One of the toughest things about this pregnancy has been this dilemma:
To VBAC or not to VBAC?
(For those of you who don't know, VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean...)
At first, I thought that another c-section was a no brainer. I'm still leaning heavily in this direction. The first couple of people I saw at my practice group tended to recommend repeat c-section. They stressed that it was totally my decision, of course, but they didn't see the need to risk a uterine rupture because of laboring on my previous c-section scar.
You see, the risk of uterine rupture during VBAC is anywhere between 1 in 200-500, depending on who you ask. Some uterine ruptures are small, but they do necessitate immediate surgery and c-section. Some are much worse, and the mother or the baby could die or sustain serious damage, like birth defects. There is no way to know if you'll be one of the 1 in 200.
It seems that my practice group is split between the men and the women on this one. All the male doctors think you should play the odds and try for a VBAC, as long as the reason your first baby was c-section was that it was breech. All the female doctors and nurse practitioners think it would be wiser not to risk your health or the baby's health. This includes a female doctor who told me, "I had two VBACs, but that was before I saw a uterine rupture. If I'd seen that before then, I don't think I would've tried it." Encouraging, no? And I do find it interesting that the guys (who have no experience with actually giving birth) are the ones advocating for VBAC...
Even if I do want to attempt a VBAC, I would have to go into labor on my own. They would not induce me because the contractions would be too hard on my scar for too long. So that's another down side...
Add this to the stories of women I've known who've had horrible problems with tearing and healing from vaginal birth and women who are going to have to have surgery to repair their bladders, and you can see why the thought of just tearing up the same area again sounds pretty appealing. And then there was the gal I talked to recently who said that a doctor at the hospital told her that they'd had 3 uterine tears just that day...
There are certain things I care about deeply, and then there are other hills I'm simply not willing to die on. Natural childbirth? Hah! My goal has always been that we both come out alive and healthy, however it happens. Homemade baby food? Nah, the jar is just great. Now breastfeeding... that's a hill I nearly died on, but it was worth it. And I was determined ahead of time that I would do everything in my power to breastfeed. I succeeded, but it was really tough. I may post about that later. But I couldn't put my energy into everything. I had to choose.
So we have a set, scheduled date for my c-section. But its 2 days before my due date. Normal protocol is to set it earlier, like early in the 39th week. David and I talked about it, and we decided to give me a little better chance to go into labor on my own and give him plenty of time to cook fully. And if I do go into labor on my own before the 29th, we'll pray about it again then. God can talk me into a VBAC if its what He really wants for us... =)