As part of Birth Forward’s Caesarean Awareness Month campaign I felt the need to write my thoughts on the matter of c-sections. As someone who has achieved a natural birth after an emergency c-section I feel it is my duty to write about my experience.
First of all, dare to mention the word VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) and you’re bound to be met with an array of reactions. Most of these reactions are questions that come in a shocked tone. ‘How?’ ‘Can you even DO that?’ And then there’s the completely uneducated minority that dare to question the safety of such an experience as if you just woke up one morning and decided to give birth to your baby as naturally as possible without any guidance or professional advice.
I am extremely proud of my VBAC. I am extremely proud of my c-section. I was given my two babies because of them. And the same goes for all mothers, no matter in which way they brought their own babies into this world and into their arms. The result is the same for all of us. We became parents, we watch our children grow and thrive and do exactly what we dreamed and hoped since their little bodies were growing in ours.
However incredibly grateful I am also lucky …and smart because I made sure I got myself a good doctor who knew it was his duty to inform me that I am a candidate for a VBAC. I could successfully achieve a natural birth, no need for a repeated c-section. From then on I was allowed to make an educated and informed decision because I was given a choice. And here lies the problem and the reason why we desperately need organisations like Birth Forward. Most women who have had a c-section are rarely told about their choice of a VBAC too. How else can you explain the shocked expressions on the faces that I have seen? Someone must not be doing their job very well.
Fear crept up alot on me during my second pregnancy. Georgie was an emergency c-section, the result of 14-hours of labour pains and bad positioning. So once I had set my mind on achieving a VBAC with James fear would kick in constantly. I was afraid of facing the feeling of failure if it didn’t happen. Just as much I was afraid of what would happen if it did. I mean, you hear so many horror stories (which women love to share and I have never understood why) about giving birth naturally, you begin to doubt yourself because you are already halfway there anyway. I get that! I get it when women say they’re scared. How completely robotic would it be if you weren’t scared even for a moment? But that is and should not be the reason why you CHOSE to have major abdominal surgery. There is another way and while yes, it does hurt, you are able to do it and achieve the same result. Your baby will be in your arms.
So if you think you are a candidate for a VBAC, ask your doctor about it. And if your doctor says ‘no’ without any medically-confirmed reason to do so, grab your bag and get out. Seriously. You deserve a professional who is there to serve YOU and has YOUR best interests at heart. You deserve and should know your options. No one, not even fear, has the right to rob you of experiencing a natural birth if that’s what you want.
You can read My VBAC story here.