Choosing repeat C over VBAC? — The Bump

Choosing repeat C over VBAC?

I had 2 vaginal births and then a scheduled c-section last time b/c DD2 was breech. 

My first delivery was an induction and progress was slow and very painful. I needed a lot of pitocin and then pushed for five hours. DD had some scary heart decals and was born grayish but pinked right up. It was kind of a long ordeal.

With my second, my water broke at 41 weeks but still had no contractions until they gave pitocin after waiting the max time (5 hours). Went much better overall, but still pushed 3 hours and they needed to use vacuum to get him out. That doc said I had a pelvic arch that makes it hard to get the baby out. Not sure what this means or whether it's true.

My 3rd was the planned c-section. Loved my c-section. My recovery was better than with the vaginal births and it was really nice not being super exhausted and beat up when the baby arrived. 

I have been leaning heavily towards a repeat c-section but am not sure if I "should" be trying a VBAC. Doctor says I'm a great candidate since I had previous vaginal births and since I only had the last one b/c DD was breech, but I don't know if she's remembering my whole history. Needing pitocin and having long labors/pushing scares me and I am afraid I may well end up with an emergency C if I try a VBAC. But, the stats still all say a VBAC is the "safer" option. 

If you are choosing a repeat C, what are your reasons? Just curious. Such a hard decision to make with little data to go on. 
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Re: Choosing repeat C over VBAC?

  • I'm having my fourth c section tomorrow. My first baby was vaginal and it was very painful and difficult to recover from. My doctor told me on no uncertain terms that VBAC is not safe. He's been practicing over twenty years and I respect his opinion. He told me that some doctors will try it with one previous c section, but he's seen only disastrous results with the few colleagues that attempted it. He told me that after two or more previous c sections to have VBAC was like playing Russian roulette. That's exactly what I was told. In my opinion, c sections are far easier for both mom and baby.
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  • I don't have the experience of a vaginal since my first was a breech and cs. But I had no intention to ever try a VBAC with this baby. There is NO guarantee whatsoever that a VBAC will be successful, easy, pain and injury free, so I am going with what I already know and feel comfortable with. And on top - it will help me have a help/care plan inplace since I actually have to hire sitters and line up friends, we have no family who could help with our DD.

    In your case - the only thing you SHOULD do is go with what makes you feel more comfortable mentally! In your shoes, with 3 kids at home, and 2 tough vaginals vs 1 easy cs I would personally go with a cs. But not saying that's what you SHOULD do. Choose what will give you peace of mind.

    Remember you don't owe the docs or other people anything in terms of explanation.
  • I had a really unpleasant labor with #1 before ending up with a c-section.  I also felt vaguely like I "should" have a VBAC with my next baby, but "should" was not enough to get me through another labor, mentally speaking.  I've never had a vaginal birth, but if I'd had a good c-section experience vs. a bad vaginal birth experience (or two!), I would certainly lean toward an RCS.  The risks aren't significantly different either way, and I think most of us base our decision not on risk, but on how we feel about our prior birth experience(s).
    DD born 10/10/07 * DS born 11/25/11 * #3 due 3/9/2015
  • I don't plan to have more kids, but if I do, I will be going for RCS.  DS was born vaginally, I had a horrible tear and a very difficult recovery.  I had a lot of anxiety about going through another vaginal delivery.  My OB and I even discussed the possibility of elective c/s, but I decided against that.  Then, lo and behold, DD was breech.  I had a failed attempt at ECV that led to emergency c/s.  Afterward, nurses and OBs were telling me I would be a "great" VBAC candidate (I guess they were trying to comfort me?).  I was thinking, "Um, no thanks, people.  This was way better!"
    DS born 8/8/09 and DD born 6/12/12.
  • I had a RCS. I wanted one because I knew exactly what to expect (granted things can do wrong/differently) I knew what time to go in, what time to expect the baby, I knew what the recovery would be like (piece of cake both times). It was less stress for me to go the c-section route.   

  • I wanted a VBAC because I never experienced a vaginal birth before. I attempted and failed to progress just like I did with my first csection baby.
    I would even like to try a VBA2C if I go into labor on my own.
    It sounds like you don't have much desire to have a vaginal birth. Been there done that and it wasn't plesant. Go with the csection if that's what you are leaning towards.

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  • i was super excited to do a non-medicated vaginal birth with DS, and ended up with an emergency C when i developed an unexpected infection in my uterus that was potentially life-threatening. i was put under general anaesthetic during the surgery to prevent the infection from spreading further, and thankfully baby and i were just fine. even though the situation with DS was a total fluke, and is not a predictor of what could happen this time, we decided to do a secod c-section this time 'round just to feel a little more control and less anxiety over it. i haven't done the research on VBACs, but feel comfortable with my decision. it took me a long time to feel comfortable with my "failure" to have a vaginal birth, but now i'm grateful it's an option.
  • You need to do what's best for YOU.  While I'll be trying for a VBA2C, if I were you I think I'd opt for the RCS.  

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  • I had a c-section with my daughter because she was breech. With the triplets of course I had a c-section. I would do a c any day of the week. I have always had zero recovery time and been running ASAP. then, I Know people who take a week to recover and can barely walk. It is up to the individual.


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  • edited October 2014
    For my first pregnancy I went to 41 weeks, they induced me, I failed to progress, and after 36 hours they decided to give me a csection. 

    My son is 2 now and I'm due in December. Initially, I was planning on trying VBAC because the thought of trying to recover from a csection with a newborn AND a 2 year old sounded terrible. But, I talked about it more with my OB and although she told me I could do whatever I wanted, she also said that there was a good chance I would end up with another csection. She also made it clear that the recovery for a scheduled csection is a lot easier than laboring first and then getting a csection afterward. So, we decided to do a scheduled csection. I'm happier with this decision. I know exactly what to expect and we can plan in advance what days my boyfriend needs to take off work to watch our older son.

    Don't feel guilty about wanting to have a scheduled csection or feel like you "should" go for VBAC. In the end, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. Good luck! :)
  • I'm glad you asked this question as I'm struggling with this too.  I'm pregnant with my third (first two were twins and c-section) and for so long I thought I'd want a VBAC.  Now I'm terrified of it....I keep reading about tears and painful recoveries.   I had a great recovery from my c-section and it was emergency.  My OB told me things are much calmer/easier with a scheduled c-section so I'm definately leaning that way.  Good luck with your decision!

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  • I don't think there is any "should" in this--it is what you feel best doing both mentally and physically.  I chose to try to VBAC for DS and ended up having a repeat emergency c-section.  While the surgery was very tough (my bladder tore during pushing and so I had a bladder repair as well), the recovery was easier for me than my first c-section both mentally and physically.  I felt good trying the VBAC because I would have always wondered if I "could" have done it.  While the surgery was tough I would choose to try the VBAC again because I would have always had that wonder. If we had a third I wouldn't even bring VBAC to the table and would schedule a c-section with no regrets.

    That being said, it sounds like you would prefer a c-section--so you should go with that!  You have had both experiences and so choose what is best for you at this point in your life.  The other advantage of scheduled is preparing your older children for the baby and having all hands on deck before you go into labor!

    Good luck!
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  • I had an emergency c/s due to PPROM and a breech baby. It was 4 hours from the time my water broke to the time he was delivered and I didn't feel one contraction. I plan on keeping it that way when I have #2!

    Seriously, you are under no obligation to try for a VBAC.

    kellyfo14nickicljess412love[Deleted User]
  • I think (as previous posters have stated) you should do what makes you feel comfortable.  I plane on having a RCS.  I had my twins via c-section due to one of them refusing to turn and remaining sideways.  For me the recovery was easy and since it is an option I'm going to take it.  It is all about what you want in this instance and what puts you at ease.  
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  • Mama-Bear said:
    You need to do what's best for YOU.  While I'll be trying for a VBA2C, if I were you I think I'd opt for the RCS.  
    This is what I thought.  If I were you I'd probably do the RCS.  I had an emergency C-section with my first after 12 hrs of labor, and my water broke at 31w5d with DS and I was advised since he was preemie to do a RCS.  If we have any more kids I'll do an RCS. 
  • NicoleWINicoleWI
    Eighth Anniversary 250 Answers 2500 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited November 2014
    Thanks for all the feedback! Update: I did decide on the repeat C. I reviewed my history w/ my OB and she said she doesn't always recall all the details. She agrees that I am probably not the greatest VBAC candidate after all and she feels a repeat C is a good choice. She'd support either way, but I am more comfortable w/ the repeat C. I have a feeling I'd need pitocin again to get anything started/moving enough, and therefore end up with a c-section anyway. Or, not go into labor by 41 weeks, and then need a c-section anyway. I am feeling good about it and hoping all goes well again!
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  • Thank you for posting this 'question' as I am feeling the same dilemma right now with my first I went to 42wks and finally went in to be induced.. when we first got all settled in and before they gave me the Pitocin I was dilated at 2cm and it seemed my lil guy just wanted extra time but after about 8-10 hours of labor I only dilated till 8cm and stayed there for quite sometime also enduring two epidurals due to the first one only working on my right side anyways lil ones heartbeat began dropping and I was told I needed an emergency CS (I was terrified) anyhow it actually went by really fast after we got in the operating room and recovery for me was fine, painful at times but easy for the most part.

    Now I am due April w/  baby #2 and have been contemplating VBAC but I now feel more nervous since I have also heard lots of scary stories from natural V birth and so the unknown sounds even scarier.. I feel we as women who have had CS for our first feel we should try to go about it the natural way since it is what is normal but in reality its all in our minds.. I think I will also be scheduling a CS since its what I know but I am a little nervous since I have a very active lil man whose a mamas boy and loves snuggling/jumping on me..

    Good luck with your decision and just remember to do what is best for you...

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