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Can someone talk to me about VBAC

(20 Posts)
BigW Wed 19-Dec-12 13:13:00

This is massively premature as my DS is only three weeks old, but my experience at his birth has really been playing on my mind and I have not entirely been able to put it behind me.

It's a whole long and massive story, but I basically ended up with an emergency c-section. There were lots of problems (he had the cord wrapped around his neck for one). But on my notes they wrote 'obstructed labour and failure to progress'.

My question is, if this happened once, how likely is it that it will happen again? I don't mind another c-section, although I would rather have a normal delivery but I can't face going through all the different interventions (for over 30 hours) only to end up in the operating theatre anyway. What is an obstructed labour? And, if I failed to progress the labour once, doesn't that mean I will again?

Any experiences welcome!

TIA xx

BigW Wed 19-Dec-12 13:43:47


LaCiccolina Wed 19-Dec-12 13:51:45

Essentially every labour is different. An occurrence at one doesn't necessarily mean a repeat. Vbac is certainly possible, lots of google info around on it. Equally u can have csec. It will b up to u.

If ask the hospital reception for email of attending consultant. Then write and request a meeting to discuss ur notes. It's normal.

LaCiccolina Wed 19-Dec-12 13:52:30

I mean normal to want to discuss notes!

BigW Wed 19-Dec-12 14:07:18

Thank you - I don't know why I can't seem to get it out if my head. Shouldn't really be thinking about it when the possibility of a second pregnancy is so far away. I just can't help feeling a bit panicked at the thought of a repeat performance. Really out of character for me too! I think I will ask for my notes to be explained to me.

LaCiccolina Wed 19-Dec-12 17:07:23

Well this is the biggest thing that's ever happened to u and was only 3wks ago. I wouldn't expect u to be over it tbh.

Good to understand now. U don't want to b preg again and then wonder/be scared. Good luck and hope u gain peace of mind.

Ushy Wed 19-Dec-12 21:49:32

Have a look at the Royal College of Obstetricians guideline -

There's a calculator for VBAC based on your risk factors and previous history

It isn't a 100% reliable or anything like that but it is a guide based on research evidence. Good luck.

BigW Wed 19-Dec-12 22:16:07

Thanks both - I always feel better about things when I can be proactive. I did do some googling and it seems that FTP is a kind of catch all phrase that can mean just about anything.

SunnyUpNorth Thu 20-Dec-12 18:39:30

Hello,I had a very similar experience to you 2 years ago. I am now pregnant again (40 weeks today!) and what I have agreed with the consultant is that I will attempt a VBAC if I go into labour naturally, but I am refusing any sort of induction and have an elective c-section booked for 41 weeks if it has not arrived naturally before. This for me seemed a good compromise. If you have another child they will encourage you to try naturally but at the end of the day it is your choice and you can request a section.

My DH and I were pretty traumatised after the whole induction and EMCS. About 2 or 3 weeks after the birth the supervisor of midwives came out to our house (I had told the mw during routine post birth checks that we were a bit shaken up and she arranged the SoMW to come out). She was really lovely,went through my notes with me,listened to all our concerns and complaints. It really did help. In the end we didn't feel the need to take things any further but it was good to know she was supportive of us and that what we went through was difficult.

Do talk to people, telling your birth story is very cathartic. I felt very wierd about having had a section for ages, like my body had failed as a woman. Obviously I was massively grateful that we have such procedures available to us as otherwise dd might not have made it. But I still felt wierd for a while. I feel nervous about having potentially a second next week but at the same time I have had great pregnancies both times and luckily had no post natal problems and so I don't dwell on it.

Please go easy on yourself, you've been through a lot and will still be so hormonal and emotional which won't at all be helped by the sheer exhaustion you'll be feeling too.

I am sure you will feel less vulnerable soon and I hope you are enjoying your new baby. I wish you all the best.

SentimentalKat Thu 20-Dec-12 18:50:16

First of all: congratulations!
You did an amazing thing and gave birth to a wonderful baby, even though you needed a bit of help along the way.

My ds was delivered by EMCS, and I found the whole experience extremely traumatising and felt like shit for 6 months or so.
Two years after that dd was born, VBAC, no problems whatsoever. Still not quite according to plan, as dd was too quick to fit in birthing pool, calming music or pain relief, but hey ho.

So, even though things didn't quite go according to plan, everything could be completely different second time round!

rodformyownback Thu 20-Dec-12 21:40:32

Hi W
I had an EMCS for my first delivery 5 years ago, and I remember feeling very preoccupied with the birth for a good while after. I don't remember what helped me to put it behind me - or perhaps I didn't, because I obsessed over what sort of birth I wanted for the whole way through my second pregnancy. I came to the same conclusion as Sunnyupnorth, and eventually had an ELCS at 41.5 weeks. (Good luck Sunny! Whatever happens you will have a gorgeous baby at the end of it!!!)
I have no idea what would have happened if I'd opted to be induced, or held out even longer to go into labour. I have friends who've had successful VBACs and I know of people who've ended up with a second EMCS after a second arduous labour. The only thing I would say from my experience is that the elective section was so, so much easier to recover from than the emergency one. But then a decent vaginal birth would have been yet easier to recover from.
I don't think your concerns are premature, I think addressing them now is a sensible part of getting over the trauma you've very recently been through. Perhaps you could talk it over with your midwife / obstetrician at your 6 week check? That might be your last chance until you are pregnant again.
Congrats on your lovely new baby grin

SunnyUpNorth Fri 21-Dec-12 09:43:26

Thanks rod!

BigW Fri 21-Dec-12 10:13:05

Thanks everyone - sunny, you are so right! I feel cheated and like I let my DS down and my body let me down. I have a 'maternal health assessment' in the new year (I think because I burst into years when the HV came round!). I don't think I have PND, but I am definitely fixating on the birth.

I know I never want to go on that drip again! Good luck with your second, I hope it goes as planned. My DS was born at exactly 40 weeks. Are you going to be continuously monitored if you go for the VBAC?

mumhmc Fri 21-Dec-12 15:44:26

Can I just ask, you talk about the drip - were you induced?
I was induced at 11 days over and I will never do it again. My son will be 1 in under 2 weeks and I still haven't managed to recover from my experience. I would do as others say and try to get an appointment to go over your notes asap - I left it so long and therefore mulled over it for too long! It can be useful to contact PALS at the hospital - they can arrange an appointment with a consultant for you to discuss your notes. I had this recently and it really helped as they explained exactly what happened and were really supportive of my plans for a home vbac next time. The interesting thing they said was that the c section rate in inductions in first time mothers is about 50%! Had no idea at the time or I wouldn't have done it (or at least, not at 11 days over, when there is no indication for it). And FTP on a "failed induction" just doesn't tell us anything as so many inductions don't work as neither mother or baby are ready. So definitely not - loads of mothers have had vbacs when the first labour failed to progress (or, another way of putting it, the hospital failed to wait).
If you are interested, there is a very good forum on vbac - search for uk vbac hbac and it should come up at the top of the search. loads of birth stories and women who can give loads of good advice on there.
My advice would be to get an appointment asap to look at notes and try to compartmentalise this experience early on so you can enjoy your baby. I sort of failed to do this early enough. I really hope you feel better soon.

SunnyUpNorth Fri 21-Dec-12 15:44:28

I think regardless of what kind of birth people have it is quite natural to fixate on it,people always want to tell their birth stories good or bad! So don't worry about that. I found that obsession sort of ebbed away as I fell more and more in love with my baby and got into the swing of parenthood. Obviously if you are still massively fixated on it on a few months time then perhaps you need to address it more formally but hopefully you won't have any problems.

My dd was born on 6th Dec, I imagine yours was around the same. With paternity leave and then Christmas hols I had DH around for a few weeks which on the one hand was great but we did just sort of hibernate away in some strange little baby world! I found that once he went back to work at the beginning of Jan I was forced to get on with things,work out a routine that worked for me, started meeting up with Nct friends and so on and I naturally just moved on and dwelt less on the birth.

The only lingering thing that bothers me a little is that I feel like I cant say 'when I gave birth to dd' as I don't feel like I did give birth to her. But she is amazing and I do feel very proud that I grew her and have since raised her so the mode of arrival does seem less important now. Just remember it was one day in both your lives and it is much more important to be a good parent than to be able to push a baby out.

I hope you have a lovely first Christmas with your baby and I am really sure you'll be feeling a lot stronger both mentally and physically in the new year.

SunnyUpNorth Fri 21-Dec-12 15:50:53

Ps. Re the VBAC, I have been lucky as my consultant was very flexible about my choices. I was VERY well informed! I think she saw there was no point trying to force me into anything and that I would just opt for the csection straight off if she did.

So we have agreed no continuous monitoring (unless of course baby was distressed or I felt my scar was tender etc), no canula, birth pool of all is fine and there is one available etc. Basically I said I wanted to be treated like a low risk normal labouring woman in order to have the best chance of a natural birth working out for me. If there is any chance at all of any risks then I certainly won't be stupid about it.

I wa booked in for a home birth last time and I personally wouldn't risk it for my first VBAC attempt this time. But if I had a good VBAC and had another baby I might consider it.

I don't think I will go into labour though as dd was born at 42+2 and ELCS is booked for 41 weeks.

BigW Fri 21-Dec-12 19:34:48

Thanks all, it's good to know that I am not alone in feeling like this. I was induced, but only because there was maconium in my waters - I had been in natural labour for nearly 24 hours by the time the drip went in. They needed to speed up the process, but after about 12 hours on the drip I was still only 3cm and my baby was starting to get distressed (now we know he had the cord wrapped around his head twice!).

Thanks again for taking the time - I so appreciate it. Merry Christmas all! Xxx

teacherwith2kids Fri 21-Dec-12 19:48:03


I had EmCS for DS and a VBAC for DD 2 years later.

I suppose I was quite lucky in that there was a clear 'reason' for DS's CS - basically, he has an abnormally large head (circumference as far above the centile lines at birth as the whole 2% - 98% range is across, has worn adult-sized hats since the age of 3) which is surprisingly elongated from front to back, and he just got stuck. 'Failed ventouse' is what my notes say, but luckily I also managed to get more detailed feedback aboiut the root cause of the problem before leaving hospital.

I agreed with my GP, and then with the consultant, that for DD I would only attempt natural labour if a late scan showed that her head was of a normal size and shape. Had it been large, or the same shape as her brother's, I would not have attempted it because i needed to feel that there was a good chance of a VBAC succeeding before i embarked on it.

Had a 36 week scan. DD's head normal shape and 50th centile circumference, and I went on to have a 'textbook' VBAC.

It was the detailed feedback that I got in hospital which gave me a clear 'route' forward, so i would recommend getting as much information as you can at this point and then storing it in case you need it in the futre.

(No 2 births are alike, just as no 2 babies are the same)

Offcolour Thu 27-Dec-12 15:13:10

I had an emcs for dd after 77 hours of labour and failed epidural as she became distressed. The labour was one of the worst experiences of my life and I felt traumatised for months. The reason that labour did not progress was that her head was slightly tipped back, which is very unlucky. Without the c-section, she would never gave come out and I guess in the past we would both have died.

I was very anxious about the birth when pregnant with ds, but decided to go for vbac because the reasons things went wrong last time was down to pure bad luck and I wanted to have a quicker recovery if possible ad I also have toddler dd to look after who is now 2. Labour could not have been more different, waters broke at 10pm and he was born 6.5 hrs later with no interventions and just g&a (I was screwing for epidural but midwife ignored me because it was progressing so well and in retrospect I'm glad she did although it fucking hurt at the time). Recovery was massively easier than last time, breastfeeding has been much easier - everything has just been much easier! I am having to pinch myself that it went so well.

Bit of a ramble, but I think if you find out why things went wrong last time, if it was just bad luck and no reason to think the same thing would happen, it's worth considering vbac as when it goes well it's great (although labour was still hideously painful and awful).

Offcolour Thu 27-Dec-12 15:13:46

Screaming not screwing!!!!

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