Fort Worth , Texas Birth Photography | Birth Story of Elias O’Neill Ulate
I don’t remember much from the birth of my first son because I was given so many drugs; and honestly, I’m pretty sure I blocked some of it out because it was so hard to deal with. All I have to remember it by is little mental clips of moments, and a handful of pictures my husband was able to take. I wasn’t able to have immediate skin to skin, my husband wasn’t able to cut the cord, and I wasn’t able to hold or nurse my son until hours after I woke up from surgery. My husband told me that Ezra, our son, came out blue and limp. And that I was incredibly close to needing a blood transfusion. He said it was the scariest moment of his life because on one end of the room were doctors making sure his son was okay and breathing, and on the other end was me passed out bleeding on a table. But in the end, we all made it out perfect and we have a beautiful healthy little boy!
I knew that if I ever got pregnant again I would want to attempt a VBAC. I brought it up to my OB/GYN a few times and she said she thought I was a great candidate for one and proceeded to tell me she had great success with VBAC's. When I got pregnant with our second son, I brought up the idea of a vaginal birth to her and her whole demeanor changed. She made it sound like there was a small chance of even being able to attempt a trial of labor. I was told that I could not be induced by any means and would have to go into labor on my own if I wanted a VBAC. Now I know for many that might not seem like a problem, but since I’m a type 1 diabetic, I would need to have my baby at 37/38 weeks gestation; and not a lot of people go into spontaneous labor at 37 weeks. There were a lot of rules that I felt were unnecessary, and that would, quite frankly, prevent me from having my dream birth. The hospital is also notorious for not being VBAC friendly or supportive. Almost every labor and delivery nurse I talked to there gave me a “pfft.. good luck” look when I told them my plan to attempt a vaginal birth. So I made the decision to switch doctors and hospitals! And my God, that was the best decision ever!!
On October 6th, 2017 I went into spontaneous labor 4 days before my induction date. I was 36+4 days gestation. I had to be induced with Ezra, so I was shocked my body did it on its own! We met our birth photographer, Kourtnie at the hospital and were seen by triage. I was 1 centimeter dilated and having consistent contractions, so the nurse told me I should walk for an hour and that would determine if I was going to be admitted or not. We came back and I was 3 centimeters! I never got past 1.5 cm with Ezra! I was in active labor all by myself!! I was actually doing this!
I had terrible back pain, so Kourtnie was texting her friend Rebecca, who is also a doula, asking for some good methods to help alleviate the pain. To my surprise, her friend offered to come and take on the role of my doula for free! I was blown away by her generosity to step in and help a complete stranger! When Rebecca showed up she instantly stepped in and tried different techniques to help the baby turn. He was sunny side up which is why I was having such horrible back labor. I literally felt nothing in my stomach-it was all in my back and butt. I had to yell through the contractions because it was almost unbearable. Nothing was easing the pain. We tried different positions, the shower, sitting on the toilet, using a peanut ball and birthing ball. But thanks to Rebecca, the baby flipped into the proper position. I remember asking why I didn’t hear anyone else yelling like I was, and the nurse said, “they all got epidurals But you’re doing great!” I was starting to get embarrassed for being so loud. I didn’t want to scare the other laboring moms or ruin their experience. But yelling was all I could do to keep going.
After about 17/18-ish hours I was still stuck at 4.5-5cm. The doctor came in and asked if I wanted my water broken. He said it would help me dilate but would increase my contraction pains. I took a minute to think about it and asked him “So it will help things move along?” He said yes, and I replied with, “Alright, let’s get this show on the road! Let’s break my water!” OH. MY. GOD. The instant my water broke my contractions got 1000 times worse! Back to back with no breaks. My yelling got so much more loud and deep that my throat started hurting. My nurse asked if I wanted nitrous gas, but I said no. She then said I could use the mask to muffle the screams. This helped so much! It got me out of my head about being self-conscious about my yelling. It felt awesome to be as loud as I wanted and not have to worry about anything else other than getting through the contractions. Before I knew it, my body was trying to push. Dana, my nurse decided to check my cervix and said I was at 9.5 centimeters. I couldn’t believe it! I had gone from 4.5 to 9.5 centimeters within an hour. So I got into position on the bed and my body began doing its own thing- I had no control over pushing. With every contraction, my body pushed, and it was so painful and relieving at the same time to push. Within minutes I had pushed my son out and he was on my chest. All I could say was “we did it! Oh my God, we did it!” At 9:33 pm Elias O’Neill Ulate was born. I was finally able to have immediate skin to skin; Andrew was able to cut the umbilical cord, and I was able to nurse him instantly and he latched on like a champ!
Almost 3 months later, I am still riding the high! I am in complete awe of my ability to birth a baby. My body is not broken like I felt it was previously, and I know I couldn’t have done it without my incredible birth team. Andrew, Rebecca, and Kourtnie are a huge reason I was able to achieve an unmedicated VBAC. And I am forever grateful to them.