My Waters Broke

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On Saturday evening, the 27th October, my waters broke.  The terror I felt was indescribable. “Not now, you’re not meant to come now, I’m only 31wks, this isn’t right, you can’t come, you’re not ready, this can’t be happening, no, no, no”.  I stood frozen, my legs crossed, clutching myself with both hands as the warm fluid poured out of me, down my legs, soaking my jeans and stopping my breath.

I was going into labour.

I’d been lying on my best friend’s sofa for about 2hrs and had got up to go to the toilet, she was in the kitchen making the kids dinner.  I felt nothing, there was no warning, just a cascade of water.  Within a minute we were out of the house, into the car and on our way to the hospital.  It was a bit of a blur; Kath’s fast actions were incredible and I just remember knowing I wasn’t cold but my legs were shaking uncontrollably.  I suppose I was in shock.  There was nothing I could do, I couldn’t help my baby, again.  First the DVT, then my incompetent cervix and now this.

Kath got me to hospital safely and quickly.  The doctors were able to stop the labour, despite my partly dilated cervix and things, for now, are stable.

Kath’s fast actions followed by the doctor’s swift care means my baby girl is still inside and is ok.  I’m not sure they will ever realise how grateful I am to them.

Waters broke, in hospital

The past few weeks

It’s not been an easy few weeks and last week was tougher than normal.  I was delighted to reach 31 weeks but was beginning to find things harder and harder.  Physically, the small amount I’ve been doing became less.  I’ve been moving slower and was aware that I needed to be still.  I stayed in bed most days until mid-afternoon, transferring to the sofa and really taking my time with everything.  Mentally and emotionally I’ve been struggling, massively, not so much with the inactivity, that’s just a small part of it all.  My last social media post, ‘Strong’ was mostly about trying to remind and convince myself I can be strong and I’m doing ok.

Stopping the labour in hospital

  • I was immediately hooked up to a monitor to make sure the baby was ok.
  • Next, they did a swab to off to check for infection. If there is infection present the baby has to come out asap.
  • The midwife gave me an internal to see if I was dilated. I was, just over one cm.
  • The obstetrician gave me a full scan to check how much fluid I’d lost (most of it), measure the baby and finally an internal scan to measure cervix length, which was 2.3cm.
  • I was then put on a drip and given a drug, terbutaline, to stop the labour. It can be given for 48hrs and helps prevent and slow contractions of the uterus and may help delay birth for several hours or days.
  • The terbutaline was administered along with steroids. After 48hrs steroids can improve a baby’s lung function and increase their chance of living, reduce their chances of long-term health problems and reduce their length of stay in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).
  • Once all this was done I was taken in an ambulance to another hospital with a better NICU.

The past few days

It’s now Wednesday evening, 4 days since my waters broke, she’s still in.  It’s been the most worrying 4 days of my life.  I’m focusing on breathing, lying still and trying to think of everything that is positive.

A good friend who is a doctor sent me this message, which helped me to understand and take an overview of the situation

“Great the contractions have stopped.  As you are only 1cm dilated it may stay stable with bed rest in hospital for a week or two more.  The cervix is a decent length which means it’s not stretching out (effacing).  They will know how much fluid is left (if any) from the scan and at this age the major concern is infection.  If there are signs of this they will induce, but I can’t think why they would otherwise.  The steroids will mature her lungs if she has to come out early – but she is nearly mature now so don’t worry!  Some pregnancies last another 2 or 3 weeks – so you may get to 34 which would be terrific. No fluid at this stage does not affect her lung growth or leg /foot position as these are already fine.  Check for increased temperatures – this is the signal to deliver.”

The Plan

I’ve had one other scan which shows I don’t have a lot of amniotic fluid; the baby continues to produce it though and it steadily trickles out of me but as long as it’s clear that’s ok.  Apparently in some women the amniotic sac can heal up again and fluid levels around the baby can rise.  Mine hasn’t healed.  I’ll have regular scans.

Multiple times a day I’m hooked up to the monitor to check her heartrate and my contractions.  I’m still having a few but they are low intensity.  My temperature and other stats are constantly monitored and I have regular blood tests to check for infection.

The midwifes, doctors and hospital staff have been constantly amazing and kind.  No one knows when she will come now.  There are no more drugs I can take to stop it again.  I’m on blood thinners for the DVT that I got at 12 wks and the Doctors do not want to stop the injections now.  I’m lying still in bed so the risk for another DVT is high.  This means if I go into labour there are 12hrs where I can’t have an epidural and I can’t have a c section.  For me, I don’t care, I just want her to have everything available that she might need.  All we can do now is just hope she stays in for as long as possible.

View from my hospital bed

Stuff in my head

My family and friends have been here with me and their support has been everything.  I won’t deny that this entire pregnancy has difficult for me.  In the past I’ve had the fortune of good health and the ability to do most things I set my mind to.  I imagined a pregnancy that would be perfect – strong, healthy and able to do sport right up until my due date.  Instead I’ve had a DVT, an incompetent cervix and my waters break early.  I’ve been unable to work, unable to function properly and unable to hold things together in my personal life.  That feeling of being broken and not being what my baby needs me to be is sometimes unbearable.  She’s perfect and to think she might suffer because of me makes me feel a guilt like no other I’ve experienced.

I’ve always been independent and capable.  Over the past few months I’ve become dependent and vulnerable and without the people who are being strong around me now I wouldn’t/couldn’t have managed.  I’ve had to accept a lot of things and let go of a lot of things.  I’m sure in time I’ll see many positives from all this.

Sharing this post

I thought long and hard about sharing this post and sharing things now, as they are, still in the thick of it.  Normally I share things after the event, when I’m reassured and know the outcome.  But a few weeks ago I was looking at Clemmie Telford’s website and reading one of her lists, born at 24wks and it was written right in the thick of it, raw and vulnerable.  Reading and knowing about other people’s experiences has been a great comfort for me these past few days.

Sharing my last blog, 6 Months Pregnant, really helped too because people reached out and shared their experiences with me.  The support and responses were amazing.  Of course, at the time, I never imaged this would actually happen to me.  But it has and I found myself reaching out to those people and their messages for reassurance.

I’ve avoided talking to and telling many people what’s going on.  I’ve wanted to hide from the world.  But I’ve found comfort in writing this today.  I hope being this open and honest about my experience can help even just one other woman or family who finds themselves going through this.