And They Kept Asking If This Was My First Pregnancy, For Some Crazy Reason
May 11, 2011
So apparently I very much accidentally made the end of Monday's post sound a little...misleadingly cliffhanger-y, as many of you misinterpreted my "awkwardly backing out of a topic about how crazypants I am in order to go search of better hand-me-down bin labeling materials" as "I JUST WENT INTO LABOR DUN DUN DUUUUUN."
I was totally planning to tease y'all about that, by the way. Oh! You guys! Are so cute! I forget how labor-trigger-happy the Internet gets whenever it gets within spittin' distance of a due date!
At least, that's what I PLANNING to write yesterday. Right after I took a shower. But then I started to step into the shower, and...what's that? On the floor? Pooling between my feet? And running down my legs?
Okayyyy. Quick change of plans, I guess?
Now, my water never broke during either of my previous pregnancies. With Noah, it was broken deliberately mid-labor with a pokey plastic stick at the hospital, and it stayed intact with Ezra all the way up to my scheduled section date. (I remember overhearing the nurse say the word "ruptured" while I lay doped up in the recovery room and hysterically thought she was talking about my UTERUS for like, five whole terrifying minutes until I asked and she patiently explained no, they ruptured the amniotic sac. Bless your heart, dumbass.)
So I was not entirely sure what was happening there in my bathroom, though I knew that my water breaking was only one of SEVERAL highly undignified options. I did my best to...ahem...identify and/or classify it, but remained fairly baffled.
I took to Google, surprised to find that it was ready and willing to auto-fill SEVERAL choice color/viscosity-related adjectives I planned to type. Handy! AND YET SO GROSS.
I put on a pad and laid down to stare at the ceiling, wondering whether I felt like overreacting that day. Or under-reacting. I finally decided the risk of looking like, oh, I don't know, AN INCONTINENT IDIOT was probably worth it, just in case I was actually leaking something vitally-baby-important.
Plus, for once, shit was happening during regular office hours! No after-hours answering service! No immediate trip to Labor & Delivery! I could go to the office and they could do that little pH test strip thing right there and send me on my sheepish way in a few minutes! I could hit Chipotle on my way home!
WIN. I called.
It turned out my doctor was already en route to L&D to perform an emergency c-section on another patient. He called me back from his car and listened to my description of Just What Exactly I'd Cleaned Up Off The Bathroom Tile.
And he told me to not pass go, do not collect $100, do not worry about remaining unorganized closets, but to head directly to the hospital right that very second.
"WHAT?" I yelped. "WHAAAAAT?"
You guys, I tried to argue with him. I tried to fully express the ENORMITY of how unsure I was that my water had actually broken, of how INCREDIBLY LIKELY it was that I was wrong about the source that watery, milky-colored puddle (sorry), but he was not hearing any of it. Go to the hospital. NOW. If it was your water (and you're not in full-on active labor by the time you get there), you're having a c-section TODAY.
(Here's where I sigh and rub my temples, because you MAY or MAY NOT have noticed that I've avoided the whole "birth plan" topic around here, because it's just one that you CANNOT WIN, particularly after TWO c-sections. VBAC talk will be met with gasps of horror at the DANGER or IRRESPONSIBILITY or SELFISHNESS, while scheduled section talk will rile up...well, pretty everybody else who thinks they are UNNECESSARY and EVIL and PATRIARCHY and ETC. The fact is that yes, I have a c-section date scheduled. Three weeks from today, actually. However, if I go into labor on my own before then, I do plan to allow things to just...sort of progress and see what happens. However however, an induction is out of the question either way [higher risk of complications] so in the event of broken water + no contractions/dilation = automatic c-section.)
(I hope that paragraph clears a few things up, including a big ol' SPOILER ALERT that I did not have a baby yesterday and am, in fact, still completely pregnant today.)
So. I hung up the phone and began the traditional pre-birth earth-mother-goddess process of WIGGING THE FUCK OUT. It involved a lot of pacing and hand flapping. And phone calls. Jason would meet me at the hospital. ("HOLY SHIT," were his last words to me.) Our sitter could take Ezra to her afternoon job; we'd just need to figure something out by 3 or so to make sure someone was around to meet Noah at the school bus.
Then I called Tracey for no particular reason, other than the fact that I needed someone to shriek unintelligibly to. Or at, as the case may be. She shrieked back, and then tried to get me back to thinking about like, reality and shit.
"Do you have everything you need? Is your bag packed?" she asked.
"HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA," I howled.
"So...that's a no, then."
"HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. But I'm going to put on some makeup now."
"I really don't think you need to worry about your makeup."
"You're right, you're right, I know."
I swore her to Internet secrecy and promised to keep her updated, then hung up and totally put on some makeup. BECAUSE BITCH, PLEASE.
Then I left. Then I ran back into the house to grab our camera...just in case. I was deeply certain this was all a bunch of fake-out nonsense but figured I'd feel pretty shitty later if my cynicism and self-doubt meant we ended up with nothing but iPhone photos of our newborn later that day.
I also called my mom while on my way to the hospital. "I NEED YOU TO NOT FREAK OUT," I said when she answered the phone. That command worked about as well as expected.
Now, here's where things get weird. And a little rage-y.
I arrived and signed in while the registration nurse tried to find my name among a pile of little Post-Its with notes from doctors about various patients they were sending in. I wasn't there, so I guess she tried to help me along in the waiting-room wars by declaring definitively over the phone to SOMEONE that my water had broken, despite my original explanation that I was there to get CHECKED to see IF my water had broken.
It worked. I was barely in the waiting room for five minutes before a nurse arrived to take me back.
But apparently she had a different idea about what "back" part of the maternity ward we were talking about.
"Usually we'd take you to triage first, but we're going to skip that and take you right back to get prepped for surgery, so we're ready to go as soon as your husband arrives."
"WHOA WHOA WHOA." I said. "LET'S BACK THE FUCK UP FOR A SECOND. SCALPEL MCCUTTYPANTS."
(Okay, I didn't maybe say that exactly. It was probably more like, "Wait, what? No.")
So it turned out that some not exactly minor miscommunication had occurred along the way, with this particular nurse thinking that I'd already HAD the strip test done at my doctor's office, and the head L&D nurse thinking that my Puddle of Mystery was something more like a Gushing Geyser of Absolute Certainty, and my doctor being in the middle of surgery and fighting to keep dibs on the operating room IN CASE I needed it next ahead of a scheduled section currently sitting in the waiting room cursing people like me and MODERN HOSPITAL MEDICINE AT ITS FINEST, FOLKS, JESUS CHRIST IN A SWADDLING BLANKET.
"I need to be checked first," I said, folding my arms. "In triage or wherever. I am not sure. I am, YOU MUST UNDERSTAND, a complete and total idiot."
(THIS IS WHY EVERYONE I INTERACT WITH SHOULD READ MY BLOG, YOU KNOW?)
The nurses agreed, and my one-way ticket to the operating table was rerouted to triage. Jason burst through the curtain just in time to see my cervix get swabbed with a giant Q-Tip.
"Hi!" I said cheerfully. "How was traffic?"
THINGS WE LEARNED IN TRIAGE:
The baby was doing great.
I was having contractions.
My cervix was closed.
And my water was most definitely not broken.
So. I got dressed and came home, exceedingly relieved to NOT be having a baby that day, holy shit, stay in and cook, and let me pack a proper bag and launder my nursing bras first, or something. Yet also kind of embarrassed over the havoc I'd managed to wreak during the last hour and a half (over what was, probably, some random unholy episode of MUCUS AND PEE). The nurse at reception looked so shocked as I stepped on the elevator, like I shouldn't I have been crowning or something by then? My doctor remained suspicious, ordering me to call at the first sign of Any Additional Weirdness (of which there has been none, NONE), and scheduled me for a follow-up visit at the office this afternoon.
I AM SO HITTING CHIPOTLE ON MY WAY HOME, IS ALL I AM SAYING.