I don't know if this will be much of a post. I just need to get some things off my chest and think through some things aloud. So some brief information about me, I work at a community college as an academic advisor and recently took over advising nursing students. I was in a meeting the other day, and one of the women who works in the nursing department in an administrative capacity said she would NEVER have a vaginal birth after a c-section because of all the horror stories that she's heard from the nursing instructors. I got a little scared and defensive because my son was born via c-section and if we have another child, I absolutely want to try for a VBAC. The woman was talking about how it is so dangerous to have a VBAC compared to a c-section, and I spoke up and said that I had heard the opposite, that a c-section was more dangerous or just as dangerous as a VBAC. Then she went on about how the last doctor at our local hospital who performed a VBAC lost the mother in the birth and said, "Never again."
I guess I'm a little scared now about a VBAC, but I know some of this fear has to do with being exposed to the medical attitude about birth. The nearby hospital and its employees are, in my opinion, conservative in their views, especially since VBACs are banned. Some doctors in the next city over will do a VBAC, but I guess they are hard to find. I live near the Wisconsin border, and there is a hospital in the nearest city in WI that will perform VBACs. I've even emailed someone there, and a VBAC does sound like a real possibility there.
Anyway, I guess I am just looking for some reassurance that a VBAC is a possibility and that there are things I can do to prepare myself to ensure that my next birth goes how I would like it to go. Thanks for reading.
Heather, in my opinion VBAC can certainly be a safe choice. If you want to learn more about the risk/benefit profile, I like http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/vbacstatement.htm and the acog statement (which I can only find as a PDF, but just google "Practice Bulletin #115, "Vaginal Birth after Previous Cesarean Delivery," August 2010 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology and you'll find it.")
The short answer is that VBAC is more dangerous for the baby, but repeat c-section is more dangerous for the mother. But for good candidates, the absolute risks to both you and the baby are very low, so both choices are really very safe.
I had a c-section with my first and was an excellent candidate for VBAC. I was gung-ho about it before I got pregnant again, but less certain when I actually was pregnant (my pelvic floor suddenly became my big concern. All the moms I knew would joke about how they leaked pee when they sneezed, and I didn't have that problem. It really started to worry me after a while!). Anyway, my OB was really behind VBAC though, so I was going to try for it anyway. Fortunately in the end, my daughter was positioned terribly and I was 4 days past my due date with no sign of cervical change or labor, so I finally got my OB to agree to a c-section. It went perfectly and I'm glad I went that way. Of course, if I'd had an equally easy labor and recovery, I'm sure I'd be saying I'm glad I VBACed.
I'm not sure what you can really do to prepare for a VBAC. I tried to be fit, and I did spinning babies faithfully (positioning was a problem with my first baby too, but not the cause for the c-section). Spinning babies didn't work, but at least I felt like I tried! Finding a supportive provider is big too I think. I knew I'd need one that was ok with waiting until 41 weeks to schedule a repeat c-section because I went late with my first too.
Anyway, good luck!
I had a pretty rough experience recovering from an emergency c-section with my 1st baby. It was painful both physically & emotionally (I really missed out on the bonding that happens right at birth. During surgery many other things are going on that interfere with that process.)
Then, when I got pregnant with my 2nd baby, I had a hard time finding doctors who supported VBACs. I interviewed a midwife who had stopped doing VBACs, but I would've been her first in almost a decade, which made both of us nervous. Finally, through ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) I found supportive women who believed in natural birth & encouraged homebirths & vbacs for moms who desired them. Through them I found a group of doctors who were incredibly supportive of my desire to have a vaginal delivery, even when at 38 weeks just before my daughter was born at 39 weeks I developed high blood pressure. These doctors kept an eye on baby & me, even during labor & delivered my baby safely. I thank God for a supportive hubby, family & friends who prayed & helped us through to a wonderful birth.
Now I am grateful for my two babies & healthy births (c-section & Vbac), but I am extra grateful for the healing that I experienced as a result.
I don't know your spiritual beliefs, but famous midwife Ina May talks about spiritual birth and it made a difference for me to know that God was with me every step of the way, and that he would "deliver" me. (Psalm 91:15) Might sound crazy, but it really helped me! :)
My sister was hoping for a drug free first birth, but after 3 hours of pushing finally accepted a c-section. She then had multiple post-partum issues with painful scar, infection at her incision site which migrated to her back...terrible stuff. She was so scared to have another baby at all.
She did her research and found that for women who have only had one section, have waited at least 2 years to have the next baby, had a horizontal suture, and there was something about double suturing at the incision site, the risk of rupture is the same as someone who has never had a c-section. It was also important not to have pitocin either for induction or augmentation...as that increases the risk of rupture.
She went into labor two days past her due date, labored at home for 6 hours, in the car for the hour and 30 minute drive to the nearest hospital that would do a VBAC, got to the delivery room and pushed out my beautiful niece in three pushes. We were all amazed!
She has had so much HEALING because of her birth. Her first OB told her that she was not able to give birth vaginally and that's why she had to have a section. She proved him wrong.
It's possible. It's the best thing for most moms...but do your own research and then hold firm.