Yvette's Birth Story: Why I Chose a Repeat C-Section Instead of a VBAC - This West Coast Mommy
Birth Stories

Yvette’s Birth Story: Why I Chose a Repeat C-Section Instead of a VBAC

Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of an ongoing series of birth stories submitted by readers and fellow bloggers, featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Today’s story was submitted by Yvette, though it’s more of a pre-birth story than the story of her actual delivery. This is an account of her personal struggle to come to the decision to choose a repeat c-section over a VBAC. If you would like to share your own birth story, please visit this post to learn how. ~Olivia


I wanted to write this birth story in hopes that someone planning their repeat c-section (RCS) would read it and find peace. I scoured the internet for stories of support for planning my second c-section but all I really found were articles that described 1) ways to prevent a c-section, 2) how they were bad unless they were necessary, or 3) why you shouldn’t feel bad about your necessary c-section. None of these were helpful since I had already had one (that was “necessary”) and I was planning my next one that could be considered “unnecessary”. I hated that term.

Why I Chose a Repeat C-Section

I am not writing about my c-section experience with my first because I feel there are plenty of those stories. In summary, I did everything “right”. I had the midwife. I went into labour on my own. I didn’t have any drugs. I pushed and pushed in every possible position for 3 hours. I was done. He was stuck. He had a giant head. I was devastated. After that I was raw with pain and emotions, even though I chose what was best for my son. I had people tell me “be thankful that your baby is healthy” when I reached out for support. Ouch. I was determined that my next one would be a vaginal birth after a caesarean (VBAC). I would need that experience to heal. Even after he was born the nurses and doctors told me they do VBACs at that hospital for the right candidates.

Fast forward to my second pregnancy. Since I am a person that likes evidence, facts… things that are scientific in general, I started researching VBAC success rates and potential issues. I joined a Facebook group that was immensely helpful – an evidence based VBAC and birth after caesarean group that would give me exactly what I wanted. Or so I thought. This is where things got muddy. Even though I was given the green light as low-risk being 1/200 chance of my uterus rupturing, I couldn’t get over that “what if”. What if it does?

I started researching my hospital. There were no actual stats on their success rate, just some quoted number from the OB and the midwife. There were no stats on rupture. There was no guarantee that they could get the baby out in less than 10 minutes (the absolute maximum amount of time before there is some sort of damage to the baby). There was no dedicated OR for c-sections. No dedicated OR staff. The OBs were all on-call. The anesthetist might be busy in another surgery or even on-call if after hours! This was a VBAC FRIENDLY HOSPITAL. I knew too much.

People in my Facebook group said there was no way they would attempt a VBAC if all those things were true. I was assured by my doula that this hospital was on the ball for VBACs. But what does that mean? They do their best? Even though my risk was 1/200 for my uterus rupturing, the risk of my baby dying if that happened was much greater (I was told 16%). I know people take greater risks in life. I know that 1/200 is statistically insignificant. I know “people give birth at home all the time” or “our bodies were made to do this”. I hated hearing that. I heard it a lot.

I do realize the risks of having surgery. I knew them all too well. I studied the infographic of VBAC vs RCS over and over. I read countless articles. There were greater risks to me. But that was OK. Risking my unborn child over me was just not acceptable, no matter how unlikely. The chance of me dying in surgery was far less likely than my baby dying if my uterus ruptured.

I agonized over this decision for months. It ate away at me day after day, into the nights, and in my dreams. I scheduled my RSC with my OB just to secure a date. I put it as close to 40 weeks as possible. I wanted a VBAC the minute after I decided to have the first c-section… how could I doubt this now? There is a 99% chance that everything will be OK. But what if… what if….

In the end making the final decision was what was killing me. I ended up deciding to keep my scheduled date and if I went into labour I would maybe give the VBAC a shot, but I also might not. It would depend on my state of mind at the time. The closure of that decision allowed me to enjoy the last month of my pregnancy. The RCS date came and I went ahead with it.

The birth was peaceful. My midwives were there supporting me. It happened without complication. The hospital I delivered in was still fantastic with birth. My husband saw our baby and announced the sex. The nurses and doctors cleaned her off and I got to hold her. She was with me in recovery the whole time, nursing like a champ. My recovery was exponentially easier – both physically and mentally.

Yvette's c-section story

Do I regret the decision? No. Not really. There are days that I wonder – and I’ll always have that slight ache that it never happened; that I never had that so-called euphoric feeling of pushing my baby out and having them placed on my chest since it was once my dream… my plan. But what I do know is that the euphoric feeling comes from seeing my baby the first time and knowing they are OK – seeing what I made for the last 9+ months. Turns out a lot of my feelings of resentment towards my first c-section were from outside sources.

My first thoughts when I saw my daughter were not of sadness. They were euphoric. I was in awe at how beautiful she was and how she looked like her brother. In the end I made the decisions for both my babies as best as I could. They are here, they are alive, and I couldn’t be happier.
 

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17 Comments

  • Thank you for sharing your doubts and your fears. All too often, we feel like we need to have it figured out and written in stone, yesterday but that’s just not how life works. Life and all its decisions are messy and fraught with worry and indecision and insecurity. And even when we make a decision, we sometimes question ourselves and our motives. Thanks again!

    • Thank you for reading! Life is full of decisions and worry and something we all struggle with in some way. I wish we all talked more about it!

  • It is a big decision, the worries, the indecision could drive a person crazy! Also all that info on the internet that not always accurate.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. Mine is a bit similar. I definitley shared many of the same feelings you had. My first was a scheduled c-section because he was breech and my hospital wouldn’t deliver breech. I went back and forth on the decision with my second. I elected to have a RC, I felt the same as you, the risks to my baby, no matter how small were not worth it. I was also told that since I got pregnant only 11 months after delivering my first, that raised the risks of a uterine tear or rupture during delivery. I don’t regret my decision. I sometimes have others ask me if I feel I “missed out” since I have never experienced labor or delivering my baby and having them placed right on my chest. I don’t, I don’t feel I missed out because I have two amazing and healthy boys

    • Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your story. There are so many things in life that we could dwell on if we let it happen. It is important to try and have no regrets and see the real happiness with our decisions. Sometimes it takes a while!

  • you said it perfectly at the end there. That feeling comes from seeing baby for the first time and knowing they are OK! No matter if you pushed them out or had a C-Section. You still brought them into this world. I have two vaginal births but I know quite a few people who had a c-section due to baby being breech or health issues etc. And those that had a c-section say now they wouldnt have done it any other way. It ended up being their preferred way. but again it comes down to the fact that you are still bringing that beautiful bundle of joy into this world 🙂

    • We seem to focus so much on the last 20 minutes of the whole pregnancy and birth experience right? All that other stuff matters so much more. We still carried them and cared for them with all our hearts. The birth process matters, but it isn’t the be all and end all and shouldn’t shape what we did for the past 9 months and how we go forward with raising our children.

  • I would not fault you for the decision. Everyone of us has a different history. You had really no choice in the first delivery. You made the best decision that you felt right for your baby in your second pregnancy. I think you did the best you could for yourself and your baby. Its ok to do what you think is best. Hugs.

    • It is just way too easy to think about the what ifs and what could have happened. In that moment it was necessary and the right decision. I think we forget exactly every detail, moment, thought…. if placed in that position again that decision would happen again. We make the best decision for ourselves and our babies at the time. We can’t make that decision until we are faced with it.

  • Well done mama
    Making your best choice for your baby’s well-being is commendable. You put lots of thought into your decision and didn’t let your desire to have a vaginal birth blind you to other choices. I admire that.

  • Thank you for sharing this.
    My first baby was also stuck because big head or shoulders, whichever it really was. I am in a position now to decide what to do next month, due with my second child.
    I have a RCS scheduled as well. My choice. But there is so much questioning ourselves. I love how you say you ultimately took it day by day, and told yourself you can decide what to do If labor comes on its own, when it does. And that your baby’s birthday came and you went with it. I know that takes much courage. I appreciate reading this more than words can say.

  • Thank you for posting your story. I’m 6 months pregnant and I have chose to do a RCS because of the what if’s with the possibility of uterine rupture. So nice to see a positive post about RCS

  • Thank you so much for writing this! I am almost 8 months pregnant and had two doctors (in the same practice) give me two totally different opinions regarding VBAC vs. RCS. I have made the decision to go for the repeat c-section but I’m struggling with feelings that I’m just “taking the easy” way out. However, as you said, there is nothing more comforting than seeing your baby for the first time and knowing they are ok no matter how they came out. You really helped me become more confident with my decision. Thank you so much!!

  • Thank you for writing this. I am wanting to have another baby. My first birth I was induced, and did not dilate at all after hours and hours of labor. Baby was in distress with heart rate too, so I had no choice but to have a c section. It was almost a sense of relief when they said I had to, because there was nothing else O could do, and my baby was in distress. I am hoping to have a planned repeat c section if we have another baby, because I feel like I know my body now, and feel like it is the best thing for ME. I love hearing friends tell their vbac stories but they forget that I ha e one too, and a voice for what I feel is best for my baby. Good to hear some positivity for us c section mamas. There are so many of us out there that need to hear it, God bless!

  • Thank you so much for this. I have made the same decision for the same reasons and find peace in knowing I will be able to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy instead of stressing over the decision thanks to this reassurance and respect c-section success story.

  • This is an excellent post. I fear c-section, and repeat c-section. But your reasons for choosing repeat section make complete sense in the situation you found yourself in. I appreciate reading a different viewpoint on this topic.