Welcome Eli Ryan!
On July 7th, 2023 we welcomed our son, Elijah Ryan Tamburo into this world. At 7 lbs 11 oz and 21.5 inches long – we were instantly in love with our newest addition (and I am officially very outnumbered by the males in my household)!
Leading Up to Eli’s Birthday:
As shared in my birth story with our first son James; I had to have a C-section due to his breech presentation throughout pregnancy. Once you have a C-section it can be hard to find a supportive provider who is willing to allow an attempt for VBAC (or “TOLAC” – Trial of Labor after Cesarean).
I knew there were risks with either outcome and after doing a LOT of research, I was confident that if at all possible, I was going to go for a VBAC this time around. Leading up to the end of this pregnancy, everything was lining up… the baby was head down and a prior breech c-section made me a good candidate for a VBAC. However – the real kicker is that your body must go into labor on it’s own. Due to an increase in risk for uterine rupture, most providers will not induce you.
That being said, there are a lot of natural methods of helping prepare your body for labor and whether or not they are wives-tales I knew I would be trying (almost) all of them. This consisted of a LOT of walking, 4+ dates a day, Evening Primrose Oil daily starting at 37 weeks, chiropractic work, acupuncture and more. At 36 weeks we began our weekly OB appointments and they began to check for any signs of dilation or my body’s progress towards labor. Each week, I left disappointed with news that there were 0 signs thus far.
Fast forward to my due date July 2nd, I was anxious to go to my 40 week OB appointment the following day with hopes that surely my body had progressed and I could get a membrane sweep. After a 40 minute stress test to make sure the baby was doing okay, they checked me and yet again I was still at 0cm dilated, baby’s head was high, etc. I left in tears as I knew we were quickly approaching the impending ‘deadline’ for my scheduled c-section on July 7th.
On July 5th, I went to my herbalist for accupuncture work specifically focused on the points that can help to progress labor. By that night I was starting to have mild cramping but very sporadic and not real painful.
July 6th I continued having sporadic contractions but still very inconsistent and far apart. By the time I was laying down for bed preparing for the next morning where we would be heading to the hospital to check-in for my scheduled c-section procedure, I started having stronger contractions every 7-14 minutes. I could no longer comfortably lay there through them and I ended up downstairs on the couch at 2AM to avoid waking Mike. With a small sliver of hope, I called the off-hours OB Nurse line and spoke with a midwife telling her what I was experiencing. Unfortunately they were still too inconsistent and far apart for them to take it seriously. Once again, I hung up feeling defeated.
Needless to say, I didn’t get an ounce of sleep that night. At ~ 5:30/6:00am, my mom (bless her!) convinced me to go on a neighborhood walk. I was being very pessimistic and at this point, just wanted to be done with the c-section so I could be done with this “pointless” pain and discomfort. She encouraged me that it was worth a try and it ‘seemed’ like my body was really trying to begin the labor process so maybe this would nudge it along. Sure enough, the contractions picked up to a fairly consistent spacing of 6 minutes apart.
When we got home from the walk, I decided to give one more call to my OB off-hours nurse line. The midwife who answered this time told me to go ahead and pack our bags and they’d be happy to at least take a look. Regardless we were going to have to check-in at the hospital within the next 2 hours for the c-section so it was more of a ‘just-in-case’ check before the procedure.
We checked in at the hospital and they got us into triage in the OR. I had the tiniest ounce of hope as the contractions continued to feel fairly intense and regularly spaced out. YET AGAIN – they checked and I was still at 0 CM with all signs pointing towards no chance at natural labor. I finally fully surrendered to what was and accepted the next steps of the planned c-section birth. At this point, I was just completely over the pain, ready to move on to the epidural and meet our baby. We waited patiently as they told us the anesthesiologist would be to our room ‘ next ‘.
Minutes dragged on and we learned the anesthesiologist was backed up with a few emergency situations. Well.. thank GOODNESS that they were delayed because during this time – I experienced 3 of the WORST rounds of contractions imaginable. I had never felt anything like it… I was crying, yelling, back arching and felt from my ribcage down like my body was trying to push the baby out. I kept repeating to Mike ” I cannot do another one of these “, “I need the pain meds NOW”. I legitamately thought if I had to go through another one, I would pass out from the overwhelming pain.
At this point, it became a bit blurry but I remember 4 people rushing in as they had seen my contractions on the outside screens intensify. One of them proceeded to check me and low-and-behold, I was at 6 CM….! 0 to 6 within a 2 hour time frame. No wonder the pain went from manageable to not within minutes. She looked at me and said “Okay, what’s it going to be mama? Do you want to try for labor or do you want to move forward with the c-section? We need to know so we can get you an epidural or get you over to Labor and Delivery.”
All of a sudden all the ‘what if’ fears flooded in and honestly I was in such a state of shock and pain and I didn’t know what I wanted anymore, I just knew I wanted the pain to go away. Lucky for me, I had my supportive and sound-minded husband next to me who calmly said ” Jackie, this is what you wanted. let’s go for it” and that was it. They closed up the sides of the bed, told Mike to grab our bags and we were raced from the OR to the Labor and Delivery rooms. It honestly felt like a movie.
I gladly accepted an epidural once we got settled into our L&D room and after about an hour of “rest”, they checked me and I was officially at 10 CM – ready to push this baby out. WOW – what a whirlwind and change of events.
About an hour and a half later, I got to meet our (surprise) BOY into my arms and experience the golden hour that I had hoped and prayed for! It was the greatest blessing and I truly believe it was divine intervention as I had been praying for a “sign” from God all week long on which method of delivering this baby was the safest/right for us. He answered my prayer with the timing of the anesthesiologist, the crazy contractions and allowing me to safely deliver our little miracle. Turns out it really just required me to surrender my ‘plan’ to Him!
We are soaking in these days as a family of four. James is smitten with his little brother or “His Eli” / “His baby” and we can’t wait to see their brother bond grow for all the years to come.