I wasn't going to write this post yet, after all I am not even half way through my pregnancy and therefore birth is an incredibly long way off.
Yet today I had my sixteen week checkup at the midwife. The appointment ran smoothly and Mads and I got to hear her baby brother or sisters heartbeat for the first time, which was just incredible.
However at the appointment one of the midwives (my normal midwife was on holiday) explained to me about the consultant visit I will have in a couple of weeks to discuss my birth options. She turned round to me and said 'They are pretty strict and will be pushing you to have a vaginal birth.'
Now before I begin, I knew that this would happen. I was under no illusion that they would be pushing me to have a natural birth. After all it is 'safer' for both Mum and Baby, less recovery time, a shorter stay in hospital and of course cheaper for the cash strapped NHS. I just didn't realise how soon I would come up against a battle.
I mentioned to the midwife that I wasn't sure what I wanted to do yet. And this much is true- I have no idea whether I want a elective c-section or to try for a vaginal birth. I was met with a 'What are your worries about natural birth?'
I have worries about both and I am so confused as to what I want to do. I have written a couple of times before about my birth with Mads, here and here she was an elective c-section because she was a footling breech and it was the most positive and amazing experience of my life. Therefore a part of me wants to stick with what I know. Here are my main concerns.
1. I know that natural birth is the 'safest' thing for Mum and baby but the fact that remains is that with a VBAC they constantly monitor the fetal heartrate out of the fear that your scar may rupture- rare it may be but I am such a panicker and I fear that something may happen to the baby during labour.
2. My body has never gone into labour, so I have no idea how long my labour could be. If I had experienced an emergency c-section before after being in labour then at least I may have an idea of what it is like- because my body has literally no experience of it, it could be a long labour with less chance of success because of the scar tissue.
3. Mads was born a week and a day early and was 9lb. I therefore can assume that this baby will also be big. If I am allowed to go to term or overdue then the baby will be huge and therefore it means I 'could' be more likely to have an emergency c-section or run into complications.
4. I want to breastfeed. I breastfed Mads for 11 months and want to do the same for her little brother or sister if I can. I know that breastfeeding is supposed to be harder after a c-section, but it is all I know and I managed it. If I try for a natural labour and suceed then great, but if I go through labour and end up having an emergency c-section then I am worried that it may put a strain on breastfeeding.
5. Although it will be a 'natural' birth, it won't be natural in the way that once you are in established labour they constantly monitor the baby- therefore no birth pool, no changing of positions, no midwife led birth suite. Therefore to me it isn't as natural as a first labour would be anyway.
A c-section is all I know, and I know what to expect with one, part of me wants to stick with what I know. Above are my reasons for feeling like an elective c-section would be more suitable for me, but below are my reasons for the idea of a VBAC.
1. The recovery time is a big worry- I want to make the transition period easy for Mads and I worry that if I feel as rough afterwards as I did last time, it will put a strain on things. I can imagine it is very different with one baby than it is with two. Once Mr E goes back to work I will be on my own, last time my Mum didn't work but this time she owns her beauty salon, although she can take time off as she doesn't actually do treatments, I can't expect her to take too much time off. Yet I also know that if you have stitches etc during natural labour it can take some time to recover as well.
2. If I had a natural birth my hospital allows two birth partners so I could have my Mum there too, this means a lot to me as last time they shut the wards due to a virus meaning my Mum couldn't meet her granddaughter until she was a day old, and that is only because I discharged myself sooner than I was supposed too. I would love for my Mum to experience that.
3. The experience of natural labour- Although I don't feel cheated having a c-section, and I wouldn't again, there is still a small part of me that would like to know what it feels like to have a natural birth.
I am so confused as to what to do. I think if I had to make a decision right now I would say I wanted an elective c-section, just because I worry so much and I feel like there would be less complications for the baby with a c-section. However I don't know. Even down to little things like with a c-section I would get more time in hospital to bond with the new baby on my own before going home. (Even though last time I hated it and discharged myself after one night.) I worry a lot because Mads was so big but I don't really even know if this is a problem.
I just know that I am going to go to this consultant appointment and they are going to push for a VBAC but I don't know one person who has had a successful VBAC- they have all had emergency c-sections or elective c-sections, and I just don't want to be pushed into a decision that I don't want. I also don't want to be treated in a different way because I haven't made the decision that the hospital want me too, I can already tell that may happen.
I know that it is months away, and a lot can happen in that time, but I want to be armed with knowledge and feel confident in standing up for my initial decision at my consultant appointment in two weeks time, whatever that may be. If you have experience of a VBAC or second time c-section, whatever the decision you made, or the outcome, I would love to hear below.