What it was like after a C-Section and a VBAC

This isn’t just a comparison of my C-Section and VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) recovery. I’m pretty sure being a second-time mom has a lot to do with how things turned out.

Aside from preparing for birth, I was also bracing myself for postpartum. If I’m being honest, this was how motherhood took me the first time.

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Two years ago, I wasn’t sad that I had to undergo a C-section. I was smad (sad and mad) that recovering from the surgery was a bummer. It made caring for a newborn more challenging and made my mood sour.

Since then I’ve always hoped for a VBAC for our next baby(ies). By God’s grace, I had my VBAC more than two weeks ago and I must say things exceeded my expectations. (Don’t forget to do your part and prepare for VBAC!)

While I know those who birth vaginally recover faster, I’m still amazed by the difference that I had to make this post. 

Here’s how things were after my first and second birth.

Right After Giving Birth

1st baby – CS

I was knocked out. Right after they took a photo of me with my newborn, the next thing I knew was waking up four hours later. We didn’t experience Unang Yakap and I was worried that Tikoy was already hungry. I got to nurse him another hour later. 

2nd baby – VBAC

After getting my stitches, my husband and I were chatting with my doctor while our newborn was breastfeeding. The nurses wheeled us to our room maybe an hour after I gave birth. I was awake and very much present.


1st baby – CS

So-so. We were like, “Wow the baby’s here!” and “Now, what do we do?” It’s not the grandest feeling.

2nd baby – VBAC

Light and normal and cool. Maybe giddy? I was like, “We did it!” We knew we could better take care of the newest person in the room. It’s less of the unknown.

Newborn Care

1st baby – CS

Even though I’d read a lot about newborn care, we got anxious whenever the baby wouldn’t stop crying. It kept us awake and wondering what was wrong or if we were not doing something we should.

As first-time parents, we used a newborn care tracker to log the times of his feeding, sleeping, poop and pee. (If you want a downloadable and printable Newborn Care Tracker, you can get mine at the end of the page.)

2nd baby – VBAC

Whenever the baby cried, Kael would bring him to me, and I would nurse him. Once he was done breastfeeding, hubby would help him burp, rock him for a few minutes, and then put him back in his bassinet. Or many times he’d just put baby Ocean beside me. Baby would either nurse again or sleep. 

The routine was easy. We didn’t use a tracker anymore because we thought everything was normal.


1st baby – CS

Understandably, we were wondering if I had milk. Each time our firstborn cried, we worried he wasn’t getting any nutrition from me.

It turned out I have plenty of milk and it was starting to clog my milk ducts. A lactation nurse gave me a massage and taught me other breastfeeding basics.

Maybe three days later I felt my milk coming in. It was uncomfortable and I was leaking each time the thought of my baby or breastfeeding came to mind.

2nd baby – VBAC

Confident me knew I have milk (because I’m still breastfeeding our firstborn) and I was patient in helping our newborn have a good latch.

Milk coming in happened two days after and I could feel it. I nursed the newborn and the toddler on demand so I won’t have clogged ducts. They keep my milk supply enough.

What’s cool the second time around is my boobies are not leaking milk anymore. I can still fill a milk catcher but not as much as I could before.

Pain & Mobility

1st baby – CS

It took me about five minutes just to get off my hospital bed the first time. My head was spinning and my body felt like it was in slow motion as I tried to walk to the bathroom. I could only make baby steps.

At home, I still had to deal with the pain from surgery. Rising from the bed was an everyday struggle as my back hurt big time as well.

2nd baby – VBAC

Aside from the pain in the perineum area, my body felt fine. There was dizziness the first time I stood up to eat my breakfast but it was notably lighter than what I had after c-section surgery. I found I could move with ease.

Sitting down hurt but it was bearable because I was taking pain relievers. What could rival the c-section incision pain was postpartum cramps radiating down to my stitches (or at least that’s how it felt like). Once or twice I forgot to take my pain relievers so my 3rd-degree laceration reminded me of labor.

Baby blues

1st baby – CS

I think this is common with first-time moms regardless of how they gave birth. It’s the dawning of responsibilities, getting through hormonal fluctuations, dealing with body pains, figuring out breastfeeding, meeting newborn demands, and recovering from childbirth while being sleep deprived. I kinda mourned for my single life or the time I spent doing whatever I wanted. I had thought, did we really want a baby?

2nd baby – VBAC

Aside from the occasional regret and wishing I gave birth on water, I was fine. I probably dodged baby blues this time. Maybe we expected worse? Maybe we accepted that we won’t have time and sleep again? But our first days with the new baby went smoothly because we knew what to expect and what to do. It made for better days ahead.

The succeeding weeks

1st baby – CS

All my body craved was sleep, rest (and time for myself), and I couldn’t get it. My body felt beaten. I was afraid every time I’d be left alone with the newborn. In my mind, if he cried, it was freaking hard to move to get to him and I was not even sure how to console him.

2nd baby – VBAC

Sometimes I forget that I just gave birth and I’m still recovering. I had to remind myself that I’m still healing and had to take things easy. We have fewer night wakings too and I hope it’ll continue as the baby grows.

There are a couple of similarities between my first and second birth aftermaths. It doesn’t have anything to do with my body though.

  • We’d been home for almost a week and yet we were still not done unpacking our hospital bags.
  • I still don’t have time to do other things. Our hands are full with a baby and a toddler (who is like a tornado at home).

I’m not saying every mom would experience these or would feel better after their second birth. Comedian Laura Clery was exhausted and had night sweats and stuff after giving birth to their second baby.

But what I believe helped me was that I got my VBAC. My birth plan was mostly fulfilled. I don’t have a deep cut in my abdomen and I can move freely unlike before.

And I have help from family again.

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Sabi nga ni Iya Villania Arellano, “Mothering is hard.”

That is so true. But I’m glad I get to enjoy it better this time.

While we were still at the hospital, Hubby and I recalled the events of my childbirth. We were chillin’, savoring our alone time with baby Ocean. We had video calls with our firstborn and were happy to learn he’s doing well without us my milk.

Once we were home, Tikoy was just all over baby O. Guess it paid off, preparing toddler for the arrival of his baby brother.

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