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Articles tagged with: C-Section

VBAC or C-Section?

on Friday, 31 August 2012.

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.

Thank you.

Am I Disappointed That I Didn't Have A Natural Labour?

on Saturday, 03 March 2012.

A group of friends and I were talking the other day about childbirth (as all Mums seem to do at some point or another- a lot!) and the debate over caesarian sections versus natural labour came up.  To the three of us who had c-sections the question was asked...

'Is there a part of you that feels sad you didn't experience natural labour?'

I have been asked this question a few times since I had my lovely little girl in December 2010.  I have blogged a few times before about my birth story and what a wonderful experience it was.  I had an elective c-section and knew exactly what date our baby was due to be entering the world.  Christmas Eve 2010- the day our lives changed forever.  

That day we walked into the hospital with my overnight bag, Mr E holding my hand, I had no visible signs of labour.  I wasn't getting contractions, my waters hadn't broken and in fact I felt as fit as a fiddle bar looking like I had swallowed a JCB.  

I didn't have the nervous anticipation of thinking about what would happen when I went into labour.  Would Mr E be at work?  Would he have to rush home?  Would we get a space on the delivery ward?  I had none of that, I knew the time and date and I knew Mr E would be home- he had booked his paternity leave to start that very day.

I didn't have the pain of contractions, each one getting progressively worse until I knew it was time to go the hospital.  I didn't have Mr E whispering in my ear, or gripping my hand, telling me to push through each one.  All the things we learnt at our NCT classes, about breathing and relaxation, didn't matter in the slightest.

I didn't know what it felt like to experience a contraction or feel an overwhelming sense that I needed to push.  I don't know whether I would have pushed on with no pain relief, or whether I would have jumped for an epidural at the first opportunity.  I don't know because I honestly have no idea what natural labour feels like.

Mine and Mads fate was not in my hands that day.  It wasn't me who had to do the hard work to deliver her and get her here safe.  My fate was fully in the hands of the amazing doctors who delivered us the best christmas present we could ever hope of receiving.  I lay on that bed with Mr E holding my hand, while they cut me open and pulled my little girl from me.  I felt nothing except a strange tugging sensation.  I went into theatre at 9am and by 9.35am she was born.  Easy. Quick. A Miracle.

Yes the recovery was hard.  For a couple of days I was helpless and getting up was agony.  A c-section is major surgery and it certainly wasn't easy.  It took weeks for my body to recover fully and even now 14 months on the area still stings sometimes and is numb.  But by and large Mads birth was an incredible and surreal experience that was completely out of my hands.

Yet if someone asks me that question, I always say no I don't feel sad I didn't experience natural labour.  Myself and Mr E created her out of the love we have for each other, I carried her for nine months, kept her safe and well, and wished for her to be here safely every single day.  I lay there in that hospital theatre room, scared and terrified about what was going on.  No I didn't feel the sensations of labour, but I sure as hell felt every single emotion in the world. Fear.  Anticipation.  Nerves.  Anxiety.  And as soon as I heard her first little wet scream as she entered the world at 9.35am on Christmas Eve 2010, I felt the strongest emotion of all.  

Overwhelming love.  And what it felt like to be a Mummy.

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So no, I don't feel cheated, or sad, or even slightly disappointed about not experiencing natural labour.  I  just feel incredibly grateful that thanks to those wonderful medical staff who were missing out on Christmas Eve with their families, I got the greatest gift of all.

And now I look down at my scar, still numb, and I absolutely love it.

 I love what it represents.  

It's not ugly to me at all.  Long after Mads is grown up I will still carry that scar.

 It is my ever so beautiful reminder of the day I gave birth to my wonderful baby girl.

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