You’d think considering I’ve done this three times before I would be able to recognise the signs of labour. Wrong. For many hours on the day of Miss I’s birth, I was foolishly unaware that my waters had broken and she was on her way. I mistakenly confused my gushing waters with my mucous plug. What an amateur!!! They say every labour is different and having been through childbirth four times now I categorically agree. Allow me to recount Miss I’s Birth Story. It was a fast and furious labour once “established” and had a few surprises along the way. This is her story…dun dun (insert Law and Order music for theatrical effect).
In order to (partially) justify my ignorance that labour was imminent I need to explain a few things.
- All my other babies have come late. I never expected that this one would be any different, despite being told that she was as low as she could go in the preceding weeks.
- I have never experienced my waters breaking. This has only ever happened to me during the pushing stages of labour, literally as bubba was crowning!
- All my previous labours started with contractions, which built over many hours (or days as was the case with my first) and so I’ve never paid much attention to pre-labour signs.
- Full disclosure: I have never attended birthing classes. Not a single one. This might seem crazy, especially as I like to be prepared in all other areas of my life, but instead I just thought I would “wing it” and take directions on the day. Yeah, a bit nuts, I know!
This is how the events of Miss I’s arrival unfolded…
Birth Story Part 1: Early labour
On the morning of the 29th of November (4 days before my official due date) I sat up in bed and felt a gush of fluid escape me. Weird, I thought. I asked Mr NASD to grab me a towel, and I quickly flooded that one too. He asked me if he should stay at home but I assured him it was probably nothing and told him to go to work as normal. So he did. Meanwhile I did a quick Google search and thought it sounded like my mucous plug had dislodged (clearly I wasn’t thorough enough in my research). So I texted my midwife and told her this was what was happening. Her response: “All pointing in the right direction, although it can still take days for labour to start.” So, I carried on as normal.
A few hours later, with a continuous flow, I wondered if perhaps I was wrong in my initial assessment. Perhaps it was my hind waters breaking, or something like that. I had heard someone at school mention that’s how her labour started. My sister rang and when I explained my symptoms she was incredulous, and stern. “Michaela, that’s not your mucous plug! Your waters are breaking. You need to call the hospital now.” And she promptly hung up. I followed her advice, and my midwife said to immediately come in for examination.
I texted Mr NASD with an update. “Don’t worry, I’ll probably just be sent home again. No need to leave work.” He called immediately. “Call a friend and ask them to drive you in. Or get a taxi.” I assured him I would, and then I hung up, grabbed something to eat (just in case I’d need some energy) and drove myself into the hospital. Along the way my contractions continued but they were infrequent and manageable. Plus, I’d been having Braxton Hicks for months and so I didn’t think it was the real deal yet. I also felt calmer driving myself in. I didn’t want panic and things were starting to get very “real” so I took my time.
At the hospital I was seen by a midwife who gave me a prescription (to reduce the risk of an infection getting into the uterus). She told me to go home, relax and take the antibiotics at midnight and come back the next day. She was walking me out when, as an afterthought, she asked to see my pad. Luckily she did as she took one look at it and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. My waters contained meconium and this meant bub was coming, one way or another. She ushered me immediately to the birthing suite.
My midwife, who I had seen throughout my pregnancy as part of the hospital’s fantastic Midwife Program, came to see me. She explained that I needed to be on foetal heart monitor right up until the birth as baby could be in distress. She also told me the doctors wanted to induce me straight away. I was shocked. I was having a baby. Today! Suddenly it felt too soon and I felt a bit panicked by not being “prepared.” Also, having been induced once before, I was reluctant to do it again as it had been a traumatic labour. I objected and asked for more time. She went back to the doctors and said they had agreed to give me two hours, which was “generous.” If, after two hours, I wasn’t in established labour, they would induce me immediately. So I got up out of the bed and moved about, willing bubba to come on his/her own without intervention. I didn’t realise how fast things would progress…
Oh…. and I sent a text to Mr NASD. It was short and to the point:
“I think you better leave work now.”
Be sure to read Part 2 of my birth story for the “active labour” details, a scare during delivery, bubba’s arrival, and the most unusual placenta to be seen by my birthing team!
How have your labours started? Were they spontaneous or did you get induced?