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Lessons I learned from my first birth: 1. ‘Waters breaking'

‘What to do when waters break, googling isn’t always helpful...'

So you may have a little insight to my first pregnancy & birth from my blog ‘what’s my why’ summarises why and how a fire was lit in my belly to become a hypnobirthing teacher to help others navigate their births for the better!

But if you haven’t got there, I’ll sum up a little intro…

I was heavily pregnant as we went into the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant my home birth plans were totally scuppered and I was told by midwives that it was very likely I’d have to give birth totally on my own without a birth partner.

This was incredibly shocking and distressing, HOWEVER, I came to terms with it because I KNEW I had the power to birth my baby (purely thanks to the confidence hypnobirthing had given me) wherever, and however that would be.

Anyway, back to the first lesson I learnt…

My due date came, went, 10 days and I had a bit of a wobble thinking will this baby ever come! I agreed to book in for an induction at 42 weeks, on the premise that I’d decide on the day whether I’d actually want to have it or opt for expectant management. Well this must have relaxed me having some sort of plan in place because at about 4am my waters broke! Woohoo! I was sooooo excited I did a little dance, told my husband the good news.

I then thought, oh, do I have to tell someone about this?! I actually don’t know.

So I googled. Sure enough, NHS website told me yes you ‘need’ to tell us your waters have broken. So of course that’s what we did and called up. I was told that I’d need to come in at 6am to ‘check’ that it was my waters (ridiculous in hindsight really because it so clearly was. When my waters went it was full on , OMG RUN TO THE TOILET GIRL, gush all over the floor & down the loo, like in the movies…)

Anyway I was so excited to get this show on the road I happily went along at 6am alone (thanks covid) to take in a soaked maternity pad for the midwives to test and see if was waters. Shock, of course it was. All was well & they were clear.

I was excited to then be shown a little tour of the birth centre as it was quiet when I was there, which was awesome.

I was told that all being well if my labour ramped up within 24 hours of my water breaking I could birth on the birth centre. If nothing much had happened, I’d ‘have’ to come in to have my labour augmented (sped up) on labour ward. The midwives explained that ‘it doesn’t really make sense to come in at 4am when your waters went as that’s quite an awkward time, so how about we book you in for midnight?’ I foolishly thought, yeah that makes sense! and agreed.

Luckily I managed to get my labour to ramp up on my own before the clock struck midnight by spending all day boosting my oxytocin (huge bowl of popcorn on my bump, ferris Bueller’s day off on the telly, walk in the sunshine) & then in the evening before bed doing some breast stimulation as I’d read that could help bring on contractions, and it sure did…

Here is where I will pause on the birth story, and ask so in retrospect, what lessons did I learn here?

  1. If waters break in the middle of the night, your pregnancy isn’t ‘pre term’, they are clear, not a funny colour or smelly, it’s a totally reasonable thing to go back to sleep and rest. Although it is NHS policy to get in contact with them straight away, it is not a necessity or law. It’s always up to you to decide what is best for your body, baby and birth. That may mean giving yourself some more time before notifying midwives of waters breaking, so your labour can unfold with less interruptions (e.g. travelling in have waters checked & hold off on that 24 hour ‘clock’ being started). To caveat this, calling and notifying the midwives may feel like exactly the right thing for you, there is nothing wrong with that either.

  2. If you are happy to have your labour augmented because of waters breaking, you don’t have to go in before the 24 hour mark just because it suits the hospital better… would it benefit you to have more time?

Stay tuned for my next ‘lessons I learnt from my first birth’ where I will be talking about all meconium!

Please note hypnobirthing isn’t a replacement for medical advice, and this blog post, nor does any of my online content, serve as medical advice, simply my own personal thoughts on evidence based research.

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