Guest Post: upcoming VBAC attempt

**This is the fifth in a series of guest posts on VBACs (vaginal births after cesareans). In an attempt to have my own VBAC (hopefully next year), I’m hearing stories, trying to overcome my fear and learning as much as I can. This post comes from Beth (Me as a Mommy) and she has a c-section scheduled for Valentine’s Day. If all goes as planned, she’ll go into labor on her own before that and attempt a VBAC. Please read her story and her thoughts below and check out her blog.**

Emily asked me to guest post about my potential VBAC after she had already started the series. I had been reading the posts, and was a little nervous – my story is different. WAY different, and unfinished. So please, excuse me if this sounds like I’m talking in circles. I probably will, and it’s because I am STILL changing my mind and my thoughts on the situation hourly. As an intro? My name is Beth, and I blog over at Me as a Mommy. I have a 1.5 year old son, M, and am pregnant with my second, TNB (the next babe).

M’s pregnancy was healthy. Sure, we had our issues – he kicked one of my vertebra out of alignment around 26 weeks sending my husband and I to labor and delivery with strong contractions (a reaction to the muscle spasms my back had started). But other than that, things went pretty smoothly. We did all the things first-time parents do – including going to birthing classes. During birthing classes I completely zoned out during the talk on c-sections. Nobody in my family had ever had a c-section, it’s in my genes to birth a baby naturally – no need to pay attention. In fact, the only thing I did pick up was that they have to go through something like 8 layers of skin, tissue, and muscle to actually get to the baby… and then they have to sew up each layer. All I could think was “ew. Thank God it won’t be me.” I hate to ruin the story… but it ended up being me.

The short version of my birth story is that I went into labor on my own at 40 weeks, 3 days. I labored for 17 hours and then was taken into a c-section. You can read my entire birth story here. During my 17 hours of labor I went from 0 cm dilated, 0% effaced to 7 cm dilated, 100% effaced. That was around hour 15.5. I was told it would be time to start pushing soon, that the last few centimeters were usually pretty quick, especially since I was completely effaced. The doctor came back in to check an hour and a half later and I was only 4 cm dilated. Something was seriously wrong. I remember when my doctor checked me that the first words out of her mouth were “Well, it looks like it’s time to have this baby!” and I immediately got excited and nervous to start pushing. Then she told me the bad news: M’s head was pinching my cervix against my pelvic bones – which hadn’t spread at all to let him through, and my cervix was swelling. It was c-section time. Never in my life have I been so scared. I apologized, I cried, I threw myself into a panic attack, but everything turned out just fine. I survived, and so did my healthy baby boy.

I was never mad about my c-section. More, I felt guilty. I felt like I had done something wrong. Like I had failed my baby, my husband, and my entire family. Not a single person gave me reason to feel that way… but I did. For a long time I hid my guilt, sometimes better than others, until I finally realized there was NOTHING I could have done differently. I decided I was over it. It happened, it sucked, it was necessary, and why should I keep stressing and beating myself up over it when all that did was make me miserable??

When I found out I was pregnant with TNB my immediate thought was to try for a VBAC. But then I started to get scared. I’m not one of the women who are upset about their c-section. I wasn’t angry at the doctors, I wasn’t angry at ANYONE other than myself and my body. Do I think too many c-sections are done? Sure. But I’m a big believer in your body, your choice – so it doesn’t bother me. If some holywood star wants to get a c-section because it’s convenient I say go for it. So what about me?? All of my feelings of failure came rushing back. Strongly. I was terrified of failure. Trying a VBAC and failing would be devastating to me. I started wondering if it was really worth it. To be 100% honest, the only thing that kept me on the VBAC track was the benefits for TNB’s health, and a fear of feeling selfish if I went for a scheduled c-section.

Emily asked me to mention my struggles and fears. The truth is I have had struggles and fears for both… so here they are.
VBAC Fears:

  • Failure
  • Lack of experience
  • Bones not spreading (again)
  • Coming home after only 2 days with a brand new baby (will I remember what to do?!?!?)

C-Section Fears:

  • Recovery time with a 1.5 year old who loves attention and snuggles
  • Extended (4 day) hospital stay = more nights away from M – I’ve only been away from him 4 nights in his life!!
  • Surgery – scary in general!
  • Health risks for myself and baby associated with a c-section
  • Pain

As I write this, I’m almost 39 weeks pregnant. I have a c-section scheduled for Valentine’s Day (41 weeks), and my doctors and I plan to let me try for a VBAC if I go into labor before that. I’m having labor-like contractions every night, and regular contractions 24×7 now. Labor appears to be right around the corner – and I’m STILL scared of both options.. I have an OB appointment in a few days and I don’t know what to tell her. I know she’ll give me the option to re-schedule my c-section… and with the contractions I’m having right now getting TNB out sounds like a pretty nice option. But is it what I want? Is it what will make me happy?? Right now I don’t know. Luckily, I have a few more days to think about it and decide. I honestly think that if I end up trying for a VBAC I have to go into this birth with zero expectations, and just be happy with the end result. I can’t dwell on what my body doesn’t do… or any guilt I may feel. In the end, if I end up with a healthy baby that’s all that matters.

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