My first child was a C-section. After that, I had 4 successful vaginal births after cesarean (VBAC). When Micah entered this world via C-section in 2009, I was pretty sure my VBAC days were over.
That is, until I got pregnant again.
I wasn’t content to have a c-section again unless it was absolutely necessary. I couldn’t deny the feelings of wanting to VBAC again.
My old OB had quit obstetrics, so I had to find another doctor. Finding another VBAC-friendly doctor is no small task, let alone finding one that is VBA2C-friendly. The doctor I ended up with quickly proved to be less-than VBAC-friendly, and halfway through my pregnancy, I left her practice to take a chance on a doctor a friend suggested.
I was 20-some weeks when I walked into that OB’s office, scared I had made a terrible decision to even attempt another VBAC, let alone switch doctors in the middle of a pregnancy. What I found was a doctor who was actually EXCITED to have me there! She was convinced women could VBAC after 2 C-sections, and she was more than willing to let me try.
However, she refused to induce me. This was something I was going to have to do on my own. (The reason she would not induce me is because inductions tend to lead to c-sections, and she did not want to put that unnecessary obstacle in my way.)
40 weeks came and went. Then 41 weeks came and went. As we neared 42 weeks, I was miserable. I wasn’t sleeping, I was huge, baby was huge, and my body just would not kick into gear.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that fear was holding me back.
I was afraid that a VBA2C was not a good idea. My first VBAC had been nearly 3 years after my c-section. This VBA2C was in half that time. And then there was the question of my body being worn out by all these babies. I had started to labor several times, but each time the contractions fizzled out, and I found myself believing I couldn’t actually go into labor on my own.
So, I scheduled a c-section.
I didn’t want a c-section, but I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore either. The pregnancy had not been pleasant, and I could see no other way to handle this situation. I found myself being blasted from both sides by well-intentioned friends. Some said I had waited too long, and should have had a c-section ages ago. Others said I should just keep waiting, and felt I was being “forced” into the c-section. No one knew how agonizing it was to be where I was mentally, physically, and emotionally. No one knew I was already suffering from depression that would end up extending for months past the pregnancy. No one knew how I was being plagued by sleepless nights, hemorrhoids, and Restless Leg Syndrome.
The day before the c-section, I got a call from a friend who told me she was praying for me and wanted to offer one little piece of information, just in case I needed it. Now, I am going to reveal something here that is rather controversial in many circles. What she told me was a precise formula for taking castor oil to get my labor started and keep it going. No matter what you think of this method, I will tell you that I am forever grateful for that information. What followed was an amazing birth of an 11 pound baby boy via VBA2C on the very morning I was scheduled to have my c-section.
After the birth, my OB decided to check the scar from the inside. What she said to me that day relieved every fear I had about VBA2C. She said had I not told her and had she not known, there would be no way for her to tell I had ever had a c-section! The scar was nonexistent! The fears that had kept me from laboring were completely unfounded.
Now, please note, I am NOT a medical expert. I cannot attest to other people’s c-section scars being completely healed or this even being the norm. But, it is enough of a norm that the ACOG has deemed it safe to VBA2C. This determination was announced the month before I gave birth. My doctor was thrilled to be able to document my birth as a success.
The reason I chose to update my birthing journey was because when I last told my story, I was not sure what would happen next. People have read that story not realizing I have gone on to have 2 more children. I felt it was important to tell “the rest of the story,” if you will. This post has gotten quite long enough, so I will continue with Part 3 another day.