My Unplanned VBAC Birth Story
My first baby was an unplanned c-section and my second baby was an unplanned VBAC birth (vaginal birth after cesarean). The best laid birth plans, right?
With my first baby, I was actually a little relieved when the doctor said my labor was not progressing and strongly recommended a c-section. The thought of a baby somehow making his way out of my vagina had always seemed impossible, so I gladly agreed to the c-section.
And luckily my c-section went well and the recovery was smooth as silk.
Choosing Between a Repeat C Section and VBAC
So when choosing between a c section and VBAC during my second pregnancy, I opted for a repeat cesarean. My OB advised that since I was not planning on having anymore children, a repeat c section was the safer route for both me and baby.
As Cleveland Clinic explains, a strained labor can potentially cause your uterus to rupture at the site of your previous cesarean incision. This can cause serious problems for both mom and baby. And I’m no risk taker, so I took my google research and my OB’s advice and scheduled a c section for 39 weeks into my pregnancy.
Interestingly though, whenever I had a prenatal appointment with OBs other than my assigned OB, they always questioned why I was not trying for a VBAC birth. In fact, they seemed very pro VBAC, given I had no health issues that would contraindicate a vaginal delivery.
In support of their position, the CDC states that VBAC births have been increasing since 2016 for women in their 20s and 30s. Additionally, Cleveland Clinic sites studies showing that VBAC birth success rates are between 60 and 80%.
So, given the varying opinions and facts and statistics to weigh, I often questioned whether I was doing the right thing by opting for a repeat cesarean.
An Unexpected VBAC Birth
As it turns out though, I did not end up having a choice in the matter.
In the wee hours of the morning, coincidentally just a few hours before my scheduled c-section, I went into labor. And things progressed quite quickly.
My first contraction hit me at 2:31 am. Then another at 2:40, and another at 2:47. And then they started coming fast and furious every 4 minutes or so. I was at the hospital by 3:30am, and by the time I had finished signing admission papers, I could barely walk.
My water broke 10 minutes later and after a nurse checked my cervix, she exclaimed, “There’s nothing left!”.
I started spontaneously pushing as the nurse quickly wheeled me to a birthing room. I was making all sorts of squealing and screaming noises by this time, and I was feeling quite bewildered.
What about my c-section? And where was my epidural per my birth plan? Everyone just kept saying that baby was on her way and there wasn’t time.
I was in no way mentally prepared for a VBAC.
But after 20 minutes or so of hellish pushing, my beautiful baby girl emerged. Exactly 11 minutes before I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital for my c-section.
Postpartum Recovery After VBAC Birth
At first, I was pleasantly surprised that I was not in a great amount of pain after delivery. My doctor had stitched up a second degree tear and I was laying with my baby in my arms, feeling incredibly relieved.
Once everything quieted down though, I started to feel a strong ache in my tailbone. Everything felt tender and swollen. I wasn’t particularly alarmed though, and assumed that in a couple of hours the pain would ease up as my body rested.
Long story short, it was a long and arduous postpartum recovery. I felt extremely delicate, achey and sore for weeks. I often questioned how I would have been feeling if I had ended up having a c section.
Most of the time, I really wished I had ended up with a c section to avoid the pitfalls that come with a strained vaginal delivery… hemorrhoids, postpartum anal fissures, and all the other aches and pains.
But, in the end, all that really matters is that my baby arrived in this world healthy and happy.
I am still healing and things still don’t feel quite right in my body; but, in retrospect I see the strength and beauty of the female body. The major upheaval we go through on all levels in order to bring a child into the world.
The key word here is “retrospect”, because that first month and a half or so postpartum, I was definitely not using the world beauty to describe my VBAC birth experience.
Despite the fact that my unplanned VBAC birth was somewhat terrifying though, I love that I will get to tell my daughter her birth story one day. About how she came into this world on her own terms. How she was so excited to greet the world that she entered in the most unexpected way. What a way to start a life. My beautiful baby girl.