Csections, RCS, & VBACs — The Bump
October 2021 Moms

Csections, RCS, & VBACs

I know there are quite a few mamas in this group who have had prior c-sections. Let's use this thread to discuss everything related to csections: the circumstances that led us to having csection(s), plans or hopes for RCS/VBAC, questions, etc.


Re: Csections, RCS, & VBACs

  • vampirinavampirina member
    edited May 2021
    My first c-section happened because I had PROMs and no progress, and after 28 hours of labor I was done. 

    My second was supposed to be VBAC, but she went past her due date so we decided to do the RCS, super glad we did because it turns out that I had severe scarring from my first baby so an emergency/unplanned C-section would have been higher risk. 

    My delivery and recovery with my planned c-section was seriously a thousand times better than my first unplanned one. I really learned to go easy those first few weeks and rest like crazy. I was pretty much fully healed within 2 weeks, while it took more like 4-5 with my first. 

    We're planning another one, and will likely deliver between 38 and 39 weeks. I'm excited because I know what to expect. We'll be selecting a date* and coming up with a delivery plan at my 24 week appointment.  

    *date may obviously change if things change or if my baby seems ready for an earlier delivery. The goal is to deliver before I start labor because a rushed surgery will be significantly more dangerous.

    Just wanted to add - for those who had tough first c-sections, a second c-section really is a million times easier than an unplannrd/emergent one. I was afraid it would still be awful, but it wasn't!
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  • galentinegalentine member
    edited May 2021
    I have one child and she was born via unplanned csection. She was having pretty bad decels during labor, and the csection was, while not a true emergency, pretty urgent. It was terrifying and stressful.

    I'm leaning toward RCS. I don't have a strong desire to attempt a VBAC (which bewilders most people I talk to about this.... apparently a lot of people would prefer to try a VBAC). My reasons are:
    -I'd strongly prefer not to have another csection after going through labor. I'd hate to have a long or difficult labor and end up needing another csection anyway. 
    -I'd like to avoid another urgent/emergency csection. 
    -I know what I'm getting into with a csection: both the process itself and the recovery. With a vaginal birth I'd have no idea what to expect. I think I'd be less anxious going a route where I know what to expect.
    -I'd like to have more "control" over this birth. I'm a little sad about how my first birth went - mainly, it was several minutes before I was able to see my daughter. Since she was in distress, she had to be whisked away and checked out. It sucked that I couldn't see her and it was completely out of my control. I'm hoping that with a planned csection, I could request a clear drape, see the baby being born, request to have him/her brought to my chest immediately (barring any emergencies). 
    -lastly, and this does NOT weigh into my decision making at all (but is certainly a nice perk): my work pays me for 8 weeks of leave for a csection, but only 6 weeks for vaginal birth. (My leave will be 14 weeks either way, but how much is paid by my employer depends in the type of birth.)
  • I had a planned c-section because DS was breech. I don't know anything else, but I really disliked not being able to drive for weeks, and it was hard to handle a newborn after such a major surgery. So I would like to try a vbac, but who knows, baby could have other plans like his brother! 
  • @galentine if you have no desire to try for VBAC  then I'm definitely in your corner for the choice of a RCS. I didn't meet my first until about 4 hours after he was born. With my second, she was on my chest and nursing within seconds ofexiting my body. It was really an amazing and empowering birth experience since its what I chose, it was with *my* doctor, and we had talked extensively about what I wanted during and after the birth. So many people told me recovery would be easier after RCS, and I didn't believe them, but it was true. I didn't labor, I wasn't tired from a long labor when she was born or pumped full of of fluids/hormones, and somehow my incision and everything healed much more smoothly. I was probably ready to drive withing two weeks vs the 4-5 it took with my first. 

    Anyway, I want everyone to choose the birth they want, but definitely don't let someone else's desire for a VBAC sway you in your choice. 
  • I had high blood pressure in my first pregnancy. I had to check it constantly at home and it would sky rocket all the time and I kept getting sent to the hospital. I was in the hospital 7 times in the last month (8 including my final trip when I had my baby!) and every time my doctor would say, prepare to have the baby today. And then it would get under control and they’d send me home. I was induced at 39 weeks. I started with a foley bulb, then pitocin, my water eventually broke but I never went past 8cm so at 25 hours we decided on a csection. 

    My second I had a RCS one week before my DD. I often wish I would have tried a VBAC. It makes me sad that I’ll never experience birth in that way. But I’m having another csection this time because I’m just not comfortable with a VBAC after 2 csections. TW - I don’t know why, but my second csection was terrifying. My first I was wheeled in after having had an epidural, I was exhausted, just ready to meet my baby, I was super positive and just felt fine. My second I had to walk into the OR, it was freezing, I had to sit and get the anesthetic and then lie myself down, it didn’t work right away and they had to adjust to get me numb, I felt sick, I felt so scared, it was mentally way worse the second time. I’m trying to prepare myself mentally and get myself ready for another repeat so I don’t have that same experience. 

    Recovery, on the other hand, was way better the second time! I think I just knew how to be more careful and cautious not to strain my incision and took resting more seriously. And I felt a lot better in the hospital right after the birth because I didn’t have 25 hours of labor first, I wasn’t as exhausted. Hopefully recover this time is better too!
  • @vampirina, thank you so much for saying that! I definitely look at RCS as the empowering choice for me (rather than looking at it as an "easy way out" or something). I think I would feel very empowered by being able to choose how the birth goes this time. I hope it would feel redeeming too, since I had some disappointment with my last experience. 

    @kitandcat, I remember you saying once before that your 2nd csection was more mentally difficult than your first. I really appreciate you bringing that up. I could see myself being the same way and I should probably start preparing mentally. With my DD's birth, a nurse I had gotten to know very well throughout my pregnancy (I had 16 NSTs on the L&D floor) was present during my csection, she deserves SO MUCH CREDIT for keeping me calm. She was incredibly comforting to me, and I felt a million times safer just having a friendly face in the operating room (other than my H). Unfortunately this nurse moved out of state recently. 😢 It has definitely crossed my mind that it will be a scary experience having to walk in and get the spinal, etc without H or my favorite nurse there. Would you mind sharing how you are planning to mentally prepare for your 3rd csection?
  • I had an unplanned C-Section with my first. My labor was long. My contractions started early Friday morning I want to say around 1 or 2am. We went into the hospital (note I was also 5 days late at this point). I didn’t progress very quickly, around 5pm that day they decided to break my water and soon after I was dying for an epidural. I progressed a little more but around 11pm that night I started to get a fever and not feel well and his head was “muddling” I think the term is. essentially he was kind of stuck so just the skin on his head was trying to come through. They gave me 30more minutes and nothing progressed so because of my fever and being almost 24hrs in they decided a C-section would be best.

    honestly it wasn’t as bad as I thought and my recovery was surprisingly not bad. I am going to do a RCS this time because I just don’t want to go through vaginal and end up needing a section. I feel like I might be more anxious knowing what goes on during a C-section but I can also mentally prepare myself 
  • Like a lot of you ladies, I am opting for a repeat c-section.  I have had 2 already.
    My first one came after a 34 hour induction that didn't progress past 6cm.
    My second c-section was scheduled in my 39th week, and I also experienced being more anxious for it than my first, like @kitandcat.  My spinal was placed in the OR for both, but because I knew what to expect the 2nd time, my mind was racing. (DH on the other hand was such better support the 2nd time around, as he also knew what to expect and reassured me the whole time.)
    The thing I was most anxious about with my first c-section was my incision healing, since I am overweight and have an apron belly.  My nurses and doctor were so reassuring and told me to keep a sani napkin on the incision and I healed in no time!
  • @cenzosmomma and @kitandcat (or anyone else reading his thread!), is there anything you guys are doing to mentally prepare more this time? I'm looking for recommendations for that. I anticipate being pretty anxious this time around and would like to try as much as possible to be mentally prepared.
  • @galentine Honestly, I think at this point, I am more anxious about the possible COVID restrictions at the hospital than the c-section.   As I get closer and have a better idea of what/who will be allowed at the hospital, I am sure my brain will make room for the pre surgery anxious feelings.  I just told my nurse ahead of time how I was feeling and she was wonderful about talking to me the whole time, she kept telling me that DH would be in there soon and my little one would be on my chest before I knew it!
    (I was able to do skin to skin within moments of both my boys being delivered in the OR, so once that happened, I was clueless to anything else.)
  • @galentine I haven’t really done anything yet, but I have gotten so much benefit from guided meditation and yoga, but I’ve totally let go of self care in the last 9 months or so that I haven’t done either in forever. But seriously there is so much that you just naturally learn with coping and level-headedness and reduced anxiety and all that. 

    Like one small example, when I did Yoga with Adriene, she mentioned several times about the connection between your feet and the ground and focusing on that feeling, the feeling of your skin on the mat. And that’s helped me so much. When I got my COVID tests, I literally just took deep breaths and focused on my feet on the floor and it helped so much. Today at the orthodontist they were taking glue off my teeth for like 10 minutes with what sounds like a drill scraping against my teeth and it was awful, until I started focusing on all the places where my body was touching my chair and it just brought me so much relaxation. 

    And breath, yoga (not yoga for exercise necessarily but yoga for mental health and meditation, etc - Yoga with Adriene is amazing for that) and meditation are so much about breath and focusing on it and what different kinds of breathing can do for you mentally and physically. I need to revisit all I’ve learned about breath and meditation and I think it will make a huge, huge difference in how I’m able to remain calm, reduce stress, manage pain and nausea, etc. 

    A practice I’ve learned in both meditation and in my birth class during my first pregnancy is focus on relaxing every single part of your body for 1-2 inhale/exhales... you just lie very still and let yourself feel your toes relax, the top of your feet, the bottom, your calves, your knees, your thighs, etc etc and work your way through your whole body. 

    Those are examples of what’s helped me through a lot but there’s so much more you can learn just through regular practice of meditation and yoga everyday. When I was dealing with grief and anxiety and loss after my second miscarriage, every single time I did a Yoga with Adriene video, she would say something that related exactly to what I needed and was going through, it always blew my mind. 
  • @galentine i am opting for a repeat C-section and I already feel more anxious about it just knowing what it’s like. It’s a weird feeling you think knowing what’s to come is less anxious but I feel the complete opposite. I’m hoping as time gets closer I’ll feel more settled on the matter
  • @kitandcat it’s really great that yoga and meditation techniques helped you so much! I have a regular yoga/meditation/pranayama practice and I agree that it can be really calming and grounding in difficult situations to focus on those lessons. 

    I found out at my anatomy scan this week that I have a couple of placenta “minor issues” that might lead to an early c-section, so I have really appreciated reading everyone’s posts in this thread. Thank you all for sharing. 
  • @purplegoldpirate, I'm sorry you find yourself facing a possible csection, but I'm so glad this thread was helpful to read! ❤ 
  • galentinegalentine member
    edited May 2021
    What is everyone thinking as far as a birth plan/preferences? This article was helpful to me, so I'm sharing it in case it's also helpful to others. 


    I'm planning to request:
    -all OR staff introduce themselves to me before surgery (they did this during my 1st and I appreciated it)
    -spinal for anesthesia
    -minimal unnecessary conversation
    -place monitors so I have free arm and chest
    -husband to take photos and video, told when birth is about to happen so he can stand up to watch
    -drape lowered so I can watch the birth happen
    -husband to announce baby's sex (maybe... long story but we might prefer the doctor to announce 😂)
    -husband to cut cord (maybe)
    -baby and husband to remain in OR until surgery is finished
    -attempt breastfeeding immediately in recovery room (possibly in OR if surgery takes longer than expected)
    -warm blankets in recovery room
    -MOM GETS TO ANNOUNCE BABY'S NAME (long story again, LOL)

  • @galentine thanks, I’m not really upset. My “birth plan” has always been for everyone to leave the hospital alive, however that happens will be great. I know my doctors/hospital are really good and we’ll make the best choices based on the information we have. It’s not a sure thing, I’ll have another scan at 33 weeks and we’ll be able to make more informed decisions after that! 
  • @galentine Well, now I want to hear these long stories. Was dad confused on a previous birth? 🙂

    I recommended in another thread the e-book Birth Without Fear. It covers a range of possible birthing methods, obviously including c-sections. It's not so much a guide on how to set up a birth plan (though it has a list of possible options in each section), but offers suggestions on when and why to stand up for yourself in each scenario. And it's got a nice, "I know it's hard and scary, but you'll accomplish it one way or another," tone. It's also really inexpensive.
  • @galentine mine is quite similar with a few differences. Like I want the baby on my chest and to being BFing in the OR (nurse will need to assist since I'll obviously have limited movement)  and I want clear communication with the anesthesiologist before we begin so I know what to expect, especially since I've had bad reactions to spinals before. I also need to make sure everyone knows I'm deaf and need to lipread for communication, so they need to plan for extra time to communicate and for me to respond.  

    Question:  how much further before your due date will likely schedule your CS? Or how early have you scheduled it in the past?
  • @noprobalo, haha yeah, Dad was a little confused at DD's birth. Not about her sex (we knew she was a girl) but about other things. When DD was born via csection, she was whisked over to the side of the room to be checked out, since she had been in distress. I wasn't able to see her from the operating table, but my H stood with her and called things out to me. "She has red hair!!!" (It's blonde 🙄) "She has brown eyes!!!!" (They're blue 🙄) I don't blame him in the slightest, because I know he was just really excited and trying to include me as much as possible. But it was still so frustrating that he described her inaccurately, and now I'm paranoid he'll call out the wrong sex!!! 😂😂 So that may be the doctor's job. We'll see.

    As for the name, all throughout my pregnancy I would say that we were 99% settled on her name, but I wanted to see her face before I committed 100%. Well. When the baby was whisked over to the side of the OR to be checked out, and my H went with, the nurse asked him what the baby's name was and he told her. DD was officially named before I got to see her face. 😢 it's not the end of the world, and I'm sure we still would have chosen that name. It's more just the principle of it. I wanted to see her face before we officially named her and it didn't happen. So this time: mama gets to announce baby's name. ❤
  • Last time I requested to wear my contacts during my csection (bc procedure is to take them out) and they agreed and let me do that. That my husband could take pictures of the birth (and they prepare him to get the phone ready), that they hold up the baby right away for me to see over the curtain... And just that I get to do skin to skin as soon as possible. With my first, I did skin to skin for several minutes right away until I started to get nauseous and felt like I was going to vomit. Then Dh took a turn. 

    TW - 

    When my daughter wasn’t born, she wasn’t breathing appropriately. So I didn’t do skin to skin right away because they were behind me with her trying to get her breathing to regulate while my husband stood next to them watching. After a few minutes they brought her to my chest to see if it would help and it didn’t, so they took her away again. It was really traumatic for DH. He said they were flicking her a lot. He kept looking over at me and smiling and nodding like everything was going to be okay even though he was completely terrified. I don’t even want to think about it. Finally I got to hold her back in my room and nurse her right away. It took a bit where she was still super pissed about such a bad entrance into the world but then she was just perfectly fine and healthy and calm and she was calm everyday since until about 18 months when the sass set in 😆😆😆
  • Oh and, at my anatomy appt I want to ask how csection 1 and 2 were done differently. I remember my second doctor saying he was doing something differently with the incision that he thought would heal better, but I don’t know exactly what it was. My incision healed 1000 times better. So whatever he did, I want them to do that again 🤣
  • @galentine Oh, that poor guy to be so flustered 🤣
  • @kitandcat, I had no idea that it is (was?) standard procedure to take contacts out before the procedure! I'm nearly legally blind and I really dislike wearing my glasses. So glad they didn't make me take my contacts out last time!
  • I also didn’t know that you were supposed to take contacts out! Same as @galentine, I have terrible vision without and only wear my glasses at night.

    I haven’t decided what to do yet. I had a CS with my first because she was breech, but went into labor on my own at 37.5 so I also experienced a few hours of contractions. My tentative plan is to schedule a repeat CS for 39 weeks (also bc of concerns about my blood pressure, which is ok so far this time but last time was borderline pre e), but if I go into labor before that on my own then maybe I will try to deliver vaginally? I did not like being in active labor when trying to get prepped for my CS, even though it wasn’t “emergent”. So maybe if I can make it to a scheduled time, then I’ll stick with the RCS. Who knows? I didn’t have issues with my BP until late in my last pregnancy, and we also didn’t know until 36 weeks that she was breech, so a lot changed pretty quickly and I’m not expecting any actual plans to happen the way I thought!
  • I'm here for some VBAC representation. I didn't want to post anything until I talked to my OB because I was worried that he would try to make me have a RCS.

    I brought up my desire to have a VBAC at my last appointment. My OB glanced at my medical record and told me I was an ideal candidate for a VBAC since I've delivered vaginally before without any issues and my c-section was only because I had pre-eclampsia and the baby was breech. He was really encouraging, which surprised me. He even said he would probably be lenient with some of the "rules" since I am such a good candidate, and there's about an 80% success rate for women with backgrounds similar to mine.

    I just keep thinking about the room next to mine when I was in labor-ish with DS. I had given up on him ever coming out on his own, so I was waiting for a c-section. They had to keep the OR clear just in case because the next room over was a VBAC. I knew it was successful when I could hear them erupt in cheers through the walls. I still get misty eyed when I think about it. 

    The biggest concerns at the moment are my blood pressure because of the previous pre-e and my body's ability to go into labor on its own. With DS, I went in to be induced at 41 weeks, and the miso they gave me did not work. It was 3 days until I was dialated at all.  The doc said they wouldn't use chemical induction for a VBAC, so if I had to be induced, it would be with a foley bulb or breaking my water early. Neither of these things will work if I'm not at least a little dialated to start with. Also, I've heard horrors about the foley bulbs, so I'd like to avoid that if possible. My OB's parting advice to me was the two best things I could do to go into labor naturally are walk a lot and have lots of sex. I know it's good advice, but all I can think is that is such a man thing to say.
  • @aztecash I'm so glad he's so supportive and I really hope it works out for you! I had a Foley bulb with my first and it was really very non-eventful. I could hardly even feel it. Hopefully you won't even need it, but if you do, hopefully it won't be like one of those horror stories you read about. 
  • galentinegalentine member
    edited June 2021

    @aztecash, I'm so glad your doctor is supportive of your desire for a VBAC! That's awesome! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

    Also, LOL to your comment about it being such a man thing to say. You are so right. Walking and sex at 40 weeks pregnant sounds super duper unfun and honestly easier said than done 🙄
  • I'm re-asking @vampirina question from above because I'm curious too.

    How much further before your due date will likely schedule your CS? Or how early have you scheduled it in the past?
  • vampirinavampirina member
    edited July 2021
    @galentine last time we picked the date maybe 2-3 weeks in advanced?  We scheduled it for the day after my due date (was hoping for vbac, but ultimately didn't.) This time we were going to pick surgery date at today's appointment (I'm 24 weeks) but decided to hold off until I'm 32 weeks because we're going to do another growth scan at 32 since baby is big. Then we'll decide the csection date. I feel like it will likely be done at 38 weeks gestation,  but I'm not really sure. 

    (I only have an answer now because I asked my doc about it literally today! Haha)
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