So this is my birth history:
Baby #1 - 24+ hours of natural labor
Baby #2 - water breaks, no contractions, Group B Strep positive, induce & baby is born 4 hours later
Baby #3 - Group B strep positive again, schedule an induction, water breaks before the scheduled induction, no contractions, induce & baby is born 4 hours later
Supposedly only 10-15% of labors begin with a woman's water breaking. Mine has broken 2 out of 3 times, so this time around I was really hoping to just go into labor the normal way. For this 4th pregnancy, my Group B strep test came back negative so there was no need to schedule an induction. It really looked like Clara was going to be able to come on her own time without the aid of pitocin. (And, since I don't get epidurals, I was really hoping to not have to endure those induced contractions again!) But, no such luck.
I woke up at 4:30am on December 30th thinking my water may have broken. Actually, I dreamed that my water had broken and woke up suddenly expecting the entire bed to be soaked. It wasn't, but there was a slight bit of wetness in my underwear. Did my water break or was it just a little incontinence? I really wasn't sure. Over the next few hours it seemed like there was a little bit more leakage that I didn't think was urine, but it was so little that it was hard to tell. Around 7 am we decided to go into the hospital to check and be sure.
When I told the nurse what I was experiencing she obviously thought it was a false alarm and that we were wasting our time by coming into the hospital. She tested me (they use a piece of litmus paper that turns color in the presence of amniotic fluid) and the test showed positive for amniotic fluid. My water had broken and my instincts were correct. But, no contractions.
We got settled in a room and I was hooked up to an IV. Even though my group B strep test was negative, my doctor still wanted to treat me with IV antibiotics because of my history of being positive. Then we had to wait for a few hours until enough antibiotics were in my system before inducing. The induction was required because of the risk of infection that goes up significantly if the baby is not born within 12 hours of the water breaking.
Those few hours of waiting were very hard on me. I knew we would be meeting Button soon (very exciting!), but it was frustrating to just sit there in the hospital with nothing happening. It gave me too much time to think and I started getting very anxious. I was once again facing an induced labor. I'd done it before, so I knew what to expect and about how long it would take. But, since I had done it before, I also knew how hard those induced contractions were going to be. Sometimes anticipating great pain can be even harder than experiencing the pain itself (at least emotionally). I started to doubt myself and if I could handle the labor without pain medication. I went over the reasons for not medicating in my head over and over again and I knew that I really didn't want an epidural. But, I was still very scared. Actually, more like terrified! I felt so very weak.
I started to pray, crying out to the Blessed Mother for strength and peace. I called on a whole litany of saints, begging for their intercession. I knew I was not strong enough to get through this without the Lord's help and the blessing of His grace.
Within less than half an hour, those desperate prayers were answered. I felt such tremendous peace and all the anxiety was gone. I could do this. One contraction at a time. I just had to focus on one contraction at a time and I'd get there; I'd get to finally meet Button.
The nurses came in and set up the pitocin drip. As they finished, there was knock on the door. Two Eucharistic Ministers from our church were there and wanted to offer me Holy Communion. Would I like to receive? Of course!! I can't imagine a better way to begin labor than by receiving the Body of Christ! I could so positively feel the Lord's presence, that He was going to be there with me and bless me and the baby.
Maybe 15 minutes later there was another knock at the door. This time it was a lady from the pastoral care team at our church. She came in a prayed with us, such wonderful, simple prayers that soothed my soul. Then she blessed us with holy water. First me, then Button in my belly and finally Eric. Now we were ready to have a baby!
I labored for about four hours with my wonderful husband by my side and the contractions did get hard. Very hard. Toward the end of my labor, they were so hard that I lost my ability to control my breathing properly. (That has never happened to me before. Being able to focus on and control my breathing has always been key to getting through my contractions.) I hyperventilated and my face and hands were tingling and by the time Clara was born, my hands had gone completely numb and I couldn't move my fingers at all. They held Clara up, declared, "It's a girl!" and set her on my chest, but I couldn't really hold her because my hands were useless. The nurse had to help me hold her until I finally got feeling back in my hands about 15 minutes later. What a strange experience!
My older kids weren't allowed in the hospital to visit Clara and me since it was flu season. It was so hard to not be able to see all my kids! But, we had a wonderful homecoming two days later and the big kids so love their little sister.
And now my beautiful baby girl is three weeks old. Her birth seems like it happened ages ago and yesterday at the same time. We are so blessed to have her and the support and prayers of wonderful friends and family. God bless you all!