VBAC or Elective Caesarean| Pregnancy Diaries

The end of this pregnancy is getting very close, and actually because this time around I have a toddler the speed at which this pregnancy has flown by has me quite anxious that I don’t really have a birth plan in place just yet.

In theory I have just under 9 weeks left before my due date.  Although with the gestational diabetes I may not reach that milestone if later scans show she’s measuring big or I end up being put on medication (these next few weeks are the hardest for mothers suffering from gestational diabetes, so really keeping on top of my diet is essential).

But as it stands, depending on my obstetric consultant reviewing my birth notes from Little London’s birth and being happy that I’m a candidate for natural birth, I have two options.

A VBAC, which is a vaginal birth after caesarean, or I can book in for an elective caesarean.

You’d think having the option would put me in a place where I feel like I’m in control.

But actually it makes it worse.

With Little London there was no chance of pre meditating his birth at all.  A vaginal delivery was all they would consider- until the end when everything went up in the air and I ended up with an emergency caesarean.

Unfortunately I can’t even use my experience before the caesarean as an indicator of how I would cope in labour.

When I had him my waters broke on the morning of 21st December and I didn’t really progress any further than light contractions every 10 minutes.  Honestly period pain was more uncomfortable than what I felt with those contractions.

Because nothing progressed over a 12 hour period, I was admitted into hospital and started on a variety of induction processes, including the pessary and the dreaded drip.

For anyone in the know, the drip is quite possibly the biggest form of torture.  I had back to back contractions with no break pretty quickly.  I was left over night for around 12 hours with no pain relief because the labour ward was short-staffed (Christmas parties).

By the time the midwife came back in she was surprised at how silent I was because the monitor was showing the strength of my contractions, but being vocal and screaming was beyond my abilities.  The pain was that bad, that silence was all I could deal with.  I needed to focus to just get through the searing constant full bodied contractions.

On being internally checked, I had only reached 1cm.

So as you can see, my ability to judge natural labour and how things would progress without the use of hormone stimulation isn’t something I have any experience in.

I didn’t even manage to fully dilate before I was whisked off to theatre before midnight on the 22nd December.  Having reached 8cm (with the use of an epidural), I ended up getting an infection that was passing on to the baby.  My blood pressure soared, I had a fever and I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer which all affected Little London’s heart rate.

But that is where my problem lies.  My experience of birth isn’t good.  An emergency caesarean isn’t an indicator of the pain post an elective caesarean or even how things in theatre will be, and my labour isn’t an indicator of how I’ll cope with a non induced natural birth second time around.

Because I’m considered high risk in this pregnancy due to my former caesarean and also having gestational diabetes, I know that if I choose to go with a VBAC I’ll have to be on the labour ward rather than the midwife led unit because I’m going to need constant checks.  This rules out a water birth, which for me is my ideal scenario for giving birth naturally.  I won’t lie that does disappoint me.

The idea of labouring on a bed and just having medication to ease my pain doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.

On the other hand, having an elective caesarean means all the risks attached with major surgery such as blood loss and infection.

I’m already at risk of rupturing during a VBAC because of my previous caesarean, but the more caesareans you have the higher that risk becomes.  So I have to consider that if I have this baby through caesarean, I’ll have lost the option of a natural birth with subsequent children.  And with each caesarean the tissue and walls get thinner making the chance of having a huge family unfeasible.

I think I only want two children, but even now the idea of perhaps having three seems quite nice.  And I guess I don’t want to take that choice completely away just because I chose to have a second caesarean.

Although I think you can have up to four caesareans that all depends on how well each one has gone, and how well you’ve healed.  The outside scar isn’t an indicator of how things are functioning internally.  Adhesions are common, which is where the scar tissue inside causes the organs to fuse together, and for a surgeon there’s no knowing just how bad this can be until they can visually see it during the operation.

And I don’t even want to tell you how horrific the blood clot injections are you need to have daily post a caesarean.  And of course let’s not forget the pain from the surgery as I try to get back on my feet with a new-born and also a toddler.

But at the same time, with a caesarean I can plan child care.  I won’t have that worry leading up to the birth and from what I’ve heard from other mums, an elective is a nice birth experience if you’ve had a traumatic birth previously.  You have the ability to take back some of that control.  I won’t lie, the prospect of forcing Mr London Mum to listen to Britney Spears while in theatre does actually thrill me.

I’m really confused and I don’t know which route to choose.  Little London was overdue by 6 days when he arrived weighing 8lbs 14oz.  For my frame he was a big baby, and I often think I got away without any vaginal tears or cuts which would have been inevitable I imagine had I managed a vaginal birth.

Don’t get me wrong I ended up with a big cut across my tummy, but for some reason the idea of an episiotomy or stitches freaks me out more.  And if this baby follows in her big brothers footsteps she too could be large.

I would love to hear your stories for either side whether good or bad.  

Being informed and really weighing up my options is the only way I think I’m going to be able to decide.  Luckily I have a great hospital team who are open to what I want.  I’ve been told I can book in an elective caesarean but I can change my mind whenever I want even last-minute if I spontaneously go into labour.  And if I find I’m not coping I can get my elective caesarean still as long as she’s not in the birth canal ready to be born.

If you’re in the same predicament as me, here are some birth stories from other mums:

Positive Elective Caesarean and VBAC by Mummascribbles

Positive VBAC by Quite Frankly She Said

Positive Elective Caesarean by My Mummy’s World

Positive VBAC by Late For Reality

Positive VBAC by Liza Prideaux

Items for Baby:

We’ve been doing some online ordering this week from a company called Mayoral.  They do clothing for children all the way up to the age of 16, but it’s their newborn baby girl dresses and newborn girl outfits that have me clicking that purchase button!

This gorgeous baby grow looks like a two piece, but it’s a one piece and oh so cute.  I love newborns in white, and if you check out the feet you may notice the cutest little bows, and who can resist the peter pan collar!

I just love this dress, and I’m excited about our first holiday with ‘baby sister,’ which I guess is why I picked this particular number.  I can just imagine us all enjoying the hot weather with the baby in this floaty number that buttons down the back.

I figured this top and bloomer combo would again be perfect for a holiday that we have booked later on in the year.  We’re heading to the far east in the winter so nice light fabrics will be essential, and I love the fact that this two piece will probably work with a lot of her wardrobe to make multi useful outfits while we’re away.  The top itself can be used as a dress if needs be until she fits into it as a top 😉

Both these items I found on the sale part of the website for mere pounds.  The cardigan is the smallest size so she can wear it from birth.  I’m hesitant to buy loads of thick warm jumpers and things until I have a bit more inkling on the weather but having a few things prepared will mean I can make sure she’s warm enough if I buy clever layering pieces.  The tights are just because I seem to have a thing for buying dresses, and I want to get the best use out of them all, so again if the weather isn’t great the tights will function to keep her warm.



    • I haven’t really got a straight answer from the hospital to be honest, medically they can’t really tell me either way because I’m high risk on two fronts. All I know is that if I choose a vbac and I’m a good candidate for it I’ll have to birth on the labour ward so I can be near a good medical team at all times. Going in for a c section I suppose takes that stress away, but the recovery and risk of huge surgery isn’t exactly the birth of my dreams and I’d love to try for a natural birth if I can.

  1. This is a really hard to decision to make. I’ve experienced both ways of birth, and neither were positive (the C-Section was so emergency I was wheeled straight in from the ambulance and the surgeon was cutting before I was under, it was that much of an emergency!). You’ve got to go with you gut I guess and trust yourself that you know what is best. Good luck and I hope it works out
    Sonia Cave recently posted…Spring Crafts-9 Sunny Spring Craft Ideas.My Profile

    • Crikey! Now that is awful! Whatever I choose will be better than that. You brave lady. x

    • The problem is they don’t have an opinion either way on my birth unfortunately. I’m classified high risk but will be monitored closely during a natural birth but it won’t be easy as the diabetes will have to be monitored too, and choosing snacks to keep me going will have to be GD friendly otherwise it can cause issues when the baby arrives. But obviously a vbac is the preferred NHS choice. I’m in a pickle! lol

  2. Oh gosh that’s a tough one. Just like you, I would rather not have the choice, as it would be quite simple to just accept the fact someone else has decided what;’s best for the baby. With choice comes research, worry etc. Hope you make up your mind soon.

    • My scan at 36 weeks will determine a lot and possibly take it out of my hands. Like if the baby is breech then I have no option- I need the options removed! lol

  3. I had a nvd with my first and section with my second because he was breech. I had the same quandary as you for number 3. I too was high risk and, in the end, I had to have an elective caesarean because I was deemed too high risk. I actually felt better that the decision was taken out of my hands. It was actually a lovely experience and much better than my first caesarean. I am 3 weeks post birth now and the recovery has been better. It’s a big decision and I know there’s some really positive vbac stories out there but I had a positive caesarean so if you choose that, it’s not a cop out at all
    Good luck x

    • That’s good to hear. I suppose I’m worried about recovery with a toddler, but have been told that an elective isn’t quite as traumatic or painful as an emergency.

  4. It’s not an easy decision I know, I have had 3 c sections and I had the choice the second time round and opted for a VBAC but my waters broke at 37 weeks and my labour didn’t start so I needed a c section.

    Good luck
    Melissa Major recently posted…Makeup Revolution Retro Luxe Kits | ReviewMy Profile

    • In a way having stout of my control like that would be the best option. Not nice if you have your heart set on a vbac, but where I’m so unsure I think I need someone else to take the control from me.

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