My second daughter was born near the end of September. However, I was in labor with her essentially the entire month of September, and my first “false start” was on the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend.
At that point in my pregnancy, I was so large and uncomfortable that I could no longer sleep lying down. I slept sitting up in our living room recliner. It wasn’t super comfortable, but it was the most comfort I could find. Early that Saturday morning, around 3am, I woke up to go to the bathroom, something that happened frequently during the night. However, before I even got up, I realized that something was leaking out of me, and I was now sitting in a puddle of wet. I knew it wasn’t urine, because I still had to go to the bathroom, and my first guess was that my water had broken.
I remember being somewhat scared about this, since I was 36.5 weeks pregnant, not near to full-term, but I also remember that it was the middle of the night, and I was a little fuzzy and not quite awake. I did, however, go upstairs and wake JJ up. He told me call my doula, Treesa. That particular evening, Treesa was spending the night with her husband in a hotel close to the SF airport in account of some work-related event of which her husband was a part. This was convenient, because she actually lived 30 minutes away, across the Bay. Yet I remember feeling very guilty calling her away from a special night in a hotel.
But, God bless her, she came over in the middle of the night to be with me. She asked if I was having any contractions, and I said that I wasn’t having any more than normal, just Braxton-Hicks contractions. She asked if I noticed any more fluid leaking out, and I said no. She brought out her baby heartbeat monitor (my doula also worked as a midwife), she checked the baby’s heartbeat, and found it was just fine. So she suggested, since it was the middle of the night, that I try to go back to sleep, and unless the situation changed, we would figure out what to do once morning arrived. She made herself comfortable on the couch next to my chair; at least she claimed she was comfortable. We did both fall back asleep, although I didn’t fall asleep right away.
In the morning, we assessed the situation. I still wasn’t having any real labor contractions, nor had I had any more fluid leaking out of me. I was pretty anxious about the whole situation, as I didn’t want the baby to be born too early. (Little did I know… ha ha ha!) So Treesa drove to Whole Foods, where she bought some tiny homeopathic labor-starting pills as well as some Bach Rescue Remedy pastilles. The homeopathic pills were to help get labor going if it was indeed going to start, but if my body wasn’t at all in labor, the pills wouldn’t do a thing. The Rescue Remedy pastilles were to calm me down.
As it turned out, I was not in labor. I had no more gushes of fluid (that day!), and while I had a few contractions, they were not major, and they were nothing different than what I’d been having the previous weeks. At first we called my OB with what had happened, and he told us to go to the hospital so that he could find out whether or not my water had broken (there’s a swab test that can tell whether fluid is amniotic fluid or not), but after a while with nothing really happening, we called my OB again, and he told us to not to bother with coming in. We realized that this was a False Start.
My doula told me the fluid could have been one of two things:
1) A break really high up in my bag of waters, near the top of my uterus, a break that resealed shortly after breaking (as opposed to the typical way the bag of waters breaks, which is right at the mouth of the cervix)
2) Losing a very watery mucus plug.
Which one of those was it? Stay tuned to find out!
She also told me that it’s extremely common for second-time mothers to have a “false start” before labor truly begins. I had felt so guilty for calleing her at 3am and asking her to come over when it turned out to be nothing, but she insisted that I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. She knew that when she became a doula, that’s what she signed on for. She never allowed me to feel guilty about anything pregnancy related, and that’s why to this day I continue to be grateful to her for her help during the final month of my pregnancy with Baby J.
So, after my first false start, that finally provided the impetus I needed to finally get my tail in gear to get things ready for the baby. I remember telling Treesa, “The baby can’t come yet! I don’t have the crib ready and I don’t have her clothes in the drawers!” After this false start, over the next few days, I got ready. 😉
Read the next part of J’s birth story: false start #2