"I think my water just broke!"
Have you heard those words? If you are the dad, what did you do, how did you feel when your pregnant wife said, "I think my water just broke!"?
If you ARE the pregnant woman that has had water running down your legs or woke up to that "Pop!" and water puddling in your bed, what were your first thoughts? How did you feel? Did your surges start right away or gradually?
This event fascinates me because it never happened to me. My waters never released until very active labor. Most women are not in the 8-12% who experience Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes (SROM). Sadly, to be honest, I believe that my care providers must have ruptured my bag of waters, with all three of my children, even my homebirth midwife. Sigh. It must have been while I was pushing or late in my labor because I don't remember it. I wish care providers would just leave waters intact and we could see if baby was to be born in the caul (amniotic membrane intact, or baby still in a layer of amnion). These 'born in the caul' babies are said to be especially blessed.
So what do YOU do if your waters rupture, release, break?
Good to Note: Time, Amount (not precisely) Color and Odor (or lack of)
In your childbirth class you learned the acronym was TACO.
Okay, NOW What?
I used to teach that if it's a big gush of water, like a wave of water, it's good to go see your care provider and have baby checked. He/She will double check that there is no cord compression which would compromise baby's oxygen flow/heart rate. But with a slow leak you could stay at home and wait for labor to begin and get well established. A slow leak would mean that your baby's head is well applied to the cervix or low enough in the pelvis to prevent a cord prolapse. Some doctors are conservative and want every mom with any liquid coming out to get to hospital. They don't feel like leaving anything open for interpretation or up to the non-professional. One person's 'leak' can be another person's "gush" and vice versa. That would be fine and most women I know would be happy to go to their doctors or midwife's office and get baby checked except for the fact that once there the doctor may not want to let the mom go home, even if baby sounds good and all is well. When a Mama wishes to have a unmedicated or undisturbed birth or even the least intervention possible, staying in a hospital room with no contractions creates tremendous pressure on her. It's like being a watched pot. And we all know "a watched pot never boils". I had a doula client who's waters released and she had no contractions or surges. Eventually she called to notify her care provider who said, "Come in". She was determined to get checked and then go back home. At home she planned to wait for contractions, sleep in her own bed, eat her own food and do intimate things that encourage labor. She soon found out that the doctor would not release her without her signing an AMA form (Against Medical Advice). She was ready to sign it but thought to call her insurance company first. She found out that her insurance company would not cover her if she signed the AMA. If the birth was straight forward the cost would be no problem (only a few thousand dollars). But if there were unforeseen complications and a cesarean section, the cost would be prohibitive!
Thank God this Mama's labor started soon after admission to hospital, progressed quickly and baby was born vaginally and within the hospitals time limit protocol. Sadly, this is not the case for many women.
Today I read a great webpage! Yup, this page ain't it. But I often share the great ones here so don't complain. Here it is...Kim James, long time and well respected Certified Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator has a great page titled: My Water Broke But I'm Not In Labor. Now What? Below is a very accurate example of what I've seen numerous times. This is an example of what a difference your health care provider can make. Choose your doctor or midwife carefully. They are NOT all the same.
In my Doula Video Library I have a short 10 min. video of a mom who's waters release but her labor doesn't start. In this video, The Birth of Sabine, the mom and dad, Stephanie and James, discuss options with their midwives and decide to wait and allow labor to start spontaneously, naturally. Every day they take moms temperature to make sure there is no infection, midwife checks on baby (externally and FHR only - no vaginal exam), and the couple tries different natural ways to encourage labor. A week later labor starts spontaneously and dad helps catch his daughter Sabine, who is born in water. There is no talking, it's all put to lovely music. I like to learn that way.
If you want to borrow the movie, email me. If you would like to buy a copy here is the link to my friend and movie maker, Diana Paul's work: Love Delivers
Below is a clip of the movie, THE BIRTH OF SABINE