For many mothers, a caesarean birth marks the beginning of a run of caesarean sections for subsequent children.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If it’s medically safe and if it’s your choice to have one, a vaginal birth after caesarean, commonly called a VBAC, is a remarkable experience.
Our parenting editor, Alys Gagnon, shares her VBAC birth story.
It was my girlfriend’s pain-free water birth that sparked my curiosity.
My son had been born breech in an operating theatre by a routine elective caesarean section. It was a positive and joyful experience, one I’m glad I had. William stayed resolutely heads up in my womb from about 31 weeks, refusing all the prompting I gave him to turn; hand stands in the pool, lying in bed with my bum propped up underneath every cushion I could find, acupuncture. The acupuncturist swore a 100 per cent success rate, but William defied her.
He’s five years old now, and defies authority on a semi-regular basis so I’m not so surprised he was determined to do things his way.
William was born two days past his due date, but despite that I didn’t even have Braxton-Hicks contractions. I had no frame of reference for labour and delivery at all, save a couple of girlfriends assuring me that it hurt like hell.
So, when my dear friend told me that despite three days of pre-labour, and about 15 hours of active labour before giving birth to her daughter in a bath at a Canberra birth centre she experienced no pain my interest was piqued.
I knew even before falling pregnant that I wanted to have a crack at labour.
What is it really like to give birth? Post continues after video.
When I did eventually fall pregnant with my daughter I floated a natural birth with the staff at my hospital during my first trimester. They told me it was my choice and that they would support me either way.