Thursday, March 4, 2010


Meeting my Bubs for the first time following an emergency C-section, October 11, 2007.

Or, should I say, VBAC. The acronym is pronounced just like the title of this post.

It is what I am optimistically hoping for when I deliver The Smush in a few weeks.

(notice how I didn't say "month." He better not take that long...)

So, what is a VBAC, you ask? It stands for "vaginal birth after Caesarean." And if you still haven't figured out what that means, maybe you are too young to be reading my blog.

Eh, I'll just tell you. It means come D-day, I want The Smush to come into this world via my hoo-hah. I would rather he wasn't forcibly removed through an abdominal incision. That's all.

So, when I was pregnant with Bubsy, I got to my due date and whattayaknow? No baby. This isn't all that uncommon, especially with the first pregnancy, so I just kept waiting. And waiting. And then, five days later, there was still no baby. And I was huuuuuge. And when I went to my 41-week appointment, the receptionist at the doctor's office was all, "You're STILL pregnant?" And I cried.

Thankfully, that night around 5:30, I went into labor! All by myself! And it hurrrrrt.

I toughed it out until 2 in the morning and then told Dill-Pill we needed to high-tail it to the hospital.

Got there, got undressed, sat on the bed and waited for a nurse to come in and tell me I was dilated to a 10 and the head was already coming out. Instead, she shoved her hand up into my cervix and said, "Two. Two centimeters."


I couldn't exactly believe this. I was in an excruciating amount of pain by this point, so I couldn't fathom only being two centimeters dilated. Especially since I was two centimeters dilated at my appointment earlier that day.

I got the waterworks going (which wasn't too hard at 2:30 a.m. after a night of labor contractions) and the nurse said sympathetically, "Well, honey, we'll monitor you and see what's going on. But you'll probably be going home soon."


So, they strapped some weird monitor thing to my belly and left the room. I was bawling to Dill about how unjust it all was. And then, the nurse came running -- I mean, RUNNING -- back in.

She rushed over to the monitor screen.

"I don't like the sound of that."

To make a long story short, Bubby's heartbeat was dipping dangerously low with every contraction. So they broke my water, put me on Pitocin (a synthetic form of oxytocin, a hormone that induces labor), gave me an epidural and left the room. Everyone hoped we'd done enough to get things going and have the baby. She really, really needed to get out of there.

About four hours later, it got really scary. So scary, my daughter almost died. So, after several professional opinions were weighed, I opted for a C-section.

I don't regret this at all. Not for one second. Not even when mean ol' Mommy Bloggers say that I've somehow been cheated out of the pinnacle of womanhood by having my baby surgically extracted from my womb.

Phooey on them.

Of course, a C-section is not usually the preferred method of baby delivery. It costs more, it has a longer recovery time, and it's risky. But sometimes, you just have to have one. And that's perfectly OK.

Apparently, though, some women are adamantly against them. They think they're evil, money-making ventures forced upon pregnant women everywhere. And unfortunately, there are a lot of doctors handing out unnecessary C-sections just because they can, which only bolsters this opinion.

The real controversy begins, though, when a previously sectioned woman is pregnant with her second baby. Should she try for the VBAC, or opt for the repeat C-section? Two schools of thought prevail:

1) Pro-VBAC: the mother should be able to have a "trial" of labor" and given the opportunity to push her baby out vaginally, so long as her first C-section incision is compatible. Two C-sections pretty much guarantees she'll never have a vaginal birth, so a VBAC is necessary if she wants to have future vaginal deliveries. It also means the possibility of lots of health complications in the future.

2) Pro-RCS: the mother should schedule a repeat C-section, regardless of the reason or outcome of her first C-section. During a VBAC, there is a risk of uterine rupture at the site of the incision.

Now, here's what I've decided:

I want to have a VBAC. My first incision is small and it appears to have healed well. I had no other complications during my delivery (I went into labor on my own, my pelvis is not too small, etc.). Most importantly, I am planning to have more rugrats in the future and I know the risks of multiple C-sections. And I just don't want to deal with that if I can help it.

However, if my doctor determines it's not in my best interest to have a VBAC, I'll go under the knife again. I trust him. He is a medical professional. He delivered two of my sisters, and he's been an OBGYN for as long as I've been alive. And so far, he's on board with a VBAC and sees no reason why I shouldn't have one.

VBAC's are great. Twenty years ago, one C-section meant you could never deliver vaginally again. New research shows VBAC's aren't as risky as we once believed. In fact, they are probably less risky than a bunch of C-sections.

BUT. I firmly believe it's up to the mother. We have this thing called mother's instinct, and while we are born knowing how to push out a baby, we are also born knowing what's best for our babies and for us. And if a woman feels like she needs to have a C-section, she should do it. She shouldn't feel pressure from anyone. She should go with her gut and feel confident she's doing the right thing.

A C-section is not the end of the world, nor does one somehow make you less of a mother.

And that's my feeling on that matter.


  1. AMEN!!! A few of my sisters have had C-sections and then VBACs. It's ridiculous how many people make such a big deal out of C-Sections.

    By the way, ever since I had Julia, I LOVE to read and hear about other people's birth stories. Hope you'll post at least some of the story when you have Baby #2. :) You're almost there!!! WHOO HOOO! :)

  2. You rock that. I'm all over this baby-having thing. Our neighbors just had their cute little girl yesterday (!) and now I want one. *le sigh*

    I'm so excited for your little guy to come!

  3. Ah! My heart jumped when I saw the photo... I have the same due date as you do and was so jealous thinking your baby came already!

    Here's to a positive birth experience and a healthy babe for you, no matter how he comes out. :) Good for you for stating how you feel. Good luck to both of us this month. Go MARCH babies!

  4. When I tried and failed my VBAC, I was sincerely dissappointed in myself, in my body that 'apparently wasnt built right'. I have dreamed of that birthing experience and going through hours of labor to work hard for the end result but I know that it isnt the way it was supposed to happen. Had I have tried to push my baby out vaginally, he or I or both could have died. I just have to accept that fact that I am a c section momma (still not liking the sound of that) and can still bring children into this world...some women cant do that so I should feel completely blessed. I really hope that it works out for you but if it doesnt, the most important thing is that The Smush comes out healthy. Good luck!

  5. i deliver my babies via c-section (im having my third baby in may) and i have never had the option to try a vbac because my pelvis is too small and narrow to birth my incredibly huge babies! it is a blessing that us c-section mommas can bring children into the world in this day and age of technology, because i would have definitely died giving birth to my first if i would have lived in the "olden days." :] i am confident that i will deliver the number of children that i want to have by c-section, and i can still connect with my newborn and i am no less of a mother than a woman who delivers vaginally! so there! :] good luck with whatever you choose!!

  6. when we have another this is what i wanted to do. After 12 hours of labor a week late i was looking forward to pushing him out. But things weren't looking so good. I cried my eyes out after signing those papers. Eveything worked out find i did what i needed to for my baby sake. His cord was wraped around his body twice so it was the best thing at the time. But have a c section sucked after alll that iv crap they put in me i was a blob no joke i had no neck and no wrist and it was a horrible recovery.

    But yes my scar is healed great it's been two years in counting and when the time comes i would like to try to have VBAC just because that's how our bodys are made that's what they do.

    I wish you good luck with him. I can't wait to see pictures and hear the story!!

  7. Love love LOVE this post Jenna!! Gonna have to share it on my blog!!

    *BIG HUGS* and good luck!!

  8. I totally agree with your post. I will never understand why mothers criticize other mothers for an intensely personal decision. I have a post on my blog about my experiences with c-sections.

  9. Jenna, I agree with nearly everything thing you say. My only problem is that so many women do not have the access to accurate information or options, such as you have. I'm enjoying listening to the debate on the NIH VBAC Consensus conference at the moment. Good luck with your new baby!

  10. I had 2 V-Bacs, no problems. Sure they try to scare you with what could happen but that was so far away from my thoughts. No complications at all. Go for it.g

  11. I love that you wrote about this! My son was delivered via emergency c section (
    I'm so torn- no pun intended- on whether to do VBAC or C-section for #2 and thereafter.

    I've had some pretty horrible comments made about how I don't really know what it's like to birth a child etc. I'm glad I'm not alone and I admire you for sharing your experiences.

  12. I really needed to read this and if you have more vbac posts I'd like to read those too. I thought I was scared to have a vaginal birth, but now I'm terrified to have a vbac. One thing is for sure though, I NEVER want to be cut open again! It's still a long ways away, but I find myself thinking about it often and I just want to be completely prepared and understand all angles. Didn't you have a post about talking to your dr to help you decide what was best for you? What's that post called cuz I want to read it?!


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