Scared of VBAC - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-22-2013, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I just found out I am pregnant with my second child and am overjoyed.  My first child was breach, and was birthed by a scheduled C-section.  I completely skipped over the labor experience, but the C-section was about as stress-free as I could imagine.  The procedure was fairly painless, and even though I was sore and had to take it easy for a week or two after, it really wasn't a difficult recovery, as I was staying home and bonding with my baby.


Here's my confession:  I am afraid of labor.  I am afraid of the pain, I am afraid of the tearing, I am afraid of the irreversible destruction of my lady bits, which stayed quite nice after my first birth.  A part of me wants to have the experience of the vaginal birth process, but a larger part of me says "WHY? the last one worked just fine, let's do that again."  And, no, I am not exercise-minded, so the lack of abs after the incision isn't really a big concern for me.


So, I would like some advice from those of you that have done both.  Was your experience better for having had the VBAC?  Or would you have skipped the whole thing and just done the C?  In short- if you could skip labor again and go right to "here's your kid" would you?

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#2 of 6 Old 04-22-2013, 11:41 AM
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I've had two c-sections and three VBACs. I've never skipped labor, though. Honestly, I always felt much better after my vaginal deliveries. Even though my surgeries went really well, with no complications, they still involved a week or two of recovery. It was a couple of days before I could walk well, and I had a hard time sitting up on my own -- especially getting up if I'd been laying down with the baby. After my vaginal deliveries, I felt like I could get up and dance around. I am planning to VBA2C this time, and definitely hoping to avoid another c-section.

I think all women are scared of labor the first time. I know I was. But most women find that once they are there, it's manageable. I felt that it was less like pain, and more like hard work. And most women don't have any serious or irreversible damage to their lady bits. wink1.gif Some women (like me) don't even tear. I never had the slightest road rash. There are also things you can do to help your perineum stretch instead of tear (like perineal massage, avoiding an epidural, and pushing with your body's cues instead of coached pushing or "purple pushing").

Also, there are risks to c-sections. Any major surgery has risks, and of course there are risks associated with the anesthesia. If you're planning to have more kids, you might be concerned about the risk of uterine rupture (which is a risk even if you never go into labor) and other problems in future pregnancies. With my youngest, we had concerns that the placenta had grown into my old c-section scar, which is obviously not great.

Ultimately, there are no guarantees, and it has to be up to you. Although, in case you choose repeat c-section, you might want to know that current recommendations are to wait until labor starts, even for planned c-sections. This is to avoid iatrogenic prematurity, and let baby be exposed to some of the healthy processes of labor. Early labor isn't that difficult, so not much to worry about as far as pain if you go that route.

Michelle, wife to DH, and momma to DD16, DS15, DS12, DS10, DD9, DD7, DS5, and baby girl born Christmas Eve 2013!
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#3 of 6 Old 04-23-2013, 01:22 PM
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No, I wouldn't skip labor and go directly to "here's your kid", because that's not what happens during a cesarean. Most of my reason for choosing a vbac with my second was that I did my research and was unwilling to take the risks associated with a second cesarean unless there was a clear medical benefit. Complications I was concerned about include infection, hemorrhage, respiratory distress in the baby, problems in subsequent pregnancies (placenta accreta/percreta, higher risk of uterine rupture with more cesareans) and problems with recovery (adhesions, persistent pain)...I could go on. Yes, there are also risks that come with choosing a vaginal birth. There is no choice in this situation that comes without risks, but for me, I believe that the benefits to me and to my baby were significantly higher with a spontaneous unmedicated vaginal birth.

Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s ribboncesarean.gif 12/04) and S hbac.gif (12/07), angel3.gif m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 stork-suprise.gif.

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#4 of 6 Old 06-11-2013, 09:47 PM
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I can tell you without a doubt that my VBAC was WAY better than another cesarean, FOR ME.  But that has a lot to do with the circumstances of my cesarean, and wouldn't apply to your situation, since it doesn't sound like you were given the option to birth your breech baby vaginally.  In the end you have to decide what is best for you. 


Here is something written in regards to choosing between VBAC and ERCS that may help you think about both:



Although you titled your post here "Scared of VBAC" it sounds like you're more afraid of birth in general, and not specifically a VBAC labor.  I think it is normal to fear the unknown.  I suppose if you felt your fears were crippling, then it might be helpful to seek counseling.  It also might help for you to go to some ICAN meetings in your area, and talk with the women there about your situation and your fears.  I'm sure you can find someone who had a c-section for breech and then went on to VBAC, and also worried because she had never felt a labor contraction.  I know there are some in my local ICAN group who had that experience and lived to tell!


I like this blog post about fear... there are some suggestions for how to handle fears during pregnancy at the bottom:


It may also be helpful to you to do some reading about birth, in order to alleviate some of your fears, and also learning some coping mechanisms so that you feel like you have some tools that will help you handle your labor.  I like Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.  I also found Hypnobabies to be especially useful in quelling my fears (I had a 3 day labor ending in cesarean the first time, so I was worried about coping with another 3 day saga... luckily it was only 8 hours ending in a fantastic homebirth the second time around) Anyway, I found the birth affirmations track in the Hypnobabies course to be especially useful in "programming" my brain in preparation for a natural birth, and "deprogramming" a lot of the negative feelings and fears I had towards labor. 


Congratulations on the baby on the way!  I hope that you can gather some more information and feedback that will help you with your decision, and that your birth plans turn out the way you want them to!

Mama to a daughter (3/2008) and a son (7/2011)
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#5 of 6 Old 06-11-2013, 09:52 PM
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Follow your instincts. If you are scared and c-section worked for you, then what is the problem of doing it again. C-section does not make you worse mom just like VBACK does not make you a better mom. In the lifetime of your child, the birth day is flash in the pan.

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#6 of 6 Old 06-26-2013, 11:13 AM
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I had lingering abdominal pain for 5 months after the cesarian, and didn't particularly want to get out of bed for a month or so. I was terrified to have that experience again with a 2-yo as well as a newborn. The only mitigating factor would be going into a planned ces. not starving and exhausted, as I did with the first one. Still, my fear of having to recover from major abdominal surgery and mother a toddler at the same time drove me to seek a vbac.


I found a wonderful midwife who wasn't afraid at all. She recommended Birthing From Within, by Pam England. That helped me so much in working through my fears. It's a great book. I also used Hypnobirthing, the Mongan method. That also was immensely beneficial.


There are at least half a dozen choices I would make differently if I were doing my first birth over. I'd have a doula, I'd have a midwife, a birth center rather than a hospital, not go to the hospital right away when my water broke, not let the nurses check me every hour, not let them kick me out of the tub after half an hour because it's the policy, etc etc etc. But my birth center vbac was perfect. I wouldn't change anything.


There are times when a cesarian is the best option, and when a hospital is the best place; but barring those rare cases, I wouldn't dream of having a baby in a hospital again.


If you choose to have a vbac, do yourself a favor and get lots of good help. Get an experienced doula. Do some reading and introspection and work with your fears. It's natural to be afraid, and cesarians and OBs encourage you to think that that way is safer and better. Balance that with expert advice from people who believe in your ability to birth safely and joyfully and naturally. You have nothing to lose by talking to a midwife, and if you want to change to an OB at any time, the hospital will be happy to take your business.


One last thought: after my first birth, I never felt emotionally balanced. I used bach flower essences, but knew I wasn't really right. It wasn't till after the natural birth that I ate the placenta, and that put me on the road to mental balance. You don't get the placenta after a cesarian.

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