Last I left you I was planning a VBAC with my second daughter. I am happy to announce that my beautiful daughter Hannah Eve Pugh was born via successful VBAC on Valentine’s Day (her due date!) Since returning home from the hospital I have had several friends, church, family, and others ask me which one I preferred – vaginal or caesarean. Surprisingly my answer hasn’t been as easy as I thought it’d be.
Immediately after birth, one of my best friends asked me this exact question and without hesitation, I said, “c-section for the birth, vaginal for afterward.” About a week later as more “symptoms” popped up I wasn’t so confident in that answer. And for about another week or two, I was thinking, “why did I want to do this?”
As I type this, I am almost ten weeks postpartum, and I am just now able to say that I would do a VBAC again. That’s due in part to some labor, and after birth issues, I either wasn’t aware could happen or didn’t think WOULD happen. Now that I am more knowledgeable I can spread my wisdom to you.
1. You lose all shame
I had heard that once you’re in labor you don’t really care who looks down there, but I always thought that I WOULD care and totally be embarrassed by it. Well, I wasn’t. From being checked several times to having an internal monitor and catheter put in–to pushing with a room full of people watching and then being sewed up in front of those same people you really don’t care. All you care about is getting the baby out. Pushing is by far one of the hardest and most intense things I have ever done, and it takes ALL of your concentration. The Pope could have been in there and I wouldn’t have given a flip. And the best part is, neither do any of the people who are there and that’s pretty cool.
2. Your bottom may never be the same
Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it. You might get hemorrhoids. Yes, hemorrhoids. But wait isn’t that what old people get? Yes, old people and mothers. In fact, you might have already experienced them in pregnancy.
The pressure of the uterus and weight of the baby is enough to make these veins pop out of your bum. During labor, you can get them from pushing. I know, it doesn’t seem right that your bottom is the one to experience any discomfort when the baby came out of your nether region, but it CAN happen. And if it does I want you to be prepared. This was by far the biggest “what the heck is that” moment I had after my VBAC and probably the #1 reason I was ever hesitant about doing it all again.
It is easily the least talked about birth topic but probably one every hemorrhoid sufferer wants to talk about. And talk I did, to anybody that would listen. I immediately asked friends who had vaginal births if they got them and to my surprise, and relief, many had. What I gathered from my conversations and research is that they don’t usually go completely away, although a few friends said theirs did, they do become less painful, smaller and eventually, you don’t notice them. While you wait to see what will happen with them, you can find relief through Tuck pads, a peri bottle, lots of fiber and stool softeners!
3. Going to the bathroom is a chore
You know things won’t be right down there after giving birth, but you may not realize that something as simple as going to the bathroom becomes a 20-minute ordeal. I was a little familiar with bathroom troubles after my c-section, but I didn’t realize there were numerous items you had to bring with you after a vaginal birth!
Before leaving the hospital, you’re given a peri bottle to wash with, Tuck pads to line your massive pad, massive pads, dermoplast to soothe the area and if you got the hems, and some sort of cream. What they don’t give you is a giant bag to put it all in because that’s what you’ll need to carry it to the bathroom.
4. You might not heal as quickly as you expected
It’s hard to compare a vaginal birth versus a c-section because they are so different. One of the main differences is how you heal after each one. I was in the hospital for four days after my c-section. I remember not being able to sit up for the first three days and then waddling to the door the day I left for fear my insides would fall out of my incision.
After that, my biggest fear was that my incision would open. Once I got the staples out the fear and pain slowly subsided. In fact, I can’t even remember how long my incision bothered me, which leads me to believe it wasn’t long after my staples were removed at two weeks.
But since my baby didn’t come out of my abdomen the second time around the healing process was and still is a bit different. I didn’t have those initial four days of awfulness like I did with the c-section but instead had a steady blah feeling for a good five weeks. I was definitely expecting to be up and at it again well before my 6-week check up and while I could get up quicker and do things easier than with my c-section things just felt off for much longer.
5. You may have a new appreciation for your C-section
Going along with #2 I realized that my c-section wasn’t as awful as I had first thought. Sure, those first four days stunk and maybe even the first two weeks weren’t fun, but that’s about it. After having a VBAC I realized having a baby is hard work and a lot on your body, regardless of how you have it and with a VBAC comes a whole new set of issues. See #1!
Overall, I would definitely do my VBAC again. There were just a few things that caught me off guard!