“Your baby is breech .”
Those are the words I heard during my thirty-two week ultrasound appointment with my first baby. Now, I was pretty familiar with what this meant because I was also a breech baby and knew that my mom had me delivered via cesarean section (C-section) for that reason.
As my doctor further explained, the chances of my baby turning around on her own were very small so we should plan and prepare to have our baby via C-section. She did briefly talk about a method called external cephalic version, or ECV, which is a procedure in which a doctor can try to flip the baby but this was not something that sounded right for me. We set a date for the C-section and that was that. She never ended up turning around so it was out of my tummy she came!
Now, almost three years later, I am more than halfway into my second pregnancy and I am faced with an incredibly hard decision – do I have this baby via C-section or vaginally?
I’ve been doing some research and this seems to be a hot topic. I understand that there are some strong opinions in both directions and I’m definitely not here to say one way is better than the other. I’m writing to share my thoughts and experience with having to make this tough decision because it’s all I seem to think about these days as I get closer to my due date. I would also love to hear from other moms that have had to make this same choice and what your experiences were.
My doctor has said that I’m a good candidate for VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) because enough time has passed since my first baby was delivered and I am not high-risk. I am really struggling with this and feel like there is a constant back and forth battle going on in my head these days, trying to ultimately determine the safest method for both me and my baby.
If I knew that a vaginal birth would be an “easy” one with no complications, I would choose that without a question but I have no way of knowing. I understand there are some risks associated with a VBAC and while they are small, they are still something to consider.
I am also faced with my own fears about a delivery method that is completely new to me. What if my baby is large? What if I end up trying to do a VBAC and have to end up doing a C-section anyway? What if I have a long and painful labor? Will I tear and if so, how badly? Will I make it in time for the epidural? These are just a few of the questions that swirl around my head.
My C-section was a bit traumatizing for me. Before the big day, I talked to other women I knew who had also had one and a common phrase I kept hearing was “you will feel some pulling and tugging.” After now experiencing this myself, that is NOT the phrase I would use. It is a feeling I really can’t even describe. To feel someone inside of your body is just incredibly unnatural and was frightening for me.
I am someone who becomes easily faint at the sight of blood and it makes me queasy to think about the inside of our bodies. Therefore, lying on that table and starting to feel the strange feeling of my insides being manipulated was an experience I would much rather never have again. I looked at my husband and said, “I can’t do this!” After that, the rest was a blur until I was in the next room holding my baby.
Don’t get me wrong – there were definitely some positives to having a preplanned C-section. I never experienced a contraction, I could go into the hospital showered and prepared for my stay, there was no rushing and my family could plan around the delivery date.
My recovery went relatively well – or as well as recovery from a major surgery can go. However, I still remember the intense gas pains, the heavy bleeding, the overwhelming fatigue, and more than anything the amount of time it took me to feel like I was back to normal. It was an intense experience that took a toll on me both physically and mentally.
This time around, I will have a toddler to care for and I can’t help but think that whichever way has the quickest recovery time is my best option.
Looking back, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have the decision made for me the first time around. The risks are much higher when trying to deliver a breech baby vaginally so C-section it was and I never thought twice about it.
This time is very different. The choice is up to me, and I understand that only I can decide what is best for myself and my baby but it is a very tough choice. It’s not like I am deciding what to have for dinner. This decision can have some major consequences for both me and my baby. I am choosing how I want to bring a life into this world and it’s overwhelming. I’m sure I am overthinking this and maybe to some, the answer would be clear. However, that’s not the case for me. Right now, I don’t have the answer to my questions and I may never get them.
I’m not sure what my outcome will be. All I can do these days is pray and trust that whatever I decide will be the right choice.
Have you had a VBAC? Did you have to face this same decision during a pregnancy? I would love to hear your story!