Anyone regretted their VBAC/Elective C Section decision?(77 Posts)
As the title says...
Has anybody had a c section (mainly as their first and only delivery) then went on to have a VBAC that they regretted or, chose an elective c section and wound up wishing they'd gone for a VBAC?
I'm trying to gather as much information and hear as many stories as possible before making my final decision regarding VBAC vs Elective for my second baby's birth in a few weeks time.
I'm currently 33 weeks pregnant after having an emergency c section just 11 months ago, and now have only two more weeks to decide how this little one is going to be born.
Although I do feel a c section is the better, safer option for myself, I can't shake this feeling that I'll hate myself if I choose a particular birthing option and something goes wrong, then it'd be my fault as I could've chosen the other option. (I know no one can predict what happens during child birth, but I just know I'd suffer terribly with guilt thinking about how any bad outcome could've been avoided by me taking a different route IYSWIM).
I'm happy to read positive and negative stories regarding both VBAC's and Electives!
I also had an emergency section with DC1, whose birth was pretty traumatic (pre eclampsia at 32 weeks). I was sure before I got pregnant with DC2 that I wanted another section, and my consultant booked it for me at 30 weeks as she didn't think I was a good candidate for VBAC. I still dithered at about the stage you're at though - he will be my last baby, and I had a whole "but I'll never experience labour" thing going on. However in the end the ELCS was absolutely lovely, and I can look back on his birth with entirely happy memories, which is certainly not the case with the first one.
No personal experience yet (awaiting no. 2 - hoping for elcs) but have a friend who opted for vbac with her second. She did successfully deliver with intervention, but says she wishes she had chosen the section!
Do you have to decide before? I just told midwife/consultants I would prefer VBAC but happy with c-section too so ultimately it was decided on the medical grounds at the time
No personal experience, but I don’t know anyone who has regretted an elective section. Good luck! X
My first (DD1) was born by EMCS and fairly traumatic, so I had been insistent that my 2nd would be an ECS. But at my birth options meeting, a very good midwife helped me to make peace with my first delivery and I decided to “try” a VBAC with a CS as a back up. I do regret my decision as the VBAC that followed was far more traumatic than the EMCS. I can give details if you like, but don’t want to scare you!
I don’t think my experience is the norm necessarily but I do wish I’d stuck with my instinct and booked a CS. Most people I know that had an EMCS first time around, are glad they elected for a CS for subsequent deliveries. Good luck in making your decision, it’s not easy!
in vaginal birth the burden of risk such that it is, is on the baby, and with c section the burden is on the mother. I chose c section every time to reduce the risk to the babies. I wasn’t too bothered about me.
I thought I might regret choosing elcs after emcs with first, but I honestly didn’t. Was so much easier second time round.
If you're under pressure time-wise to make a decision, can you tell your midwife/consultant team that you want an elcs, get a date for that and if you go in to labour beforehand make a decision then? 35 weeks is still early-ish, eg baby could turn breech and the decision would be out of your hands anyway?
I had an emcs with dd1, then I fought for vbac with ds1 3.5 years later.
The first thing I said when I found out I was pregnant for the third time was I was having another cs come what may.
Turned out it was twins, both of whom were transverse, so I had no choice, but I was not going through natural labour again.
Elcs was lovely, calm, and just a really nice experience. So much so that we went on to have dc5 afterwards.
Had a VBAC and really glad I did (but realise that if I'd ended up with a CS I would have regretted trying the VBAC).
For me personally (and it may have just been a coincidence), I bonded much better with DC2 after VBAC than DC1 after EMCS. Again just a personal thing, but VBAC made me realise how capable I was (and DH says it gave him a new admiration for me). But I was very determined to do it and not get into an intervention spiral which is what led to CS the first time. I had though decided that if it got to point where I needed inducing I would instead go for CS as risks higher and chance of success lower with VBAC with induction than if starts naturally. And finally VBAC recovery so much quicker, which was even more important when you have a toddler who wants picking up etc.
So I'd encourage VBAC based on my experience, but not right for everyone.
I don't for one minute regret my elective. I had one vaginal, one emcs and one elective.
My reasons were - small gap between pregnancies (15 months), a 3 day labour before the emcs which meant I was utterly exhausted by the time they did intervene which meant a horrific recovery. Had I let the third one go naturally and had a VBAC then I could have ended up with a emcs again anyway and it would be the grim situation it was before - or I could have an elective and know more clearly what my recovery would be. I wanted some control for once and just to have a labour where I didn't have to have an argument with anyone (lots of doctors making contradictory conclusions in previous labours meaning my care was terrible).
The recovery for the elective was nothing like the emcs. It went so well in comparison and I was active much sooner. When they opened me up they discovered lots of adhesions which they were able to cut away and they even fixed a little hernia. It was clinical but I felt so much safer.
I’ve had a complicated vaginal delivery and a smooth elective section and would choose a vaginal delivery every time. C section was awful even compared to an instrumental birth with a lot of stitches! Bonded much better with the baby too I somehow felt removed from ds poor chap and only just getting the Bond now!
I had an elective c section although I'm not sure elective is the right word as I had no choice (placenta praevia stage 4)! Anyway it was really good. Only problem was I went from first to third on the list as they apparently didn't have my blood! But everything went well and recovery was good.
Had an emergency section first time and opted for elective section second time. Second time felt amazing - organised, no stress etc etc. Recovery both times was easy, bonded well with both babies, breastfed both. Nothing but positive words and 100% no regrets about my choice
Thank you so much for all of your replies everyone. It's lovely to see that a lot of you opted for an elective and still feel positively about your experience.
With my emergency c section, I did struggle afterwards to come to terms with what had happened. It lead to post natal depression and even now, after 11 months, I'm only just starting to fully connect with my baby which makes me feel terrible that it took so long!
I am concerned I'll feel the same again if I choose an elective, but the risks that come with a vaginal birth, for me, seem far too high.
I'm also pleased to hear that a lot of you found elective recovery to be easier than emergency! I too was in labour for over two days before my cesarean, so was absolutely shattered by the time I had my baby, hopefully a planned situation and lots of rest will be better for me.
@UsuallyJustLurk I'm Sorry to hear you had a rough time! And it might be silly of me to ask, but I would like to know what happened with you if you're okay with telling me? Literally the only thing stopping me from being 100% elective right now, is the fact I might regret never trying to push this baby out naturally, but I'm just not sure I should put myself and the baby at risk for selfish reasons. Let's face it, no one is going to give me a medal if I do delivery naturally and I think women who birth via c section are just as tough, if not tougher!
No problem! DD1 was born by EMCS after 3 days of labour because she was transverse and then kept bobbing back up when I was trying to push.
My biggest fears second time around were that I’d go through a long labour again and then end up with another EMCS. So to ally my fears they agreed to break my waters and administer oxytocin to minimise the risk of a long labour. After a few hours the pain ramped up and I was begging for an epidural but the anaesthetist kept being called away (totally beyond their control, I know this). It turned out I’d dilated 6cm in 30 minutes so there was no time for anything in the end, and DD2 did the same as her sister... kept bobbing back up the birth canal. She was in distress so it was panic stations and they used forceps. The consultant said she couldn’t cut me because I’d had no pain relief other than a local so I suffered a 3rd degree tear and the force also injured my coccyx (to be fair that had been damaged during pregnancy due to a fall but I remember feeling it clunk when she pulled).
My uterus also went into shock and it took a long time for the midwife to stop me bleeding. Once that was managed i went into surgery to be stitched up which took over 2 hours. I then had a blood transfusion which was topped up again a few days later.
I realise that no birth is without its own drama, but I just feel that there would have been less drama for my baby, husband and I if I’d booked the CS my instinct hankered after. That’s not to say things might have gone wrong during that too. Who knows?! The good news is, 6 months later we’re all fine and that’s absolutely the main thing. Even if I am a little traumatised... I’m sure that will fade with time
Good luck to you again!
As my experience is over 30 years ago, I'm not sure it counts now as things are so different and I wasn't given the decision to make, it was made for me.
First DC was a planned section as baby was breech. They used GA then and I didn't really wake up properly until the next day. Was in hospital 10 days post birth.
Second DC VBAC 4 years later, when I had a text book birth. I was on a monitor for the last part, but the birth was easy, very manageable labour with gas and air and a pethidine injection. When they decided to move me to the delivery suite, I thought this is where it starts getting bad, but I had already crowned and baby was out in a couple of pushes. I couldn't believe it. I did tear, but nothing major. I was in 2 days as baby had slight jaundice but apart from that, on reflection, it was a wonderful experience compared to the first and my overwhelming thought was that I could easily have done that at home if it had been allowed.
I hope you can make a decision you're happy with.
I had DD 3 months ago following an emergency section with DS. Like you I just couldn't decide; I didn't want to miss out on a complication-free vbac of that could have been possible, but equally I couldn't bear the idea of problems from a bad vbac that I could have avoided.
In the end I asked them to book a section for my due date. I didn't want to take the risk of going overdue (higher still birth risk going overdue if you've had a previous section, bigger baby so greater vbac failure rate etc), but felt okay about trying for vbac if I went into labour before that... Or at least feeling a few contractions and seeing if my confidence held, or I could always request my section anyway!
As it happens nothing had happened by my due date. I might have considered going longer but I'd had a few bouts of reduced movements by then and both me and the doctors were getting tetchy. I still nearly bailed on the morning of the section, burst into tears and they offered me induction by breaking my waters if I'd rather. But I stuck with the section after much soul searching.
SO GLAD I DID. I thought I'd have at least a little pang of sad regret afterwards, but honestly the feeling of having my baby with absolutely ZERO associated trauma was so exhilarating, I was on top of the world for weeks and weeks! Plus I'll never regret the photos of DD and me just after she was born; the situation with DS meant that wasn't possible and I always regretted that, and there was no guarantee I'd get my precious photos with any other birth choice.
Good luck op, both are completely valid choices.
Reading this thread has helped me a lot. I pushed for an ELCS with DS3, as the idea of a VBAC just scared the hell out of me. I have always blamed myself for the fact that DS had breathing difficulties when he was born due to all the gunk not being forced out of his lungs during the birth process. The two weeks he spent in neonatal were some of the worst of my life. Logically I know this didn't make my decision a bad one, as I took it with the best intentions, and it's just as likely (if not more) that a VBAC might have ended up causing problems too, but that feeling of guilt has never left me. Don't let what I've said put you off an ELCS - in many ways it was a good experience and the recovery was easy - but just know that whatever you decide, try not to blame yourself if the outcome isn't quite what you'd planned.
I had a c section with DD - it was sort of an emergency in that nothing happened after 18 hours of induction but there was no medical emergency; in fact once they decided I had a 2 hour nap whilst they dealt with the real emergency ones! - and plan to have an elcs this time.
An elective c is v calm and I found the recovery easy last time. However I do know from friends who had an emergency c that it's a totally different kettle of fish - much harder on your body.
Sorry to hear your first birth was traumatic and you've had PND. I suggest a birth debrief if you haven't already had one (a postnatal doula or midwife specialising in mental health could be a good person to talk to). And have you been in touch with PANDA?
I do think some support and/counselling would be a good idea to help you manage your anxiety realise that if anything DOES go wrong (which we hopefully hope it won't) it absolutely won't be your fault.
Having said all that I personally think you should have an ELCS because your body hasn't had very long to heal in between pregnancies. This is particular important as you had an EMCS and I personally would be worried about the increased risks of a VBAC given that the second pregnancy is quite soon afterwards.
Best of luck.
Just to add that I don't feel that my bond with any of them has been affected by the birth they had. I was more mentally prepared with the elective though as I knew what was to come and could prepare childcare (I was so worried about my eldest during those 3 days of labour and that he might be afraid). Good luck!
And I agree with namechange, the short gap is why I had my elective - during an emergency they operate while you are contracting so it will never be the same op as a calm prebooked surgery.
I am a member of a c-section group on FB, and almost everyone who has an elective c-sec seems to report a really positive experience... my son was an emergency c-section which was really terrifying, I would much prefer to go for an elective one next time as I'd be scared of another emergency section if i tried for a VBAC.
Lots of luck with your decision and congrats on your baby x
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