When I was pregnant the first time around, I thought I had this birth thing figured out. I hired a doula, read books, took a couple classes, and practiced meditation throughout my pregnancy. I wasn’t completely anti-medicine, but I was planning on having as little medical intervention as possible. The idea of getting an epidural, or worse yet, having a C-section, was unfathomable to me. Pitocin? Forget it. I studied, and believed in, the natural process of birth and of trusting your body to do what it was made to do. In my mind, most women decided to pursue these interventions out of pressure or fear- fear of pain, fear that they couldn’t do it on their own. Like so many things, I blamed men, society, and of course, the media, for making women believe that they were incapable of giving birth without some magical drug or injection.
Oh my, how things change.
As you might remember, Tiny T ended up being breech, which resulted in a C-section- NOT part of my plan. But, I adjusted and adapted, and now, I’m actually almost glad that things ended up the way that they did. It was a great parenting lesson, and life lesson, really- no matter how much you may try to prepare or make plans, there are so many things in life that you have absolutely no control over.
Fast forward to present day. Now that I’m pregnant with Baby #2, I have been given a choice: VBAC or repeat C-section. The me of two years ago would have said, “VBAC, hands down, no question.” But the me of today has the experience and knowledge that came with birth #1- that no matter how much you prepare and plan for something, you ultimately have no control over what could, or will, happen. That even if I’m considered to be a “favorable” candidate for a VBAC, ultimately, there is no way of knowing how much scar tissue I have internally, or if say, my uterus is fused to my bladder (which apparently can happen). And that, although I could spend hours and hours planning and plotting my “perfect” natural VBAC scenario, in the end, my uterus could rupture, and worst case scenario, both the baby and I could die.
That’s a lot to swallow.
After spending countless hours with my good ole friend, Google, and reading numerous studies and message board strings, I became frozen with fear and went basically into a state of denial that I would ever have to make this decision at all. Both VBACs and repeat C-sections have risks, some quite scary, as stated above. I discussed my decision-making struggles with my doctor, who asked me to explain my thinking to him. I said, “From what I’ve read, because repeat C-sections are major surgery, there are therefore associated risks, as with any surgery. The risks associated with VBACS have a lower chance of actually happening, but the things that could happen are a lot scarier than what could happen with a C-section.” His response was something to the extent of, “Yep, that’s pretty much right.” I finally came to the realization that instead of trying to make the “right” decision, I just had to make the one which freaked me out less.
Ultimately, I have decided to schedule a repeat C-section. Although the risk of “something” happening is higher, since it is a major surgery, the “what if’s” were less scary for me than the “what if’s” of the VBAC. And I knew that if I would go with the VBAC, with every contraction, I would worry that my uterine scar was ripping open, and I would never be able to relax, which would in turn make labor harder and longer, which would then probably result in me having another C-section anyway. (This is how my brain works- just go with it.)
Of course, I am worried about the “what if’s” of another C-section, and I know that some people will judge me and my decision. But I know I’ve made the decision that I’m at least more comfortable with. And now, I just have to hope for the best.