I had my 36-week OB appointment on Friday the 2nd, in the afternoon — I’d opted to take a half day off of work and make my Labor Day weekend just a little longer. This was the first visit where my doctor would check my cervix for dilation and effacement, to see how far along I was. She almost didn’t even check; she asked me if I wanted her to check me, and I asked in return, “Depends: do you want to check me?” So, she did, and she was surprised to find that I was already 2cm dilated and about 60% effaced.
Apart from that, everything went as expected: got my Strep B test (standard procedure at 36 weeks), got to hear the heartbeat (standard for every visit), got to ask all my weird questions (this time, I asked whether I could just have IV access without having to cart an actual IV pole around with me just for the hydrating solution). Left with everything looking awesome and on-track, scheduled the remainder of my OB visits, and proceeded with my long weekend.
Spent the late afternoon at home with Aaron, until he went to work. Spent the evening chilling out and watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network — actually took a nap through a couple of episodes around 8pm. Woke up hungry, so I warmed up a frozen meal and had second dinner before getting ready for bed.
Around 10:30pm, as I was about to undress for bed, I felt a small gush of fluid. Nothing big, but enough to make me take note. I got ready for bed and laid down for 20 minutes to research “amniotic fluid leak” on Google and BabyCenter. When I got up again, I got another small gush. This time, I called the OB on call for my practice, who was particularly unhelpful — “If there’s any question that your water has broken,” she advised me, “definitely come in to the hospital and get checked. Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry about it.” Gee, thanks. I told her I’d just take it easy and see what happened, then.
I gave Aaron a quick heads-up via our Words With Friends game, just in case, and agreed to text or call if anything major happened. Then I went to bed.
But I didn’t really sleep. I was on high alert for leakage. I kept thinking I felt something, but didn’t want to get up for fear of making things worse. Finally, at 12:30am, there was no question: my water broke. It soaked through the maxi pad I was wearing, through my underwear, down to the sheets. Despite my knock-kneed break for the bathroom, it still spilled down my leg and onto the bathroom floor.
Yep, no questions now.
I was on the phone to Aaron within minutes, once I’d collected myself. I told him what had happened, and his response (after the initial “What do you want me to do?”) was, “So, this is really happening!” I was still in denial somehow, thinking that they’d check me and send me home on bed rest — I was still a little early, after all, not yet having hit the official 37-week full-term mark. But I asked Aaron if he could come home and take me to the hospital. No problem — he told his supervisor after we hung up and was out of there in no time.
Meanwhile, I had only just started packing our hospital bag earlier that week, so I started gathering what we’d need. Toiletries, clothes, a magazine to keep me busy (which I never did crack open), iPhone chargers, the sorts of things one might need for an overnight stay away from home. I’d never written out a formal birth plan (which was just as well), so I didn’t need to remember to pack that.
It didn’t take long for Aaron to get home. After our initial hellos and hugs and minor excited freak outs together, he went to get a shower while I called the OB on-call again, just to confirm that, yes, my water had really broken, no question, and to let them know that we were coming in. This time, I got a more definite response: yes, come to the hospital now. We’ll be expecting you.
So, we did. Aaron got his toiletries and a change of clothes into the hospital bag, and off we went. At this point, it was just before 2:00am. I hadn’t really researched and remembered how to get to Toledo Hospital from our house, since I wouldn’t be driving; maybe I should have, since Aaron experienced a minor anxiety-induced brain fart en route, and I had to whip out my iPhone to confirm which way we needed to turn to get to the hospital.
We tried to be as calm as we could as we parked the car and walked into the hospital — and promptly went the wrong way, going up the parking garage elevator instead of proceeding to the lobby and taking the visitor elevators. No problem; back down to Floor 2, to the lobby, then past the reception desk, past the Mom And Me Boutique, around the corner to the elevators, up to Floor 3, and follow the signs to Labor and Delivery.
“Hi!” I said to the ladies at the nurses’ station. “My water just broke.”
An RN named Cortnie took our info: name, OB’s name, gestational age (36 weeks 5 days), that sort of thing, then escorted us down to L&D Room 1. Our official check-in time was 1:58am.
Room 1 was actually pretty swanky, as hospital rooms go: much larger than the one we’d seen on our tour, with a dresser and a portable CD/cassette player (aka “boom box”), a loveseat, a recliner, and some unintrusive art on the walls. Of course, there was also a fetal monitor and a warmer contraption for after Baby’s arrival. I got changed into the gown that Cortnie had left for me, and Aaron and I got used to the idea that we weren’t being sent home, after all.
This was really happening.
(Continue to Part Two…)