Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Caesarean Section or VBAC: Second pregnancy

It's well over the half way point now and I'll be hitting 23 weeks pregnant on Friday. Since the constant nausea stopped back around 17 weeks, I've felt relatively normal and pretty relaxed about the whole pregnancy but it was over Christmas that it sort of hit me that I'm going to be having another baby and the process then dawned on me... I've been asking myself the question of C-Section or VBAC for a while and as time goes on, the question still lingers.

With Millie, the whole labour process was a little, well, traumatic. The start of things were pretty simple - contractions etc. were fine, it was only from the after being in labour already for a good 20 hours that things just weren't progressing and the nurses realised that an emergency section would be required. You can read more about Millie's Birth story here. So, this time round, I have been offered an elective section or to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) and I've gone back and forth with the idea of both but I'm still in a bit of a pickle.

So I've listed a couple of pro's and con's for each method to help me narrow down what would work best for us...

C-section or VBAC

Pro's of C-section:
 - Knowing exactly what day baby will be here. This helps massively with us as my family, who would be looking after Millie during the labour, live 30 minutes away so a sudden onset of labour wouldn't really be ideal for us. Knowing what day I was going to have baby just makes the whole thing 10x easier and a lot more relaxing too.
- No worry of having a repeat of what happened with Millie. The stress and trauma of the entire thing stuck with me and Adam for a long time (over a year!) and I just don't want to have to go through that again.
- Knowing what the recovery is like and being prepared second time round. Simply knowing what it all entails, how it works and the process afterwards is comforting to know. However, this is also a con... read below.

Cons of a C-section:
 - The recovery is horrid. I couldn't sit myself up in bed for a good week and the pain is ridiculous., not being able to walk around or drive for 6 weeks also puts a spanner in the works! Of course, it is major stomach surgery so it has to be considered but when I couldn't get up quick enough to see to Millie during the night or even bend down and change her nappy, it got a little too much.
- The 'after' section. Removing the dressing 6 weeks later has to be worse than the surgery itself. I can barely remember removing the dressing last time as I was crying so much I just wet it as much as I could and ripped it clean off.

Pro's of VBAC:
- A natural delivery. Every woman craves to experience the natural way of giving birth and I do kind of wish that I could do it but the thought of what happened last time puts me off massively.
- Faster recovery time! There's no stitches (if you're lucky) and most women are up and about 1-2 days after a natural birth so you can get back into the swing of things fairly quickly!
- Experiencing labour again. Even though it hurt like a bitch, I would love to experience contractions and the excitement of going into labour again like I did last time but again, the thought of what happened with Millie and her birth just puts me off.

Cons of VBAC:
 - You're waiting around for things to happen naturally. I'm so impatient and if I can be told a date when baby is coming I'd much rather prefer that then hanging around for 40+ weeks for it to happen. Also, as mentioned above, we don't have anyone who lives close enough to come and take care of Millie if this was to happen in the middle of the night!
- Your scar can tear. Having a section previously means that the doctors have to carefully monitor you and your scar throughout labour as the pressure can make it tear which is lethal to both Mum and Baby.
- It's not always successful. Even if I wanted to try for a natural birth via VBAC, there is still a 25% chance that it won't happen and it would end in another emergency section or assisted delivery. Not what I want to experience!

I'm pretty sure that my decision has been made and I'm opting for an elective section, it just makes so much sense to me and my family, baby included, so for now, I'm going to stick with that. But, I am open to trying to progress naturally if I were to go into labour before the date of my section. So, I guess we'll just see what happens closer to the time!

I'd love to hear your stories or views on having an elective section or VBAC. Have you been through them both? Are you in a similar situation to me? I'd love to know...