Natural child birth. Caesarean. Forceps. Vacuum. VBAC? Yet another wonderful birthing option.
VBAC stands for ‘vaginal birth after caesarean’. Many women are under the impression that they are unable to have a vaginal birth once they have had one caesarean. Sadly some women will elect to have a planned caesarean with second and subsequent births after having a caesarean, unaware that they may be able to attempt a VBAC.
However it is possible for some women to give birth vaginally after having a previous caesarean. I’m not a doctor but it makes sense that it does depend on the circumstances surrounding the reason for having a caesarean in the first place. Some women may never be able to have a natural birth but for others it is a possibility.
I was lucky enough to have two VBAC experiences. My first birth was a caesarean. My body was ready to give birth at 10cm dilation, however my son was posterior, 4kg and became ‘stuck’ in the birth canal. Ineffective epidurals meant I was put under general anaesthetic for the birth as I could feel the beginning of the operation.
When I became pregnant for the second time I was determined to do everything I could to have a vaginal birth. I had faith in my body as I was able to get to 10cm, it was just the size and position of the baby that prevented the natural birth. My OB (the amazing John Keogh) was open to me having a ‘trial of scar’ (going into labour after having a caesarean) and trying for my VBAC.
I went into spontaneous labour with my second son. The epidural worked properly this time, after an initial hiccup. The anaesthetist took out the first epidural which wasn’t working and placed another one in a bit higher and it worked! I made it to 10cm and began pushing. This baby was also posterior but was only 3kg. He almost got stuck like his brother but was able to be born naturally, with the help of a vacuum.
I cannot even compare the difference in the aftermath and recovery between the two births. Following my VBAC I was awake, aware and amazed by this tiny, warm, slippery baby that was placed on my chest. It was the most incredible feeling! I was able to get up and have a shower only a few short hours after giving birth, and care for my baby in the hospital without needing help. Chalk and cheese.
I have recently given birth to my third son via another VBAC. This time he was not posterior and was also 3kg and he came out all by himself, with a little ‘push’ from mummy!
When people ask me which way of giving birth I prefer I say there is absolutely no comparison. The vaginal births were a million times better for me than the caesarean. I have friends who have had planned caesareans and they say that the recovery is much better following a planned rather than an emergency caesar. However, for me, the VBAC experience was simply amazing and something I would love for other mums to experience if they are lucky enough to be able to.
This article was written not to make mums who have had a caesarean feel like they are missing out on something. It was written to give hope to women who would love a VBAC and show them that it is actually possible to give birth naturally after a caesarean.