Either way, yes I am a fairly "crunchy" mom. I breast feed as much as I can (which usually isn't much), I cloth diaper, I babywear, I make my own baby food, I homeschool, I encourage my kids to get filthy playing in the dirt, I try not to medicate, and the list goes on. Most people know this about me. So when they find out that I am having a repeat c-section instead of a vaginal birth after (2) c-sections (VBA2C), their eyes bug out.
I am going to set the record straight on why I chose c-sections over VBACs.
First I should say, I trust my doctor. He has delivered each one of my babies, his family shares the same views on life as our family does. The other thing is, I am also a nurse, a full fledged RN. I know the risks and benefits of RCS and VBACs, I did my studying. I know that uterine rupture is very rare.
But I'm not scared of a uterine rupture. I'm scared of a dead baby.
You see, it hasn't always been a section for me. My first pregnancy was a vaginal delivery.
Landon was due August 2, 2006. My pregnancy with him was so very easy. No problems at all. My due date came and went. Almost a week went by with no sign of labor. Sam was working midnights, so we decided I would go stay with my mom during the nights so I would not be alone, plus she was 30 minutes closer to the hospital.
August 6 came along. Sam left for work, and I had just laid down to go to sleep, when all of a sudden I went from having no contractions to having a bad one. Yay! Labor! Let's get this show on the road. I got up, took a bath to see if they quit. Nope. Instead, I went walking up and down Mom's hallway. She also woke up and stayed up with me, timing my contractions. They went from roughly every 10 minutes to every 5 within 2 hours. I remember thinking, Man, this is going to go fast!
Sam came home about 3 that morning, and off to the hospital we went.
They hooked me up, checked us in, checked my dilation and I was 2 cm. 2! What? I was sure I would be pushing. Contractions were strong and every 3-5 minutes. So they kept us a few hours while we walked and walked and walked. I got checked again. Still 2 cm. Back home we went.
Monday went by in agony. Tuesday came and the contractions were stronger than ever and back to back. We knew it was it, back to the hospital we go.
Three measly centimeters. But I had effaced and my contractions were back to back, as seen on the monitor and my demeanor, my doctor kept me so I could get Nubain and hopefully get enough relief to relax and take a nap. When they checked me again I was at a 4, so I was officially in labor and would leave with a bouncing baby boy in a few days.
Instead I labored forever. It was terrible. My contractions were on top of one another. The nurses would come in to check me, sure I would be in transition because I was contracting like transition, puking, shaking, the whole nine yards. We walked miles those few days. Baby after baby was born, except ours. Wednesday afternoon or evening, I can't remember, my water broke, and I finally conceded to an epidural. I was exhausted. I needed a break. I will still only a 5 cm. This entire time, Landon was looking fantastic on the monitors.
After the epidural, I was able to sleep. At some point, I started running a fever, so I needed antibiotics. But still Landon looked great.
Thursday came. Around 1:20 in the afternoon, I was at a 9. The nurse came in, she said Landon wasn't looking so well on the monitors anymore and I needed to push past that last centimeter. Nothing to be alarmed about, he just needed to be out soon.
Roughly 2:50 my OB ran in saying that Landon had to be out now, he was not doing well and they had the NICU on standby. And so I pushed like there were no tomorrow. Landon's monitor was going off super loudly in my ear.
At this point, my mom, who was sitting next to the warmer, said my OB nodded at one of the nurses, and she pressed a red button on the wall.
At 3:04 pm, my OB used the vacuum and out came a baby. And in came a million other people. That red button was to send the NICU team in to resuscitate Landon. I remember screaming "What's wrong? What's wrong with my baby?" over and over, and every lying to me telling me he was perfectly fine and would be over with me in a minute. But I knew something was wrong. I knew that babies didn't have their own NICU team of doctors and nurses. And I also knew babies were pink and crying when they were on that warming table. Landon was neither. He was grey. And making a sound I will never forget. It was the sound of a baby struggling to not die. A baby with no heart beat trying to breath. It was like a gasp crossed with a sick puppy. A sound that no baby should make and no mother should hear.
Around 9 that night, I was finally able to go see him in the NICU. I wasn't sure what he would look like, the nurse told me he had wires and was on the ventilator, so I wouldn't be surprised. In reality, there is no preparation to seeing your baby lying on a table with a ventilator, IVs, wires, feeding tubes, monitors. None. He even got his own little room, secluded from the other babies and families. Which at the time, I thought was so cool, we had privacy and more room than most other babies. Now I know he needed that room in case the worst happened, we would need that room and privacy more than the other babies did. Now I know those little rooms are reserved for the sickest babies, the ones who may not go home.
But he was a fighter, and on August 15, we were able to "room in" with him in the pediatric department (mother baby was full and we needed a smaller nurse to patient ratio). Since rooming in went well, and he took all of his feedings with no struggle, we were able to leave the NICU on August 16 with a happy, healthy baby. He is truly a miracle.
Two years later, we were back having Parker. I was induced 5 days after my due date, and after 24 hours of labor and finally getting to push, Parker's heart rate started dropping, he wasn't descending, and it seemed to be a repeat of Landon's labor. Instead of taking the chance, I had an emergency c-section, under general anesthesia. The good news is, he was a healthy man, and was able to come home with us two nights later.
Two years after that, I decided to VBAC with Alta, or at least try it. At 36 weeks I had an ultrasound that found she was a footling breech with a short cord and low lying anterior placenta, so no version (turning baby head down from the outside) could happen. At 39w 4d, I had a repeat section and for the first time, I got to hear the beautiful cry of my newborn.
Now two, almost 3 years later, I had the same choice. VBAC or RCS. For me, personally, I can't choose VBAC. I feel that a RCS is the only way for me to have a safe delivery of my baby. And in the end, that is all that matters. Does having a section suck? Yep. But so does having a vaginal delivery. In fact, I healed quicker and had less pain from Alta's section than I did with Landon's vaginal birth.
There it is, my reasons for having a c-section over a vaginal birth. This is my choice. I'm not saying it is the correct choice for everyone. In fact, I think a VBAC is an awesome choice, and if things were different in my birth history, I would choose to VBAC. I think that if you are low risk, and your previous c-section was unnecessary, a VBAC is the best choice for you. I also think that more OBs should move toward the VBAC movement. I think c-sections are done far too often. But remember when you are judging me for going straight to a RCS, and not considering a VBAC, that not all sections are unnecessary, mine were not.
After all, we all want a healthy baby in the end.