Our VBAC Birth story

Ever since we had our first child, which was an emergency action, I was determined to try for natural delivery the second time around.

When I conceived again, I tried to gather facts about VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean Section) and the associated risks.
Now that the baby is here, the nitty grittier doesn’t matter, but I feel sharing our birth stories can empower new parents, so if you are still interested to know my VBAC experience, read on!

And was pleasantly surprised to know that about three out of four women (75%) with a straightforward pregnancy who go into labour give birth vaginally following one cesarean delivery, with the risk of uterine/scar rupture being less than 1 percent ( two to eight women in 1000 – about 0.5%).

My doctor was on board with the idea of me trying for a VBAC, till week 39 – that’s when she was concerned with the fact that baby’s head was high up, not dropped the slightest and had still not descended lower into the pelvis. Also, the fact that the baby was on the bigger side, she was quite sure that it was going to end in a C-section and strongly advised me to schedule one in the next few days. I was quiet heartbroken and asked for some time to get mentally ready, as I really wanted this VBAC. Anyhow, I tried acupuncture, acupressure, and chiropractic to try and align my pelvis, ripen the cervix, walked like a crazy lady last few weeks (25k steps a day!), bounced on my exercise ball all the time, in fact, I stopped sitting anywhere but the ball, deep squats, pelvic tilts, raspberry leaf tea, you name it!

So yes, I was heartbroken when I got told the situation dint look favourable anymore. My husband and I talked, and we agreed to just wait it out. I went back to my OB/GYN, who was still half-heartedly ok to wait for 40+10 days but kept reminding me that there is no point to push it.

Finally, at 40+4 weeks, I went into spontaneous labour at midnight, did some pelvic tilts, squats and figure 8s on the ball during initial mild contractions, quick lookup at breathing during labour etc. Finally, around 2:30am asked my husband to get ready for the hospital. Around 3:15 am, we were in the hospital, with contractions being around 3 minutes apart and lasting around 40-50 seconds. Gradually they started getting stronger and more frequent. I made sure to practice deep breaths during the contractions, and yes, that helped me tremendously to stay calm and composed throughout the birthing process.

Around 4 pm, I was 3 cm dilated and was offered an epidural, which I gladly accepted. But as luck would have it, I was now 8 cm in a matter of 10 minutes, and sadly epidural was no longer an option. But the midwives assured me the baby will be out soon. Sure enough, our baby boy weighing 3.6 kgs (yes, big baby for me, considering I am only 5’2”), was out in the next few minutes. My husband got to cut the cord, which is something unheard of in our home country; we were quite lucky to have experienced it. I wanted it to be a part of the birth I imagined, as we couldn’t experience it the first time around (being an emergency section).

They immediately put the baby on my chest for skin-to-skin, while I let it all sink in. And as they say, once the baby is in your arms, you forget everything that leads to that moment. I could see moisture in my husband’s eyes; it was a magical moment that took us back to the birth of our lovely daughter, who was deep asleep at home.

Now coming to recovery, c-section vs vaginal birth, here is an honest opinion:

I was up on my feet minutes after vaginal birth, which is something I missed last time with a section, where anesthesia takes 8-10 hours to wear off, and considering it is major surgery it does take a while to heal.

But from my experience, c-sec recovery, even though slow, was quite smooth and straightforward for me. As for vaginal delivery, I could freely move around even though episiotomy stitches did start to bother me after a couple of days; it didn’t last long, though.

Another big plus for me was the duration of the hospital stay, I was in for 5 days with the section, which is something I desperately wanted to avoid. This time I was discharged the next day, though if it was left up to me I would have left for home straight after giving birth.

In a nutshell, while both births have their pros and cons, I would not rate one higher than the other; it all boils down to your personal preferences. My personal experience and recovery with C-sections was very smooth, and so was with the vaginal delivery.

And my 2 cents, if you would still like to have your VBAC/vaginal birth, please let the baby cook for as long as he wants; your body is made to do this! Remember to advocate for yourself; it’s your body, after all.

Good luck, fellow mamas and would-be mamas!