I’ve been wanting to write this post for so long, but couldn’t seem to find the brain power or focus to actually sit down and do it. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it was something I was going to share or that y’all would want to read. But now as a new mom and reading other birth stories, I see how much connection they can bring between women and also I’m excited to have this to read years from now when I’m sure a lot of this will blur together! If you’re not into this, I totally get it, and if you are, let’s get into my birth story…
As you probably know, Four came a little early on February 8th 2021. I was 35 weeks pregnant and it was quite the whirlwind! I knew that sometimes babies came early, but I had no reason to believe that mine would come that early – especially since he was my first. My mom said I came full-term and there was nothing throughout my pregnancy that would have hinted at him coming early. I was actually thinking he might come a week or so after his due date according to friends and family. In fact, I was kind of hoping for that because I had a lot I needed to get done before he got here (ha!).
Duncan had a feeling he might come 2-3 weeks early, so we were actually planning to check most things off our list those first 2 weeks of February (he came February 8th). We had JUST moved from Denver to Dallas 2 weeks before, so we were still getting unpacked and somewhat settled. We had not really bought anything yet either because we didn’t want to move with it. Luckily, I’d gotten a crib and mattress but it was still wrapped in plastic from shipping. Basically, we were not prepared and we had no idea what was about to happen!
Long story short, my water broke at 35 weeks. Nothing was wrong, nothing *made* my water break. It just did. It happened on a Sunday evening, two weeks after we had moved in, pretty late at night. And wow, it was a shock!
And although we weren’t expecting it this early, looking back, there were a few things that happened that weekend that sort of led up to it and are part of the story.
The Longer Story – Leading Up To Going Into Labor
Towards this time in my pregnancy, I was starting to get really frustrated with how often I was using the restroom. I understand that everyone has to pee a lot while pregnant, but I’m telling you, this felt different. I’m pretty sure it was because he was so low. I felt like I couldn’t leave the house or do anything because I was chained to the restroom! Like every-10-minutes type of thing.
Sleep was getting really hard and I remember specifically that the Saturday night before was pretty bad. I woke up more than usual (I’d typically use the restroom 5-6 times a night), but that night it was more like 8 times. And one of those times, I remember using the restroom in the dark (half asleep) and as I was standing up to pull my underwear back up it felt like I’d peed down my leg or something. I turned the light on to see what the heck was going on and realized it wasn’t pee – it was discharge. I know, so gross and TMI, but it’s part of the deal.
But what’s so crazy is that LITERALLY that Saturday morning, Duncan and I had watched a video (we took the Tinyhood Childbirth 101 class) that told us about the mucus plug. So I was like – maybe this is it? But also, discharge is a normal thing when you’re pregnant. Whatever the case, I didn’t think much of it because I’d learned that this was just one of the things your body goes through to prepare for labor, but you could still be 3-5 weeks away.
So that was Saturday night. On Sunday, I started to notice that there was more going on down there than normal. I wore a panty liner for the usual pregnancy stuff, but I noticed that my actual underwear was getting a little wet (like, in addition to the liner). It wasn’t a crazy amount or anything, but I hadn’t really had that experience before. Normally, I’d just change my liner and it was fine. I was thinking maybe I’d peed myself a little because I’d heard that was normal. So I chalked it up to just being another lovely thing about pregnancy and that it was nothing different.
I kept thinking about this other thing we learned in our Tinyhood class. There was a section covering things that happen during your late third trimester as your body prepares for labor (losing your mucus plug was one of them). But there were a few scenarios where they said to call your doctor; one being if you’re leaking amniotic fluids.
So as the day went on, I kinda have this in the back of my mind but I really didn’t think that’s what was happening because it wasn’t all that different from the usual pregnancy fluids.
By the end of the day, I got a little in my head about it because I didn’t know how to tell if it was amniotic fluid, normal pregnancy fluids, if I was peeing myself or WHAT was happening. My gut was going off a little, but I didn’t want to be an alarmist. I found this to be a common struggle during pregnancy – not knowing when to freak out and when to stay calm, when to seek help or information and when to see how another day goes. Anyone else?
Even with my concerns, I still didn’t think this could mean there’d be a chance for early labor. I just thought it might be something I’d need to schedule an appointment for or something.
The Night I Went Into Labor
We had a pretty normal Sunday that day. We’d gone to the mall to walk around and did some shopping. Then we picked up some steaks to make on the way home. After dinner, we settled into our playroom to watch some TV and wind down for the night.
A couple times throughout the night, I noticed it was happening again and I couldn’t stop thinking about the amniotic fluid thing we’d learned. But again, I could not tell if that’s what was happening. And I wasn’t worried. We decided to watch another episode of the show while also feeling my belly for any kicks. (We’d heard something about a kick test and thought that would help ease our concerns so we’d be able to go to sleep). Mind you, it’s 11:15 PM at this point. Usually, baby Four was very active, especially at night time. But when we didn’t feel anything for a whole 30 minutes, we were a little concerned. But also trying to stay calm.
Duncan suggested we call the doctor and leave a message explaining what’s going on just to be safe. I think his gut was going off more than mine actually. Anyway, I called and left a message explaining how I’d been experiencing wet underwear and think everything is fine but just wanted to give them a heads up.
After leaving the voicemail, I reached to grab a sip of water or something and with the shift of my body, I felt a gush of something. I remember rolling my eyes and being like, ugh let me go change my underwear again.
So I got up to go to the restroom and BAM. It was like an XXXL water balloon had popped and water was gushing out onto the wood floor. I stopped, turned around, looked at Duncan in total shock. We both stared at each other for I’m sure only a few seconds but it felt like the world was standing still.
It’s like, I knew what was happening but I also did not believe it. Was this my water breaking? WHAT?! I’m only 35 weeks. I JUST went to the doctor 3 days prior and everything looked fine and great.
It had been about 20 or so minutes since I’d called and left a voicemail with the doctor’s office. And since then, the doctor on call had called back twice and left voicemails. I did not hear the calls though because my phone had gone into “Do Not Disturb” mode (you know, how your iPhone gives you a bedtime and goes into night mode? Yeah it was doing that).
Anyway, I immediately called back and left a voicemail in a panic. Note that it was almost midnight so the office wasn’t open and I didn’t have anyone’s cell phone, so that’s why there was all the back and forth – there’s no direct line to the doctor.
He called me right back. I answered and told him I thought my water had broke, which he assumed would happen soon after listening to my message. Despite my panic, he remained eerily calm and just said, “You’re going to need to come to the hospital right now. I’ll see you soon”
You guys, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to explain the level of shock I was in. I’m so thankful Duncan was so calm because all I could think about was how we had zero bags packed and that this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen! The doctor had said to hurry (since I was so early), but we were able to grab a few things before leaving. I grabbed an extra towel for between my legs (I’d already soaked 2 at this point), a phone charger, my wallet, and my favorite blanket. It was hard to pack when fluids were continuously flowing everywhere lol.
We got to the hospital around midnight and started the check-in process. We’d only been to the hospital once before (for my appointment), so we actually didn’t even know where to go! We figured it out, but it was a little stressful at the time.
I wasn’t having contractions yet (or if I was, there were super mild). It took about 45 minutes to check-in and then we went to a holding room where I met with the doctor. They checked my vitals and checked to see how dilated I was. At 12:30 AM, I was 2 CM dilated.
I can’t remember the details, but the next thing that happened was they moved us to a delivery room and hooked me up to an IV. Since I hadn’t gotten the group B Strep test yet (you get this at 36 weeks), they had to give me some antibiotics. I remember this hurting pretty bad. Mind you, I have a pretty low pain tolerance. But it felt like nails going through my arm. And then they started pumping me with Pitocin.
Within the next hour or so, I started having contractions. I did not know anything about the labor process (I was going to get to that part of the class the coming week LOL), but I knew timing and length of the contractions mattered. Or rather, I knew that there was a method to the madness. I started paying attention to the timing so that I could have an idea of when the next one was coming. You know, so I could mentally prepare myself (ha!).
I knew I wanted to get an epidural, but I just wasn’t sure when. I decided I’d wait it out a little so I could get a little further along. I think I lasted maybe 2.5 hours? And at that point, I could hardly talk during the contractions. My entire body would tighten up and the world would get a little blurry. Again, I have a very LOW tolerance for pain, so this was brutal for me. At this point, probably around 4 am, I decided it was time.
One thing I didn’t realize is that it usually takes a bit of time between you asking for an epidural and actually getting one. So if you’re someone who knows you want one, ask sooner rather than later!
Once I got the epidural, things got so much better. I got the shakes BAD (this is normal) and I had some weird pain in my left hip that would not go away; but regardless, I was doing better and could relax a little. Apparently, the pain in my hip was the contraction that I could still feel. But still, everything was better and less tense.
The nurse came to check me again around 5 am and I was 6 cm dilated. They told me I’d probably deliver the baby later that day around 3 or 5 PM and encouraged me to get some rest.
I tried to fall asleep, but I couldn’t. I did lay there for a long time and might have drifted off a few times, but I just remember thinking, “OMG I can’t eat for another 12 hours?! HOW?!”.
The next few hours were kind of a blur, but I just remember Duncan being so sweet taking to all the nurses and keeping our family informed on what was happening. I started making a list of things we needed help for the baby – like a car seat (ha!). I also made a list of things for someone to bring to me at the hospital like a change of clothes, some slippers and my toothbrush. I’m sure I’ll do a post on those things soon!
The nurse came back around 9 am to check on me and see how dilated I was. She raised up my gown, and said, “Oh wow, you’re 10 cm. We’re having this baby right now!”
At this point, I was beyond feeling shocked so I was just like, “well alright then. Apparently baby boy is just really ready to get out!”. Same with Duncan, he was like OKAY it’s game time, let’s do this! I’m so thankful he was there because he was such a good coach through the process.
I pushed for 40 or so minutes and he was HERE! Even as I was delivering the baby, it still hadn’t really registered with me that I was having a baby. I don’t know how to explain it, but I felt like things were just happening so fast that my brain couldn’t keep up with processing the events. Does that make sense?
Right after he was born, Duncan was ushered to the table where they take all the vitals and clean the baby up while I delivered the placenta. I didn’t know what was going on, but apparently there were some scary moments at the beginning. Thankfully, everything turned out okay and we had ourselves a healthy little boy at 5 pounds 12 ounces, 18 inches long.
Those first few hours with him were so so sweet. But I’ll be honest, I was still kind of in shock. Like, did this human really just come out of me? How on earth?! It all happened so fast and slow at the same time. In total, it was around 9 hours from my water breaking to him coming.
We then moved to our recovery room where we spent the next 2 nights. They wanted to keep a close watch on his blood sugar levels to see if he needed to go to the NICU or not. Luckily, he passed the tests and never had to go.
Those next 2 days were full of alll kinds of emotions, but above all I was SO GRATEFUL. I spent a lot of time staring at him and crying, which sounds strange but I think I was just so overwhelmed with love. Nobody could come visit us because of the Covid restrictions, so it was just me and both my Duncans. We listened to a lot of music and had lots of cuddle time. It was like a sweet little bubble where only us 3 existed and nothing else mattered, and I’m so grateful for that time.
Even with him coming so early and us not being prepared, everything worked out, as it usually does, and I’m so thankful for both of my Duncans.
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