mother ended up on bedrest for many weeks before she could give birth to him). So first and foremost, I have a great respect for the need to have C-sections for the health and welfare of a child, and any mother who has one may not have done something “natural” but in my opinion, have given up a heck of a lot more by putting herself under the knife like that.
As for my children, I’ve had two vaginal deliveries thus far, one with an epidural, and most recently a few weeks ago, without (not by choice or some “I can do this without drugs” magical thinking, but based completely on the fact that my son insisted on coming out of me before my doctor could even arrive at the hospital to deliver him). Despite that, I’ve already considered the VBAC because I never thought I’d make it through the first pregnancy without having a C-section, let alone the second, so I always wanted to know my options.
The reason I would want a VBAC is because the concept of surgery (or multiple surgeries at that) completely frightens me. Add to that the fact that I could get out of bed within hours, let alone days, of having my kids, with no pain meds other than Motrin. It seems to me like recovery would be a hell of a lot harder with the C-section. Additionally, I’m with Jenn (comment #215) in that, much like any mother, I want to hold my child immediately post-birth.
But all in all, I would just want my baby to be with me, safe and healthy. So if the only way for that to happen is via C-section, then that’s how it should be. I’d get over my surgery fears soon enough.
I think it’s crap for anyone to say that c-sections aren’t “really” delivering a baby etc. I had my first in a hospital, my second a planned home birth and my third in the hospital. I definitely think birthing MATTERS. I think vbac is great in lots of circumstances. But I would NEVER think badly of a mother for choosing a repeat c-section if she deems it best for her and baby. There are women (ones that I’ve spoken with) that have almost felt like a failure for not having a “regular” delivery…then I’ve spoken to some that are so happy with their c-section. Have you ever seen “The Business of Being Born”? May not be everyone’s cup of tea but I love it and I love the explanations it gives for how/why birthing in America is changing. With a twist ending. I highly recommend it!
I don’t mean to stir up controversy…I think it’s great to look at all sides of the issue. And now, I really want to watch that movie again after watching the trailer.
To be honest, I think bringing a baby from a womb to the world outside the world is giving birth. Period. C-Section, vaginal, emergency C-Section, water birth. Does it matter? No. The only thing that matters is a safe, healthy baby. I don’t get why people say “It’s not real birth.” Just like I don’t get people’s attitudes about breast vs. formula. It’s ridiculous. As long as the baby is happy and healthy and taken care of and loved, who is losing?
Smoking, drinking and doing drugs while pregnant. Sorry, that drives me NUTS!
Our first daughter was an urgent C-section. We went in after my water broke and they discovered she was a frank breach(Yes, our OB should have known this). A C-section was the only way our daughter and I would have survived. Unfortlunately things didn’t go perfectly and it took 5.5 minutes to get her out. Sometime during this time she had a stroke which was not diagnosed until she was 11 months old. A few days after our C-section I had serious heart complications (no history). She’s now 2 and a half and we’re both doing great!
My husband and I are getting ready for baby #2 and the C-section VBAC issue is constantly on my mind. One thing I love about the C-section is that I can plan everything for my daughter. I know this can of course change but I love the idea of being able to be more prepared. Complications of both scare me. Laying on the table during a C-section and counting the minutes and praying it goes faster is a complete nightmare to me. Although having huge issues and still having a C-section scares me too.
I think the decision is ours and when its gets closer we’ll make it. I think the argument that “you didn’t give birth” is silly. The baby still isn’t in there. Healthy happy babies and moms should be the most important thing. Everyone has choices and they should be theirs to make.
I’ve given birth 5 times all vaginally, I consider myself lucky that I was able to do that, but I don’t feel that I’m a better woman or anything of the sort because I birthed my children that way. If I was faced with the decision to have a vaginal or c section, I would simply choose vaginal because I am a wimp and the thought of surgery scares me, but I would in no way risk the health of my baby just to avoid surgery. Having a healthy baby and mom is the most important outcome for any birth. I don’t understand myself why it’s one of those “hot button issues”.
Laura Newman says:
It dosen’t say on the birth certificates… Baby Joey was born at this time, date via Natural (no drugs at all) birth or via a C-section…… Please…. its our own individual birth! I started out larboring and just couldn’t progress, even with Pitocin running wide-open (that means the IV is open all the way, flowing in really fast!) and I still didnt make any progress… 28 hours later, it was suggested a c-section… I was devestated…… there was sooo much pressure to have my 1st vaginally.. I put alot of guilt on myself…… With my second, my husband, doctor and I had decided that another c-section was the way to go, unless all the planets aligned and I went into labor naturally and had good dilation(never made it passed 5 with my 1st) and well I was okay with this decision but I took crap for it from friends…. I took the screw them attitude… it ain’t them doing it… not to mention I don’t think that i could of handled 28 plus hours of labor and then a c-section… that was worse to recover from than a planned c-section.
A C-section birth is a birth. Vaginal birth is a birth. Think what happens in the life AFTER that initial introduction is what matters most. It’s about getting the baby(-ies) into the world as safely as possible. Hot button/Snot button….my hope is that mamas-to-be will simply do what they and their medical/birth team feel is best…
As a twin mom, my hope was just to not birth one via EACH route! (and it does happen….one area of healing was goal) Both of ours made it out via the traditional exit ramp…but I’d have not felt less thrilled with motherhood had they entered otherwise, or both ways.
And Heather, as the wife of an abundantly loved man, currently fighting Stage 3C melanoma—who for 17 months now is exhibiting no-evidence-of-disease—THANK YOU for what you have done for the ACS.
Our now 9-year-old twins (they were 4 when he was first diagnosed/first incidence) thank you, too.
Best and blessings—-and please keep in touch and let me know if there is ever ANYTHING I can do to reciprocate your kindness.
My first vaginal delivery landed me with a 3rd degree episiotomy and 2nd degree lacerations bilaterally down my vaginal wall. My second child was also a vaginal birth and he was a breeze. Since I have never had a C/S I guess I can’t say with 100% certainty that I WISH I had a C/S with my first child.But I have been told several times that he SHOULD have been a C/S. I will say that the recovery pain was WORSE than the labor/delivery and I made it to 8cm without an epidural. My son is now 9 years old and my “stuff” has NEVER been the same. I am also an RN in the high risk OB area so I see this debate quite often. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned in the comments (unless I missed it) is that most Medical Malpractice Insurance companies WILL NOT cover an OB in the event that a VBAC ends badly. SO, if you were an OB would YOU offer your patient the chance to VBAC? I have seen several uterine ruptures. ALL were VBACs or patients who had a past history of uterine surgery. About half of them ended up with an infant death and/or massive blood loss / hysterectomy in the mother. I think Heather (and many more blog followers) are exactly right. You don’t have to give birth vaginally to have a birth experience. You really don’t even need to give birth at all to be a mommy. And for ME, after losing 2 babies before the birth of my first son, I would have done ANYTHING to minimize the risk of a bad outcome for my child. The percentages for bad VBAC outcomes are low. BUT someone falls into that percentage. A risk I personally would not be willing to take.
My birthing story; First was a C=section because the baby was breech. Second was a C-=section because my doctor who was the oldest in the group said he had a case of uterine rupture and the baby was lost and mother almost died and that story alone had my husband and me (we are both physicians) scared enough to opt for another C-section. We, of course, knew that a c-section is not without risk but still did not want to take the risk of uterine rupture. My third was supposed to be born by c-section but I went into labor in the middle of the night and the labor and delivery ward at our hospital was crazy busy so we decided very last minute to let me labor and deliver vaginally. We seriously thought the very busy nurses were just going to leave it to my husband to deliver me! Two hours later we had our first boy! The difference in recovery between c=sections and vaginal births is huge! I couldn’t believe how much better I felt and was able to keep up with 3 kids very easily. Whichever way you give birth, you are still participating in bringing your baby into the world so that hogwash about it not being “real” if it is via surgery is nuts! (I find women referring to vaginal births as “natural” birth is weird, too!)
Melanie B says:
I had pre eclampsia and an emergency first birth which was fairly traumatic for me because of the whole not being able to experience anything and being totally out of control thing. I wanted to at least try for a VBAC with my baby boy and was set to go and on track until my blood pressure started spiking again. I was disappointed but, I also kept my mind open to risks and was ok with the decision. Having a second C section actually healed me from the first if you can believe that. I was trembling in the OR and was about to ask them to knock me out. I wanted to have that different more intimate experience that I held out and was so glad I did. Baby was brought to me in recovery, nursed the whole time, and I felt so very relieved and healed.
A baby comes out one way or another. Sometimes, we don’t really have a chance. YES, you still gave birth. YES, you are a mommy. Having surgery to get the baby out doesn’t make you a mama, the baby does!
Wow, hot topic Heather! I have had two of each; first an emergency c-section, then med-free vbac, third, another emerge section, and finally a med-free vbac and they were all different. The way that I felt about them all different too. I had my vbacs because I could and I wanted to, and I had my sections because those sons needed to be born that way in order to be healthy. And thank goodness they were or I would have two less children. Birth is such a powerful, emotional experience. It can be good, bad or ugly regardless of how we birth. I think we tend to forget that and sometimes equate our negative (or positive) experience with the way we birth. I have had a happy section and a section full of angst. A blissful vbac and one wrought with pain and loss of control. No matter how or why we birth the way we do, we have to support one another and accept that we all make choices based on what’s best for our babies and ourselves. Those with unkind words perhaps haven’t been faced with the types of challenges that some of us have been.
Melissa S. says:
So I have two girls – both born via C-section. The first was not exptected, as all the women in my family are of “good breeding stock” with nice wide hips (haha). However, my daughter had different ideas. She was “sunny side up” and would not turn after 2 hours of pushing. In fact, even though I was high on an epidural, having my OB/GYN put her hands inside me and try to turn that child was THE most painful thing I have ever felt. As if the bloody gloves she pulled out of me was any indicator, it was far from pleasant (ok, TMI, but we are all adults here, right?). However, my irrational ass was somewhat relieved when the doctor said that we would have to do a C-Section because the baby wouldn’t turn – because I always had this fear of tearing! I had heard stories from women who basically had to have reconstructive surgery “down there” because of tearing. It freaked the shit out of me – so I was not concerned about the C-Section at all. With my second, three years later, I thought “why not, lets give a VBAC a try” after weighing all the pros and cons. Unfortunately, that daughter would not cooperate either, and sat so high into my rib cage that I had to have another Csection when she hadn’t dropped days after my due date. My recovery from both was very good and quick. I had worried about that because I am not in my 20’s, and although I am not inactive, I am not a marathon runner Bottom line, I felt like I had enough other stuff to stress about, and just kind of took it all in stride when I had to have two C-sections that I hadn’t planned. I agree, moms are too rough on each other…a healthy baby and momma is what matters!! Oh yea, that and two separate orifices down yonder….
I also had 2 baby girls born via c-section and find it ridiculous that anyone can say it is a failure.
My first was not a planned c-section, however after my water had broken and 24 hours of labor later there was no progression at all, my doctor recommended a c-section and I was too exhausted to disagree. Turns out it was the right choice because I am 4’11 and my baby was 9 lbs and 22 inches! (ouch)
When I became pregnant the 2nd time around I had asked for the VBAC because I had a horrible recovery after my first pregnancy and wanted the option to try it. My doctor agreed until we discovered via sono that my 2nd daughter was probably over 10lbs. So we scheduled a c-section. Baby number 2 came at 39 weeks at 10lbs 10 oz and 22 ins. Again – I am 4’11. I carried these gigantic beautiful girls for 9 months and regardless of how they came into this world – there was nothing about either birth that anyone can call a failure. Give other moms a break. Life is not a competition.
And there are also people who say an adopted child isn’t actually yours, or if you go back to work, you’re not a real mom, or if your only child is dead, you’re not a mother anymore, and the list goes on…
People can be real jackasses. Educate the ones you can, and pity the rest.
Oh how I LOVE Ash’s comment. I think I will get that last part tattooed on my forehead!
Valerie L says:
I feel like the way you choose to birth your children is such a personal choice. I, personally have only had a natural birth. However, if a C section was necessary, I would have done anything to make sure my baby was safe. And as for a second or third birth…whatever is best for you and the baby.
Having a baby is an experience. And however that baby arrives is a blessing and emotional experience.
I’ve only had one baby, and she was by c-section after 29 hours of labor. It infuriates me when women tell other women that a c-section isn’t a “real birth”.
I view giving birth the same way I viewed my wedding. When I got married, yes, I wanted a lovely ceremony and a great party with my friends and family but, at the end of the day, all that truly mattered was that I had that piece of paper in my hand and my husband at my side.
Same way with labor and delivery – I had a labor plan that involved minimal or no pain medication, lots of freedom of movement, and limited invasiveness. But I also had a line in there that basically said “ultimately, I understand that this plan can be thrown out the window and any time due to circumstances beyond my control, or by my changing my mind.” As long as I left that hospital with a healthy baby, that was ultimately the only thing that mattered to me.
We’re not planning another baby, but if that changes, I’d love to try for a VBAC so I can have the experience of delivering vaginally. But, when/if the time comes, que sera.
Based on the number of comments, this is obviously an emotional topic :-). I think this is a personal choice and we should respect each other’s choices. What is the best choice for me is not the best choice for the next person. In the end, having a living baby and how you raise that baby is what matters.
I am proud of my three unmedicated vaginal births, but in no way do I judge anyone who gave birth by c-section. As I say, each to what is right for them. I have a very high pain threshold (and to be honest, I am scared stiff of c-sections).
With regard to recovery, I have seen friends who had c-sections up and about within days, but also a friend who was bent almost double with pain for 3 months because they nicked a nerve during the c-section. I recovered quickly from my vaginal births, although it was sore to sit down for about a week afterwards for each and I have slight issues with bladder control, but I also had a friend who got an infection in her episiotomy (sp?) site and took more than a month to recover.
So yeah, there are definitely pros and cons to both and everyone has to make a choice that is right for them.
dysfunctional mom says:
I HATE this judgy mommy crap. The type of birth is between a woman and her doctor. Period. It’s what they agree is best for both mom and baby. And it’s absolutely nobody else’s business.
Leigh Elliott says:
I also had a c-section. I was happy to because we had gone through six years of infertility and I wanted to get this baby out as quickly and easily as possible. I was induced but after 8 grueling hours of pitocin, and only graduating to 1 cm. I was ready to cut myself open to get our daughter out.
I do have some friends that had c-sections for their first births but then wanted to go the VBAC route. I know for my friends, they were pretty traumatized by their c-sections and wanted to see if they could “do it”. I think for some people, having a vaginal delivery is something they need to check off their life list.
This topic is similar to breastfeeding. Yikes, that topic could cause riots in the streets! Breastfeeding was super tough for me, and we fed our daughter mostly all formula. Amazing how things such as the MODE OF ENTRY and WHAT KIND OF FOOD you give a baby could be so emotional.
Just like anything in parenthood though, we all think WE are the “right” ones, doing the “right” thing. A good friend gave me a great piece of advice once when I confessed with guilt all of my trials and tribulations, and embarrassment about my lack of breast milk. She said, “You found something that works for YOUR family, nuff’ said.” I love that.
The more comments I read here the more I can’t wait to get further and further away from the bees nest of judgy mommas. eeek. I think I was safer working in a pack of grey cubicles with gossipy women all day.
As an OB nurse, I can tell you that a VBAC with a classical uterine incision is highly risky, and where I work would never be an option. Now if you had the low transverse uterine incision, some physicians will give you the option to VBAC. With a classical, you are at a higher risk for a uterine rupture with contractions, basically because it’s a scar going straight down the length of your uterus. It’s less of a fish with the low Francesca because contractions actually start and are stingray at your funds, or the top of your uterus, so the lower uterine segment doesn’t get as much force during contractions, although, there is still the possibility of uterine rupture as well. That being said, it’s also a possibility with every women in labor. I recently had a patient whose uterus ruptured without prior uterine surgery, she was rushed to the OR and upon opening her abdomen, the baby flew out….it was floating in her abdominal cavity and no longer even inside the uterus. All childbirth, whether vaginal or cesarean is not without risk. But certainly any way a baby is brought into this world is by giving birth…so ignore those ignorant people that say otherwise! All that matters at the end of the day is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.
Now, personally, if I were one to have had a cesarean with a low transverse incision, I would opt for a VBAC, being closely monitored and being open to surgery if my baby or I showed any signs of distress.
Ok…ignore the typos above! This damn iPad totally spelled checked my words! Fish is meant to say risk….Francesca is meant to say transverse!
Omg….ok the other sentence that’s screwed up should say…contractions start at your fundus…which is the top of your uterus.
I wish I could go back and edit this!
Megan B says:
Those typos made me laugh and laugh. Especially the stingray. So funny!
I know….I hate typing on this thing!
Heather – this is such a serendipitous post for me! I am two weeks away from a scheduled C – it’s my second (first was unplanned, but not an emergency.) My doctors did not push me to do the repeat C, but did recommend it. I’ve felt fine about it up until about a week ago and then have been having second thoughts – worried that I’m not trying hard enough, or opening myself to unnecessary risk. I had a very good C-section experience the first time, so I’m generally comfortable with it.
After reading all the comments, I feel reassured that everyone’s experience is totally different – hearing that some people had difficult recoveries with VBAC helped me to feel like it’s hard to know either way what will happen but I feel comfortable with my choice.
This is one of those hot button issues for me. There is no topic like birth and rearing of an infant to make people stand up and scream their opinions at you, wholly unsolicited.
When I was nearing the end of pregnancy with my first, I went to an art show where a complete stranger came up to me and started fondling my belly (which also drives me crazy… who DOES that?). She chatted with me for a while about how the pregnancy had gone, how I was feeling, etc. And then she said, “You are planning on breast feeding, right?” I was pretty taken aback by this. I mean, I was, but who asks a total stranger a question like that? When I hesitantly affirmed to her I was, she then declared, “And no epidural, right?” I laughed light-heartedly and said, “Oh, no, I’m definitely getting an epidural.” Her face hardened, she pursed her lips and looked me up and down. She snapped, “Well, that’s too bad. I wish your baby the best of luck,” flipped her hair and stomped away from me, leaving me behind with my mouth on the floor.
Until that moment, I had no idea how much people believe they can say anything to a parent about how they SHOULD be doing things. There is absolutely no filter because it’s FOR THE BABY. Babies are (rightly so) protected by the community at large. The thing is; there are very few boundaries on where that protective instinct in people begins and ends. Which is endlessly frustrating to us as parents, but it is an instinct in people that serves a very noble purpose.
I’ve had plenty of those moments in the years since, and I’m kind of inured to it now. In fact, I would be surprised to hear of a parent who hasn’t gotten an icy attack from another person about how they’re going about the pregnancy/L&D/rearing of their child. I guess my point is, chin up, Heather. You did the right thing. You know why? Because it was the right thing for you, your husband and your OB. It was a decision undertaken with sober and serious consideration, and no one else has a right to come into that sacred circle. That won’t stop them from trying, but always remember that it is insignificant background noise. Just my two cents.
Michelle H says:
My first birth was vaginal… 4th degree tear and over 200 stitches.
I loved my subsequent 2 c-sections.
Why are women always judging each other over everything? We really need to stop. We all want whats best for ourselves, our children, etc. and we should be the ones to decide what that is based on our beliefs, our health, our own situations.
It’s so funny (and not in a “ha ha” way) how much focus there is on the birth process. Sure, it’s important (and is literally a matter of life and death!) but it’s a matter of a few days at most! Once it’s done, there’s a lifetime of childrearing and then relating to that child once he or she is full grown.
(And plenty of opportunity for “YUR DOIN IT RONG!” comments throughout)
I also had a classical C-section. I like you, after our first child died and we did not want to take any risks. We did not consider a vbac and none of the doctors we met with would even talk to us about it.
I think that a big reason to try for VBAC is that a lot of OBs recommend only two C-sections, so if you plan to have more than two chlidren, then trying for a VBAC is worth considering.
I had one vaginal birth, one induction, and one C-section. While the C-section was the easiest for me (planned not emergency…and may have had a lot to do with the fact that it was my 3rd time around) it was in no way less of a birth story than the other two!
Kelly @ JourneysAndDetours says:
I had two fibroid surgeries prior to getting pregnant with my daughter (a few miscarriages before that) so the Dr. that did my surgeries said if I got pregnant, he didn’t want me going into labor- wasn’t sure my uterus could take the strain because it had been perforated during the surgery- and the safer bed would be a C-section. At the time, I thought, sure, whatever; I just want to have a have a healthy baby! And I did! I couldn’t understand the people who push for vaginal because they fear they are missing something.
I was a little shocked to later discover some disapproving looks or questions I would get when people found out I had a C-section. One was from the lactation nurse. “How come you had a C-section?” she asked in a tone that made me feel as though I had to justify it. When I would tell people why, I would get an, “Oh, okay.” Like “I guess we’ll let that one slide” kind of attitude. Weird. At the time I was just so thankful for my healthy little girl.
Anyway, more toward your question– as time went on and I would watch birthing scenes on TV or movies, strangely, I DID start to feel as though I missed something because I did not get that experience of a natural or at least vaginal birth. When my daughter was born, naturally, I couldn’t see what was going on and I remember having to ask, “Is she out yet? Is she okay?” I did not get to witness that MOMENT. I wondered if I should have asked more questions. I wondered how risky would a vaginal birth have been?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have regrets. I have fond memories of her birth, and yes, the recovery was tough but not horrid. I am still so very lucky and blessed. But there IS a little part of me that just kind of wonders and questions…
I had 2 vaginal deliveries. I have a friend that had 3 C sections and the Dr told her that was pushing it to the limit. No one in my family has had a C section.
I think the Dr’s know what’s best for each individual depending on their medical history and previous deliveries etc. No one should judge or make a mother feel less of a mother because she chooses to have a C section over a Vaginal delivery. I say to each it’s own. We as women know our bodies and we trust the Dr’s.
A “planned” delivery. (I don’t get that) I planned on having a child. Delivery of a child ,even today, is an uncontrollable circumstance. A delivery is to be prepared for, we can’t plan, and then decide what was a success. (if it rained on my wedding day, my birthday party, is that an unsuccessful wedding?) No matter the medical knowledge, no matter “the plan”, life is the hope, life is the goal.
My first (and only, so far) was an emergency c-section as well. I felt a little traumatized by it. Partly because I wasn’t in labor, didn’t know/or feel that anything was wrong, and still a couple weeks away from my due date. Anyways, if I get pregnant again, I think I’ll opt for the c-section only because the risks scare me, and now I know more of what to expect. I was VERY against the idea of having a c-section, until it was going to save my baby’s life, and then I thought it was the most awesome thing in the world. I’m so grateful we have the technology to do that. I say do whatever is best for you and your baby.
I have had both vaginal (3x) and an emergency C-section. When I think back it seems the C-section was an easier recovery for me. Even though it was medically necessary to have one I carry doubt and guilt. My son who was supposed to be ‘fine’ needed to be intubated and even now at 17 months has lingering pulmonary issues and has had subsequent hospitalizations. I was told by several neonatologists during my son’s NICU stay that coming down the birth canal is helpful in clearing the baby’s lungs. Every time the doubt creeps in I remind myself that it was the decision to have a C-section was made thoughtfully by doctors who wanted what was best for both my baby and I. When I hear other people’s birth stories I assume they chose what was best for themselves and their babies.
I’ve had two C-sections and if I get pregnant again, I’d have a third. I have an amazing doctor and I trust him immensely. When I was pregnant with my first son, he would.not.come.out. The doctor said he didn’t know why, but he had a gut feeling and he wanted to go in. We did it and I gave birth to a 10 lb kid – there’s no way he would have been born naturally.
When the doctor told my husband and I that he thought we needed to have a C-section for the welfare of our son, I started crying. I was crying because I was scared for my baby, but he thought I was disappointed and kept telling me that I hadn’t done anything wrong and it was as valid a way to give birth as vaginally. After I told him I didn’t care how we got the baby out as long as we did, he told me that a lot of women seem to feel like failures when they have to have a C-section.
With the second one, he told me from the start that he doesn’t like to do VBACs because of the possibility of uterine rupture. “Rupture” was all I needed to hear – cut me open, I’m good.
Healing from the second one took less time, but the pain was a little worse, because of the uterine contractions as it shrunk back to size. He said that it gets worse with every C-section. That was honestly the part that sucked the most. I recovered pretty well and was doing my normal stuff (without being reckless) in about a week.
We’re alive – I’d be a fool to complain.
(Geez – sorry this is so long.)
I’m with you on this. My first was a c-section after many hours of labor and no progress due to what surgeon said was a tight birth canal (and what are those birthing hips for, I ask?) For my second, I scheduled the c-section. End result likely would have been c-section, and most importantly, why stress baby and risk health of baby unnecessarily? To experience “real” birth? I knew a woman did this and it nearly went terribly wrong, and was against advice of her doctors. I know there is a perception, rightly or wrongly, that doctors feel “safer” doing a c-section, but in many instances, there is a reason for their urging.
Sarah M says:
Women need to band together and share their experiences for other women to use as a source of comfort not to be judge by someone who thinks the only real way for a child to come into the world is vaginally. Ya that`s how they did it in the olden days but lets not forget that many many women DIED and also I`m pretty anyone who has had a C-section didn`t feel like that was the “EASY” way 6-7 week recovery with a high incidence of infection and horrible pain while at the same time trying to care for a newborn which as we all know is the hardest part of babyhood. I think the safest way is always the best way and i think we put so much pressure on pregnant women to give birth vaginally that they take unnecessary risks. There is not right or wrong way to give birth its all about keeping mom and baby safe!
My first daughter was delivered by c-section. (actually 7 years ago tomorrow!) I was 5+ centimeters dilated, fully effaced (without any contractions that I felt, btw) and she turned breech when I was getting my epidural. I was so sad that I didn’t get to push out my baby. The rational side of my brain knew that it was best for the baby, but my hormonal, emotional side felt ripped off. I had horrible ppd after her birth. My doctors always supported a VBAC for me. Never once did they try to talk me out of it.
I went into labor on my own with my son. 3 1/2 hours later I got my VBAC! So good for my self esteem! I took longer to heal from the vaginal birth though. So much that I wanted to have another c-section with my third child. The doctors actually recommended that I try for another VBAC. So I did and I am so glad! My Ava was born in 3 hours!
I know all that matters is a healthy baby, but for my self doubt and anxiety, I needed to push a baby out!
Christina Cox says:
Both vaginal and c-section deliveries have their risks – HOWEVER, the trend toward more & more c-sections in the US and other countries is a little disconcerting to some people. One movie that helps explain why I tried for a vaginal birth & then a VBAC is “The Business of Being Born” which you can get on Netflix.
Every birth is so different – some are easy to recover from and some aren’t. Some c-sections AND vaginal births are traumatic and some are great. But the concern is of many women not being educated enough about the risks and benefits of both and in many cases, having decisions made for them.
I did my research after my first birth was a c-section with a low incision. I found that the additional risk of uterine rupture was negligible and the increased risk to mom and baby with a c-section far outwieghed the risk of rupture. I was able to VBAC with my next three births successfully, even with a 9lb 1oz baby!
This is actually a very personal issue to me right now as I am pregnant with baby #5 and NONE of the hospitals in my area are willing to “allow” me to deliver vaginally, even though I have been successful 3 times and my c-section was 12 years ago. I feel like they want to cut me open under duress. I’m angry and scared and honestly considering an unassisted home birth because I can’t afford to pay a midwife to attend my birth at home.
All that said, I think when a c-section is necessary it’s a perfectly legitimate way to have a baby. I hated my c-section, the recovery was horrible, the memories are terrifying because my epidural didn’t take and the spinal took TOO WELL so I only remember not being able to breath and having a giant mask put over my face… and waking up in what I was told was ICU… when I couldn’t yet speak because I was still paralyzed from the nose down. I will never go thru that again. But if a c-section was a good experience for another woman, by all means repeat it! LOL
I had a scheduled c-section for breech with my first and then an awesome unmedicated VBAC for my second. My c-section was pretty positive and although it wasn’t comfortable, I recovered well. I had no trouble bonding with my baby, but did have lots of trouble breastfeeding. I overcame with breastfeeding and had a great breastfeeding relationship which was important to me.
With my second I wanted to VBAC, because the risks of something bad happening to the baby are very, very small, especially with a low, transverse incision like I had. A successful VBAC is the best outcome, health-wise for both mother and baby. A c-section after an unsuccessful Trial-of-Labor has the worst outcomes for baby.
The risks are never zero and there is nothing that anyone can do that will make them zero. The risks of the mother dying after c-section are much higher than after vaginal birth. Though, the catastrophic risks to mother and baby are pretty small either way.
However, I knew that if I chose a repeat c-section I would have guaranteed negative effects like more pain, longer recovery, separation from baby after birth, etc. and much higher risk of baby with respiratory problems, hemorrhage, hysterectomy, and other problems at the time or later in life. Plus, c-sections can cause problems in future pregnancies such as placental abnormalities.
Though my c-section was positive, I really didn’t do anything but lay there and I was separated from the baby after birth. With my unmedicated VBAC, everyone in the room was supporting the baby and I as I birthed her. No one told me what position to be in ( i was on my hands and knees because my body demanded it). No one coached me how to push. I was the first one to hold my baby. She never left my sight. She was able to latch on right away and breastfeeding was so much easier.
I feel that from the womb to my skin is a much gentler transition that what my son had which was a cold room. Thankfully, my husband was able to go with my baby after the c-section and was able to hold him, but that is not always the case. As a doula, I see that c-section babies are often left alone in the incubator screaming after the nurses poke and prod them until mom gets out of recovery or recovers enough that baby can be brought in which they aren’t always in a hurry to do. I think that the standard treatment for c-sections babies and moms should be improved as long as babies are healthy.
I think women deserve to have choice in this matter and should be presented with facts. I have seen OBs lie about the statistics or use inflammatory language instead of accurately describing the risks. The risks of c-sections are very rarely covered properly.
For my health, my baby’s health and the health of future babies, VBAC was right for me. I had to fly half-way around the world and drive 2 hours to find a supportive birth team, but it was absolutely worth it for me.
Expat Mom says:
I’m of the opinion that if you have the baby safely, it really doesn’t matter HOW. I also think that people tend to be more comfortable with the method of birth they’ve already had . . . I have a friend who had a C-section the first time and couldn’t imagine anything else because she already knew how to deal with that. And I have had only vaginal births, one of which was so traumatic, I seriously considered a C-section for the next, but in the end, chose to go with what I knew best.
In the end, what works for you and the baby is the way to go. And trust me, there’s no cheating involved . . . the kid has to come OUT one way or another and neither method is particularly fun!
I find it hard to believe that will have time to read comment #278, but why not. I have been reading your blog since my first pregnancy and was hooked- although this is the first time I’ve ever commented.
First of all, I think the “Golden Mom Rule” is to never judge another mom. You have no idea what she has been through, and what her circumstances are, etc.
I’ve had a CS and VBAC. My first was a CS (obviously). I had terrible pre-eclampsia and bedrest. He had to go at 38 weeks because my blood pressure was so out of control. He fought the doctor trying to get him out. No complications with #2, and I wanted to try a VBAC. One of the(main) reasons I hated the CS was I didn’t get to hold my son for 2-3 hours or attempt breastfeeding. I was very determined to nurse, but we didn’t really get the hang of it for 2 months. Also, I thought the recovery was terrible- I was in pain for about 8 weeks. The VBAC went really well (even though my epidural didn’t work!) I got to hold my daughter within minutes, and we were nursing within 10. I think giving birth to a child is the best lesson to prepare us moms for motherhood, and teaches us (well, warns us)- “You are no longer in charge”. There is only so much you can control, and when somebody says your child is at risk (etc) then you just have to say “You do whatever you need to do” (to the doctor).
Even if you don’t have time to read this, I am still a huge fan of you and your family. I, for one, really appreciate you talking so openly about being a mom and all that that means. Thank you.
I read all comments!!! Thank you for leaving you experience!!!
JEllis in Cleveland says:
My first child was over a week late. I was induced and 16 hours later had to have an emergency C-section. I don’t feel I was a failure or that I didn’t experience actual child birth. On the other hand it was disappointing that everything written in my birthing plan was thrown out the window. I was foolish and didn’t even read the c-section part of any of the books I had. I was disappointed that my sister who can’t have children as well as my mother were not able to be in the room for support. I was disappointed that I was unable to see my child pulled out and resting on my stomach as they cleaned him off. I was disappointed that I was unable to touch him, hold him, or starting feeding him until hours after birth. I was really so drugged up there is not much I really remember about the whole experience. After everything was said and done I was just happy to have a healthy baby. When I became pregnant with my second I was given the option to VBAC. I said YES hands down. I did research, attended ICAN meetings and asked a butt load of questions at every appointment. I was determined. This pregnancy I was high risk as well so I was a nut case. So on the due date of my second son I went into labor. This was the afternoon after my regularly schedule appointment where the doctor told me I would need to be on bed rest as the baby’s heart rate was up and down and I was having high blood pressure. When I went into labor she said this is the best thing that could happen for us. It was a Monday night football home game so I was really pissed, but things were working out in my favor for the birth. I went into labor by myself and my son was ready to go. 9 hours later the doctor informs me that she feels a C section would be necessary. I didn’t want to give up but with the baby’s heart rate and my blood pressure I felt it was necessary as well. I wanted to have a VBAC, but had to look at the risks that were on the table. I had the same experience as my first son. Disappointment, but recovery was a little bit better. It was easier. So with two boys of course I have to try for the girl. I asked my doctor about a VBAC for my next child. Absolutely not she says. It is easy to find a doctor who will deliver VBAC for just one C-section, but nearly impossible to find one after multiple. So I did more research. My options: scheduled C-section, Home birth, or the one doctor I did find in my area willing to deliver after multiple C-sections. This was a great post you wrote Heather as I was able to read some comments by other readers and get some more insight. Is it really that important? I don’t know. In reality there is risks for everything including another C-section. And does anyone really look forward to surgery? Which leaves with a dilemma that I have been tossing around for 2 ½ years now. Is my family complete? Or do I try for the girl and look into all my options as I go with the healthy and safety of all put first. It makes me very nervous. I do like the fact that I can truly tell my boys where they came from…(*my bell*).
I had an emergency c-section with my 1st baby due to his dropping heart rate. During and post c-section, the doctors were not able to determine why his heart rate was dropping so low. I had a horrible experience with the c-section (vomiting during the c-section, horrible recovery, etc) Now, I have no regrets that I had a c-section because I realize that was the safest way to deliver him. 16 months later I had a VBAC and followed that with 2 additional VBAC’s, all which were done very successfully. For me, I wanted to try a vaginal delivery, but was also realized that during labor it may be decided that a c-section was the best course for delivery.
The way I look at delivery is that everyone gets the same trophy (baby) and it does not matter if it was c-section, epidural or natural.
I had a much different experience. I grew uterine fibroids almost from the first month of pregnancy. It was an intense 9 months of pain beyond imagination. I refused to take Oxycontin as often as I should have, for fear of delivering a narcotics-addicted baby. But then I worried that the pain, stress and crying from the constant pain was causing him harm. As a very stubborn person, we made it all the way to 40 weeks, despite constant 10/10 pain and eventual difficulty moving my left leg and walking. Placenta previa caused an emergent c-section. We just recently had a miscarriage, otherwise I’d be entering my 3rd trimester now. There is frankly some relief as the pain from fibroids re-growing started again (within a month due to the estrogen push of the 2nd pregnancy), but I am terribly sad and fearful to try again. The pain is intense, it will be difficult to care for my family or self, and at 41, to go thru another miscarriage would be terrible. Yet my son is drawn to babies and really seems to want a sibling. I would try a VBAC if they let me, and the water birth seems the most gentle of all. But first it’s getting over the fear of losing another baby, and of getting through a very challenging 9 months. Adoption is not an option for us.
I’ve never met anyone else with such a pregnancy/birth experience but the C-section and recovery was awful, again because of all the fibroids. All of these stories, unique to themselves, reminds me of just how strong each of us are! And to me, my son is a daily reminder of strength and miracles.
First birth was vaginal, and I have to say it was somewhat magical. Second birth also vaginal but baby wasn’t breathing when she came out because of a cord and she was pre-mature. It was AWFUL. Just AWFUL. Third baby (two weeks ago–wheeee!) was an emergency c-section. I have to say, I kind of hated it. And I reallly hate the recovery. But (and this is a BIG but) it sure as hell beats vaginal delivery number two. I would pick a c-section every day of the week and twice on Sunday before repeating that experience. Baby number three came out safe and crying. It was perfection. After experiencing both I simply have to agree with you, if baby is safe, that’s ALL that matters.
A lot of women do not have good experiences with their c-section, such as impatient doctors, not having totally imformed consent, etc. It ends up being pushed on them, scary, and taints the whole birth experience. So many of these types of c-sections were not truely needed, and the moms later learned on their own that they should have been able to deliver vaginally, with the right support.
Women who had emergancies, or were respected and treated nicely and involved with the process, often have no problem with having a repeat c-section. It’s the moms who feel cheated/bullied/mistreated that usually struggle so hard to have a VBAC.
But, really, the opportunity to have a VBAC should begin way before the original c-section could even happen….education about inductions/labour/support etc to prevent the approximate 20% of un-emergancy c-sections.