Both of my other births happened a little early; Sofie at 35.5 weeks and Raelie at 36.5 weeks, so I had been on weekly progesterone shots since week 16 to try to prevent another preterm labor and birth. There has never been any explanation as to why I have had preterm labor, my body just is ready too soon I guess!
I worked my serving job the night before, and I had been getting uncomfortable being on my feet for too long for a few weeks, but something about that night felt off. So I went home and went to bed knowing that the following day was my day off and I could rest. I woke up that morning grumpy and with an overwhelming urgency to clean the house. The kids were home from school for winter break, so I had them frantically cleaning everything. I just figured nesting had hit with full force! The girls and I went to get our hair cut, and then we went and had lunch at the Chinese place down the street. When we were getting back in the car after lunch, I sat down in the driver’s seat and felt a small gush. I vividly remember looking at Sofie and saying that I thought my water had just broken, and the look of surprise, excitement, and fear on Sofie’s face. I wasn’t sure if it was my water breaking or not, I was expecting more of a gush and a lot more fluid from my water breaking. I honestly thought maybe I had peed myself!
I called the hubby on the way home and assured him it was probably nothing, and when we got home I messaged my soul sisters asking what they thought. I remember doing squats and moving around to see if anything else came out, but nothing else did! So I chalked it up to the baby pushing on my bladder and causing an embarrassing accident! My brother in law came over and he told me that something similar happened to his wife, and her water ended up fully breaking a little while after the initial small gush, and giving the big gush you’d expect. I was anxious after hearing that and decided to just rest in bed the rest of the day and hope for the best.
The girls and I watched movies in bed and just chilled for awhile. Juny got home from work and went straight to shoveling the snow in the driveway. I was sitting in bed working on Raelie’s hairwrap when all of a sudden there was a big gush, and I KNEW this time that it was my water breaking. I yelled down to Juny, who was just finishing up the shoveling. I felt like it was a scene out of a movie as I calmly yelled at my husband that my water had just broken. My mom and my husband came upstairs and I gave him the hospital number to call while I changed my clothes and my mom calmed the kids down. I was silently giving myself props for having my hospital bags packed already. I was shaking and freaking out a little bit, but I was trying to remain calm and just put one foot in front of the other. We talked about the plans for the big kids for the night and following day, but we really didn’t know what to expect. In my head I just assumed they’d give me something to stop labor and send me home on bed rest, or I’d have a baby, no big deal.
We got to the new Longs Peak Hospital, which is about 10 minutes from our house, and they checked us in. We had toured the birth center a few weeks before and hubby and I were both excited to be delivering there. They had to do some tests to confirm it was my water (and not pee like I was secretly hoping!) and they monitored the baby’s heartbeat while we waited for the results. We were asking questions to try to figure out what the plan was from here, and that’s about the time they explained to us that this hospital was not equipped to deliver a 32 weeker, and that she would need to go straight to the NICU upon her birth, so if it was in fact my water that broke, I would need to be transferred to a bigger hospital. I feel like that’s the moment that my world collapsed momentarily. NICU, as in the Neonatal INTENSIVE CARE UNIT???? I had my other girls early and they NEVER brought up the NICU before…. That’s when I cried. I can’t explain the fear that took over at that point. This was my 3rd delivery, and I thought I had this in the bag, and now I’m going into this whole new world of unknowns and I was scared.
When the doctor came in and officially confirmed that it was in fact my water that broke, and she recommended being taken by ambulance to the University of Colorado Anschutz in Aurora, I realized that this was serious. They wanted me to go to the hospital that my husband works at, 45 minutes away from our house in Firestone. The hospital that is 45 minutes away from my kids who are on winter break… We ended up signing ourselves out of the hospital in favor of driving ourselves to Aurora since I wasn’t having contractions and the baby was doing well at that point. We stopped by the house to grab a few things and reassure the kids that mommy and baby were ok, and we made our first long trip to UCH.
Once we arrived they set me up in a room and they hooked me up to an IV and monitored Ellie’s heart rate. We were finally able to get some of our big questions answered and have a much needed plan of action. I was to be put on antibiotics to prevent infection since my water had broken, and I would be given steroid shots to help Ellie’s lungs develop. I was to stay on hospitalized bed rest until going into labor on my own, or until I reached 34 weeks….. They explained that Ellie would be going to the NICU right down the hall when she’s born, and that they would be continuously monitoring her until then. They couldn’t tell me much about what to expect from her, they had to see how her health was once she was born just like I did, but they explained that she would most likely be put on oxygen and a feeding tube…that she would most likely spend at least a month in the NICU…. that I would be discharged well before she would which meant going home and leaving her there…. the scary list of possibilities went on and on….