When I was pregnant with my firstborn Olly, I (very naively) imagined I would have a stress-free delivery and I’d be home from hospital with my beautiful baby boy within hours drinking tea and enjoying the newborn bubble people speak of. How wrong I was? I was induced due to reduced movements and ended up having an emergency caesarean 24 hours later. You can read Olly’s birth story here. It was a very traumatic experience and it’s only recently, opening up about it all and what went on, I’ve realised how I’ve bottled it all up and shut the door on it all, until now.
With baby boy due in early January, I’m now SIX months pregnant (this pregnancy is flying by!) I was recently invited to my local hospital to attend their VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) clinic. It was a chance to discuss my previous labour / delivery experience and to talk through the options for baby boy’s entrance into the world.
To say I was nervous was an understatement. My lovely Mom came with me as my husband Shilts was unable to come with me. I’m grateful for her support as she was there as my second birth partner when I was in labour with Olly and she’s remembered things in better detail than I have (I blame the drugs!)
I met with a really lovely midwife who gave me plenty of chance to talk, get things off my chest and let me cry a few tears. She asked me if I had any preference of baby boy’s arrival and being honest, I’m still really undecided. I had an absolutely awful experience with induction. Olly wasn’t ready to be born, he wanted to stay put and having the induction drugs to induce labour wasn’t pleasant. My body went from absolutely no contractions at all to really painful contractions that left me feeling unable to cope. There was no time to get used to what a contraction felt like, it was just unnatural and incredibly painful. If I’m certain of anything for baby boy’s arrival, it’s that I definitely don’t want to be induced. I know they can work perfectly well for other people but not for me.
The midwife explained that I have two options; to plan an elective caesarean (which will only be done at 39 weeks at the earliest unless any pregnancy complications) or await a spontaneous labour and get the VBAC. I am not afraid of pain and I would like to experience a VBAC delivery, not for the trophy or glory of having ‘done it’ naturally but for the benefits of having a quicker recovery period, not having major surgery and potentially going home quicker to settle in as a family of four. When I had my caesarean, I had to stay in hospital for 2 days and my surgery scar got infected. Not to mention the joys of having to inject clexane (anti-clotting drug) for six weeks post surgery.
After discussing lots of options, I left the hospital feeling undecided about going for a VBAC or not, but knowing that I have a choice for his birth which is always a good thing. An elective section isn’t the easier option by any means but it may reduce my fear of something going terribly wrong in labour. I know when baby boy would be born and I could still get skin-to-skin with him in theatre. I have an amazing support network around me so there would be plenty of help should we need it.
With the hospitals support, I don’t have to make a decision about a VBAC or elective section right away. I can think about the risks and benefits and weigh up what is right for me, my baby boy and my family. I’m swayed to book an elective section at 40 weeks should baby boy not arrive before then to eliminate the induction option. I’m pretty dead against an induction for any future deliveries. I’m hopeful of a spontaneous delivery with baby boy wanting to make his appearance with a natural delivery (plus all the pain relief I’m offered, ha!) and hope that as many other women do, have a good VBAC experience.
There’s lots to discuss with Shilts and thankfully plenty of time to discuss the options with my consultant and ask more questions should I think of them. To VBAC or not to VBAC?