Why I’m choosing a second Cesarean Section

second-cesarean-section

Athena was born via an elective C section (you can read her birth story here) because of ‘maternal anxiety’ according to my hospital notes. In brief, my husband was a big baby (11’7lbs) and was born via an eventual C section, I was a very small baby 5’11lbs but my mum had a difficult labour and birth and required an operation after I arrived. Sam’s brother was also born with a brain that hadn’t formed properly during pregnancy, and although he lived till he was 18 he needed constant care and had the mental ability of a six month old. All these factors combined meant that I was worried about the actual process of giving birth, and eventually my very supportive GP referred me for counselling to discuss my worries. Sadly the service seems to have been pretty overloaded, and with no appointment booked as the waiting list was so long my midwife referred me to see a consultant at the hospital to discuss my worries. He basically brushed me off with ‘first time mum worries’ and I left upset and annoyed. My sleep got worse as I was having nightmares and not being able to get to stay asleep, so my midwife referred me to a second consultant,and finally at 37 weeks I was told I could have a C section! Those last three weeks were wonderful as I could finally relax and look forward to welcoming a baby. Because of all the worrying I did about actually delivering the baby into the world I did very little in the way of actually thinking about what life would be like with a baby once it had arrived!

c-section-prep

waiting for the spinal to take effect

I think that this was actually a little bit of a bonus, as I was so overjoyed when she arrived healthily that I was nice and relaxed, not horrifically tired after a long labour and able to leave hospital the next day. Lots of people have said to me after seeing how I parent (I am loathe to classify myself as a ‘type’ but if I had to I would say I am an ‘attachment parent’) that they never would have guessed I wanted a C section. My parenting style (breastfeeding on demand, a baby led routine, ignoring parenting books and often co sleeping and baby wearing) apparently means that people assume I want a lovely natural birth. Nope, I didn’t and with baby number two I want another Cesarean.

I have no regrets about my birth choice, we were able to have skin to skin contact very soon after the birth, and breastfeeding was established easily too. Sam still got to cut the cord, and as we didn’t know the gender the surgeon held her up so we could see for ourselves without being told. It also gave a few medical students to chance to watch a C section in a calm and non emergency environment, which I was more than happy with as everybody needs to learn! You can see half the people in the room in the photo below, there were more out of shot!

C-section-in-progress

This time round it was very easy to have the surgery agreed, as although the NHS are more than happy (and do encourage) people to have a ‘VBAC’ or Vaginal birth after Cesarean if you have had a C section before you are able to choose to have another with very little argument. 25% of VBACs end in a C section, and from a bit of internet digging, that number isn’t vastly lower for non VBACS anyway. I will be given a date in early march, at around 36/37 weeks and at the moment I am not sure whether it will be performed before or on my due date.

I am often asked if I am sad or upset that I missed out on the ‘joy’ of a natural birth. I’m not, I think deep down I am still worried about the factors mentioned above, even though Athena was a normal 7’14lbs. In all honesty the idea of just waiting for my body to decide to have a baby is off-putting. I like to be organised and know when things will happen. On the day I had Athena (at 40+1weeks, so the day after her due date) the doctor doing the C section had a feel of the bump so he knew where baby was positioned and noted that she wasn’t engaged… so for all I know I could have gone overdue, been induced, had a nasty labour and ended up having a C section anyway.

Plus, having a toddler to care and plan for means that knowing when this baby will arrive enables us to plan the better. My mum can have Athena for the day, Sam will be back with her in the evening to put her to bed and she can meet her little brother the next day, when hopefully we will bring him home! Yes, that’s not the ‘magic’ of a natural labour and birth, the whole not knowing when it will happen but that’s fine by me! It’s also fine by Sam too, he runs a busy hotel and it will be a lot easier for him to get his whole 2 weeks of paternity leave if he can plan it in advance, which will be very helpful as I won’t be able to lift Athena in and out of her cot/high chair etc for a week or so.

For more information on C sections you can visit the NHS info, and the NICE guidelines. I also read a few different books from the library on the subject too which gave me a good overview of the risks and recovery too.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on elective C sections, and if you’ve had a VBAC?

 

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51 Comments

  1. 26th January 2015 / 9:46 am

    I’m really glad that you had the chance to make the choice that was right for you! It sounds as though you had a wonderful, positive experience and I hope very much that you get a second as lovely. Choice is so important.

  2. Kathryn
    26th January 2015 / 10:49 am

    Great post Lauren! I’m not planning a second baby just yet but I’ve been thinking about the next baby and next birth ever since I had Timothy by emergency c-section. I was planning a natural birth and was all geared up for it, but then we had to go in for a scan on my due date as my bump wasn’t measuring to size. The decision was made to induce me but before they even started the induction, Timothy went into distress so I was quickly whisked into theatre. I wasn’t disappointed but relieved by the result as it was such a positive experience. When I was told I was going to be induced I was dreading the waiting process – waiting for labour to even begin, then the labour itself, and probably ending up having a c-section anyway. I felt like I skipped the long, boring and painful bit! I am seriously considering a c-section next time round as I am now terrified of having a vaginal delivery. However, my husband and I want to have 4 children so I may have to try a VBCA because they only recommend having 3 babies by c-section. Our best option would be to have twins next time round but obviously I can’t plan that!

  3. 26th January 2015 / 11:40 am

    I’m just so glad you’re getting the birth you want and form what you’ve said it’s totally the right thing for you. I cannot wait to meet him! x

  4. 26th January 2015 / 12:29 pm

    I had a natural birth with Jack but I totally understand your reasons for having an elective C-section with Athena and this baby. I can’t imagine the anxiety being bundles of fun and obviously getting baby out safely is the number one priority so why should you go through something you want to and more than likely end up distressed? I hate the phrase ‘too posh to push’ because that is not the case in the majority – anxiety is a real thing and shouldn’t be made light of.

    I think you are very brave for talking about it as there are many people out there who will judge simply from the title without reading what you have to say. You are doing what works best for you and your family and keeps both you and baby safe .

    Hoping for a stress free rest of the pregnancy for you and look forward to hearing all about the new little one once they arrive xx

    • 26th January 2015 / 12:30 pm

      That should say something you don’t want to*

    • 26th January 2015 / 12:48 pm

      Thank you Bex! I really do think that maternal choice (in all aspects of pregnancy, not just birth) sadly gets so overlooked in favour of what is ‘normal’ (whatever that is!)

  5. 26th January 2015 / 12:40 pm

    I’m choosing a section too when I ‘could’ birth vaginally. People do look at you like you have two heads but it’s the right option for me x

    • 30th January 2015 / 2:30 pm

      Yes! the amount of people who said ‘oh poor you’ when they found out what sort of birth I had, but before I said that I requested it was surprising!

  6. 26th January 2015 / 1:10 pm

    I’ve had two c sections, the first was an emergency after 34 hours in labour. Sadly, that hospital were insistent that I would have to have a VBAC for future babies and the idea of going through all that again, perhaps with another emergency CS at the end of it was pretty horrifying. However, when the time came we had moved and the new hospital were wonderful, allowing me a free choice. I took the CS and have never regretted it. Part of me is sad that I will never experience a natural birth but meeting my baby in a calm and happy state, rather then the mess I was in first time, was wonderful. There is a lot of negativity about C sections and a lot of myths too but they really can be the best option for some of us. I think sometimes mums feel the need to make excuses for a c section or to hide it altogether, so well done for speaking out about your choice!
    (tons about c sections and the lack of evidence behind some of the claims about them on my blog by the way!)

    • 30th January 2015 / 2:31 pm

      So ridiculous that your first hospital wouldn’t let you have another CS, I’ll be visiting your blog over the weekend for a read!

  7. 26th January 2015 / 1:34 pm

    great topic. i have so many friends that had an elective VBAC. i think given the choice, everyone should choose what works best for them! same thing holds true for attachment parenting and other types of parenting (i happen to be an AP too). 🙂 #mummymonday

  8. 26th January 2015 / 2:43 pm

    I had a second c-section as well. The midwives did put pressure on me to try for a vbac but I had made up my mind after speaking to the consultant. It does not matter how babies are born, as long as they arrive healthy. 🙂

  9. 26th January 2015 / 4:36 pm

    I can totally understand your reasons for wanting a C-Section second time round. I have had to have 2 C-Sections because I have a bicornuate uterus and my babies end up breech. I would have loved to experience a natural birth but or me it simply wasn’t to be so there is no point worrying. Plus as you say there are many positives to an elective c-section as I too am a planner and like to have things arranged! Unfortunately however LM decided to make an appearance a week before my elective c was booked. I still had to have a c-section but it was definitely no where near as calm an experience as my first was! Great post and hope all goes well for you, thanks for linking with #MaternityMondays xx

  10. 26th January 2015 / 7:21 pm

    My first was an emergency c section but with my second it was elective. It was so much better second time around. Glad I made that choice. I’m like you though, I’m a bit more attachment parenting orientated so people were surprised at my choice but whp cares what they thought lol. Good luck x

  11. 26th January 2015 / 7:55 pm

    I think it’s great you’re going for another c-section. With my first I was induced, had a horrendous birth then had to have an emergency section. With my 2nd (who’s almost 3 weeks old) I was adamant I wanted a c-section which the consultant recommended too and what a difference. So much more relaxing and calmer. I was organised and totally prepared which I prefer 🙂 xx

  12. 26th January 2015 / 8:34 pm

    I had an emergency C section with my son at 33 weeks. I was desperate for a VBAC as I felt like a natural birth had been taken from me. I eventually got my VBAC and loved every minute of it. I’m so glad I got to experience both ways. I think any mother should be able to choose how they give birth x

  13. 27th January 2015 / 10:52 am

    Great to read about your experiences, I have had two natural births so don’t know much about cesarean births but recovery must be tricky. At the end of the day once you hold your baby and know they are well and healthy it all melts away! xx

  14. 27th January 2015 / 10:55 am

    I am glad you got to make the choice you felt was right for you – so important for womens feelings to be taken into account.

  15. 27th January 2015 / 12:14 pm

    What a lovely post.I’m so glad you got the option to do that.I wonder how many other mums are just brushed away and don’t get that second chance.

  16. 27th January 2015 / 1:32 pm

    What a great post! I was in the same position as you, fantastic story hun. We have to do whats better for us and our family xx

  17. 27th January 2015 / 1:35 pm

    We are so lucky to live in a time when we have these choices available to us and I’m really pleased you have been able to make the choice that’s right for you.

  18. 27th January 2015 / 8:25 pm

    Its lovely to read such a touching and honest story. I am so glad you got the birth you wanted and it helped ease your anxiety. I hope your second csection goes just as well. I dont think there are any rights or wrongs with giving birth as long as you do what feels right for you.

    Jess
    owlcrazymummy.blogspot.co.uk

  19. 27th January 2015 / 9:39 pm

    LOVE this post!

    If I ever have kids, I’m sure a C-section will be chosen – mainly due to health issues, but there are other reasons too. I don’t understand why people are so horrible when making a decision like this hasn’t come lightly.

    <3

  20. Little Treasures
    27th January 2015 / 10:00 pm

    So many comments! Great post. I had an emergency first time and chose a section again second time, just a few months ago. I have to say it was the best choice. I felt so relaxed, had everything organised and was able to do all the things I didn’t get to do first time like skin to skin and feeding soon after. It was amazing! Yes I would have loved to have experienced a natural birth but it wasn’t meant to be and I do not have any regrets.
    I must say though that I did find my recovery a lot slower 2nd time and it was pretty hard with a toddler as they wanted lifting and me to play with them on the floor etc which was tough saying I couldn’t for so long. Just something to bear in mind as I didn’t expect it to be as hard. Lots of friends and faily time if you can 🙂 Good luck!
    #mummymonday

    • 30th January 2015 / 2:36 pm

      Ahh thank you for the tips, I know that I won’t be able to lounge around on the sofa this time round as will need to look after and entertain Athena too, but I made sure I took all that into account before making my decision, and yes lots of friends and family have offered to help too!
      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  21. 28th January 2015 / 10:56 am

    I have never given birth so not really sure I am qualified to answer, but, I am glad you are doing what you want to do rather than being pushed and stressed out by doing something you don’t want to do x

  22. 28th January 2015 / 1:35 pm

    Interesting! My worst nightmare would’ve been a c-section, so I find it very interesting to read about elective c-section and the reasonings behind it. For me it was that insummountable fear of giving birth that made me fight for home births with the least intervention even as I was catergorised higher and higher risk in each of my pregnancies. I wanted my birthpool, my own den and the calm to do as my body told me to do. Same reasoning very different choice.

    • 30th January 2015 / 2:37 pm

      Yes, we all have different needs and desires, i’m glad you got to have the birth you wanted!

  23. 28th January 2015 / 8:19 pm

    I’m pleased that eventually you got what you wanted first time round and that this time there hasn’t been any issues. I had an elective csection with Amelia because she was a breech and although its not anytime soon to be having another it is something that I do think about. There were a few downs to my csection but overall it was pretty alright so I would maybe opt to have another. Who knows! Love the picture of all the people, I was really shocked about the amount of people around. Thanks so much for linking up and hopefully see you again! #MummyMonday (co-host) x

  24. 28th January 2015 / 8:33 pm

    I have to admit that I am always surprised when women voluntarily opt to have a caesarian. I have 6 children, the first were all born naturally and my 3rd was a really difficult labour as he was a big baby. With number 6 things just were not going to plan and after two days it resulted in an emergency section which I openly admit was the worst experience of my life, however I was thankful my baby was safe and well. The procedure was awful but the recovery even worse……I was out of action for 6 weeks and it took me almost a year to fully recover – not easy when you have a family to look after. Be warned, even with help its tough with another little one running around

    • 30th January 2015 / 2:39 pm

      Thanks for your comment Kara, And so sorry to hear your last birth didn’t turn out how you wanted it to and that you had such a long recovery! definitely can’t have been easy with so many other little ones needing your attention! I am hoping that not having been through a labour before will mean my recovery isn’t too drawn out!

  25. 28th January 2015 / 10:46 pm

    I have had a section and a vbac. the section was planned but still one of the worst experiences of my life. The VBAC was pretty horrible too but nowhere close to having a section. I think, now working in hospitals and in the theatres with women having sections… me and OH are thinking about adopting, rather than risking more major surgery. Having said that, again, working with pregnant women I will always back up a womans decision on how she wants to give birth 100% and have had actual arguments with consultants sticking up for women who have made the informed decision to have a section, which is scary and hilarious all at once. But it’s an amazing feeling knowing that someone trusts you & to be an advocate for them 🙂

  26. 29th January 2015 / 10:32 am

    I had a ‘natural’ delivery the first time around. It was awful. I was all set for demanding a C section the second time around and any intervention possible. Having had abdominal surgery and knowing how difficult I found the recovery changed my mind. When it came to it I decided to give it a go and see how it was. It all worked out really well this time – I couldn’t believe how much easier it all was. I believe that feeding was more difficult with my son because of how difficult the birth was. Its been a breeze with my daughter.

    Anyway, I’m firmly of the belief that the birth is just one day of parenting. It is the days, weeks, months and years afterwards that are more important.

    Good luck with your second delivery!

    • 30th January 2015 / 2:41 pm

      I love that belief, you’re so right. The birth is just one tiny moment in a new babies life!

  27. 29th January 2015 / 7:24 pm

    I had a c-section first time around and my experience was much like yours.

    I’m a definite advocate and I chose to have one the second time around too and although I’m glad I did, it wasn’t as easy as the first one and there was definitely more pain and a longer recovery time that the first. Still worth it though x x

  28. 29th January 2015 / 7:32 pm

    I think if you plan whatever is comfortable for you then that is the best way for you to labour I had a natural labour that went smoothly until the very end which left me needing two blood transfusions. x

  29. 30th January 2015 / 10:35 am

    I had two normal births then a c-section with my twins, which was because of complications. I can categorically say that I preferred the natural births. I totally get what you mean though. The thought of a natural birth is scary and at the time it can be traumatic, but the fact that I could walk around and enjoy my babies straight away afterwards meant everything. With my twins I was in agony afterwards, the pain was excruciating and I couldn’t move. Not nice at all 🙁

  30. 30th January 2015 / 12:32 pm

    I think this is very personal choice and every mum to be should pick what she thinks will be best for her and her family.

  31. Christine Caple
    30th January 2015 / 2:39 pm

    Very interesting. I had a CS for my first, which was meant to be planned because the baby was breech and couldn’t be turned, but it turned out as an emergency in the end as he decided to come early. I was very happy with this method, and requested a CS for my second. This was 30 years ago, so a lot has changed, but I was refused. My consultant said I couldn’t have one unless there was a medical need. My so called natural birth was a nightmare, it went on for hours and I lost over a pint of blood. I was refused an epidural because apparently I needed to feel any pain from the previous scar in case it was going to burst! Incidently I felt loads of pain from it and they took no notice, but it didn’t burst! So I would say that the CS wins hands down. You are lucky to have the choice. Good luck 🙂

  32. 30th January 2015 / 8:07 pm

    I actually don’t blame you.
    I.opted for a second c-section, my first was an emcs and it felt natural for me.
    Surreal knowing the day your baby will arrive but planning wise much easier

  33. 1st February 2015 / 3:57 pm

    I’ve had three natural births, drug free, with ten pound babies, and although excruciatingly painful, they were the best times of my life – because they were my choices – and I think everyone should be able to feel that way if medically possible. It’s no one else’s body but our own, no one else’s lives but our own and no one else’s business. I’m really happy you are able to make your birth choices.

  34. 2nd February 2015 / 8:32 pm

    We were total opposites in our first pregnancies. I was desperate not to have a c section. I had nightmares about it and was terrified of the prospect. I wanted a natural birth etc…

    Of course things never turn out that way do they? 38 hours later I was told I needed an emergency section and I sobbed uncontrollably all the way to theatre. My birth story wasn’t pleasant, there was lots of complications. My son was 10lbs.

    With my daughter after talking to the consultant I decided on a elective section. Good thing I did she was 11lbs! There are definitely lots of benefit with the second one – knowing the date and arranging childcare etc. although I will say the recovery was harder with a toddler to run after.

    I wish you the best of luck – motherhood is about choosing what is best for you and your family 🙂

  35. 2nd February 2015 / 9:19 pm

    I do totally get your fears of childbirth and I think that the decision to have a section was the right one for you. My first was an emergency section after induction and wasn’t pleasant at all. My second was a failed vbac ending in an emergency section under GA which was completly traumatising. The reason I started my blog in fact. My second baby was supposed to be an elective section but the doctors were very reluctant for me to have it. They eventually agreed to let me book in for 41 weeks but two days before I was due in they amended the surgery date to a further 4 days away, which was almost 42 weeks. I went into labour the day after my original surgery date and was devastated. Terrified. Desperate for a section, but they would not let me. I left the hospital with a sore and bruised neck thanks to a breathing tube, a bruised and battered body (from neck to toes) and a baby I couldn’t even look at. I suffered PND and PTSD and later found that my son was resuscitated at birth. 2 years later I had an elective with baby number 3 and it was an amazing experience. Perfect, as much as it could be. An though I wanted Elsie to be a VBAC baby, in the end an elective was the best decision for her too.
    However you choose to give birth, its important to feel supported and I am so glad that you are. Thank you so much for linking up to #MaternityMatters x x x

  36. 2nd February 2015 / 9:40 pm

    Thanks for writing about your c-sec choice. It’s really interesting to read about it and gain a different perspective. I’ve had two emergency cesareans and wanted a VBAC with baby no.2 but the reason for this was so I could drive soon after. I do wonder if my recovery would’ve been faster if I’d had a VBAC or whether it would’ve been better emotionally if I’d opted for a c-sec rather than try for a natural birth. X

  37. 3rd February 2015 / 12:56 am

    Even though natural childbirth is an amazing experience you have to follow your instinct and you had your reasons to opt for a c section.
    Babies often don’t become engaged until labour though so I’m sure if you opted otherwise everything would’ve gone smoothly too 🙂 x

  38. 3rd February 2015 / 11:21 am

    Oh wow I didn’t know that you were able to choose to have a c-sec 2nd time round, I think that’s fantastic. Not sure that’s the same here, have not had any hints at that yet despite me hinting that’s what I would like.
    I too had c-sec first time round and I have no regrets about it at all. It was 100% the best thing for us!!!

  39. 3rd February 2015 / 1:24 pm

    I found this absolutely fascinating 🙂 As someone who is of the opinion that a c-section would be the worst outcome (for me), it’s a relief to read a post that paints it as such a positive one! I’m fairly terrified about giving birth a second time round, especially as we now know we’re having a boy, and after horror stories from my Mum about how my brother was huge and how his shoulders got stuck (yes, ouch) I’m a wee bit petrified! Thank you for sharing this – as I said, it’s so lovely to read about positive c-section experiences 🙂 xxx

  40. Ryan Costello
    5th February 2015 / 2:49 am

    It’s entirely your choice and only right that you should get to make that choice. Our first born was natural and the second was an emergency section. I think I speak for my wife as well when I say that we’d have rather planned to have the section that have it come about as an emergency.

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