Now that I’m over 3 weeks postpartum, I wanted to talk about the differences between my c-section recovery and my VBAC recovery! Many people have asked which recovery I prefer and I’m going to explain how each of them went!
Most people don’t experience both ways of birthing. I never expected to have a c-section but Peyton had other plans. Because of suspected IUGR and breech presentation, it was a scheduled c-section at 37 weeks. During the surgery, I was scared, I felt unsupported by my “birth team”, and it was painful. Laying there awake as I was getting cut wide open and not knowing if Peyton was going to be okay was a bit traumatic and I had so much fear. They gave me way more pain meds than I wanted and I had a hard time staying alert. I felt extremely nauseous when I got back to my room but as soon as the spinal wore off they wanted me up and walking. (If you have to have a c-section, this is the BEST thing you can do for yourself). It was VERY painful to sit up in bed and get to a standing position with an incision across your abdomen. Forget coughing or laughing! Nursing was difficult too because it felt like I kept putting pressure on my belly and it was really uncomfortable. If I moved a certain way, the incision would STING reeeeally bad and I’ll never forget that pain. It would take my breath away. YIKES.
If I had to say a positive, I would say that all my lady parts were completely intact and pain free! It was like nothing happened below the incision. At least you’re able to sit properly! 😂 But I don’t feel the risks of a c-section and surgery in general are worth the “perfectly intact lady parts”, even though it seems like a HUGE plus for me right now as I’m fresh out of a vaginal birth. Overall, it took about 2 weeks for me to feel back to normal… which honestly isn’t so bad for a c-section. I know some moms take more time than that and some less than me! Everybody is different!
This time around, having a VBAC, was SO different. Let me preface this by saying that I have had tailbone issues since I was pregnant with Peyton and they were exacerbated with this pregnancy. I’m not surprised since Wes was WAY bigger than she was. Immediately following his birth I was told that my perineum was COMPLETELY intact! For my first vaginal birth, I expected some degree of tearing there. I didn’t tear at all in that area. Instead, I tore internally which, if either of the two, you’d want to tear internally since the body heals faster that way. The only reason that even happened was because Weston came out with his hand and arm up by his head and the cord was wrapped around it… like so:
Birth photo coming through!
Thanks Weston! 🤦🏻♀️ BUT that just goes to show how AMAZING a woman’s body is. I’m a SMALL person. I am 90 pounds pre-pregnancy and 5’3 with very narrow hips. Weston was 8 pounds 3 ounces and 20.5 inches long. A pretty big boy for a very small person. My midwife was doing an INTENSE perineal massage while his head was crowning which I feel helped tremendously. ANYWAY back to the recovery!
This time around, when I got out of bed and into the bathroom… I fainted. Twice 😂 Apparently they expected that to happen to me since I am a small person and lost a lot of blood a very short time before that. So I was a little out of it at that point. Obviously there was swelling in the lady parts… a big baby head just came out of there! But that part wasn’t nearly as bad as the EXTREME tailbone pain I had. That is also not the norm because most women don’t have a crooked tailbone to begin with 😉 When the nurses asked which recovery was worse I couldn’t even answer that at the time. I could hardly get out of bed without help and getting from a sitting position to standing was excruciating. If my tailbone wasn’t so bad, it all would have been relatively easy. The swelling sucks, of course. That in combination with the tailbone pain… took about 2 weeks as well for me to feel like myself again. By “myself” I mean being able to SIT without being in discomfort lol I’m still struggling with some tailbone pain which I’m actively working on. I was able to walk around comfortably way quicker with a vaginal birth and that is SUPER helpful when you have a toddler to take care of too!
Soooo this all sounds painful and not fun at all but that’s birth! It’s messy, it’s painful, it’s hard work. That’s why they call it the fourth trimester!
I need to make a point in mentioning my recovery, mentally. That, 100% was better with my VBAC. I had a wonderful birth team, I felt a sense of redemption and strength, and I felt so proud of myself. Aaron and I bonded in a way I never thought possible and it was absolutely beautiful. I would always choose a vaginal birth over a c-section even though both recoveries had their fair share of difficulties.
Here is the birth video that my photographer, Paulina Splechta, made for us, in case you missed it!