A Birth Story in Three Acts (One)

It was the broken water that first woke me. Not mine, but the sprinklers which at 1:36 am were still running. I wasn't paying attention to the time, only that the running water outside was taunting my bladder more than usual. I pulled myself out of my rented Orthopedic bed and made my way down the hall to the bathroom... except...

What the fuck?

I was... dripping something. My first thought "Oh, great. I'm peeing myself." I figured exhaustion had robbed me of all bladder control. I scampered waddled briskly toward the toilet to relieve myself like a proper adult. Except after I peed, I was still... peeing?

Five minutes later Hal knocked on the door. Apparently I'd been pacing, banging around and talking to myself. (Exhaustion robbing me of all sense, too.)

"Are you okay?"

"I'm not sure," I answered.

I pointed to the towel between my legs and mumbled something about water pouring out of my vagina but not to worry because I'm on WEB MD, ready to diagnose why I'm hugely pregnant AND leaking water.

This is going to sound totally crazy to you I'm sure, and trust me, it feels INSANE typing it, but I honestly hadn't the faintest clue I was in labor. I had never broken my water before. My last two labors consisted of doctors sticking long, sharp tools up inside me in order to "puncture my bags" because at five and six centimeters, my water refused to break on its own.

I assumed if my water were to ever break on its own it would be like in the movies where "pregnant actress in a business suit" steps onto the New York sidewalk and BAM! Cue: bucket-sized gush of water followed by "flagging of taxi," followed by entrance into taxi, followed by the line: "Mount Sinai and please step on it, sir!"

... This was not a gush. This was a trickle. A trickle that didn't intend to stop but also, maybe this was normal? What the fuck do I know? Nothing. So I sat on the edge of the bathtub and googled.

"You know you have an ACTUAL DOCTOR you can call, right? Instead of sitting on a towel on a toilet with WEB MD?"

This is the thing about me. I am a reverse-hypochondriac. I assume everything is fine and normal and hate bothering anyone with anything. Especially in the middle of the night.

"But it's 2 am!"




That's when my trickle turned into a stream and...


I straddled towel #2 and got on the phone, apologizing fourteen times before explaining to the doctor that I had soaked through two towels and yes, the fluid was clear and no, I didn't feel like I was in labor but I might be? Maybe? I don't know?

I was told to come to the hospital right away.

Hal was already packing his bag. He kept asking me what he should bring and I kept telling him "I don't know" and we both kept bumping into each other, rounding up various items we would never in a million years need.

Him: Four pairs of jeans and an electric shaver.
Me: Makeup

Hal and I had yet to put a plan in place in case of this kind of middle-of-the-night-have-to-go-to-hospital-but-kids-are-asleep situation. Luckily, my friend Danielle was awake when Hal called and was able to get from Silverlake to West Hollywood in a miraculous seven minutes.
very flattering photo via Dani's phone.

Hal and I woke the kids to tell them we'd BRB, gotta go have some babies, called my mom to tell her to come on down (up) and after pacing the house for twenty more minutes for no good reason, Hal grabbed our bags and we fled the scene.

Outside, the sprinklers were still on, a broken pipe was shooting a geyser into the air, and our entire yard was flooded. In our mad dash to the hospital, we barely noticed. I pressed the towel between my legs and waded through our swamp of a front yard on my way to the car.

By the time we got to the hospital I was on towel five and Hal was on the phone with the water company trying to figure out how to turn the fucking water off.

"This break is going to cost us a fortune!" he said.

I told him we'd bill the full moon...



Meg | 1:07 PM

I had a similar water-breaking experience. I woke-up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. As I got out of bed, I realized the bed was soaking wet. I assumed that I had peed the bed. For some reason, that thought did not really trouble me. I also thought that maybe my water had broken. For some reason, that thought did not trouble me either. I spent the next 1 1/2 hour writing an e-mail to work outlining research I had done because I had enough foresight to think there was a possibility that I would not be going to work the next day. Then, I tried to go back to sleep. I did not want to bother the doctor (or my dad who specializes in high risk obstetrics) in the middle of the night. I waited until my doctor's office opened in the morning to call. I am an idiot. Blame pregnancy and lack of sleep, right?

Heather | 1:11 PM

First of all, your water breaking and the actual water breaking at the same time is too funny. Second, the fact that you've had 2 kids and didn't know you were in labor makes me feel immensely better that it's ok if I have no clue when I go into labor. ;)

Grumble Girl | 1:18 PM

I'm a reverse hypochondriac too. I understand your hesitation - totally.

I wonder how this ends...? *snicker:snort* xox

Ramblings of a Redhead | 1:18 PM

Ha ha I looooved this! I don't have babies, and all 4 of my sister's babies were induced...So I have no idea what a "water breaking" situation looks like. It's good to know for future reference! Can't wait to hear pt 2 & 3!

Lyz | 1:21 PM

That was how my water broke. And I thought it was just normal leakage. And if there hadn't been a little bit of blood, I probably wouldn't have called the hospital. As it was, I made my husband leave our bags in the car and I kept telling the nurse that I'd probably get sent home. Finally, she was like, "WHEN YOU GO HOME IT WILL BE WITH THIS BABY!" That's when I realized. I LOVE hearing all the details. Keep them coming, mama!

Unknown | 1:23 PM

You are so me. At 30 weeks my water broke. Its baby number 2 and my water broke the first time around so I was pretty sure I knew what was up...but I put it off. I woke up at 3ish thinking "ok, still leaking...if it's STILL goin on at 7 when I have to get Layla up for school I'll call or go in maybe..." 7 rolls around, still dripping...casually call my friend and drop Layla so she can take her to school while we drive the 45 minutes to the hospital. Turns out my water did break and they sent me 3 hours away to the "big city" where there was a hospital capable of taking care of bitty babies. I dont know what made me think 30 weeks was an acceptable gestation. Dumb!

Meghan | 1:25 PM

My water broke (trickled) on the same night our septic backed up into the house. lovely. literally first act after arriving at hospital was for both of us to shower.

Leanne | 1:25 PM

Oh sister, SAME HERE! Only I was a first-timer, with a medical background, at 38 weeks... who got out of bed at 2am to pee, only to have the trickle continue. Kind of like discharge, but in a more watery and whoa--pantyliners ain't helping this kind of way. Didn't wake the boyfriend, noooo... Went to the couch, googled, then logged onto my prego-runners on-line forum group and posted my symptoms. What could it beeee?

Luckily, a fellow forumite on east coast time was awake and posted back to call her RIGHT THEN. Mind you, I'd never spoken to her in person before. It was so odd, talking to her for the first time, in the wee hours, about something so personal, yet feeling so close to her after so many months of on-line daily connections and convos.

It wasn't until I mentioned the white 'flakes' in the trickle that every conceivable lightbulb in my head went off and voila! the thought 'We've got vernix!!' -- that I even entertained her notion that my water had broke. I expected a gush. And maybe another symptom or too? Nada. No cramps, no contractions, not a damn thing. It was the only scenario I hadn't planned on. Water breaking WITHOUT labor.

I finally went to the hospital several hours later where they started the oxytocin and only then did I start having contractions, nearly 12 hours after that first trickle. I'd never seen that happen on TLC's Baby shows. Or in movies. Crazy how the rational part of our brains takes a vacay just when it might be a good time for a staycation. Congrats to you

Anonymous | 1:26 PM

I had such a similar experience with my water breaking. It took soaking through two sets of pajamas before it occured to me that I wasn't suddenly incontinent, but that my water broke, at 2 am (of course). I woke my husband at 2:30, because that's hold long it took me to realize this might be important. While he stumbled around I pulled out a book because I wasn't sure this was one of the things you're supposed to rush to the hospital for. I mean I took clasees but they always start with contractions and try to stay home as long as possible, not oops I peed myself- now what?

lonek8 | 1:27 PM

I completely have the same reverse hypochondria - when I went into labor with my son, I sat at the computer silently suffering through my contractions at 5am because I didn't want to wake up my husband or doctor at 5am. And then I burst into tears because A) I didn't want to wake anyone up to come stay with my daughter while I had the baby, and B) I couldn't stand up long enough to put on my makeup before we went to the hospital. Priorities, I haz them

Erin | 1:28 PM

OMIGOD!!! Hilarious!! Can't wait for the next act!

Jessica | 1:37 PM

Yay! Birth stories are my favorite (just posted my own a couple pf days ago- not as funny as your writing of course) - can't wait for the next act!

Glenda | 1:54 PM

My first pregnancy. I was home about 1pm watching tv with my mom and I felt like I peed on my pants. I told my mom and she immediately said it's my water. I put a liner on and went about my business. No pains. I called hubby at work and told him he needs to come home. He did. My mom made him lunch. He said calmly and ate lunch. I took a shower and got my bags. By then the contractions were coming 5 mins apart. He called the hospital and they said bring me in. I got there at 3pm and baby boy was born at 8pm.

For my second (a girl) my water didn't break but I had 5 min contractions. They had to insert the long knitting needle (is what I called it) lol and break my water.

I can't wait for pt 2 and pt 3.
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous | 1:57 PM

I love birth stories :)

I had a similar situation to your first two births: my water didn't break until I started pushing. Then with the first big push it broke and there was a giant gush of water. I'm glad I didn't have to experience the knitting needle!

I can't wait to hear the rest of the story. I'm sure it will be beautiful!

KateFitz | 2:07 PM

Love it! With my first I was sitting on the couch with my lovely Mom (who had flown 1000 miles to be with me) and husband cracking jokes about how I was going to be pregnant FOREVER.

Then the trickle started...I stood up to go to the bathroom and everyone laughed that I had peed on the couch when a big wet spot emerged. I said "I've peed on this couch before and I didn't just pee on the couch" (I had a really bad cough during month 8 and small amounts of urine would frequently escape)

Anyway that has gone down in family history...and every now and again my Mom asks if I peed on the couch today.

Looking forwards to Act 2 and 3!!!

Kerry | 2:39 PM

ohhh I love this beginning. So very "I didn't know I was pregnant."

Margie | 3:02 PM

Hooray! Thanks so much for the birth story (part one). I love it! It's such a fun way to relate. The unexpected water breaking, the bizarre packing and pacing around, that brings back fun memories for me. Looking forward to part two!

shannon c | 3:30 PM

We know how it ends, two beautiful babies, but I can't wait to hear the rest! :)

K | 3:31 PM

My water has ONLY broken (2 times out of 2 pregnancies) so far, so if I ever just have a "normal" slowly-worsening-contractions labor, I'm not going to know what's going on! :)

Red Stethoscope | 3:56 PM

I'm also a reverse hypochondriac, so no judgment! I also didn't know that amniotic fluid could leak at a slow trickle, so Part I has been very educational indeed. Can't wait to hear the rest!

Anonymous | 4:03 PM

I had to actually have a dr confirm my water broke for my 2nd because the trickle wasn't much more than normal pregnancy, um, stuff, just a very teensy bit more. It even took them a long time to tell me to come in. The next morning we had a new baby.

I love birth stories too, why is that? Can't get enough, although I suspect it's just because I want to tell my own;-)

Heather | 4:57 PM

I completely get the bewilderment at water breaking! Two days prior my midwife told me "The only time you KNOW you are absolutely in labor is when your water breaks." Of course- when it broke I was still convinced that I might have a couple days. My husband found me at 2:30am swiffering the amniotic fluid from our bathroom floor. Ha!

christabelle | 5:55 PM

I totally understand reverse-hypochondria, except I'm a reverse-anorexic. I figure I look absolutely fabulous no matter how much I weigh!

Noelle Spooner | 6:07 PM

Oh, I love reading birth stories and These girls have a fabulous birth story so far. Can't wait for the next act.

Unknown | 6:38 PM

haha love it!! i always love reading your blog...can't wait to read more of your story!!

AUSAcara | 7:09 PM

I love birth stories!

Do you want to trade?! I just posted mine (ausacara.blogspot.com in 2 acts) - which was happening at almost the exact same time yours was, only entire oceans and hemispheres and time zones away in Australia.

And my twin sister came all the way from Virginia to be here with me - 25 years after sharing a 'womb with a view,' as she likes to say.

Erin | 7:14 PM

Can't wait for the next two!

Elliesee | 8:28 PM

I love the pictures as always. I am sure I had that same air of shock when my water broke. I had no idea either - I called the hospital just in case. I was trying to go to sleep the night before my induction. I still don't know if it is possible to sleep the night before you are induced!

Virginia-Ann | 9:14 PM

I too had a similar water breaking episode. With my first I had just finished using the toilet to urinate and when I stood up and took 2 steps water suddenly poured from me. I like you grabbed a towel and tried to figure out what exactly had happened... With number 2 child, my water did not break, and with number 3 child I had already been in the hospital for 10 weeks on bed rest. They finally gotten bathroom privileges and on my first trip up in 10 weeks I was in the bathroom looking at the mess I was in the mirror and gush... Needless my son was born a few hours later once they staff all came in for my c-section (still had to have staff for abdominal surgery since I could have needed hysterectomy on the spot) Can't wait to read parts 2 and 3, as well as all other adventures!!!

Rachael | 10:00 PM

I also had middle of the night water breakage with my first. Then I suddenly realized those little things 20 minutes apart were contractions. And maybe I really WAS in labor?! A trickle and a towel between the legs.

With my 2nd, my water broke when I was well into labor, and THAT one was like the movies - it was a giant forceful explosion that my husband heard from across the house. But it wasn't starting labor, I'd been having contractions 5 min apart, which then started coming on top of each other and led to me having my baby in my bathroom with my husband catching him.

I guess my point is that those movie scenes are totally unrealistic. In many ways. Who knows.

Taryn | 10:14 PM

Love it,can't wait to read the next act.
I have found that husbands are generally not too helpful in such situations. On my third pregnancy I waited patiently (contractions only 2 mins apart, I go super fast, 5 hours my longest labour from first contraction to birth), but my husband was not ready to leave, you see, he was on hold with tech support and felt sure he was really close to getting picked up, so I waited, wondering who would pick up our older 2 boys from school in 10 mins. 15 minutes later my baby boy was in my arms and he looked stunned!! I very calmly told my husband, next time (yeah right) when I say it's time to go, mooooove!

Alyssa | 10:26 PM

First off, I love this.

Secondly, you write beautifully. I love your wit.

Thirdly, 4 pairs of jeans?! Really??? Hahaha

Reverse hypochondriacs in the house!

AmandaYeager | 10:26 PM

K ditto on the leaky leaky what the freaky skit with my first - so when my 2nd was born 2 months ago I was thinkin I've got this thing down. Hullo of course not. Guess what? Bam! Just like the movies - I can not tell you how LOUD it was hitting the hardwood. Everything happened so fast after that I had to take an ambulance to the closest hospital. 10 minute nautral labors with 9.5 pound babies are underrated! Xoxo

French Kate | 11:41 PM

Ha ha! Both my labours started with a "hind-water leak"; endless trickle to you and I. For my second baby I managed to convince the midwife to hold the oxytocin for a couple of days to see if labour started naturally. 48 hrs later..... still trickling and around 20 beach towels later. I had no idea it's possible for your body to contain that much fluid.... Walking to nursery to pick up my son was fun that week. In the end I went into labour spontaneously just as the oxytocin drip was being hooked up : ) Looking forward to part 2!

Anonymous | 11:49 PM

I love the way you write. One question though, you said that Hal said the water break would cost you a fortune...why would it cost you, wouldnt that be on your landlord?


We pay all utilities so, sadly, no. Our water bill for September = tremendous! Not to mention a total waste of water. (It ran for hours before it was repaired. Sigh.)

Ray | 12:42 AM

"I told him we'd bill the full moon..."

Loved that line.

And OMG, I want parts 2 & 3 now!! Just kidding (slightly). I know you're busy with all your babes. ;o)

It does sound like such a MOVIE birth story, though. With you and Hal racing out the door and the sprinklers going awry. Hope everything's fine with that now.

Deidre | 12:44 AM

I think you look pretty fantastic for someone who is about to pop out twins.

c is for cape town | 1:13 AM

The first time my waters broke within 25 mins of getting home from the mall and it was radical - like a small tsunami.
The second pregnancy I joked I was going to start carrying a jar of pickles around to drop at the crucial moment thereby disguising what was actually happening. Turns out I had an exact repeat of the first time - waters broke (enormously) 25 mins after getting home from the SAME MALL.
Except this time my eldest pee-d all over the floor at the same time. That's when I realised multi-tasking was about to take on a whole new meaning ...

myfuckingeye | 3:25 AM

Oh Becky, what a FANTASTIC birth story for the twins to read later. I love it. And that picture of you? Flawless. Absolutely and utterly flawless.

Mammy P | 5:11 AM

My water broke on Baby #2... we were at the hospital and I was sort of sitting/leaning on the edge of the bed, with my feet on the floor. Then it felt like a balloon was coming out of me. I said to my husband, "JASON, I THINK THERE IS A BALLOON COMING OUT OF ME!" and then it went SPLAT. From where he was sitting directly opposite me, he said he saw the bag - like a balloon! - before it popped.

Ew, right?

Mamalang | 6:01 AM

I had an amazingly similar experience with my first, minus the water in the yard. My husband still laughs about it. Went to bathroom, came back to bed and grumped that I hadn't wiped as well as I thought. Used towel, realized I still hadn't wiped as well as I thought, used towel. Finally told him I thought my water had broke. I blame it on the 4 am time.

Of course, we all took showers and such before heading to the hospital, and I ate a little something, cause I wasn't sure when I would be able to do either of those things again.

The water in the yard makes this even funnier :)

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Bless with a Boy | 9:01 AM

I love your teasers! Something to look forward to. :-)

I love the pics of the kids in the other posts. Archer looks so protective of the girls. I love it. I just know he is going to be the most awesome brother that ever could live. He will love and protect and teach each girl. I know Fabel will be increadable with the girls as well. Can't wait to hear all about the births and the love between sibs. :-)

Anonymous | 11:09 AM

Four pairs of jeans??

OMG, dude.

Anonymous | 1:06 PM

Oh I understand now, I misunderstood and thought you guys would have to pay for the pipes to get repaired. Still that is unfair in a way that you have to pay for the huge water bill. I wonder if the landlord would really be on the hook for it since its his responsibility to make sure things are functioning properly. Actually Im betting if you took him to small claims court, he may be forced to pay. Just a thought. If its only a couple hundred, I probably wouldnt bother but if its in the thousands its worth consideration.

mary | 2:55 PM

Beautifully written.

Unknown | 3:35 PM

Brilliant. I'm similar with the opposite of a hypochondriac -- well, I vary between the two extremes. Too funny and looking forward to all of the rest!

No Drama Mama | 6:47 PM

I'm not laughing at you, I swear! tee hee hee!

Anonymous | 7:49 PM

So funny, I had such a similar experience. When my water broke I had no clue and kept thinking I was peeing myself. After getting up twice and then standing over a towel I yelled at my husband to wake up and google what happens when your water breaks. Granted, I was only 7 months pregnant so it was unexpected but even so, duh....of course I am not peeing myself...I went to the bathroom 5 times a night up until then and now I am peeing the bed, and the route to the bathroom, and the bathroom, I think not.

When we finally reached the oncall Doctor who had been doing an C-Section so he was delayed 30 minutes in returning my call, we headed to the hospital, it was only 5 am. 2 days later the wee ones arrived and so began our journey, but I will never forget standing there and wondering what was happening. Glad all worked out for you guys and all seems to be well now health wise.

Alyson | 5:46 PM

Girl, you are not alone. I did the same thing with my first child. The part about gushing water like in the movies was exactly like me! My husband still teases me because I was in the bathroom brushing my hair and told him, "I can't stop peeing on myself".