Splish, splash I was… going into labor (in a puddle)

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.

About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Kirsten
    25 May 2010 at 11:20 am

    I love how you posted about this. While I've already had my little girl for over two years now, it's reassuring to hear about other people's birth experiences, for future reference, you know? And I'm so pleased you've posted about having your midwife and wanting a natural birth, then having a c-section. This is what happened to me and it was really hard to deal with (for some reason I felt an immense amount of guilt), but reading about your experiences has helped.

    Thanks for posting about this!

  • Jill
    25 May 2010 at 4:24 pm

    My water also broke on Eva's due date (just like I prayed for). I also was shocked at the amount of fluid. Did you have any feeling that this was going to happen before you went to bed that night? In my spirit, I knew. I actually was reading and writting down scriptures about having children etc. just 5 hours before my water broke. I just knew it was coming. However, when my contractions started, they came quickly and hard. My contractions were almost instantly 2-3 minutes apart. Crazy!after I think just like 1 1/2 hours, I was in hard labor. I never got a break between contractions, hence the need for drugs. (another answer to prayers, that my labor would go quickly, not the 15 plus hours that my mom had).

  • Heather
    25 May 2010 at 4:36 pm

    My water broke in the truck on the way to the hospital all over my husbands down coat! He threw it away – couldnt stand the thought of it!

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  • Mama Hen
    25 May 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Oh if only things could be as glamorous as we see in the movies. This is a great post Adriel! Its what makes women so special. I love your blog also!

    Mama Hen

  • Mommy Vandy
    25 May 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Isn't it amazing how much fluid actually comes out of you?! It seemed never ending with my labors. At least I know I wasn't the only "towel-diaper wearing fool" after my water broke, haha!

  • Jessica Anne
    25 May 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Mine broke with my first, conveniently in the doctor's office, so they had all the pads and stuff ready for me. My favorite part of my epidural was not having to feel the gushes anymore. Bugged me. 🙂


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