My Own StoryI had an elective c-section for my second child. I was VERY much informed of the risks and possible complications, and pressured by my Ob/Gyn NOT to have one. After explaining myself and signing a bunch of waivers, I was in business.
In my particular case, things worked out better for everyone involved. My first birth was traumatic. My dd tore through my body to the extent that moments after she was born she was handed to my dh and I was rushed off to have emergency repair surgery under general anesthesia. I didn't hold her. I didn't breastfeed her. Dh gave her a bottle. I don't remember anything from the first day or so, and I was on a great deal of medication (morphine, I think). Our nursing relationship (either as a result of this or a totally separate issue) was never really strong. I couldn't stand without assistance for two weeks. My body wasn't right for months afterward.
Before I became pregnant again, I made certain that my doctors would perform a c-section. If they had said no, I probably would not have had my ds.
Ds's birth: I knew exactly when it would occur, which eliminated any stress of childcare for dd. My parents live a couple of hours away and there was nobody else I felt confident watching dd if I were to go into labor in the middle of the night or something. A childhood friend of mine is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital, and she specifically planned to be there to work with me. After ds was born, he was brought to me to touch and examine before visiting with dh for a few minutes as I had my tubes tied (since my abdomen was already going to be open and all, it made more sense to us than scheduling a separate surgery) and was sewn up. Ten minutes after ds was born, we were cuddled in bed together, breastfeeding. The next day I was up and showering, a feat it took me two weeks to accomplish after my first birth.
In terms of recovery time, things were better for me. In terms of stress, things were better for all involved. After having dd, dh and my mom really thought I might die, as the blood loss and the doctors' reactions were so dramatic. In terms of medical costs, I would imagine things were similar, as my first birth ended in emergency surgery, as opposed to planned surgery the second time around, plus I avoided an additional surgery by having a tubal ligation at the same time as the c-section.
An elective c-section is by no means right for everyone, and I made the decision the first time around that it was not right for me. But for my second pregnancy.... I wouldn't have had it any other way.