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5 Things About Having a VBAC that Surprised Me

When I went to the doctor for the first time for my second pregnancy, I was pretty surprised when the doctor urged me to try for a VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean. My first baby was born in 1995 via C-section and I was fully expecting the same when I became pregnant in 1999 with baby number two. At that time, however, doctors were really on board with pushing that VBAC attempt, and while I was pretty bummed about it at first, I'm super glad that we went for it. Here are a few things that surprised me during the whole experience.

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1. It was pretty crazy. While I'd given birth before, I hadn't done it this way before. And it's a whole new ballgame. I only progressed to 3cm during my first delivery before I was whisked off to the operating room, so I really had no idea what vaginal birth was really like. And while I definitely knew the basics, going through it was pretty eye-opening.

2. Everyone stares at your crotch. Vaginal birth moms know what it's like to heave out a baby with a roomful of people eyeballing your nether regions, but as I had only had a limited time to labor the first time, it was pretty surreal to go through it VBAC-style. I know that some moms have to suffer through a prolonged pushing phase before their C-section, but for those who haven't, it's definitely new.

My first (and second, and third) VBACs were so much less stressful, and they were amazing for that reason.

3. VBACs can be pretty low-key. Of course, every experience is different, but my C-section birth was a little more hectic and rushed—not too uncommon because they are often an emergency situation (especially if it's your first C-section). My first (and second, and third) VBACs were so much less stressful, and they were amazing for that reason.

4. VBACs can be incredible. My first VBAC kind of sucked physically, I'll admit it. I had a healthy baby boy, but I endured some birth trauma that wasn't tons of fun to heal from. So while I was determined to have another VBAC with my third baby, I was totally unprepared for the crazy feeling of joy that overcame me when my girl was born. It hit me out of the blue. My recovery was awesome and I felt amazing after her birth. Not expecting that.

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5. I'm glad I did it. While I was initially pretty opposed to the idea of a VBAC way back in 1999, I'm so glad my OB urged me to go that route. Even by the time I had my third baby less than four short years later in 2002, less and less providers were encouraging moms to try for a VBAC—and now, some moms have to fight tooth and nail to even get a chance to try. Since I already had one VBAC under my belt, I received zero resistance for my third and fourth birth, and I'm grateful for that.

Photo via Twenty20/Gerik

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