Continued from A Birth Story, Part 1

And then I heard a pop.

I gasped, and then I felt it, at exactly 5:11 a.m. A huge gush of warm water. On my couch. Thank goodness for that blanket!

I had this irrational fear during my pregnancy that my water would break in the produce aisle of the grocery store. I don’t know why, I was just terrified of it. So having it break on the couch was preferable, yet…messier. Because had I been standing, TLB’s head would have acted as sort of a plug, making the gush more of a trickle.

Instead, I was reclined, so the gush was actually like dumping an industrial sized Gatorade cooler onto my yoga pants.

“My water broke!” I exclaimed.

My sister jumped into action.

“What do I do?!”

“Um…get a towel?”

She rushed off to the bathroom and returned with a towel. As I shuffled to the bathroom with it between my legs, she ran upstairs to wake up Michael, who had been sleeping the whole time and didn’t even know my family had arrived. I wish I could have seen his face when she woke him announcing the news.

(Note: I promised you an honest birth story. So from here on out there will be talks of fluids and pain and…aftermath. I really appreciated mothers who were honest with me regarding the ins and outs of birth, which is why I want to be honest here. Just giving you a heads up if you’re not interesting in these kinds of things!)

I actually never really expected my water to break at home, since many women don’t have theirs break until they’re much further into their labors…many even having them membranes manually ruptured later on. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect when it happened. Well…there’s a LOT of fluid. And for a while, it just keeps coming and coming and coming. I sat on the toilet and waited for it to slow down enough so I could get things ready, and noticed that I had also lost my mucus plug. And it looked gross.

Really gross. Yet, that didn’t stop me from announcing it to anyone who was listening outside the door that in fact, I had LOST MY MUCUS PLUG!

My sister returned with a fresh pair of yoga pants and a pair of the big old throw away underwear I had bought for the occasion. I put on a pad (for the first time since middle school, I think) and started packing up my toiletries.

My original plan had been to labor at home as long as possible, going to the hospital when I felt I was close enough to warrant being there. Generally, doctors prefer for you to deliver within 24 hours of your water breaking to prevent infection, so I knew I had a lot of time. But on the advice of my mom, I decided to call the maternity ward and let them know I would be in at some point. I talked to the nurse and she suggested I take a little time to get things together, but head in within the hour.

I was skeptical. I had hours and hours! But OK, I’ll get things together and see how it goes.

And then, like a freight train, the contractions started coming.

Hard.

And close together.

I found my best coping method was leaning against a wall or the counter and swaying from side to side until the contraction passed. In between, I packed up the final stuff for the bag, straightened some last minute things around the house…and made Michael put the air conditioner in the guest room for my family.

Yes, really. It’s weird the way your brain works during labor. Suddenly, that seemed really important to me.

So, he did! And afterwards he said he wanted to move the cars around in the driveway, which seemed perfectly reasonable to me until about five minutes later.

“Michael,” I said quietly.

“Yes?”

“I think we need to go. Now.”

~

We live very close to the hospital, so I luckily did not have to labor long in the car. We pulled up in front of the hospital just after 6 a.m. I climbed out of the car to wait while Michael parked it, and noticed that my pants were soaked through completely. As I gripped the railing outside the door and swayed through a contraction, I complained to my sister about my pants. I’m pretty sure she told me not to worry about it.

You would have to ask my family if this is really true or not, but I don’t think I ever became too mean or bitchy during my labor. However, I do remember thinking my sister was walking way. too. slow. into the hospital, and shoved her into the elevator.

Shoved her.

Oops.

We arrived at the Women’s Wing and were greeted by a nurse who would escort us to our room and be with us all day. Now, before we could get to that room, Michael remembered to ask a very important question.

See, when we took our childbirth class it was taught by one of the Labor and Delivery nurses, who told us that we should absolutely ask if one of the corner rooms was available when we arrived. The corner rooms were the big rooms and well, why not ask?

So he did. He asked the nurse if a corner room was available and she looked at us like we were nuts. What did we think this was, the Ritz? The corner room? Really?

Well, there was a corner room, she said, but it wasn’t set up. They’d have to do that first. You know, make the bed, bring in equipment and monitors.

“I’ll wait!” I cried out, and proceeded to have a  contraction hanging onto the hallway wall.

 I don’t know what she thought of us in that moment, but she left us to set up the room. And you know what? I’m so glad he asked! The big room was awesome.

~

When the room was ready, I was handed a gown and told to take off everything I was wearing and put it on. Know how fun it is to get undressed while having a contraction and leaking amniotic fluid everywhere? Not so fun. Not so fun at all. And those gowns? Do NOT cover your butt. Not even a little. Here’s a fact about birth: EVERYONE will see your butt.

Everyone.

There is no such thing as modesty anymore and there will come a point when you just don’t care.

In that moment, I still cared. So I shuffled to the bed the best I could while holding the back of the gown closed.

Ha.

It’s hospital procedure that you get in bed and are hooked up to a fetal heart monitor, blood pressure cuff and an IV for 20 minutes when you first arrive to see how things are going. I hated this part and could not wait to get out of the bed. I was also terrified of the IV. Not labor, but the IV! I had never had one before and the thought made me nauseous.

Having the IV was my least favorite part about having a baby. I’m serious.

The nurse checked to see how far along I was, and I was disappointed to find I was still only three centimeters dilated, the same I had been earlier in the week. At this point, the contractions were less than three minutes apart and they HURT. And I still had to get to 10?

I did my best to turn inward and use my prenatal yoga skills to focus and breathe.

They still hurt. Oh man, did they hurt.

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