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Monday, August 17, 2009

Birth Story: Part I (Leaky Faucet)

**I wrote this last week on August 11, just after my water broke. I'll be posting more of the birth story as I get around to writing it.**

I'm sitting on a towel as I write this. Today is my "other" due date. We had two dating sonograms and they differed by one day.

Early Tuesday morning (about 3:15am), Edward finally got back to Davis after hanging out with a college buddy in San Francisco all day. He pulled out the sofa bed in the livingroom since my mom had decided to spend the night and was using his bed in the office. Knowing it'd only be a few hours before the dogs were up and running around the front of the house in search of their breakfast, I went out there and told him to just sleep in my giant bed with me and the dogs so he could sleep longer in the morning once we all got up.

Not two minutes after my exhausted brother collapses into bed (about 3:40am), I jump out of bed because I suddenly felt a huge gush of hot liquid come out of me. I emerge from the bathroom and tell him that I think my water just broke. He sort of laughs and says, "You think? You mean you're not sure??" I was pretty sure, but didn't want to embarrass myself in case I'd just peed on myself without realizing it!

It was a pinkish, clear fluid that didn't smell like urine. After the initial gush there were several more with near-constant trickling in between.

We re-read the breaking waters (aka ruptured membranes) part of What to Expect and then left a message for the midwives since their "when to call" sheet says to call within 30 minutes of membrane rupture. Not hearing back from them within 20 minutes I called again and the answering service put me straight through. The midwife, Jenny, apologized and said they were super busy and she couldn't get away from birthing mothers to call me back right away.

After confirming that my water had broken but having no painful contractions she decided to make me an appointment to come in around 9am that morning to check me.

Edward sent Dave a text (he was up in Gualala) but since he didn't respond after a few minutes, I called his cell. Miraculously he had cell reception in the house and called me right back. Then it took several phone calls back and forth before I could actually hear him on the phone. The line in his room at his parents' house is crappy and all I could hear was an echo of myself--he even tried calling both my cell and then Edward's. Anyway, we finally spoke and I told him to come down. He told his parents he was leaving and began his long drive down the coast around 4:40am.

He said it was a good thing his phone was across the room from him and not on the night stand like usual. The special ring he has for me is the same as his alarm he said if it had been right next to him, he probably would have just silenced the phone...then I would have had to call the landline and woken up the entire household (which I guess happened anyway).

We decided not to wake my mom and just let her sleep.

Edward and I went back to sleep and were awoken around 7:15am by Dave coming into the bedroom. Apparently he bumped into my mom when he came into the house and she was SO CONFUSED that he was there!

Since we had a while before we needed to be at the hospital, Dave and I screwed the blanket chest lid back onto the chest (I'd painted the trim on it the day before). Then I made breakfast for everyone, we all took showers, and then Edward, Dave, and I headed to the birthing center.

They put us into the triage room (a glorified storage closet) and after about 40 minutes someone came in and hooked me up to the fetal heart and contraction monitors. Twenty minutes later they determined that all was good--although they weren't uncomfortable, the contractions were about 3 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. After each one, Eddie would squirm around a lot.

After another 30 minutes a nurse named Teresa came in to get my medical history. Next, midwife Blanch (one of my and Dave's favorites from Sutter West Women's Health) came in with a family practice resident doctor who was shadowing her. She told me that I wasn't in labor and that I had the option of being induced or waiting it out. She'd read on my birth plan that I wanted a low-intervention birth so we just confirmed that I didn't want to be induced yet.

This birthing center allows patients to go back home with ruptured membranes as long as they take precautions (nothing entering the vagina like husbands or tampons, no baths, and taking my temperature 3 times a day to ensure I'm not getting an infection). The risk of infection after your water breaks is highest for the mother, and only sometimes can the baby also get an infection. She warned that babies who do get an infection are at a higher risk of suffering from cerebral palsy.

Most hospitals demand induction only 6 hours after ruptured membranes, with some waiting up to 24 hours. This being a low-intervention birthing center, they allow mothers to wait up to 72 hours. But Blanch said that most women will go into labor within 48 hours on their own.

The doctor checked me with a steel speculum to ensure that my water was broken--he made me cough several times until he could see fluid coming out. This was amusing because I was sitting in a veritable puddle already! Oh well, they wanted "from the source" confirmation. Shortly after, Teresa returned and did a quick sonogram to confirm that Eddie's head was down.

So here I wait at home for my body to realize that my water has broken. I have until about 3:30am on Friday morning until they will give me pitocin or something to induce me. Hopefully it won't come to that! Dave and I aren't against old-fashioned encouragement like nipple stimulation and long walks (since a dose of prostaglandins is out of the question at this point!).

So I have to say: I had no idea that when your water breaks it keeps on leaking out of you forever until you have the baby. No idea at all. All the anecdotes and scenes in movies make it sound like there's a gush or a long, slow trickle and that's it. Then it is over. Clearly I was mislead. I had to leave the birthing center this morning with a wet spot on the back of my capris! Yuck.


huntfamily said...

im super jealous your water're eddie is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute!

rob said...

You cooked them breakfast?!?

Congratulations btw!!

mu rye uh said...

I think it sucks to have your water break. Mine broke both times (labor is more comfortable with some kind of cushion against the head). I know seriously its like your constantly peeing! That is awesome that they let you go home. My water broke the second time and luckily contractions started an hour later, but I only got 12 hours to get to the hospital (because of the VBAC situation). I look forward to hearing more about your experience! Isn't it amazing how strong bodies are?