Thursday, February 22, 2018

Real Reasons Women Choose to VBAC

             Hey folks! With my third baby's due date quickly approaching (and hopefully 2nd VBAC), I've been thinking a lot about my last birth. Will going into labor be similar? Will it go as fast? Will I be fortunate and not have any major complications?
             I enjoy reminiscing about my VBAC with my second baby because it was one of the best experiences of my life, as cliché and corny as that may sound. One thing that really bothered me, though, when I first told family and friends about how I wanted to have one was their lack of enthusiasm due to ignorance. This was a really big deal to me, after all! I suppose I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, though.
             So, what's a VBAC? VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. Yes, this is actually a “thing” now. Gone are the days of “once a c-section, always a c-section”! Speaking of which, let's talk about some other myths and facts surrounding VBACs and c-sections.

*Most women with a prior c-section are great candidates for a VBAC. In fact, according to ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), women who have a trial of labor after c-section (TOLAC) have a 60-80% success rate for vaginal birth.

*Although far too common in our society nowadays, the fact remains that cesareans are major abdominal surgery. With VBAC, women can “avoid major abdominal surgery and lowers their risk of hemorrhage, blood clots and infection. It also shortens the recovery period and reduces women’s risk of experiencing maternal morbidity or mortality during delivery in a future pregnancy due to repeated C-sections.” (ACOG)

*Naturally, there are factors that could impede VBAC success. ”There are certain conditions that can make VBAC less likely if TOLAC is attempted, including advanced maternal age, a high body mass index, a high birth weight and a previous C-section that resulted because the cervix failed to dilate.” (ACOG)

*The most talked about risk with VBACs is uterine rupture. This is a very valid concern as it can cause both fetal and maternal death, but, it is very rare at less than 1% occurrence in those going through TOLAC.

             Clearly, there are advantages, disadvantages, and risks to consider whether you decide to try for a VBAC or opt for a repeat c-section. More and more women, though, are opting for VBAC, myself included. Now that you understand more about the medical aspect of choosing between the two ways to birth, I want to share some of my own personal reasons as well as some fellow mom bloggers who also chose to VBAC!

             As for me, I always wanted to experience vaginal birth. Don't ask me why, because I couldn't tell you, but it's just one of those things I always wanted to do. I also really wanted to have a drug-free birth, but that flew out the window once I hit about 7/8 cm dilated. Those Pitocin contractions (I opted to get induced) are no joke! (Seriously. So much different than going into labor on your own!) Still, I cried when I gave in to getting the epidural.
             Long story short, labor went pretty fast, but after 3 hours of pushing, we decided to do a c-section. I never got the official records, but from what I understood, my daughter hadn't really descended right and her head and shoulders got stuck funky, which is why I wasn't making any progress pushing. She actually had a red spot on her head at first from where she was hitting my pubic bone!
             Anyways, I was bound and determined to have a VBAC with my next baby. I didn't see any reason not to. It's not like I had to have an emergency c-section. I did lots of research. It just felt right. I felt like it was my second chance, literally and figuratively, to have the birth experience I was hoping for.
             We moved back to Indiana after our first daughter and I found a very VBAC-friendly doctors office. Despite my diet-controlled gestational diabetes, I was able and fortunate to have a perfectly smooth, drug-free VBAC at 40+3 weeks going into labor on my own! Again, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I am so glad I was able to experience it and am hoping for another smooth VBAC delivery again any day now!
              If interested, you can read both Myka's c-section birth story and Ripley's VBAC birth story.

Jessi from The Coffee Mom

My first baby was frank breech, and that resulted in a scheduled C-section at 39 weeks. It wasn't an awful experience, but not the best by any means. Recovery was harder and being a new mom I felt like there wasn't much after support for C-section moms as far as what I was and was not allowed to do.

A few years later, when I was pregnant with my son, I decided to have a VBAC. Since nowhere in my town would do them, I had to go to a larger city about 20 minutes away. The care was amazing and I was able to have my VBAC at 41 weeks. I was told if I didn't go into labor on my own by 42 weeks, I would have another C-section since they can not induce. The whole experience was wonderful and recovery was much easier.

You can read her VBAC story in full on her blog.

Melinda from Unfrazzled Mama

For my first baby I had hoped to go for the natural/no pain meds birth and, unfortunately, had to have a C-section at the last minute. My water broke on it's own and I was all set in my hospital room to deliver vaginally, but the doctor decided to check to make double sure the baby was head down. He felt something off, and decided to do an ultrasound right there and it turned out that she was breech. All the other doctors had missed it. So then I had to go for an "emergency" C-section that night. I never had any contractions even though my water broke. So with my second, I definitely wanted to try to successfully experience a natural birth, not to mention avoid all the risks that come along with multiple C-sections.


When I was pregnant with my first son, at my 38 week visit, the midwife had a hard time finding the heart beat of the baby...there was nothing. I was sent for an ultrasound and from then on everything was fine. They monitored me for a whole day and nothing seemed wrong.

The next day they came to my room and said they would send me home but another doctor came in and said I was having a c-section that day. I freaked out. The more I said no the more they bullied me and told me I was putting my son's life in danger. So we did it.

The spinal shot was the scariest thing I've ever done. It took long to heal and I felt like I wasn't what a real mom should be. I spoke to other moms and they discussed things like contractions...I didn't know what that was. The moment they give you the baby after birth...mine was taken yeah.

With my second I was in another country, and I pushed hard for a VBAC, I wanted to know what it felt like to give birth the way God intended. Thankfully, the doctors there were more open to this option. I had a completely natural birth with no painkillers, no bullying...My labour was 4 hours long and went very smoothly. Now I'm pregnant with my third and unfortunately I'm in my country of origin, Malta, where I had my first...and I am very concerned. There are no birthing clinics, no doulas for a homebirth....

Marcie from Marcie in Mommyland

With my oldest, I had placenta previa and was on hospital bed rest for the last 2 months of my pregnancy. Because of the previa, we knew I'd need a c-section. We ended up having an emergency c-section at 35 weeks. After being on bed rest, recovering from the c-section was so difficult and I dreaded just thinking about how to recover from surgery while tending to a toddler if we had another baby.

I always thought I'd need to have another c-section for my 2nd baby. So, when my doctor told me I'd be a great candidate for a VBAC, I did a ton of Googling. Since my first pregnancy/delivery was so intense, I wanted a completely different experience with my second. I ended up hiring a doula, which was the smartest decision for our family! Since I'd never been in labor before, I relied on her a lot to help me with the last 5 weeks of pregnancy (which I hadn't experienced before), labor, and vaginal delivery. I love that my kids came into this world in very unique and distinct ways.

              As you can see from just the few examples here, there are many different circumstances that lead up to each of these c-sections. But, for the most part, the reasons for wanting a VBAC are similar. A lot of women simply want to experience vaginal birth and I, and more and more mothers, doctors, doulas, etc., feel we shouldn't be denied that experience unless truly, medically necessary.
             With that being said, I would like to close with this: This post is not intended to offend anyone. I am not trying to put down anyone who elects to have a repeat c-section. I do not know your situation. It may be what's right for your body and your family. I'm simply hoping to 1) Enlighten more mothers of their options who may not have even known VBAC was a possibility and 2) Answer those questions that people had who didn't understand why a woman wouldn't just opt for another c-section. (Which, by the way, is NOT the “easy way out”, like some like to ignorantly say! Cesareans are abdominal surgery and as such require several weeks to months of healing time!)





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  1. Love these stories! Thank you so much for sharing! I was pregnant with 6 friends at the same time and all of them had C sections. I was the only one not to and knowing that it can be so successful (depending on the situation), I'll definitely share this with them, because all of them want to have a VBAC

    1. I am very happy to hear they are all open to the idea of having a VBAC! That is a pretty crazy amount of women having a c-section out of your circle of friends, though. Sadly, it's all too common, especially here in the U.S. I can't remember where I read it, but our c-section rate here is around 30%. Statistically, it should be closer to 10%! There is definitely a time and place for c-sections, don't get me wrong, but that number is just insane to me!

  2. I was really lucky to have 3 natural births but my first daughter was back to back and they didn't realise I was pushing for over an hour. Good luck Alicia. #fabfridaypost

    1. Thank you and very lucky! It seems natural births are few and far between these days.