OK, sell me on a VBAC please! Tell me about your awesome vaginal birth. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 09-17-2011, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi--I had a c-section (for a breech baby) a couple of years ago and it was much better/easier to recover than I thought it would be, so I'm really on the fence about whether to do a repeat c-section or a VBAC.  I have weighed all the risks of both and feel that they each have pros and cons as far as risk goes, so what I'm really interested in finding out about is this:  

 

What (other than of course, actually meeting your baby) was the best thing about your vaginal birth? 

 

And if you don't mind sharing, was this with an epidural or not? 

 

Last, if you did have a repeat c-section (non-emergency) how was it? Disappointing? OK?

 

Thanks! Can't wait to hear some good stories.  :)

 

 

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#2 of 23 Old 09-19-2011, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(moved to http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1330139/sell-me-on-a-vbac-please#post_16664690)

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#3 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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I had a VBAC without an epidural 3 years ago.  Best thing about my vaginal birth was getting to catch my own baby.  After her shoulders were delivered I pulled her out myself and onto my chest.  Very cool.  The other great thing was how good I felt one day later.  For the first day I was pretty tired (baby born at 3:26 AM, and I lost enough blood to make me a bit dizzy for a few hours when I stood up).  I was out of the hospital 36 hours after the birth, and out for a walk that I actually enjoyed later that night!  When I took my daughter in for her 3 day checkup, the clinic we go to is about a 1/2 mile from my house, and I was happily able to walk her up to it.  I found the recovery to be day and night better.  Plus, from my baby's point of view, she just seemed so much more robust.  I don't know how much of that was because she "cooked" 2 weeks longer (first was a scheduled c/s at 39 weeks, and my VBAC baby went to 41+2), or maybe it was because we delayed cord clamping and she got that much more blood, or maybe it's because she was 1 lb larger, or maybe because my milk came in faster.  Any variety of reasons I suppose, but she was a jolly fat strong baby.  Also her lungs were noticibly clearer.  My c/s son spent the first several days coughing up mucus.  My daughter never coughed once because all of that crud got squeezed out during the birth.  Finally, my sense of accomplishment, my "ownership" of the experience, was 100% different.  I felt, at the end of it, like it was both the most difficult and also the most worthwhile thing I'd ever done.  After my son's (very nice) c/s birth, I felt as though it had "happened to me", not that I had truly participated in the experience. 


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#4 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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Hi, I didn't have a VBAC so not sure how valid any of this is......but I delivered my son naturally w/o the epidural.  I was on the fence about the epidural going into the hospital - since I'd never delivered a child before and I didn't think my pain threshold was very high, I wanted to keep my options open.  Well, I ended up having a pretty quick labor, so my time for an epidural ran out, and I'm very thankful for that.  I was aware of everything that was going on, although I will admit I was somewhat delirious just from the overall experience.  I could feel the baby crowning and I could feel every move he made, which was pretty incredible.  I basically knew when his head was through, and then felt the rest of his little body coming out.  That was the best thing for me - just knowing where he was and exactly what was going on.  I'm not sure of the exact timeline, but I know I was up out of bed soon after delivery and I felt great, all things considered.

 

Good luck!

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#5 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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The first thing I told my husband after my C-sect was, "I'm never having another baby again."  Two and a half years later, I had a home birth VBAC (no epidural) and it was amazing.  No one pushing me or pressuring me and as soon as the baby was born, I thought, "I could do that again - it wasn't so bad."  

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#6 of 23 Old 09-23-2011, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! Those are all helpful stories to hear. 

 

I think one of the reasons I had such a decent c-section experience is because I actually did go into labor (9 cm by the time I got to the OR, and they check but baby was still breech). So I doubt that it would be the same with a scheduled rcs.  (@kltroy, your last sentence made a lot of sense to me--I think I would definitely have that feeling with an rcs.)

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#7 of 23 Old 09-24-2011, 12:04 PM
 
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I have a non-emergency repeat c-sect story, hope it helps!

 

My first was an emergency c-sect for a posterior baby who's heartrate kept elevating and would not turn.  I got to 5 cms, but since she was posterior, the "turning" contractions were super intense and on top of one another for several hours.  Although I was disappointed (I had planned a home water birth) I could tell that all was not well with her, and felt the operation to be a relief, a solution to a problem.  Plus, I was encouraged by the fact that EVERYONE involved, including the doc who delivered her, said that it did not mean that I would need a c-sect next time. 

 

Fast forward 20 months, and I am overdue and planning a VBAC.  Unfortunately I put too much faith in the support of the hospital for my VBAC, and when I went in for my past-dates consult (I was 41 weeks, 5 days and having mild intermittent contractions, dilated 3 cms) was pressured into having my water broken.   Right after that, things picked up and we were elated!  I was on the EFM and the baby was happy.  But after 2 hours, even though I was getting stronger, longer, more regular contractions, the doc on call was not thrilled with my cervical progress, and basically guilted me into feeling that I was taking a huge risk to the baby just for my own sense of accomplishment.  That's not how I felt at all, and we had already discussed risk, and how far I was willing to go, with my midwife, but I was in labor, and vulnerable, and my husband broke down when she mentioned "fetal death".  Unfortunately my midwife is very hands off, and had no one else to consult with, since the doc was stonewalling her.  I had no one to support me, and although I felt that everything was going great, and I knew that baby was fine and happy, and that he was coming on his own, I agreed to the c-sect.  I still look back and wish I hadn't.  And I'm still coming to terms with it.

 

As far as the actual operation went, it was way worse the second time, as a non-emergency.  I felt like I was going from a safe place to a scary place, and could not stop thinking about all the things that could go wrong.  I was perfectly aware of everything, and that made it worse.  The first time I felt like I was being saved, the second time I felt like I was being manipulated and shoved.  Instead of relying on me and baby, I was relying on like 10 strangers to do their jobs perfectly, with my body and baby's life on the line.  All the c-sect risks kept running through my head.  I shook uncontrolably, had awful chest pain, and threw up in recovery.  Vomiting with a new abdominal incision was terrible.  So besides the disappointment of a VBAC-turned-c-sect, it was also scary and unnerving.

 

Recovery-wise (physically) the second time was way easier. I think part of it was having an operation when I wasn't already spent from intense labor.  In addition to that, I knew what to expect, what to do, what not to do.  However, emotionally took alot longer, I felt like I suffered from misinformation and an overall lack of support.

 

I hope this helps you make your decision, I know it would be different for you if you chose a repeat c-sect, rather than a VBAC turned c-sect, not the same disappointment.  But it is definitely a whole new experience, being in a non-emergency operation.  I hope that whatever you choose you have a happy rewarding birth, and a quick recovery!

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#8 of 23 Old 09-24-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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I had a c/s due the breech presentation at 36+5 . I went to the hospital to had a version and they said that the baby still breech and I was in labor with 3 cms. I didn't feel that I was in labor at all. They definitely scare me and said that in the end all that really means is to have an healthy baby. I had the c/s that was very impersonal, cold surgery, my recovery was fast, but breastfeeding wasn't . Also, they clapped immediately her cord, so she was denied of a  third of her total  blood plus she  was kind of preemie. She doesn't have the chance to pass to birth canal and take the advance of being in contact with all the good bacterias. Also, was stressful for her and me. Nobody is going to know the real damage that she might or might not in the long run with all the drugs that was in my system and I pass through her.

Second baby was home VBAC (HBAC). It was a completely  different story, I recovered  way quickly. I feel full of power for the all 2 weeks post partum.My whole family participated of the birth process including the preparation. My toddler lived the process in peace. My husband was very empowered too. Baby born quietly at 41+5, not big baby, but not small either. I was walking in the park with my oldest at 6 days postpartum.Also, my baby received all the hormonal cocktail of the birth process.

 


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#9 of 23 Old 09-28-2011, 09:02 AM
 
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I just had a HBAC 3 weeks ago. DS1 was a planned home birth turned c/s for multiple reasons. DS2 was an amazing home birth that restored by belief in our bodies ability to birth. DS2 was born with a nucal arm, and was 9lb 8oz and still I birthed him after only pushing for 20 minutes. I was told by my midwife that is impressive for a first vaginal delivery. Recovery has been very different to, but the biggest benefit to the vaginal birth has been how well DS2 has been able to breastfeed. DS1 had nothing but problems breastfeeding and gaining weight. DS2 feeds like a pro and is gaining really well. I'd go for a HBAC every time, for me it has been one of the most incredible things I've ever done.


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#10 of 23 Old 12-18-2011, 11:11 PM
 
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my second c-section was planned where my first was not... and my 2nd was a wonderful dream where my first was a nightmare!

it was so wonderful, from start to finish... regardless, i'm considering VBA2C for many reasons. it's true that each have their pros/cons! ultimately i think we have to go with what feels right to us personally. good luck!

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#11 of 23 Old 12-19-2011, 01:36 PM
 
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I've had 1 c-section and 2 HBACs.  Both my labors were long and hard, but I cannot tell you the sense of elation and accomplishment that comes after all that hard work.  The word "amazing" doesn't even begin to cover the experience.  And my dh totally thought I was a rock star afterwards!  Even just thinking about now makes me feel so proud.

 

One thing my sister commented on (and if you are in a hospital this may not apply so much...) is how relaxed everything was.  My midwife hung out at my house and checked fetal heart tones, but she was not intrusive at all.  During early labor, dh and I came and went as we saw fit.  We went walking in the park and out for pizza.  During my second HBAC, she sat outside and drank lemonade while dh and I watched the Arkansas/Alabama game on tv (Razorback football is a must in our house!).  There was no frenzy, no clock watching, no hurry.  It was all around perfect.


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#12 of 23 Old 12-21-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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I had my vaginal birth first and then a c for a breech baby. I am hoping to VBAC this time. Being able to care for myself in the first 24 hrs after delivery with 1st baby was so liberating. I hated being immobile and unable to even put the baby in the bassinet by myself. Was so groggy from meds. My first was completely unmedicated. I did not go into labor with breech. Delivered at 39w3d. Baby 1 was born vaginally at 39w4d. I fear having another breech baby...but only time will tell. Mine was breech for several due to several constraints that could not be undone through positioning, Chiro or ECV.

Married to DH since 9/2001, mom to DS (1/2006) natural birth, DD1 (9/2008) transverse baby = c-section and DD2 (7/2012) transverse baby = rcs.
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#13 of 23 Old 12-25-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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Edited to actually answer your questions!  Too excited first time around...

 

I just successfully had a VBAC at home, natural, attended by 3 midwives.  After about 20 hours of labor our 10 lb 2 oz baby girl was born. We are so in love.  I was 41+4 weeks.  Just wanted to say it can be done and it was so healing and a much better experience this time around.  I say that because I truly feel the hospital experience hindered my labor the first time around and I have no doubt would have hindered this one.  Being able to walk around,  scream, moan, have a longer labor and not be on the clock are just some of the things I would not have been offered at my local hospital and that I didn't feel comfortable demanding/doing while there.  While honestly my physical recovery is currently worse than my c/s, i am not on any drugs.  Overall this birth has made me wiser me to know that everything concerning my first birth happened for a reason rather than blaming myself but this delivery has given me a sense of peace knowing that my body can do this.  

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#14 of 23 Old 12-25-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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I had a scheduled breech c/s almost four years ago and an unmedicated hospital vbac w/ a midwife almost two years ago.  Truthfully, I do not think about their births very much at all anymore, unless I am among those discussing birth.  Although dd1's birth was completely fine, I used to obsess about it b/c I never even got to go into labor.  DD2's birth was very healing for me, mentally, and now their births are just a part of me, part of my history, nothing defining about our lives now.  I was absolutely determined to get my natural labor and birth with dd2, so even though it was the worst pain of my life, I lived every moment to its fullest and don't regret a thing.  I would do either birth 1000x again just to have them in my life :)

 

Personally, I thought that both recoveries were similar.  I was glad not to have the first 24 hours with baby number 2 while wacked out on drugs, but, otherwise, pain and stuff, yeah, vaginal birth recovery was a little worse.  There was c/s incision pain, of course, but that was all managed with painkillers.  Vaginal recovery, I was terrified to pee.  And that went on for WEEKS with an incredibly minor tear.

 

All of the mental healing, satisfaction, pride in myself for going natural, excitement of waiting for labor, being in labor..  Everything was completely worth it.  Go for the VBAC!!!!!


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#15 of 23 Old 12-28-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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I don't know if I'd call my VBAC awesome . . .but I'm starting the story backwards.

 

my son was born in 2009 by c-section at 41+6 due to a failed induction (stalled at 7 cm and 80% effaced) due mostly to poor positioning.

my 2nd pregnancy in 2011 was pretty textbook, no major issues whatsoever. This time I hired a private doula and switched providers at 30 weeks to one more VBAC friendly. at 41+5 (a Monday) I had an appointment with my doc and due to increasingly high blood pressure + low amniotic fluid + gestational age of baby said if I hadn't gone into labor by Weds they would schedule a c-section or induce. and he didn't feel my cervix was very favorable to induction (not quite 2 cm, and 50-60% effaced. baby way up high, cervix low and soft)

 

Well, I didn't like either of those options, so I took matters into my own hands. I did a gentle breast pump induction (I had contractions, but they weren't getting any closer or stronger) to help increase the intensity and frequency of the contractions. That night my water broke in the midst of the breast pump usage at 12:30 or so. I went directly to the hospital since they showed the cord in front of baby's face during the ultrasound and I didn't want to worry about a prolapsed cord if I could help it. At the hospital, by the time I was checked (about 3 a.m.) I was 3 cm and 80% effaced. I'd say by 5 or 6 a.m. I was 5 cm and 100% effaced. sometime after 9, I was complete and started pushing. Baby girl was born at 10:12 a.m.

 

Through all of this, I had an awesome doula and nurse by my side (2 separate people) - kept suggesting new positions, etc. I did request an epidural around 8 or so, since we *thought* I had a long ways to go yet. There wasn't time. The CNM was actually the one coaching me through all of that, and my doc barely got in time to catch the baby.

 

I had a 4th degree tear from cervix to all the way out. LOTS of stitches and recovery sucked. it was much harder than my c-section recovery. But I loved getting to hold my baby and nurse her right away. I loved the feeling of empowerment and control of pushing her into the world. I would totaly do it again, but might ask for an epidural sooner.

 

oh: DS (c-section) was 6lbs 14 oz. DD (VBAC) was 7 lbs 12 oz. nearly a lb bigger than her brother!


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#16 of 23 Old 01-06-2012, 12:14 AM
 
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My first baby was a cesarean section after an induction and "failure to progress." My second was a VBAC. no epidural but I did have a paracervical block (temporary local anesthetic, kind of like lidocaine) for about an hour towards the end of my labor.

 

Experiences were really like night and day for me. I really wanted to VBAC, so I'm glad that I got to. It was actually more amazing than I even thought it would be. I felt healed emotionally, but the interesting thing was that I felt healed in ways that I didn't know I had felt broken. I had an okay recovery from my cesarean as far as being up and about, but I didn't have high hopes that a VB would be THAT much better because I have known some people who had difficult recoveries from vaginal birth. However, I think I had an especially easy VB recovery so the difference between VBAC and cesarean recovery ended up being much greater than I had anticipated. I also got that "VBAC high" you sometimes hear about it and it lasted for months! So, needless to say, it was a good experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.


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#17 of 23 Old 01-12-2012, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I still haven't made up my mind...but the stories are helpful, keep 'em coming! If I knew my vbac recovery would be as easy as my c/s I would do it for sure...it's not the pain of  delivery I fear but the aftermath. I know some people recover really well from vaginal birth but I have also heard horror stories. Wish I had a crystal ball!

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#18 of 23 Old 01-13-2012, 05:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangledblue View Post

Well, I still haven't made up my mind...but the stories are helpful, keep 'em coming! If I knew my vbac recovery would be as easy as my c/s I would do it for sure...it's not the pain of  delivery I fear but the aftermath. I know some people recover really well from vaginal birth but I have also heard horror stories. Wish I had a crystal ball!



I'm involved in a very active ICAN group that has about 100 births a year. In the past 5 years, I can only think of a small handful of people who had vaginal birth recoveries that were so bad they wished they had a c-section. Probably less than 1% of people. I have one friend in particular who actually had a VBAC (with forceps no less) and exploratory surgery 24 hours later, so she was recovering from both a VBAC and non-cesarean surgery at the same time, and she still said it was better than her c-section recovery. I know my info is anecdotal but I guess there's no guarantee either way. However, IMO there are a lot of benefits to VBAC besides recovery. Good luck in making your decision!


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#19 of 23 Old 01-13-2012, 05:54 PM
 
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I had what I consider to be a great recovery from my c-section. Then I had a 2nd degree tear with my first VBAC. I'd still take the VBAC any day of the week. With the c-section, I was stuck in bed for 24 hours and, even though I stayed on top of my pain meds as best I could, there was still pain. I couldn't shower alone the first time. Couldn't get around very well for 48 or so hours. So much different from getting right up after nursing my naked baby, who was placed on my chest all wet and warm, and taking a nice long shower. 48 hours after my first VBAC, we were taking walks at the park (although slowly). I look back on my c-section recovery in a very positive light, but it was still way harder than with my vaginal births.


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#20 of 23 Old 01-13-2012, 06:18 PM
 
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I did it backwards. First the natural childbirth, went for a 2 hour walk with baby 24 hours later and felt great. 2 years later emerg csection, and it just sucked. It was weeks before i could do anything. I was in pain all.the.time. Sitting was awful, laying was awful. Breathing was awful. I would have a vaginal birth a thousand times before having another csection unless it was necessary.
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#21 of 23 Old 01-14-2012, 07:23 PM
 
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I had an easy recovery for my c/section as far as recovering from surgery was concerned. Once the staples were out I never needed any kind of pain meds.

 

With my VBAC it took my a good 6-8 weeks to recover because DS2 had a nucal arm that caused a skid mark in a very sensitive spot, so it was painful to pee for more than 4 weeks.

 

I would do the longer recovery every time because for me the benefits were more than worth the discomfort. DS1 ended up with a lot of issues including a lot of difficulty nursing & sleeping. DS2 was never away from me (HBAC) has had no issues nursing or sleeping and has had a much less stressful life so far (4 months old) His peaceful introduction to the world and lack of medical interventions are worth a few extra weeks of recovery to me, even with a toddler running around at the same time.


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#22 of 23 Old 01-14-2012, 07:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangledblue View Post

Well, I still haven't made up my mind...but the stories are helpful, keep 'em coming! If I knew my vbac recovery would be as easy as my c/s I would do it for sure...it's not the pain of  delivery I fear but the aftermath. I know some people recover really well from vaginal birth but I have also heard horror stories. Wish I had a crystal ball!



I have no desire to sell anyone on a particular birth choice. I think that decision has to be made by the mother to be.

 

However, I will point out that what you said above also replies to a repeat c-section. You have no way of knowing if your next recovery will be as good as your first one, even if you have a c-section again. I've had five, two emergency and three planned, and my recoveries were all different. (The one that was the easiest initially ended up being the one that caused me permanent nerve damage.) Whether they were hard or "easy" recoveries is entirely subjective. When I had my first, I knew a mom who was back to doing  ab crunches two weeks post-op. I knew another mom who was in awe at how well I bounced back. Personally, I think they all sucked, but a couple of them were probably "easy".

 

Oh - and if you do have a repeat, ask for stitches for the outer closure. Staples suck. I had no idea how much staples suck until I requested sutures for my last one. The difference was remarkable. I was expecting a difference, but I wasn't expecting it to be as profound as it was.


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#23 of 23 Old 03-12-2012, 01:13 AM
 
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Wow, you are very lucky. Going through labor makes a CS more dangerous and usually makes for a worse recovery, I've been through 2 labors, both baby girls, my son was a RCS (CS #2) that I was pushed and goaded into by a very pro-CS OB, he was bby far the easiest because I didn't go into labor with him.

 

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Originally Posted by tangledblue View Post

Thanks! Those are all helpful stories to hear. 

 

I think one of the reasons I had such a decent c-section experience is because I actually did go into labor (9 cm by the time I got to the OR, and they check but baby was still breech). So I doubt that it would be the same with a scheduled rcs.  (@kltroy, your last sentence made a lot of sense to me--I think I would definitely have that feeling with an rcs.)



 


Mama to Kylee, my Angel who is eternally 7 1/2 months, medically necessary CS in June 2004 at 33 weeks due to severe Pre-e after a LifeFlight and hard, induced, failed labor, Leonidas, Unnecesarean due to a very Pro-CS/Very impatient OB in late 2007, and Baileyana, attempted VBA2C on June 14, 2011.

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