Things I Googled Before I Went Into Labor

If you didn’t catch my post about things I Googled while I was pregnant, read it here.

During the last few weeks of my pregnancy, my Google searches changed to that of a different nature when I started wondering about what labor would be like. Here are some of the things I Googled about going into labor and what I learned.

“WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WHEN YOUR WATER BREAKS?”

When I was researching this topic, I found out that water breaking can actually feel different for different women. Some women reported feeling a giant gush of fluid, while others experienced a slow trickling of fluid. Some also claim to have heard an audible “POP” sound as their water broke. If you are worried (like I was) that your water may break while you’re in the shower or some other time when you won’t realize that it happened, believe me… you will know! One thing I found out from personal experience is that when your water breaks, it isn’t just one-and-done… even if you miss the initial “gush,” you will eventually realize something is not right because the fluid will keep coming! Read more about this topic and my personal experience in my other blog post here!

“WHAT DO CONTRACTIONS FEEL LIKE?”

Never having been pregnant before, I really didn’t know what to expect from contractions. Every time I felt even the slightest stomach cramp or pain, I would think “Was that a contraction??” From what I read on Google, many women claimed that contractions felt like severe menstrual cramps or like your entire uterus was just being squeezed (literally, contracted!) tightly and then released. They all said the same thing, though: you will just know when you go into labor. From my own experience, my water broke before I actually started contractions, but when I did start to feel them, it was very light at first and almost went unnoticed. It did, though, feel like my uterus was being squeezed, held for a few seconds, and then slowly released. Indeed, once I felt that first contraction, I for sure knew what I was feeling!

“HOW TO INDUCE LABOR NATURALLY”

There are lists upon lists upon lists of suggestions for ways to try to stimulate labor. From walking, walking, walking to eating spicy foods and pineapple to sitting on an exercise ball to being intimate with your significant other and even nipple stimulation. If you are big pregnant and close to or past your due date and ready for the baby to arrive, knock yourself out and give some of these a go. But when it all comes down to it, none of these suggestions have actually been proven to work. Some women have done every single thing on every single list and still gone 2 weeks past her due date and had to be induced. Or other women didn’t do any of them and delivered 3 weeks early. The baby will arrive when he or she is ready. Unfortunately, babies like to work on their own schedules and not always around what is convenient or comfortable for the mommas involved.

“WHAT ARE THE SIGNS BEFORE YOU GO INTO LABOR?”

When I got close to my due date, I thought maybe I would be able to tell a day or so earlier when I was about to go into labor. I read through numerous accounts from women on Google about what they had experienced the days leading up to their deliveries, but unfortunately it seems like there is no common ground and it’s different for everyone. Some women reported extreme feelings of nesting the day before and others reported feeling just the same as always. I guess the best way to put it is to say there aren’t really any “early symptoms” for labor. I can tell you about my own experience, though. The day before I went into labor, I had my 40 week OB appointment (I was actually 39 weeks 6 days), and my blood pressure was really elevated. I had to go over to the hospital for monitoring for about an hour, but it ended up coming back down and remained normal after that. My grandma later said something about how that could have been a sign that the baby had dropped further into the birthing canal, but I’m not sure I’ve heard that anywhere else. For the remainder of the day, I just felt kind of more tired than usual and didn’t have much energy (not that most 9-month-pregnant women do). My water broke at 5 am the next morning! So, whether or not those were actually signs that I was about to go into labor… who knows?! What about any of you ladies reading this? Did you notice anything different or off the day(s) before you went into labor? I’m curious to know!

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Things I Googled While I Was Pregnant

Let’s face it, as soon as you become pregnant, you start to worry about EVERYTHING. Apparently that worrying doesn’t ever stop even as your children grow older and move out of the house. And you typically always tend to jump to the worst conclusions. When you are pregnant, any tiny tinge of pain automatically means something must be wrong with the baby… if your baby isn’t born exactly on his due date, it must also mean something is wrong with him! Being a parent means constant worrying about the wellbeing of your child.

During my 40 weeks of pregnancy, I certainly spent my fair share of time on the Google machine, searching and researching to get some answers to some of my worries. Of course, your obstetrician or midwife is only a phone call away if you’re truly concerned that something may be wrong, but here are just a few of the things I Googled and what I found out.

“BLEEDING 7 WEEKS PREGNANT”

The first trimester of pregnancy was just filled with stress for me. I was terrified of a miscarriage, as the majority of pregnant women usually are. So, of course when you see even the tiniest amount of blood, you automatically begin to freak out. I’d  heard that spotting is normal in the first few weeks, mostly caused by “implantation bleeding” when the embryo attaches to the uterine wall… but I thought surely implantation should have been completed by week 7?? Probably, but there are also numerous other (harmless) causes for bleeding in pregnancy, including any irritation to the cervix like intercourse or a pelvic exam and even too much physical activity. I experienced some spotting one day when I was about 5 months pregnant after being on my feet for several hours straight. Even if you think the bleeding you have noticed is harmless, be sure to mention it to your doctor at your next prenatal appointment just to be safe. If you are experiencing extremely heavy bleeding or any bleeding accompanied by abdominal cramping, it’s probably a good idea to get things checked out ASAP!

“FELL DOWN STAIRS 27 WEEKS PREGNANT”

There are few things scarier for a pregnant lady to experience than a fall. I was putting away Christmas decorations when I slipped on my steps and took a tumble. Luckily, I landed on my butt and pretty much just slid down about 3 or 4 stairs. Still, it didn’t keep me from freaking out. I tried to keep myself calm to evaluate things; I wasn’t having any bleeding, and I just sat down on the couch for a few minutes and tried to relax until I felt the baby move again. When I was searching on Google about whether I should go to the hospital or not, I read stories from several pregnant women who fell and ended up landing on their bellies, which is even more terrifying. BUT it turns out that the baby is actually really well protected in there with lots of nice comfy cushioning, so even if you do land on your belly during a fall, chances are that things are going to be A-OK. Still, if you’re unsure or do experience any bleeding, cramping, or decreased fetal movement after a fall, get your doctor to evaluate you!

“RIB PAIN 32 WEEKS PREGNANT”

In general, I really enjoyed being pregnant and didn’t have a difficult pregnancy at all. That being said, I did start to experience quite a bit of discomfort throughout the last several weeks. Starting around week 32, I started feeling this pain right under my right breast. It felt like it was just above where the top of my uterus was, and the pain was so unusual and kind of hard to describe. Most of the time, it felt kind of like a burning or stinging sensation on my skin and other times it would feel like a straight up stabbing pain into my ribs. I was constantly checking to see if I had a rash or something causing the burning/stinging, but there was never anything there. I couldn’t find much on Google about it, but finally asked my doctor who said it was from where my uterus had gotten to the point where it was so large and squishing all of my other organs up into the rib space, it was causing the bottom few ribs to try to push out. Unfortunately, there is no solution but a birthday. So, when it got too painful, I applied cold packs to the area (which seemed to help a little bit) until I finally delivered.

“PELVIC PAIN 35 WEEKS PREGNANT”

A few weeks after I started having the rib pain, I started experiencing a completely different pain a little further down below. It was an odd sensation that I didn’t really even know how to put into words to search for answers on Google. But finally, I found the perfect explanation for it — some other women had been experiencing the same thing and described it as feeling like they had been kicked in the crotch or like they rode a bicycle for 500 miles. Yes! That’s what it felt like! Kind of like everything was just bruised down there. It felt the worst for me when I would wake up in the morning or in the middle of the night and go to get out of bed. I felt like I was being torn in half and did my best to hobble around until the pain would eventually subside. Sometimes I would feel it just standing up from sitting on the couch, also. It would come and go. Some of the results I found suggested symphysis pubis dysfunction, and when I looked it up, it did sound like what I was experiencing. But when I asked my doctor about it, he said it was just related to round ligament pain and the reason I felt it the most when I got out of bed was because the ligaments would shrink while I was lying down, and then stretch out again when I’d get up, causing the pain. Once again, he told me that the only solution was a birthday.

 

I don’t claim to be any expert on the subjects above, but if your mommy intuition is telling you that something is not right, do not hesitate to call your doctor or visit the hospital to get checked out! Always better to be safe than sorry… especially when there is a second tiny life depending on your health as well!

What It Was Like When My Water Broke

When the final days of my pregnancy were dwindling down, one thing I worried about often was: “How will I know when I go into labor? Will I know if my water breaks??”

I didn’t know what to expect contractions to feel like, and apparently it’s actually pretty rare for your water to break before you go into labor. Therefore, I spent my fair share of time Googling both “What do contractions feel like?” and “What does it feel like when your water breaks?” and reading countless stories from women who had experienced it all.

It’s true; contrary to what movies and TV may have you believe, labor does not often begin with the water breaking. Only about 1 in 5 women will experience their water breaking before they go into labor. It turns out that I was apparently one of the lucky 20%.

From what I read during all of my time researching the subject, the rupturing of the “bag of waters” (as they called it in our childbirth class) can feel different from woman to woman. Many women reported feeling and some even hearing an audible “POP” before they felt the flood down below. Other women claim to have had a slow, steady leaking without any noticeable gushing.

Here’s how it happened for me.

**This post is probably going to be really TMI, but when I was pregnant and reading stories like this, I wanted to know every little detail… so here you go. Not to mention, once I was in the delivery room, I lost every ounce of shame and modesty I ever had anyway. It happens.**

On the day I went into labor, I woke up around 5 am feeling like I needed to pee. In your third trimester of pregnancy, numerous bathroom trips during the night gets old pretty quickly. So, I stayed in bed willing myself to go back to sleep and trying to convince myself that I didn’t really need to go that badly. Still, something just didn’t feel right down there. It already felt kind of damp and I started thinking, “Now, I know I don’t have to go THAT badly!” I thought maybe the baby had been pressing on my bladder or something.

Embarrassed, I finally got myself out of bed and headed to the bathroom. There was just a small wet spot in my underwear, so I cleaned myself up and put on a dry pair. When I went to flush, I noticed what I’m pretty sure was at least part of the lovely “mucus plug” they tell you to expect. It wasn’t a giant globby thing like some people describe it… Honestly, I can’t even recall clearly what it looked like in order to describe it, I just knew it was out of the ordinary! They say you can lose your mucus plug several weeks before you go into labor, but I was 40 weeks at this point and hadn’t seen any sign of it before this  particular morning. I got kind of excited but also nervous at the thought that the baby’s birthday could be right around the corner.

Anyway, once I was clean and dry, I climbed back into bed and immediately felt like I had to pee again and felt that wetness once more. “Are you kidding me???” At this point, as I walked back to the bathroom, a little voice in the back of my mind started to say, “Maybe this is it! This could be your water breaking!”

Sure enough, there was another wet spot in my underwear that I KNOW had just been dry 2 minutes prior. Also this time, I noticed some bleeding. Of course, any sight of blood when you’re pregnant makes you automatically freak out, but I just thought maybe it was from where I had lost my mucus plug.

Luckily, I had received about 3 free samples of women’s urinary incontinence pads and decided to hang onto them in case of this moment. So, this time, once I got cleaned up and changed again, I went ahead and put on one of those pads juuuuuust in case. As soon as I got back to my bedroom not even a minute later, I felt a small gush. “Ok, I did NOT have to pee that time!” I said to myself as I started to panic a little bit. At least… I was pretty sure? I kept thinking back to our childbirth class when the nurse told us that many women had come in to the hospital thinking their water had broken, but they’d really just peed themselves when their babies had pressed on their bladders in a certain way. I stopped to assess myself. It didn’t feel like the baby was pressing on my bladder. It didn’t even feel like I had to pee. Plus, I had lost my mucus plug… Surely, my water had broken!

I called my husband at work to let him know that my water broke and we would need to go to the hospital soon. As I was waiting for him to get home, I felt several more small gushes like the first one. Whaaat? I had always been under the impression that when your water broke, it was a one-and-done kind of deal. Apparently I was wrong! Even when we got to the hospital, it took me a pretty long time to walk from the car to the front doors because I was feeling a gush with each step I took. Let’s just say, I was super thankful for those pads and will definitely have some more on hand next time I’m pregnant!

Now, what does a “gush” feel like? Well, to me, it felt kind of like I was peeing my pants and had no control over it at all. Awesome.

So, it’s true–water breaking can feel different for different women. I didn’t feel or hear the “pop” that some women claim to experience, but I did kind of have both the small trickling at first and then the gushes later on. When I was evaluated the hospital, the nurse also informed me that it’s quite normal for women to experience bleeding at first, like I had.

The important thing to remember is: no matter how it feels when your water breaks, if it breaks at home before you are in labor, be sure to get to the hospital ASAP! Some women like to think they can labor at home for a while before they go in, but that’s not the case if your water has broken. Once your water breaks, you and the baby are at an increased risk of getting an infection and that sucker’s gotta have a birthday within the next 24 hours no matter what! So, yes, even if you just wet yourself, you should still get checked out if you think there’s any chance it could have been your water breaking.

If anyone reading this has experienced your water breaking, how did it happen for you? I’d like to know!