Week 11 ~ January 3, 2007
Well this week had me thinking a lot about a birth plan for this new baby. I knew the question from my doctor would come up, and it did. At my appointment last week he asked whether I preferred a repeat C-section or a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I pretty much had my mind made up, but once he explained the risks of both I'm still left wondering.
My labor with Ryan was a little strange. I was at about 38 weeks, I went in for my weekly appointment and the doctor was concerned that my blood pressure was getting too high and that maybe I was getting pre-eclampsia. I, of course, thought this was silly, and assumed me and the baby were just fine. They did some blood work, sent me home on bed rest for the rest of the day and wanted to see me the next day. They talked about inducing by the following week if my tests were abnormal. So, I went home, but my idea of bed rest was lay down, watch a little TV, vacuum the house, walk the dogs, and then go out to a nice dinner with my family. ( I realize now this is NOT considered bed rest!) I never knew that was going to be my last meal! That night I awoke at about midnight to this weird wet feeling and when I proceeded to head to the bathroom my water broke, in a big way! So, we of course went to the hospital, not a lot was going on in the way of contractions so they started me on pitocin which I really didn't want. Right away the nurses hinted that I may need a C-section because the baby's heart rate wasn't responding well to labor. I was very against a C-section, and they knew it so they doctors and nurses kept letting me try to labor it out, but after 12 hours of slow labor, a great epidural, and a big scare of a falling heart rate, an emergency C-section was performed. It was scary, but I was just so happy that our little guy came out perfectly healthy. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his chest and they assume something was restricting his ability to make it through the labor. The C-section for me was pretty easy, no pain, no real restrictions. I felt great the next day and didn't have any trouble recovering. But, now since I've had the C-section, and it was a fetal heart rate issue and not my own body not handling the labor, I am a candidate for a VBAC, but I can elect for the C-section if I wish. I know my doctor is rooting for the C-section because he can schedule it, but I'm going to do what's right for me.
I was leaning towards a VBAC for many reasons: it's natural, not surgery, I'd like to experience "childbirth," it should be an easier recovery, less time in the hospital, and it's about half the expense. Plus, the baby would be born when he/she decides to come, not when we plan a date for a c-section. However, the nice thing about a C-section is: no pain or labor pain, planned date, not having to worry about tearing, episiotomy, etc., and I've been through it so I know what it's all about. The risks for both are about the same; C-section has about 1 to 2 percent risk of something really going wrong with the surgery. VBAC has about the same, 1 to 2 percent risk that your uterus may rupture and it could be catastrophic. The VBAC risk does scare me a little more because it's unknown. I did the C-section, felt safe, and don't have a lot of worry. The VBAC would be new, and while I think I could do it, it does worry me to think we could get ourselves into a very scary situation if my uterus did rupture.
Right now I'm leaning towards opting for the VBAC, but going into it with an open mind. If the baby starts having issues, or if the labor isn't going anywhere, we'll probably end up with a C-section, which is fine. But I'd like to at least TRY a VBAC even though it may be a little more stressful. And, if the VBAC is successful, then at least I'd know for future pregnancies that I could have another vaginal birth than just opting for the planned C-section. I feel like I'll be taking the easy way out if I ask for a C-section.
If anyone has had to make this decision, or has any advice, I'd love to hear your thoughts! I have 6 months still to decide, but in my mind, I'd like to decide sooner than later.