Hoping for a VBAC: Vaginal birth after cesarean

When I was pregnant with Evan in 2009, the one phrase I continually uttered to my friends and family was, “I just don’t want to have a c-section!” I didn’t have goals loftier than a medicated, vaginal delivery in my local hospital, but, avoiding a major surgery was definitely the plan.

Breech presentation wasn’t in the plan, but from 20 weeks, through those final frantic moments of labor when they gave me an ultrasound to check his position one more time, my kid was butt-down. Staunchly, butt down.


While I had a cesarean scheduled, I went into labor two weeks before my due date. I was still hoping for a last minute flip, but it just wasn’t in the cards. I was soon whisked into an operating room, given some incredible drugs, and Evan was expertly removed from my body.

There really wasn’t a lot of emotional trauma at this point. I had already accepted that a c-section was inevitable, and besides, I had plenty of other things to worry about, like my own recovery, and caring for a newborn.

Having a c-section is hard, and healing can be slow, but overall I weathered mine well. I didn’t even fill my prescription for pain killers after coming home. I think I was running on adrenaline!

In the months and years following Evans birth, the idea of a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) was never in my mind. Why? Because I was informed by my OB that VBAC was not an option at my hospital. Period. No negotiating.

After deciding to switch OB’s during the middle of this pregnancy, I was informed by my new doctor that VBAC was certainly an option for me, and that the hospital we would be using is supportive of this. He also told me that if an emergency situation would arise due to any possible complications during labor, that there would be ER staff available to perform an immediate c-section.

When I walked out of my first appointment with my new OB, I felt like a major door had opened in front of me. Being able to even contemplate a vaginal delivery, for me, was huge. HUGE!

So, it appears that I am a great candidate for VBAC. Assuming this baby is head down, and everything else looks normal through the end of my pregnancy, I am totally giving this a shot.

I don’t have any hard feelings about needing a c-section the first time, and I will not be totally broken if I require one again. It is what it is, and in my case, it was the way it needed to happen.

I actually endured 15 hours of contractions, and was 6cm dilated before my doctors and hospital got around to doing a c-section for my breech baby (ahem…. I mentioned that I SWITCHED OB’S & HOSPITALS, right?) I have a little taste of what a normal labor feels like, but yeah, I’m still slightly terrified. Terrified, but also excited and hopeful that I can in fact get my VBAC. Stay tuned!

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  1. Good luck with your plans Chrissy.I should have had a section with my 1st due to distress but they didn’t take him. It was a nightmare. Second was breech, but the stupid doctor thought the arse was a head. (He was the ass head. All pissed off at me for not feeling the urge to push.. DUH!) Had him vaginally as I was already 10 centimeters before someone FINALLY figured it out.

    Had a breech with my twins to. Had them vaginally, but that was scary at the thought of having one of each. Anything can happen in labor, but try and prepare yourself for the best birth experience possible, while keeping your mind in check so there isn’t insane amounts of dissapointment. No matter which way our kids come into the world, we go through a hell of alot for them, and deserve equal credit!



  2. Hi Crissy!

    I have had 3 successfull VBAC’s. My first 2 births were c-cestions back in the late 70’s when they were doing all of the unnessasary c-sections.

    I got my tubes tied and didn’t want to ever do it again! Well 16 years later I got my tubes untied and became pregnant..you can read that little story at http://www.faithfilledfoodformoms.com/midlife-mom-my-tubal-reversal/ if you want.

    Anyway, I was blessed with having 3 more children and they were all VBAC’s. I’m sure you will have a wonderful birth! Every birth is different.

    Blessings to you

  3. Have you ever watched The Business of Being Born?? If not, I HIGHLY recommend it. In this documentary, it has a midwife (Ina Mae Gaskin) who has delivered MANY breached babies vaginally. It can be done, and to be honest, it infuriates me when doctors and hospital policy will not let women have VBACs. There is a doctor in The Business of Being Born who says it’s usually not the first c-section when complications arise; it’s the second, third, and fourth c-section. If this is the case, you’d think doctors would want women to labor and have a VBAC.

    I’m sorry about the rant, but I hope you are able to have a VBAC. And I’m thrilled you switched doctors and hospitals.

  4. My first one was a c-sec and it made me feel like a Failure , so when became pregnant with my second I knew I wanted a vbac . They didn’t do vbac’s at the hospital in my town so I had a water birth at home with a midwife ,it went really good. Now I’m expecting my third and hope to do it again. Good luck!

  5. I hope you get your VBAC! My OB said that scenario makes a great candidate for a VBAC. My #1 was breech as well and I really wanted and planned for a VBAC with #2 and almost got there. After a few hours of pushing & waiting I wasn’t making progress and the dr determined the baby wasn’t in a great position for delivery and felt like it was time for another c/s. I had prayed all along for God to guide us and my baby was more important than my need for a VBAC, so although I cried, I accepted the doctor’s verdict. Within about 10 minutes I was in the OR, and during that 10 minutes I was the less than 1% to have a uterine rupture–thankfully they quickly delivered the baby and after some suctioning she was fine and my recovery wasn’t complicated either.

    In spite of my experience, I am still very glad I tried the VBAC, but also glad I was willing to listen to my Dr. and not be stubborn about the VBAC. I still revel in the experience of my water breaking, of laboring and even pushing. I went on to have a 3rd baby just 21 months later (surprise! lol) and had a successful 3rd c/s.

    I have had several friends have successful VBAC’s (even 1 with a 10lb baby) so it really just depends!

    Can’t wait to hear what happens :)

  6. I knew at 20 weeks with our first child we would be having a cesarean and I was terrified of major surgery. I was not allowed to attempt a VBAC the second time around with the OB saying my babies would be too close together for safety. Blah Blah Blah.
    I hope you have your chance for a VBAC. I always wondered what actual labor that I could feel would be like (I was apparently in labor twice with our first and they stopped the contractions both times- I had placenta pre via and there was no way she was able to come the natural way).

    Good luck!

  7. Dear Crissy,
    I loved your story. And I am so glad that you have found an Md supportive of natural births. You know there are some things you can do to give you a better chance. Pelvic rocks done correctly can help keep you baby out of that OP position with back aches and long labors, squatting regularly throughout the day may help your pelvis open better, staying out of bed in labor and sitting on a birth ball …Lots of things actually. Having a doula another. Well obviously I can’t cover this adequately, but you might try Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way available on Amazon.

  8. I switched OBs so I could have a VBAC. My first child, a boy, was a c-section at term, but before I even went into labor, due to severe pre-ecclampsia. My OB was trying to tell me to schedule a c-section due to the risk of uterine rupture, because my second child was due only 17 months after my boy was born. She said I could have a uterine rupture and my child could die.

    I have a degree in anthropology, though, with a special interest in medical anthropology. And my husband is a mathematician. We scoured the medical journals, studies and meta studies, and worked out the approximate statistical risks for different options for my circumstances.

    Turns out the risk of uterine rupture and risk of the baby dying was smaller than the usual risk a healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy has of experiencing a prolapsed cord during labor and the risk of that causing a baby’s death. And my doctor wasn’t recommending an elective c-section for all women based on that nasty risk statistic.

    I told my doctor I really wanted to try for a VBAC because I will have a 17mo at home and the c-section recovery means I couldn’t lift him into or out of the car, or into and out of his crib etc. She said I could just wheel him around in a stroller or walker type thing. *shakes head* No, she didn’t have children. It took so long to recover from the c-section, what with the pain and weakness. I didn’t want to have to do that again with a toddler to care for in addition to the infant.

    So, I changed doctors and read up on what practices raise the likelihood of a successful vaginal birth (particularly VBAC, but in general too) and what lowers the likelihood of a successful vaginal birth. I found it would be smart to refuse “normal” hospital procedures/protocols/interventions for VBAC mothers in order to increase my chances of having a successful birth unhampered by medical interventions that can cascade right to c-section. For example, it is better not to have a drip put in upon admission (I decided I could compromise on a hep lock.) It was better not to consent to continuous electronic fetal monitoring (I decided I would allow intermittent monitoring – not electronic. That caused some waves!) Finally, I decided that I would not consent to being “timed” – having a set limit or curve for labor I must adhere too. This does not make sense medically or mathematically. There are plenty of women “above the curve” who are laboring perfectly normally. A majority of those would be inaccurately deemed as “failure to progress” cases and given c-sections. To that end, I refused cervical checks, as dilation is not a very accurate indicator of the timing of labor’s progression – at least, not in the sense that it is commonly used in hospitals.

    Since this would be my first labor, I expected it to take longer. It turned out that my labor was kinda stop-start, I got right to transition once but backed off, haha! I was in real labor for 53 hours + 2 hours of pushing. My doula was a great help in aiding my husband and I to remain firm with our care wishes during the long labor.

    This wasn’t just for me, it was for my child. I didn’t regret my first c-section – it was necessary. But another was not, and I wouldn’t be pushed into a false “it’s necessary” scenario either. My second child, a wonderful little girl, had all the hormonal benefits of a natural labor and delivery, and the more nurturing care afterward. (Due to the c-section and my lack of say, my boy’s cord was cut too early, he was taken from me, wiped, assessed on a table somewhere, wrapped, presented for a photo and put in a bassinet. I spent 2 hours alone in the recovery room. Time when my boy should have been skin-to-skin with me and suckling a little.)

    So anyway, success! My 8lb 12oz little girl was birthed from a natural labor. No drugs, no interventions, just me, my support people, and time. Although I practiced hypnobirthing techniques, I did experience pain, but vocalizing helped and the pain was soon forgotten. My little girl was a little asynclitic, which probably upped the intensity a notch. But I did it! Just fine. And the odds are that you can too. Seriously, ask my husband. :-D The odds are overwhelmingly in your favor if your medical provider is patient and operates based on real scientific/medical research combined with your unique circumstances, not just by hospital procedures that have taken the legal team’s concerns into account. ;-)

    I don’t think many people have the academic background to know how to scour medical journals and the like, or the mathematician husband, to get the kind of information I was blessed to have. However, ICAN is a good resource. This is their blog:


    And this is the website, if you haven’t already found it! :-)


  9. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you! My sister had a Cesarean 14 years ago with her frirst child and has had VBACs for her next 5 (yes 5) children. She’s also hoping for a VBAC with the next one (yes she’s pregnant again, but I will mention that she already has 6 of the greatest kids on Earth!). I’ve never had a Cesarean (3 vaginal), so I don’t know completely what it’s like, but I’m a believer that you “do whatcha gotta do” to make sure mom and baby are safe. Congrats on the news about the possible VBAC!

  10. That is awesome. I switched just after 20 weeks with my last to have a VBA2C. I did go into labor, but ended up with my 3rd c-section…. which almost 18 months later I am still recovering from. Sending you head down vibes for a VBAC! Good luck!

  11. Oh, hon. I hope this happens for you. I had six children, the last was a c-section. I memorized the feel with the last fifth one the feeling of the baby’s head being born, the feel of the him turning, then the rest of him sliding out. It is a memory of mine that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

  12. Good Girl ! You moved on and there was hope afterall ! My daughter layed Trans-verse my whole pregnancy (Across my stomach) and I went through the same thing with my OBGYN. I had taken Lamaz classes and just kept wishing. One night we went to the movies and I ended up pacing the lobby of the theatre ! I just count not sit. I went to my next appt. and sure enough she had turned. That child to this day has her own timing in life ! My sister’s second child was cesarean and the third was natural. No problem on the third at all ! Good luck doll ! Keep updates !

  13. I know a couple of mommies who have had successful VBACs. I hope it goes well. We are in the opposite boat. I’m not pregnant yet, but some day when I want another baby, I will be opting for a C-section (for many reasons). I hope it goes as well as yours did.

  14. I highly recommend watching The Business of Being Born. There was SO much i didn’t know for my first born… and it was a bit too late for baby #2… but if you want a vbac, you can have one. There’s even a midwife on the movie, Ina May Gaskin, who delivers breech babies vaginally all the time. Our bodies are often made to do so much more than we give them credit for. Also, check out Hypnobirthing. With my first born, I thought the pain was going to kill me. So, after learning about Hypnobirthing, I was determined to have a much less painful labor. I told hubby I wanted to be so calm my little boy could even be in the room… in theory, of course! Well, be careful what you wish for! I had a 2 hour labor, with no epidural… and… with my husband AND 2 1/2 year old son in the hospital room – and I highly credit Hypnobirthing for helping he labor go so quickly and for giving me the ability to stay relatively composed during delivery. Best of luck to you!

  15. I wish you the best of luck. The town I am in does not perform vbacs. We only have one hospital.

    • Heather, same here. I’ll actually be delivering at a hospital an hour+ away from me… hope i can make it in time! LOL

      • Oh great. An hour isn’t so bad. I’m about 2 hours away. I’m sure you can. Early labor lasts a long time, but its true that second births come faster. I hope you can make it in time too! I think every woman deserves to have that natural birth experience, have you thought of a midwife? I’m not sure if I’m that brave, but its been a thought with me for sure.

  16. Oh sweety! I hope you get your wish too – much easier recovery with a vaginal delivery than a c-section. Stay positive, if you were already 6cm then you already know you can do this as long as bubba cooperates! =)

  17. Keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out for you. Recovery is much quicker than a c section and I don’t know about you but epidurals are the greatest invention ever.

  18. My sister had a very successful VBAC this past spring. She had a wonderful experience giving birth in the hospital with the help of a doula and midwife.

    Ignore the naysayers… It is possible! Good Luck!

  19. What a fun blog! I found you on mommy bloggers and I am excited to follow! If you get a second to check out mine, I’d appreciate it! Hope you have a magical day!

  20. Hi Chrissy,

    It sounds like you and I are in the exact same boat! My son is due in early January. At my first OB appointment, I was told I had the option of a VBAC, after my daughter was born via c-section almost 2 1/2 years ago. …and after 19 hours of labor, dilating to only 5-7 cm (depending on who measured!), and two episodes of fetal heart distress, I was ready for a c-section. I, too, spent 40 weeks willing myself to have a vaginal birth, citing I just didn’t want it to end in a c-section. Further, my OB at the time stated at my 6 week post-op that any subsequent pregnancies would automatically result in a c-section. Thus, I have spent the last two years mentally preparing for scheduled c-section, and came up with all the perks of such.

    Then at my first prenatal appointment, when my OB told me I had the option of a VBAC, my world was suddenly turned upside down, in all kinds of great ways. After all, to not have to recover after surgery with a very active toddler AND a newborn seems divine. But I still spent many weeks researching, asking around, praying, and pondering.

    While instill have this nagging suspicion that I may end up with a c-section again, I feel like I owe it to myself (and my womanhood?) to give it a try. I can’t explain it, other than that I wish to give it a try. If I can deliver, fantastic; if not, well, then, so be it. As a girlfriend said to me, she’d rather have just one thing “messed up” (referring to her scar), rather than have two. LOL

    However this experience ends, for you and for me, I wish you the best of luck. After all, in the end, it doesn’t matter HOW our children enter this world, but rather how we impress the world upon them, how they leave their respective marks on this world, and how we as parents impact those impressions. :-)

  21. I was one of the first in my area to have a vaginal delivery after a C-section. That was in 1979. I later had two more. Good luck! I’m sure it will be fine.

  22. Good luck, mama! I hope you get a safe, quick….as painless as possible birth. Either way, i the end you will be holding a beautiful little piece of yourself and your husband in your arms. If you endured all that labor, you know what it feels like. If you have enough epidural the ring of fire is non existent. COngrats on the impending baby:)

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