Baby #2: Repeat C-section or VBAC?

One of the most common questions I’ve received so far this pregnancy is “are you going to have another c-section?” My answer: “I think so.”

Joanna & happy family after her c-section

My pregnancy with my son was a very pleasant, uneventful one. His delivery was exactly the opposite though. After laboring at home for more than 12 hours, I got to the hospital and it was a whirlwind that resulted in an emergency c-section that likely saved both my son’s and my life. Long story short, I had a placental abruption and my son had the cord wrapped around his neck four times. I lost a lot of blood and was thankful to have the excellent care of the obstetrics team at Women & Infant’s Hospital. If you’re interested, you can read the long story on my blog here.

I go back and forth on whether I should have a repeat, planned c-section or try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Some of the advantages of a planned c-section this time around are being able to plan the exact day and having my Mom and Stepdad fly up from Florida and plan childcare for my son. My husband can also plan accordingly at work, months in advance. Another less talked about “plus” is that since I’ve never had a vaginal birth, I can keep the lady parts down there in pre-vaginal birth form, if you know what I mean. The vain side of me would also like another shot at the whole c-section scarring deal. My first one ended up a raised, keloid scar which is not pretty. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I happened to google c-section scars, and realized mine could be in the record books for ugly. The scar is really not a big deal, but my Doctor said she could cut it out this time around and it may heal better.

Some of the disadvantages of a repeat c-section are that it is major abdominal surgery and it took six weeks to feel normal again. There’s also risk of infection and there are scientific studies that show vaginal births are best for babies’ health. Repeat c-sections are also not recommended after two to three c-sections, so if being a Duggar is in my future I should try for a VBAC (hint: it’s not, we will probably be “two and through”). For the record, my obstetrician said I would be an excellent candidate for a VBAC, since my c-section was unrelated to my ability to have a vaginal birth. Apparently, many doctors are not supportive of VBACs because of the risk involved, but I have not experienced that. My doctor has been extremely supportive and so would the hospital I will give birth at, Women & Infants. I am grateful that I have the choice.

On the other hand, part of me would like to experience natural childbirth and by natural, I mean vaginal. The epidural was my friend the first time around, but since I didn’t get it until 8 centimeters the first time maybe I could have a baby without one! I never even got to pushing the first time around and I’d like to have that experience. The recovery time is also less with a vaginal birth, a major plus for having two kids under two years old. The main thing about a VBAC that scares me is uterine rupture. I’ve known a few people that this has happened to, one woman’s baby even kicked OUT her c-section scar while going down the birth canal. I know this is such a low risk, but so was a placental abruption and nuchal cords times four. Another thing about the VBAC is simply fear of the unknown. I’ve experienced a c-section before and it was a pleasant experience.

Although I’ve changed my mind several times, I am currently leaning toward a planned, repeat c-section.
I would love to hear if you’ve had a VBAC or a repeat c-section and your thoughts on it!

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About Joanna

Mom to a toddler with one more on the way, Wife and Geek. Her personal blog is Baby Gator's Den and you can learn more about her here.