Attack of the VBAC: Why moms who only have C-sections can feel like losers

So … I had C-sections.
Two of ’em.

When I went into labour with D, it was a long, drawn-out, basically horrible affair that went on forever and ended with a semi-emergency C-section. (You can read about it all here, here, here, and here if you’re new around these parts)

I was happy to have the C-section (because I just wanted him OUT and I would have gratefully ripped him out of my nostril rather than stay in labour another minute). I wasn’t afraid of the procedure, it went well, and I was pleased with the recovery period.

When I was pregnant with C (who was due 22 months after D was born), I knew I would schedule a C-section. I’d had a great experience, I liked the idea of knowing when she would be born (I hate surprises), and definitely wanted to avoid the agony I’d experienced the first time around.

But mainly? I just felt like there was NO WAY I could have a baby “that way.”

After pushing for two hours with D (with an hour break in between, making it three hours of hell), he hadn’t descended at all. We would later learn that D had been stuck (on mah bones or something like that), and he had a mark on his head to prove it.

I kind of figured that, hey, my body couldn’t do it the first time around. It probabbbbly can’t do it the second time around, either. To me, honestly … it’s hard to even imagine that zillions of babies are born that way, because it just seemed to impossible for me.

I was very cool with that decision, and went on to have another great C-section to deliver our beautiful baby C. I have talked to other moms about to have C-sections, and talked them off the ledge. I am basically a C-section spokesperson or something. They’re great! Go team!

But then the VBACs started …

I began hearing of more and more people have VBACs (that’s “vaginal birth after caesarean,” in case you aren’t up on the lingo). I was surprised by how many I heard about. I was kind of shocked that anyone would risk trying to have a baby “that way” after not being able to do it the first time.

But again and again, I heard great things. Successes. Everyone was pleased. People were relieved to have avoided another C-section.

And I felt a little sad.

I wondered if I had made a mistake in not trying for a VBAC. I wondered if I was a huge chicken or a baby or a diva or any of the other things that us C-section-ers can be called. I wondered if it would have happened for me this time? If it would have worked? If my body could have gotten it together and made it happen?

Let me just say: I am so happy and blessed to have two healthy children via C-section, and I wouldn’t change anything.

This isn’t me. I don’t have any pictures of what happened below my sheet, and I’m pretty happy about it.

But part of me still feels like I maybe missed out on something, by not ever having a baby vaginally. We are probably not having more kids (more details on that later), so I will probably never know what it feels like to have a baby vaginally.

Of course, that means my Queen Victoria will probably never have a watermelon squeeze out of it. I will also probably never have stitches down there, or tears, or cuts, or problems sitting down, or any of the other owie stuff that I have heard about. As I joke to Darling Husband, I’m basically a virgin!

After a lot of thought, I realized I was sad about not getting to “succeed” at childbirth, which is basically the finish line of pregnancy.

Everyone who squeezes a baby out of their womanhood is basically a total hero, and everyone agrees. I am always fantastically amazed and impressed at my friends who give birth that way.

The thing about C-sections is that you are not a champion. You are letting someone else (the doctors) do the work for you, in a sense. You do all of the work carrying the baby for nine months, and you certainly deal with pain, but you don’t get that final, victorious moment of knowing that YOU did it. YOU got the baby here, and it was hard work, and everyone knows it.

I’m sad to have missed that feeling of accomplishment, because clearly it is something very special.

I may not feel like I “won” at childbirth, but I definitely won at having babies.

That is what I need to remember.

4 Comments on “Attack of the VBAC: Why moms who only have C-sections can feel like losers

  1. The main thing to remember is to make sure that mommy and baby are both safe and that the baby comes out fine. Whether you have a vaginal birth or a c-section makes no difference. I myself had a VB and had complications as soon as my son was born (post-partum hemorrhaging). More than two years later, I still have some issues.
    Your babies know that you're a great mommy!


  2. No matter how babies come into the world, their Mama is a champion. You accomplished two healthy pregnancies, two successful births, and you have taught, nurtured and loved two amazing little kiddos. Nothing to worry about there, Mama! You're amazing every day!


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