I have been worried about this day for weeks, reliving the trauma of February 13, 2017. The day I started to learned terms like PPROM (preterm premature rupture of the membranes), the undeniable importance of fetal movement, and who in my life I could truly count on. That day changed a lot of things for me and my romantic notions of motherhood. That day marked the end of innocence; the day that the curtain was pulled back and I began to learn how many things have to go just right to have a healthy, full-term baby.
This is the day my water broke suddenly, without warning, as I laid on my chiropractor’s table. At first, I thought that I had peed a little. Then a little more came out. I began to worry that it was noticeable through my yoga pants, so I tried to sit up, explaining that “I just need to use the bathroom real quick.” As I did, “urine” came rushing from my body. I was mortified. I stood up to try to run to the bathroom and even more came out. It stopped me in my tracks and I stood there in horror, tears streaming down my face and apologizing profusely to my chiropractor for pissing all over her office carpet.
But I couldn’t stop.
No matter how tightly I squeezed or how hard I tried, it wouldn’t stop. I started to get confused, thinking that there was no way my bladder could hold this much liquid. What was going on? I cried, I begged my body to stop for what felt like an eternity, and finally my doctor said “I think it’s your water — I think your water just broke.”
Her words hit me like a brick. I knew she was right. And I knew it was too soon. I was barely in my third trimester. We had just taken maternity photos the week before. I didn’t have a hospital bag packed. We hadn’t had the baby shower. We, she, I wasn’t ready.
My chiropractor grabbed towels, sat me back down on the table and put a trash can under my body in a futile attempt to catch the fluid. My pants were soaked. My shoes were drenched. It smelled sweet. An ambulance was called and I tried to reach my husband. He didn’t answer right away and when I finally got ahold of him (note to husbands: ALWAYS answer your pregnant wife’s phone call!), the paramedics had arrived. His office was close by, and he pulled up as I was being loaded into the ambulance. He followed us to the hospital in his car.
Nothing hurt and I wasn’t having contractions — but I was so, so scared. Every move I made, every bump in the road, more amniotic fluid came out. I willed my body to stop leaking fluid. I begged all of the Gods to stop this from happening. It didn’t work.
I wasn’t ready to be done being pregnant. I enjoyed my pregnancy and other than some mild back/hip/side pain, hadn’t had a single problem up until that point. I was placed on bed rest in the hospital and educated on the dangers of infection for me and my unborn child. They informed me that I would only be allowed to stay pregnant for 3 more weeks due to the risk of infection and that the first week was most crucial. If I didn’t go into labor by then, I’d likely last another 2 weeks. I made it to the 3 week mark, and my daughter was born at exactly 34 weeks, on the day of her (cancelled) baby shower.
When I had PPROM, it was a Monday morning and I had gotten up as usual, taken a shower as usual, and fought with my husband about gluten-free pizza (thankfully unusual) before going to my usual chiropractor’s appointment for pain in my hips, back, and sides.
It was a sunny, but crisp February day then. I was 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant with my daughter.
Today is a sunny, unseasonably warm October day. I am 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant with my son.
Today I got up as usual, fed my daughter breakfast as usual, and took a shower as usual, before going to my usual chiropractor’s appointment for pain in my back and shoulder. Today, instead of watching my husband pull up as I was wheeled into an ambulance on a gurney, precious amniotic fluid pouring from my body, and whispering to myself “it’s too soon, it’s too soon, she’s not ready,” I got back into my car, with the windows down, the sun on my face, and drove myself home feeling thankful that history did not repeat itself on this day.