So Saturday, June 8 seemed like a typical Saturday night for hubby and me. He got home from work at 6 p.m. and we ate some food, and he prepared me a nice bowl of fruit. We were sitting on the couch watching one of the X-Men movies when I felt something pop inside of me. I jumped up (he thought I saw a giant bug 😆) but it was something else…MY WATER BROKE.
Water breaking is not the norm
Here is an interesting factoid that I didn’t know: only 15% of women experience their water breaking. There was nothing that prompted my water to break at all, I was stitting on the couch when it happened. As soon as the pop happened, things started streaming out of me. Sorry for the TMI but that’s how it went down. Thankfully I was prepared! I was wearing a giant pad (which I had been doing since days before, even though the midwives told me not to bother). I definitely had to change the pad multiple times, but I’m glad I thought ahead!
Calling the midwives
Hubby called the midwives immediately, and they told me I had 12 hours to labor at home before I had to go to the hospital. But the first thing we had to do was get a thermometer. That was to ensure I wasn’t getting an infection, which was a sign I needed to head to the hospital sooner rather than later. It was actually really nice, walking to the drugstore with hubby in our Adams Morgan, D.C. neighborhood. It enabled me to feel calm, although it’s a very strange feeling to be walking around feeling like you’ve peed your pants!
Laboring at Home
After grabbing the thermometer, hubby made sure I didn’t have a fever or anything like that, and we went to sleep. I pulled out my phone and downloaded a contractions counter and started keeping track. The next 12 hours was…interesting. I felt contractions every few minutes but they weren’t consistent and the pain severity felt like intense period cramps more than anything else – I felt nothing in my back, the dreaded “back labor” pains never materialized. I was able to stay quite calm but to be honest I wasn’t in active labor. This was just the beginning!
Heading to the Hospital
By the time the next day rolled around, hubby and I were feeling very calm, and slowly got all our bags together that we had packed a few weeks before. We went on a nice walk since it was a beautiful Sunday and we had nothing better to do – haha! I ran into a friend from the gym and I told her my water broke and we were headed to the hospital. She looked a tad shocked because I didn’t seem to be in any type of active labor.
We took an Uber to the hospital while I listened to my Hypnobabies (click for 20% off, through Oct. 31, 2022!) hypnosis tracks while hubby gave the driver directions. I tried to stay focused on my hypnosis tracks but hubby forgot how to get to the hospital so I had to interrupt. After a few missteps, we were finally able to get where we were supposed to be. We got to the hospital, checked in, and sat in a chair for some time while I still listened to the hypnosis tracks since I planned for a natural birth with no epidural.
Advocating for yourself
After I was checked in, hubby and I were taken to the room where we would be laboring and delivering the baby. I wasn’t sure about the midwife, named Rebecca, but I was totally sure I couldn’t stand my nurse, who was a woman who started to talk FOR ME, as in, when the midwife asked what kind of laboring panties I needed, she said “oh get her the small” to which I interjected and said I would feel more comfortable in bigger panties.
This nurse really sucks!
It all went downhill from there with that nurse. I’m Indian-American (that point will make sense in a bit) and she seemed frustrated with me and said something to the effect of “in English we say.” I was in the middle of labor pains and couldn’t believe this nurse said what she just said! I immediately was jerked from any ability to stay calm and snapped “what did you say? I’m American and I speak English.” That was a bad moment for me and I nearly ended up in tears. Up until that point, I was calm and in a zen place and that poopy-head nurse made me freak out. Hubby thankfully handled it. Without me even saying anything he and went outside and told the midwife about the nurse’s behavior and we were quickly assigned an alternate nurse. #REMEMBERTHIS: I’ve read a lot of women go through similarly in their experience with labor and delivery nurses. You are allowed to advocate for yourself and ask for what you need! I’m so glad hubby stepped up and did that for me.
That’s when I really started to like Rebecca! She came in and was so great and said she had to calm down before having the conversation about the nurse situation cos she was so offended on my behalf. The nurse we were assigned was a woman named Breeanna, and she was amazing! This is when things got intense. I was basically feeling my contractions and some were more painful than others but overall, things were OK. Our doula, named Frankie, showed up a few hours later and she was amazing. She helped me with a warm compress, and every time a contraction came, she helped me to work through it by stretching and breathing and being overall awesome about everything.
My sister, TC was on her way!
Oh, in addition to all of this happening in the hospital, hubby and I were both on the phones with our families giving them a play-by-play of what was happening. The night before when my water broke, I called my sister, who planned to be there for the delivery…but was still all way on the other side of the country in California! Crazily, she had enough time to fly across country, take a nap in NJ, and then drive down to us in D.C.! (More on that later…)
One conversation that kept being repeated was this: the fact that my water broke more than 12 hours before meant that I was at risk of infection, so we had to hasten the birthing process. I was only at 2 centimeters dilated (you need to get to 10 cm so I had a ways to go!) She wanted me to go on Pitocin, which creates (painful) contractions by mimicking oxytocin. I didn’t want to take drugs or meds, so I opted to do something more natural…nipple stimulation.
deciding on an epidural
Don’t worry! This is not TMI involving hubby and me haha! I ended up using a breast pump and essentially the act of pumping your breasts for milk gets the oxytocin going. The contractions were feeling more intense, but unfortunately, they weren’t strong enough. The midwife said I wasn’t dilated enough, even after several rounds of that breast pumping thing. That was hard to deal with, especially because the three contractions I had were quite intense. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest level of pain, they were about a 6-7. Ugh. And the problem was: the contractions needed to get longer (at least a minute) and harder, in order for me to be in active labor. At that point, I was just killing time. (To be continued…)
Comment below if you have any questions about this experience so far!