So there I was, 4 days overdue. I had an NST at my midwife’s office, and after trying to get him to stay still long enough for a good enough reading (the nurse noted that he was the most active post-dates baby she’d ever tried to monitor), they noticed one heart decel that made my midwife go “Hmmmmm….” The verdict was they were going to send me to the hospital for a 2-hour monitoring sesh. If all looked okay, like she assumed it would, I would just go home until my body decided to kick him out.
I had all 3 other babies at 4 or 5 days past my due date, and earlier that morning I really thought it was go time for this one. I’d had some real, painful contractions for a few hours, but they went away after I took a nap. So I asked her to check me. Ever since learning I was at a 7 without even knowing it with Leyna, my 2nd, I’ve always had high hopes/some real fear that would be the case with each one after. We don’t live close to the hospital I deliver at, and I’d really like to not ever have a baby on the side of the road. Knowledge is power!
I was sitting solidly at a 3, which was no 7, but it was progress, and that was welcome news. She asked if I’d like her to strip my membranes while her gloved hand was already in the vicinity, and I excitedly agreed. I felt like labor was imminent, and I was happy to get a little push down the hill if that would help.
As I sat up, I felt a gush of fluid, but assumed it was the gel from the exam.
The plan was to head over to the hospital, but to first stop and eat something because I hadn’t had a real meal all day. As I left the office and got in my car there was another gush, then another as I was driving, and another. By the time I was in line to order my food, I looked like I’d peed my pants. I was 99.9% sure my water broke by that point, which made my meal EVEN MORE IMPORTANT, so there I stood with my pee pee pants, avoiding eye contact with people, hoping I could get my food without anyone pointing out the obvious.
I took the food to my car and scarfed it down while I called Scott. “Hey! I’m headed to the hospital to get monitored, but they’re going to admit me, I’m sure. My water broke.”
Okay, now what you need to know is that my water has NEVER broken before I’m at a solid 8, on the cusp of transition, and about to meet my baby. And then it’s always with the help of a midwife and what looks like a crochet hook.
“WHAT?! OK. LEAVING NOW. OMG,” Scott panicked. Naturally, he felt like I was about to have a baby in a parking lot without him.
I assured him that he had plenty of time. Then I begged him to please calm down and not forget all my bags, and my camera, and my charger, and my nursing pillow. And snacks!
When I got to L&D for monitoring, I mentioned that I thought my water broke. I got the “well, we’ll test it to be sure” talk, but once the nurse saw how much I was leaking, there was no need. It was pretty obvious, and they got moving on admitting me. She checked me, and I was at a 3-4. No real change from the hour before at my appointment. I wasn’t having strong contractions at that point, nor did they seem regular, and I was thinking I was about to have a really long night. There was some talk that they would want to start Pitocin if I didn’t show any progress by the next morning.
That screwed with me more than I was expecting. Pitocin? I couldn’t do Pitocin with no epidural. What if I stalled? What if my water breaking meant nothing? What if contractions with a broken bag of water were more painful? What if I couldn’t handle it this time?
This is a good time to talk a little about my mental state heading into labor this round. I fought the entire pregnancy to feel empowered and confident, but something in me just couldn’t embrace that I could do this one more time. I was dreading labor from the minute I found out I was pregnant, and it never got better. My anxiety began to escalate in October, and to be completely honest election season wrecked me and sent me into a tailspin.
The separated ribs that made it hard to breathe certainly didn’t help things, nor did the 3 trips to L&D/the ER prior to figuring out that my ribs were separated, and that was the source of my pain and inability to breathe. I was physically done. I was mentally done. I felt defeated before labor even started.
For the first time in 4 pregnancies, I seriously doubted myself.