I'm going to share a little third trimester recap then get to the good stuff about my crazy weekend of suspected PROM, BPP/NST, and prodromal labor. Scroll down if you're just here for the "good stuff"! Third Trimester Update:
So I haven't documented this pregnancy as much as I would have liked to. My goal was to document my pregnancy and share the journey with you. But the truth is, in choosing low intervention care, and having a no-complication pregnancy, there has been very little to update.
To be truthful, I opted out of basically all testing because I have felt that this pregnancy is an exercise in trusting God's design and His will. I have strong intuition and believed that if there was a true need for prenatal testing, God would lay it on my heart to have it done.
Then comes distinguishing between fear/anxiety and intuition. Thankfully I have a great support team who has been able to put my mind at ease with logic when I have started spiraling into fear based thinking and decision making.
So update time..
Around 6 weeks ago now, I fell and sprained my ankle. It set me up for a very physically miserable rest of my pregnancy. My orthopedic doc put me in a boot... which was great for my ankle and HORRIBLE for my pelvis. Also... crutches when 32 weeks pregnant.... no bueno. I don't remember crutches ever being so physically demanding and painful for my whole body. The whole thing was just a disaster... to top it off? Shortly after, my husband had to go TDY (military for business trip) for almost a month.... leaving me alone with a hurt ankle and three small kids. JOY. We were surviving, til Easter Sunday when my son split his lip and we ended up in the ER. By "we" I mean my hugely pregnant self and all three kids... because no one was available to help me out and my in-laws, THANK GOD, were on their way, but still an hour away. These fools in triage at the ER tried telling me I couldn't bring the other kids in with me "because of COVID" and I completely lost my cool. Thankfully the actual ER staff was mostly awesome and we had a fantastic nurse, and the kids were very well behaved til Grandma arrived to collect them.
My poor 3 year old had to be sedated for a stitch on his lip. So much drama for one stitch, but absolutely necessary. And if you know anything about me, you know that I handle emergencies with my kids really freaking well... like I'm eerily calm the whole time, not one to get upset (unless I have to advocate with bullheaded staff), and certainly not one to panic. Until afterward. After everyone is settled and okay I have a total emotional release. Couple that with the fact I had been up since 5 am (we went to early Mass an hour away for Easter...) aaandddd the fact I was woken up by kids 4 times the night before... and my husband was nowhere near... and I was 37 weeks pregnant... Yeah. I got emotional. And it wiped me out the rest of the week. I was DONE.
My husband finally got home at MIDNIGHT the following Thursday night (well.. Friday morning).
And then we get to the good stuff....
Premature Rupture of Membranes (aka water broke at 37+5) and start and stop labor.
Friday morning was such a relief to wake up with the kids still asleep, the house quiet, finally laying next to my husband and feeling a sense of security I hadn't felt in weeks. As we started our day, I began having some contractions, but being almost 38 weeks, it was nothing too surprising. To be expected really. But then some got intense. I went to the bathroom and my husband genuinely asked. "Are you having the baby". I laughed and said no, I probably just had to poop. But before I knew it I was laying in bed asking him to apply counterpressure to my sacrum and hitting a pattern... yeah. This looks like early labor. I thought it was really funny that the baby waited til the DAY Daddy was home... My husband was pretty panicked as we were expecting a couple more weeks to get stuff done before our move... He suggested I take a bath while he does ALLLLL the projects. In the tub the pattern seemed to pick up. Contractions were 3-6 minutes apart but only lasting around 30-40 seconds and while strong, not as intense as I know active labor is... I knew there was more time, and was pretty much in denial that things might be kicking up.... Here's where it gets good. I stand up to get out of the tub and start to dry myself off and about a cup of fluid begins pouring out of me uncontrollably and it was not urine. It was crystal clear, didn't come out in a urine-like stream, and that much urine would have left some sort of relief of pressure feeling in my bladder and I had ZERO peeing sensations. Then warm water ran down both legs.... I swabbed with a ph swab from my home birth kit which quickly turned dark blue/purple indicating presence of amniotic fluid. Contractions continued and while the pattern was wonky, they did grow more intense. We called in reinforcements. I spent the day having emotional breakdown after emotional breakdown feeling like people were doubting me, or angry labor wasn't moving quicker, my kids were throwing me off and my husband wasn't as connected as I yearned for him to be. I was convinced this is why the pattern would pick up and fizzle out. After all, oxytocin and cortisol work against each other... All day Saturday was the same story. My parents left since nothing exciting was happening and my mother in law came that night. I began to fear hitting the 48 hour mark of ruptured membranes on Sunday. Saturday evening, the SAME thing happened after my bath. Lots of fluid poured out like never before. I was angry and upset. Saturday and Sunday were spent with lots of long walks that created consistent almost CONSTANT contractions, followed by stiing and resting which yielded nothing. This is my fourth baby, I've had prodromal labor for a month twice before, and never did I feel this defeated. Saturday night into Sunday I received a cervical check showing I was 2-3 cm, soft, butttt with a posterior cervix. This meant even if I was in early labor things are gonna take a while. I mean... you know cervical checks mean nothing... but I know my body and I know that a posterior cervix doesn't usually move anterior as quickly as it can dilate and efface... It takes hard work for that position change. And as contractions fizzled out there wasn't much hope for cervical change. Ya'll I did everything. Clary sage, pressure points, nipple stimulation, miles circuit, lunging, balls, walking, curb walking, stair walking, baths, tinctures, even castor oil. I was that desperate. And nothing happened. At all. In fact contractions DECREASED. Sunday my husband had to run a time consuming errand and by the time he got home I had decided we should probably go to the hospital. While there were no signs of infection, baby was moving well, I was healthy, and taking many immune boosting supplements to prevent infection, I hit my limit of concerned. I was ready to just go in and get induced. I was sobbing because I had accepted that would probably turn into a cesarean, and I didn't actually want to go in since me and baby were both okay, but I was afraid of waiting too long. We had a long chat with an amazing support person and decided to wait til morning to do anything so I would at least be well rested. Another option would be to have a BPP (biophysical profile) and NST (non stress test) and use the results to help make our decision.
Well, Monday afternoon we did the tests, baby passed with flying colors, I had plenty of amniotic fluid, and there were zero concerns. I also had not been leaking as much fluid. So we decided to stay home. Contractions picked up again. At that point I was 38+1, baby was doing well, and I felt at peace. Certainly this means labor will stick.... right?
No such luck. Tuesday morning I woke up and got back to regular life... I took Camden to his outdoor school, and we ran errands and contractions were up and down and I just tried to ignore them with all my might. The worst part? I was still shitting my brains out (presumably from Saturday night's castor oil) and I was trying to convince myself it was a sign of impending labor but again...just mental exhaustion. Wednesday I went to the Chiropractor (finally) and my pelvis definitely feels "better" but also "worse" because it feels like maybe baby is lower and I'm waddling a lot more. But guess what... contractions have all but stopped. I have a few here and there but nothing happens. Today it's been a full week since "my water broke". We have no clue what actually happened. I'm hypothesizing that it was my body's way of saying, "Jaimie, you have help now, you're not alone, and you NEED to go take care of yourself." I think it was my body's way of reminding me how hard labor is, how I need to be well nourished and rested for it, and it was an opportunity to break down some serious mental blocks... Both of my other vaginal births were 40+5 so I'm assuming at this point I have two more weeks. I'm miserable and that's terrifying to be honest. But it is what it is.
I'm not here to tell you that if your water breaks you should wait days... but what I did learn from this very weird false labor experience, is that even as an experienced mother and birthworker, unexpected things will happen and it's vital to use your logical brain. Spiraling into fear based thinking and decision making cannot be an option. This is why curating a solid support team is so, so vital, even if you're the most experienced birther out there. Who knows what would have happened if we walked into a hospital like I wanted to Sunday night, with me in a fragile state claiming my membranes had been ruptured for days. It scares me to think about what I almost let myself walk into. Don't get me wrong. I'm 100% all about going in when necessary and using the medical system when it's needed. They exist for a reason. But I almost did the very thing I preach against... and created a reason where one didn't actually exist. So Mamas, while I advocate strongly for trusting your gut... check in with your support team and make sure your gut isn't just fear. And this goes for the other way around too. If I had NEEDED to go to the hospital but resisted out of fear, my support team would have helped me see clearly on that one too. This week has been a roller coaster for sure. This month or so has been as well. I've wanted to just curl up and hide out. I've gone MIA on social media and I've started my maternity leave by backing off work all together. But I want to keep sharing my story with you guys as it unfolds. If you're the praying kind, I'd appreciate a little bending of God's ear, asking that I have the strength to accept His will, and that He blesses me with a healthy baby sooner rather than later! I would also appreciate positive thoughts that we can prep for this big move before baby gets here. I have so much to do, and little time, energy, stamina or motivation to do it. I'll check in soon with another update when I have one! Hopefully no more crazy games and just a celebration of a birth announcement.
Don't forget! We're moving to Wichita Falls, Texas this spring! We're super excited for the move and I cant wait to start serving Texoma families! I will be opening a photo studio for Motherhood Photography that will double as my studio for teaching virtual birth and breastfeeding classes, in addition to in person breastfeeding support for Wichita Falls moms! I'll be sharing some stories of our move soon and update everyone when I'm offering support services again! While I'm no longer offering one to one breastfeeding and birth support (yay maternity leave -- I'll start back up in July, no worries) I am always offering self-paced online birth and breastfeeding classes! Check them out now!
Jaimie Zaki is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and Birth Doula offering virtual and in person pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding support. Jaimie believes in teaching women how to be fierce self advocates for themselves and their babies. In order to be a strong advocate, a solid knowledge base is vital. Jaimie helps new mothers educate themselves about their options in pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, and parenting, and teaches skills for learning more, communicating effectively with healthcare providers, and advocating for informed consent. If you're looking for birth and breastfeeding classes and or support, you're in the right place, Mama Bear!
Keywords: PROM, premature rupture of membranes, water broke no contractions, water broke 37 weeks pregnant, 38 weeks pregnant, prodromal labor, false labor, bpp, biophysical profile, nst, fetal nonstress test, pregnancy update, pregnancy story, false labor story