Wednesday, May 16, 2012

VBAC vs. Repeat C-Section

Hey, friends. This post isn't going to be like any other I've written. I'm really struggling with a huge decision and would love to ask for input if you have any experience, friends or family with experience, or an opinion either way. Before I move forward, I would like to share with you that my toes look like sausages. I love foot swelling.
At my 30 week check-up, I asked the practice's midwife if I would be a good candidate for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). She wasn't a part of the practice when S was born, so she didn't feel like she knew enough to give me an honest opinion. She did, however, say that if I had to have a c-section with a 7lb. 5 oz. baby (ie: average) and didn't dilate with pitocin, my chances probably weren't that great. So, I kind of brushed it off and forgot about it, moving along with all plans for Bean to be born on June 29, as scheduled. Well, I went to my 32 week appointment yesterday, and this time it was with my OB. She said the midwife talked to her about my questions and thought I'd be a fine candidate for a VBAC. She discussed some of the same things with me about S being fairly average in size and not having been able to give birth vaginally before. But I was also induced early for high blood pressure, and I'm not sure Little S was ready to come as soon as the doctors were ready for her to be out for both of our safety. Because of the induction, I never got to spontaneously go into labor or try to labor by myself, when the baby was ready to make her grand exit. 
All of that said, there are risks and benefits to both a VBAC and a repeat c-section. But honestly, the repeat c-section sounds a heck of a lot scarier to me. I was so afraid that because I had an emergency c-section before, a staph infection in the wound, and a 14 week recovery period, that my scars were different and more high risk for a VBAC. But my OB assured me yesterday that my skin is what was infected, not my inside incisions, and although my scarring is different on the outside, it's not on the inside. So that fear is lifted. I also know many short women, like myself, who have had vaginal births. I was told last time that my pelvis must've been too small because S never made into the birth canal. Like I said, though, I just don't think she was ready. It was my first pregnancy and if it wasn't for medical reasons, I probably would have gone 40 or 41 weeks like several first time moms that have spontaneous labor. 
I'm not afraid of a c-section. I know how it works, so if I try the VBAC and end up with a c-section anyway, I'm okay with that. At least I tried, right? Or am I crazy? I'm small, couldn't birth an average sized baby the first time, and there are some inconveniences that come along with this option. Not only can you not be induced after you've had a c-section (well, you can, but my doctor does not do it because it greatly heightens the risk of uterine scarring), but my whole schedule that I've had in stone since we found out about our scheduled c-section in January would be totally scrapped. I'm a planner, family has taken time off work, rented cars, booked hotel rooms... My BIGGEST thought about it all is that this is my last chance. We're not having any more kids after Bean. If I want to try this, this is the only chance I'll get. And as much as it'll stink for people who have made plans (and trust me, some will be angry), this is my and my husband's decision. I can't be wrapped up in how it will effect other people. 
Here's where I stand right now -
I honestly still have no idea what to do. I've read and read and asked advice. I think at my next appointment, I will ask for an ultrasound because I've been told several times that the baby feels like she's breech. If she is, I think I'll probably just go with the c-section, because neither of us need to go through that to follow through on some great dream I have. My OB felt her yesterday and said she thinks that it's a bum where people have been telling me it's a head. So, she might be in the right direction, but we really don't know. If she's head down, I think I have a really big decision to make at the end of the month. I'm scared... of the unknown. And of the unscheduled. But I've wanted this experience ever since I started thinking about having children and for the opportunity to present itself after I didn't think it was possible seems like a huge blessing and message.
Not to mention, it's been researched and proven that VBAC delivered babies have a much higher success rate of nursing than repeat CS babies. And that is so important to me.

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