11 Apr Normal Birth (VBAC) after Caesarian Section
For many of us planning and obtaining the kind of birth we’d like requires a bit more ‘homework’ and extra perseverance. I interviewed a friend who really wanted a natural birth after she had had a caesarian with her first baby.
By the way…‘VBAC’ means ‘Vaginal Birth After Caesarian’ and ‘TOLAC’ means ‘Trial of Labour after Caesarian’
A ‘VBAC’ is not an option for everyone and most birthing units or hospitals/ care givers have criteria which you need to fulfill before they will consider ‘allowing’ you to have a TOLAC.
Here’s Karin’s experience…
How old are your children and how was each of them born?
Renee is 3 and half – Caesarian
Nina is 16 months – VBAC
What was the reason for your first C-section?
High blood pressure
What made you decide to try for a VBAC after a previous C-section?
After attending antenatal classes, I desperately wanted to have a normal delivery. We learnt about VBACs during the classes first time round. So when I fell pregnant again I was adamant that I wanted to try a VBAC. Since I really believe that this form of birth is best for baby and the way God intended childbirth to be.
Did you have to find a new gynae or was your original gynae open to allowing you to try?
My gynae was not willing for me to try for a VBAC at all. I then found a midwife. Due to the risks involved, I had to also see a backup gynae that “approved” my midwife.
Did you have any opposition from family and friends who thought it was dangerous?
Plenty. Most people thought I was crazy. Even my hubby preferred me having a c-section, but after expressing my needs and meeting “our” midwife, he was more at ease.
Were you nervous/ more anxious before the birth?
I was very excited! I really prayed about it a lot, and I new it was going to be an unforgettable experience. I was a bit nervous about not knowing what to expect regarding pain and my waters breaking in public. (Waters fortunately broke at a friend’s house)
What were the things that worried you about a VBAC?
Rupturing my uterus. I was told this is very dangerous, since mom and baby could die.
I knew if my blood pressure was a problem again, I would not be able to go ahead with the VBAC.
Did your gynae/ midwife explain the dangers?
Very clearly. She also said that she would be monitoring me very closely and that she would not take any risks/chances. So that put me at ease. My midwife is also a Christian, and I just knew we were on the same page.
How was the VBAC experience?
Absolutely fabulous! To me, this was a very Spiritual experience. I just loved the fact that Nina came when she was ready, and not when the gynae wanted! I was adamant not to have an epidural, so that I could walk around and be mobile – helping Nina to move down. I spent most of my labor on the ball. I used the water for pain relief too and eventually ended up having an unplanned water birth. It was so calm and relaxed in the room and having Marilyn deliver the baby was like having my mom there beside me.
How does the C-section and normal birth compare?
- It was amazing to feel in charge, with the VBAC. When you are in theatre, you feel so helpless and scared to voice your opinion or needs. And your hubby feels like a bystander.
- The fact that I could hold Nina while the umbilical cord was still attached was so special.
- I was very fortunate not to tear, so there was no invasion after the birth. While I got out of the bath, Francois held his 2nd angel, and then he lay next to me while I immediately breastfed Nina. With Renee, I had to wait quite a while before I could breastfeed, and nurses were pressing and positioning my boob. 2nd time round, all was just so natural.
- The recovery was so much better and faster. It was great not to be on pain medication. And to mentally and physically be “there” for my baby!
- It was good for Renee (older sister) and me, that I was able to pick her up too and to feel “up to” giving her the love and attention she needed too.
If you have another baby, which form of birth would you choose?
No question about it, definitely a 2nd VBAC
Any other comments or things that stood out about the VBAC experience?
It is such an empowering experience and just makes much more sense to me than going the c-section route. To me there were no positive points about having a c-section and hardly any negatives having a VBAC.
It is important to find a midwife/gynae that suits your personality and respects your needs. Someone that you can trust wholeheartedly. I wanted someone who is a child of God too.
Thank you Tina Otte for empowering us with knowledge and thank you to Marilyn Sher for living out her passion and sharing these special moments with us.
Thank you God for allowing me to experience a natural delivery – all praise to You! Ps 37:4