I thought I was pretty clued up about the symptoms of pregnancy and what to expect in the latter stages. How wrong I was. I felt quite lucky to have a fairly neat bump and so the uncomfortable stage happened quite late for me. I was still doing my 30-minute walk to the train station (albeit more slowly than usual), I had no stretch marks (sorry, don’t hate me) and I felt like I was being rewarded for suffering through all the nausea at the beginning of the pregnancy.
In the final two weeks before I gave birth, I was feeling tired and fat, but generally OK. Then it happened. I sneezed and something wet came out of my foof. We had been told by the midwife and in NCT classes that the smell of your waters breaking is very different from urine and smells more like hay (really?!?). Whatever came out of me smelt weird, but then what did my normal wee smell like? I couldn’t remember. When have I ever smelt my own wee? Grump and I spent an inordinate amount of time smelling my pants (sorry to my Mum and Mother-in-law who are probably going to read this).
As it wasn’t a huge amount of liquid, I thought I’d wait and see if any more came out. Peanut’s head (I’m going to refer to the J as Peanut for this post, as that was her first nickname) was very low at this point and I thought she may have been putting pressure on my bladder, so it made sense that a bit of wee might come out. Plus, I was going to the toilet a lot.
As the days went on the liquid increased in volume and I spent even more time smelling my sanitary pads, which went from normal to heavy to night-time and finally to Tena Lady throw-away pants. It was time to call the midwife. After being examined (you really want as few of these as you can possibly have ever in your life) it was deduced that my waters were intact and I must be wetting myself.
For the next week, I peed myself when I laughed, when I sneezed, when I rolled over, when I stood up; pretty much all the time and with no control. It’s funny to look back at it now, but at the time I was miserable as hell. A week of wee-induced stress later and lots of mickey-taking/sympathy in equal measures from Grump (mostly mickey-taking and then sympathy when I cried), I had a scheduled appointment with my usual midwife Dawn. When I told her my tale of woe she was concerned. She checked my notes from the hospital, which said that it was unclear whether or not my waters had broken. Er, they didn’t tell me this. What the fuck! For those of you not in the know, once your waters have broken you have 24 hours for your contractions to start otherwise you are induced, as there is a risk of infection (up there…). If my waters had gone, I’d been walking around for over a week. It turns out the midwife at the hospital wasn’t 100% sure whether or not my waters had broken, so had sent me home anyway. Thanks love!
Cue another trip to the hospital and more examinations (seriously, why anyone would want to be fisted during sex I will never know). No, she said, my waters were definitely still intact. I was relieved and confused; no infections for me, but had I really gone from full bladder control to incontinence in such a short time? Well, whatever that midwife did when she put her hand up my parts she broke something because two minutes later my waters did go. All over the hospital bed. Thank god I hadn’t put my knickers back on yet.
Great you might be thinking. I’m going into labour, five days early. No getting fed up and being overdue for me. But no, there was a trace of blood in my waters and no contractions, so they wouldn’t let me go home and I had to stay in hospital overnight before my contractions even began. I had a terrible night’s sleep to prepare me for labour. What a rubbish beginning. I was hoping my waters would break in M&S, because I’d heard you get a £50 voucher if it happens in store. Or I’d have some cool story to tell about how they broke in Sainsbury’s and I had to be wheeled out in a shopping trolley.
Oh well, at least I’d stopped weeing myself and I have a new-found respect for anyone who is incontinent. It’s pants – literally.