Giving birth is messy.
I remember reading when I was pregnant that only 15% of women have their water break before going into labor. I assumed that 15% must be the women you see in the movies. You know the ones… the ones that are all dressed up for a night on the town when just as they are about to enter the restaurant/theatre/benefit the camera zooms in on their face as they say “uh-oh!”? (What pregnant woman at 40 weeks in real life can still wear stilettos I would like to know?!)
So yes, water breaking as a precursor to labor only actually happens in the movies and on sitcoms… This was my first assumption.
My second assumption was that my water would break sometime in active labor… because surely I would fall into the other 85%.
To say that I was surprised to wake up drenched at 2:30am on the morning of my son’s due date is a bit of an understatement. In fact, the whole experience was totally surreal…
The only other time I even remotely felt the same mixture of emotions was when I found out I was pregnant in the first place – that mix of deeply longing for it, knowing it would happen soon, and yet still being surprised at the onset all at the same time. Add to that the instant revelation that life was about to drastically change, and that was the shock of my water-breaking moment.
It was not just a shock, it was a thrilling shock!
“It happened,” I said to my husband as I woke him out of his deep sleep. He immediately jumped up at full attention, ready to grab our packed hospital bags and hop in the car. (I think this first-time-daddy assumed that my announcement meant that the baby was probably sticking his head out by then!)
“No, my water broke,” I said with excitement before gathering my thoughts and heading to the shower to clean up. “This means the wheels are in motion and we’re having a baby today!”
Contractions started instantly from that moment—labor had officially begun—but what caught me so off guard was the amount of fluid that came out of me. (Now my intention isn’t just to be gross here for the sake of it, but this is birth and it’s messy… even before delivery starts! First time mommies need to be warned!)
So yeah, the fluid… It wasn’t just that initial gush (although the sheer volume did surprise me), but it was the continuous gushes over the next several hours that really surprised me… especially each time a contraction hit. I definitely wasn’t prepared for that!
You see in the movies when a woman’s water breaks, that’s it! There’s a little splat and she instantly starts her breathing exercises and rushes to the hospital to begin pushing within minutes. (Quick, call the nearest cab!) Of course I knew it wouldn’t happen like that (I’d heard and read plenty of birth stories to be all-the-wiser), but I can safely say that I had no idea that I’d have to walk around with a towel between my legs (catching the “excess”) for the rest of the day.
I was a giant towel-diaper-wearing fool! That’s how I started my glamorous journey into motherhood.
I had several hours of early labor at home before heading into the birth centre. Those were hours spent doing the “curb walk” outside in the pouring rain, watching So You Think You Can Dance episodes between contractions, peeing a gazillion times, and trying to work out the breast pump for that “nipple stimulation” that was the final thing that pushed me over the edge and sent me running to give birth.
What a crazy, strange day it was with a house full of my husband, my best mate, my parents visiting from overseas… and a little boy getting ready to make his grand debut! It was wild (as in weird) and calm at different intervals, dragging at points, and more frantic at others. But the entire day was super exciting.
Levi had decided to come on his due day – my clever little monkey.
The birth itself ended up being a lot less messy than it started off with since I ended up needing a c-section after 15 hours of labor. (Not exactly the water birth I had anticipated… and of course there’s more to that story.) But I’ll never forget that moment that my water broke and labor started…
On your mark… get set… GO!
Oh baby, what a day.