My Water Broke And I Did Not Know!

For K.  You asked for the story, and here it is!

My husband travels a lot and for long periods of time. I made him promise that he would not travel the last month of my pregnancy.  I was now almost a month from my due date and my husband was on his last trip before the baby was born.  I recently stopped working and had spent the last two weeks at home getting everything ready. I was sitting downstairs when my dad called. He said “I have been working at the beach and there is this new highway that I have wanted to try. It brings me very close to your house. I was thinking that I could pick you up.  You can stay with us until “big man” gets back in town.”  I am very close to my parents. I knew that my dad was worried about me being alone and that he was not interested in trying out a new highway. I knew it would be way out of his way, but I had been having a lot of contractions lately and honestly I would feel better being with family.   “If it is not too far out of your way – OK”, I said.

My dad picks me up and we drive the 2 1/2 hours to their house. I had been visiting my family a lot during my pregnancy. We moved to that city when I was three, and I lived there until the previous year when my husband took a new job.  He started his current job in December 2005 and I moved soon after.  I have a small family, but most of us lived in the same city and we are all very close.  After arriving at my parents’ house, I called and made plans for the following day.  I set up an appointment with my old doctor and made lunch plans with my grandmother.

I loved my old doctor. Growing up, I had terrible endometriosis and my doctor of 15 years, Dr. D, had taken great care of me.  He knew me, and also my mother, very well.  He was quick to find my mom’s tumor and perform her surgeries as well; he is a great doctor.  When I first found out that I was pregnant, I called him and set up the ultrasound.  Besides, I knew that I could not yet see a doctor (in the hospital) where I worked, because there were no secrets in my office.  I was not ready to tell anyone that I was pregnant and my staff would surely check the doctor notes online.  I saw Dr. D again when I was going to find out the sex of the baby.   My mom desperately wanted to see the ultrasound and I wanted his opinion on the health of my baby.  The majority of the time, I saw a doctor in the city where we currently lived.  The problem was that all of the doctors were affiliated with the same hospital.  The hospital is a teaching school which means that is full of residents.  Well, about a month ago, one of these genius residents missed a major problem that I was having and sent me out of there while still bleeding (a story for another day). So anyway, after their resident triage expert sent me home, seven months pregnant and bleeding, I called my old doctor.  My husband (who was leaving the next day for Brazil) drove me directly to Dr. D’s office, where he immediately diagnosed the problem.  I now find it ironic that during the drive, we said how we wished to have the baby with Dr. D.  Unfortunately, we knew that with my husband’s hectic schedule, we had to have the baby in the new place that we called home.

I had not been feeling great, so I was actually relieved to see my favorite doctor.  He checked me and said that I was only 2 centimeters and that the baby looked good.  He asked if I had any questions and I burst into tears. He then asked if I was ok and I said “I don’t know.  What do I do if I go into labor?  What do I do?  Where do I go?”  He opened the door and asked his nurse to get me a packet of stuff about the hospital.  He sat down and asked if my husband was traveling. I nodded. He then asked when he would be home.  I said that he will fly in late tomorrow and then come get me Friday night. He stood and pulled out his card.  He wrote his cell number on it and told me to call him if I had any problems. He patted my hand and said “I want to see you in a week.”  I paid my bill, but did not set up another appointment because I knew that I needed to go home.  I was not due for another month.  I could not stay here that long before having this baby.  I really wished I could have the baby here, but it just did not make sense!    I walked into the lobby where my mom and grandmother were waiting. They could tell that I had been crying and they followed me to the door saying “Are you OK, is everything OK?”   I said, “I just really hurt, but I am fine. I think I am just tired.”  They took me to lunch, but I could barely eat.

The next day I woke up feeling much better.  It was around 2:00 and I was just sitting on my parents’ sofa when my dad walked in.  His doctor told him to try and walk every day.  He said he preferred the air conditioned mall and asked if I wanted to come with him. I said sure, and thirty minutes later my dad was walking (and I was waddling) around the mall.  We stopped to look at a Halloween store because it was mid-October and my parents liked to have these crazy Halloween parties for their friends. We were looking at the bazaar costumes and decorations when my back really started to hurt.  The pain was so bad that I had to just stop and rub it. My dad asked if I was OK and I said that my back was Really hurting. He asked, “Do you want to go to the car?” and I said, “No. I’m sure it will stop.  I do need to pee though!”  I had spells of back pain over the last few months, so I was not overly concerned.  Well, the pain did not stop, but we finished he walk. He got in the Starbucks line to get himself a coffee and me an apple cider, and I had another feeling like I needed to pee.  I told him that I needed to run to the restroom and that I would be right back.  When I got into the restroom it REALLY felt like I needed to pee.  I tried to go, but just a couple drops came out.  I remember saying “That is weird”.  I left the restroom, found my dad, and we headed back to their house.

My mom had called earlier in the day and asked if the baby was still beating me up. My baby kicked me and my ribs to the point that I could barely breathe, but today she was very still. My very active baby was eerily still today and now that my pain was getting worse, I started worrying about her. I had just sipped on a sugar-filled Carmel Apple Cider and expected her to be moving a little.  Mom called again and I caught her up on my worries and my increasing pain. She said that she was leaving work and that we would go out to dinner.

Food was the last thing on my mind because, by this point, the pain was severe!  It was only in my back; it never reached my abdomen at all!  I had contractions the last three months of my pregnancy and had to spend a lot of time (after work) on my side with my feet up.  I had been hooked up to monitors multiple times now, because of the intensity of my contractions.   I knew very well how contractions felt, but this was not even close.  The pain was awful, and now it started to run down into my legs.  The pain was so bad that, when it hit, I would have to start pacing. I thought about back labor and tried to time the intervals between the pains, but I did not know if you would time it from when it hit my back or when it ran down my legs (or do you even count that at all). I read a lot of books about labor, but had never seen any mention of the pain running down into your legs before. My mom gets home and sees my state and gets concerned. They decided that I needed to eat. (What is it with parents trying you feed you during a crisis?)  She thought that since I had eaten very little the past two days, the baby and I would feel better after some nourishment.

We go to a near-by Chinese restaurant and place our order. I show them how when the pain leaves my back it runs into my legs. They stood and watched my legs and it looked like they were convulsing; it was a little horrifying. I leave the table to go try and pee.  I once again have the urge to pee, but only a couple drops come out.  For a few days now, I have been feeling a lot of pressure in my girly parts.  I started wondering if it is just the pressure that is making me think that I have to pee, when I really don’t.  I get back to the table and say that I think I need to call the doctor’s office.  I am fumbling with the phone while my legs tremble, so my mom takes the phone and calls for me.  She gets the triage nurse and starts to tell her what is going on.  My mom is speaking very loudly in the phone and I was starting to get a lot of looks.  These tables are pretty close together and my mom yells, “No!  Her water has not broken, but she is in serious pain and is shaking pretty hard!”  I look at the people beside us.  The man is staring at his egg drop soup and looking pretty disgusted.  His wife looked horrified, because her eyes were about to jump out of her head.  I gave them a little wave, then a quiet little “Sorry”.  We are told that the doctor will call us back.  Our food comes, but I can’t eat.  My parents are finishing their meals when the doctor phones and asks about the baby and her movement. She told me to go home, drink a coke and eat a candy bar, and she would call back in 20 minutes.

I followed her instructions, but still felt no baby. The only thing I felt was back pain. I told her about the pain in my back, my legs trembling uncontrollably, and the urge to pee but nothing would come out.  She said that “back pain, pressure, and peeing are not uncommon during pregnancy, but I am concerned that the baby is not moving.”  I called my husband and he said that his plane from New York had landed.  He said that he was heading to a dinner and then home.  I told him “something strange” was going on and that the doctors were sending me to the hospital to get checked out. I told him that I only had my wallet, not my phone, and for him to call my mom or dad’s cell.  I was very relieved that he was off of the plane and back in our state.  I felt better until I got in the back of my parents car and put my hands on my legs.  My legs would not stop shaking and I was starting to get scared.  We drove uptown to the hospital and found the labor and delivery floor. I told the nurses that I was due in a month and they took me to a triage area. One nurse said “We don’t have many rooms tonight. There is a full moon and women are having babies left and right!’

They put me in a room and I showed them my legs shaking.  She told me that the baby was probably in a weird position and putting pressure on a nerve or something in my back.  They got me a gown, hooked me up to a monitor, and walked out.  I looked at my mom and said, “Do you think I’m in labor?”  She said, “Well, your dad does!”  The nurse came back and looked at the monitor and said, “You are definitely having contractions!” I said, “This can take forever, right?  Can I go home now and just come back in the morning?”  She said, “Let me check to see if you water has broken.  I also need to get a urine specimen.”

I go in the bathroom and set the cup down. I was in a frog-like stance (trying to hold the gown and look under my big belly).  I squatted down to get the cup, when a little trickle of fluid came out.  I stood up, got the cup, squatted again and the same thing happened.  I said, “OK, I just peed on the floor or my water did break!”  I went back and told my mom that I think my water broke. “These tiny little trickles of fluid have been coming out today, but only when I try to pee.  I mean, they were just a couple drops!  I never wet my pants or soaked the floor!  It never even leaked out!  Isn’t that what happens when your water breaks?!”  My mom said “I always thought so!”  The nurse was gone for a long time and the pain was getting serious. My husband called and it was now 10:30 pm.  My mom said “We still don’t know anything, other than that she is having contractions”.  He sounded exhausted.  I told him to get some sleep and we would call him back.

The nurse finally came in and said that she put some of the fluid on a strip and it turned blue.  “What does that mean?” I asked.  She said, “Well Honey, it looks like your water has broken.”  I asked, “Am I definitely having this baby now, or can I go home?”  She said “You are definitely having this baby, and I can’t let you leave after your water breaks.”  I asked her why it never came out and she said that the baby’s head was so low that it was blocking the exit!  “Is that normal?  Is the baby OK?” I asked.  She told me “There is NO normal when it comes to child birth.”  I then told her that my husband was a few hours away.  I asked if he needed to come now, or if he could wait until the morning.  She said that she would talk to the doctor.

I now realized that my contractions started around 2:45 this afternoon, while my dad and I were standing in the Halloween store at the mall.  That is also when I felt all of the pressure and the sudden feeling that I needed to pee.  I was horrified that my child’s head was blocking the passage so that the fluid was not able to escape.  I asked my mom “Do you think all of that fluid is hurting her?”  My mom said “I just don’t know!”  I tried to stop worrying about the baby, and instead focus on how stupid I was!  I kept thinking, “I should have known! “ I should have known that my labor would be strange and that this would not go as planned!  After having so many contractions, in my abdomen, I just never considered that I would not have similar contractions when I went into labor.  I also never knew that my water could break and I would not know.

I seriously could not believe that I went into labor in a Halloween store in the mall.  I also could not believe that my water broke in that store, but just didn’t come out.  But, in this case, it was probably a good thing that I didn’t flood that particular store.  Customers would have thought I was trying out some weird costume or Halloween party trick, while employees would have thought they were being “Punked”.  But no, it was just an average day in my life; an average day in my very unpredictable life!  Now, I was left to wonder – will my husband actually make it to the birth of our child?  Yep – Just an average day!

My Daughter: 5 going on 15

It is the first week of summer for my five year old daughter.  This fall is a big deal because she will be starting kindergarten.  I have been very excited that she is growing up, well, until this morning.  She wakes up around 7:00 and yells over the balcony that she is coming down.  Thirty minutes later, (that’s right 30 minutes later!) she glides down the stairs in some fancy heart shirt and matching pink shorts.  She appears to be wearing eye shadow and, judging from my son’s gagging noises, she is wearing perfume as well.  And by the way mom, enough with the makeup already! Please don’t buy that stuff anymore – seriously!  I mean the eye shadow and perfume are bad enough, but the lip gloss is just sticky and messy.  Anyway, While my son is still holding his nose and asking “what is that disgusting smell?” my daughter says that she would like to have a waffle for breakfast and some paper to make a sign for her room.  It is still pretty early and the waffles are easy to make and a craft will keep her busy.  I say “OK with me!” and get to work making her breakfast. I forget about the sign as I hand her an organic blueberry waffle, on her favorite pink bunny plate.  As I walk away, she asks for a hammer and nail in order to hang up her sign.  I explain that dad will not be in favor of us nailing papers to her walls and/or door and suggest a piece of tape instead.  I hand her two pieces of tape and she runs up and puts the sign on her door.  Since most of her pictures are people, hearts and flowers, I was not concerned about the content of the sign.

While she was eating breakfast, I started upstairs to put away the kids’ laundry.  I am walking to my daughters’ room when I hear “Mom, what are you doing?”  I look over the balcony at my daughter and tell her that I am putting up laundry.  She then says “Don’t you see MY sign on MY door” and proceeds to clarify what it says.  “Mom, it says that NO people are allowed in my room.”  She tells me that no other person (in this house) is allowed in her room because it is HER room and HER space.  She slams down her waffle and says “I’m coming up!”  The conversation that followed was absurd.  “Mom, I don’t want you to mess my stuff up.  I just put my strawberry shortcake dolls where I want them!  I am a big girl now and know best about my room and my stuff!  You can’t touch or move my stuff, ever!”

I started out trying to reason with her.  I was honestly trying to be understanding of her feelings, but she started to push it.  I realized that this was getting nowhere and that I needed backup.  I told her we would ask dad how he felt about the family’s inability to ever again enter her room.  I left the sign on her door (for dad to see) and went downstairs listening as my five year old got more and more precocious.  “What happened to my little girl last night?” was running through my head.

My daughter went to bed a cute, giggling little five year old and she woke up a cranky, hormonal teenager.  What happened during those eleven hours of sleep?  I would love to know so that I can somehow prevent this from happening again.  I mean, as she is sitting at the kitchen table, you can literally see the estrogen radiating from her body as she yells that she “asked for milk, not orange juice!”  She then yells, “Why are you looking at me like that?”  At this point my mouth is just kind of hanging open, and my mind is another place.  I stood there toying with the idea that my little daughter was snatched away and a PMSing teenager was left in her place.

This is just not fair!  She is only 5 and was getting pretty neat.  She was past the toddler days, could use the bathroom, and even carry on a conversation.  She could not fix her own meals, but I thought we were making progress!  Now this!?!  She yells, cries, says that she needs her privacy, and that nobody understands (that part she has right).  Was it the hormones in her food?  I buy organic milk, chicken, fruits and vegetables.  Maybe the food companies are lying; I want a full investigation!  This has to be the fault of someone or something.  How can I find out if there is a full moon or some strange atmospheric disturbance?  Do they still make a Farmer’s Almanac?  I am just not ready for this!  I think I need some chocolate!

I will keep you updated on this new event in our lives.  Even though I am trying to convince myself that this is just a random surge of estrogen (possibly aggravated by a full moon or abrupt change in barometric pressure).  I am trying to make the best of this situation by hoping that it will better prepare me for the time when she actually hits puberty.  I am looking at this as a glimpse into my future, and it is not a pretty picture.  If she is already this moody, stubborn, and irrational at the age of five, I can only imagine how much worse it will be with the increase in hormones and intellect.  I am afraid that she will just be using bigger words as she argues over her privacy and my parental control.

In the mean time I will be doing research into links between irrational children and hormone-filled food.  I will ask for a full investigation into these companies and their claims about their organic and hormone-free foods but, let’s be honest, I also ask my kids to stop licking my arm (which they do just to get on my nerves) and it is currently their favorite pastime.  I somehow feel that I will get the same “yeah, sure we will” when I ask the companies for notarized copies of their “hormone-free testing results”.  I will also check to see if we can cover the house with aluminum foil to deflect, or at least reduce, the effects of the moon and atmosphere on estrogen-filled females, and lastly I will stock pile Hershey kisses (chocolate keeps me sane).  I will go to any lengths to prevent this nightmare from becoming a regular occurrence, at least for another ten years.

Milk Allergy: Big Problem For My Big Baby!

When our son was born, I waited with baited breath for his cry.  When my daughter was born, she barely cried.  There was a long delay and then there was only a muted little cry.  I just laid there, feeling very helpless, watching while the nurses surrounded her. I noticed my doctor kept looking over his shoulder at the nurses and I worried that something was wrong.  They took her out of the room and later told me that she turned blue and was in the NICU.  So when my son was born screaming, I was very thankful.  But, I was a little thrown when he continued to scream; it never stopped!

I mean my child didn’t cry, he screamed!  He had a high pitched scream that was so loud, you could hear it as they were bringing him from the nursery to be fed.  I could actually track him without seeing him.  I would hear the deafening cry as it got louder and louder, until it would finally reach my room.  Every single time the nurses brought him to me, he was screaming; and the nurses would bring him to my room every two hours. I could tell that they did not want to deal with it, or listen to it, in the nursery.

I was concerned that he was not getting enough to eat because he always seemed to be so upset and so hungry.  He almost seemed frantic when he would eat and he sucked so hard that tears just ran down my face from the pain.  I asked the nurse when my milk would be in and she said, “Honey, it’s already in. Look at how he is sucking and you can hear him swallowing too.”  Sure enough that was the case. I had C-sections with both kids, and with my first child, it took my milk around a week to come in. I was pumping like crazy so that they could take three drops of milk down to her in intensive care. My milk finally came in, but not as quickly as it did the second time.

My son ate all the time; it seemed like he never got enough.  I was exhausted from lack of sleep and worry over the intensity of his scream.  I kept telling my family that something was wrong with him. We were two months in and it only seemed to be getting worse.  My doctors were no help; they actually only made things worse by patronizing me.  I would come in and tell the nurse that he really would not stop screaming (or eating) and she would look at me and say, “Ok new mom, we will see what we can do”.  Then the doctor would tell me that “Babies just cry a lot”.  Seriously! Babies cry a lot!  Did you have to go to medical school to figure that out?!  I mean thank goodness you were able to solve this mystery.  And yes, I was a “new mom”, but to my second child.  I already had a little girl who was born a month early and had been in intensive care; I had enough experience to know when there was a problem.  Well, the doctors never offered any other explanation. They said that he could not possibly have a milk allergy, because he was too big!?!   All they did was make me feel even more hopeless.  I continued to research the screaming on the Internet and I found out about milk overproduction.  I looked down at my soaking wet shirt and pondered this.

Am I making too much milk?  Well, I do seem to be making more milk than last time.  My clothes are always wet. My bras are a mess.  Every time I get out of the shower, it pours out of me uncontrollably; I actually have to wrap them in towels until it stops. My husband would just stand there in absolute amazement as he watched me cover the bathroom floor with milk.  I remember him saying, “Wow, it looks like they are working better this time!”  I also remember how the little guy would pull away quickly and milk would spray across the room.  So, am I making a lot of milk?  Yes, I am making a lot of milk; I mean the stuff is spilling out of me like a prize-winning dairy cow.  I decided to focus on cutting back my milk supply so that it would not spray down his throat and choke him.  I hoped that this would help alleviate some of his pain.

I nursed on one side at a time to cut back the supply and it did seem to not shoot down his throat anymore.  It also helped with my constant leaking and dripping but, he just seemed to suck even harder now and still screamed when done eating.  I was a mess trying to figure out if he was now getting enough food or if he had some other problem.  At five months old, the doctors decided he should go to the hospital to be checked for reflux and GI problems.  I was very conflicted about the hospital tests, but reluctantly agreed.

The Barium swallow test was arranged and the hospital sent the instructions.  You are supposed to starve your baby so that they will be hungry and willing to drink the nasty stuff they feed him (Barium sulfate) through a bottle.  I still fed my baby very early that morning, because I just could not do that to my kid.  Anyway, we get to the hospital and they take us back to this stark room with a large metal table and various X-ray machines; the room was very cold and intimidating.  The big guy that took us back had no feeling for children, despite the stupid puppy dog scrubs he was wearing.  So, this guy takes us in the room and tells me to take the baby out of his clothes because there can be no metal snaps or zippers – a little fact that I would have loved to know before we showed up!!!  He takes my little naked baby and straps him down, with three large Velcro straps, to this metal table.  The straps held him like a mummy; the baby was now completely unable to move.  He then put something resembling a thin blanket on him.  I asked how long my baby was going to have to lay there and this dork says that he has not seen the doctor yet, but is going to go look for him now.  I looked at my screaming child. He was truly terrified about being strapped down and unable to move and I went into momma bear mode, protecting her cubs.  I proceeded to tell captain yahoo that my child was not going to lay around here scared and freezing while the doctor freshened his coffee and checked his email (I used to work at a hospital and I saw this way too often).  I told him that I was taking my baby off the table until he walked in with the doctor.  He asked for two minutes while he ran back to look for the doctor.  He was back fairly quickly and said that the doctor would be in soon.

After about five minutes, this kid wearing a lab coat walks in.  We were at the hospital very early in the morning.  In fact, we were the first appointment of the morning and I could not tell if this kid had just woken up, or had never gone to sleep, but he looked rough!  He does not even look me in the face, just says that they are going to be looking for signs of reflux and problems in my baby’s esophagus.  They give my baby some milky formula with properties that show up on the X-ray.  My baby laid there sucking on the formula and then would pull his head away to scream.  The big guy would shove the bottle back in my baby’s mouth and they did this until the doctor abruptly stopped.  The doctor then looked up and said that he could go further with the test, but does not see any signs of serious reflux or esophageal problems. He then stands up and says that he will go call my pediatrician, because she did not provide detailed information as to the areas to be checked or her major concerns.  Now, I was seriously irritated.  I mean, this is information that my pediatrician should have provided so that we do not have to endure this again.  But, the brilliant Doogie Howser should have gotten that information before he began this procedure (instead of screwing around back there texting his girlfriend). This is stuff that should be done when my cold, scared baby is not strapped to a metal table.  I looked at him and told him to “Go call my pediatrician and inform her that I said to stop the test.  Tell her that she did not provide the appropriate information and I am not going to make my child suffer any longer while you try to track her down.”  I knew that she currently only worked on Tuesday and Thursday and today was Wednesday.  This kid was not going to talk to her any time soon.  I went over and got my baby off of the table.  I gave him a big hug, got him dressed, and we high-tailed it out of there.

So here we are, back at home, with no answers.  My baby is still screaming, I am beyond exhausted, and desperately need to find a way to stop all of our suffering.  I kept searching the internet about food allergies.  I finally found one doctor who said that while most children with milk allergies are small and don’t gain weight, a few children with are very large and actually overeat, due to the fact that their tummies hurt.  He said that that he watched a baby continually try to nurse because the baby was in pain and wanted to be soothed.  Unfortunately, the nursing was contributing to the pain, so the baby was over eating, in pain, and miserable.  This was a description of my baby – he was huge, eating constantly and in pain.  My pediatrician said that if he continued to put weight on like this, he would be the size of an elephant.  I also saw the way he nursed.  He was usually not relaxed when he nursed.  He may be relaxed for a moment and then would groan and suck frantically.

I called and made an appointment with my pediatrician.  I took a dirty diaper with me so that they could analyze the diaper.  It seems that children with milk allergies also have blood in their poop and a simple test will verify the presence of blood.  My pediatrician already said, on numerous occasions, that she did not see any signs of a milk allergy so I was going to have to force the subject.  I get there and she says again that babies just cry and babies with milk allergies don’t gain weight, blah, blah, blah.  I ask her to just check the diaper to make me feel better.  She reluctantly agrees and passes it to a nurse to analyze.  Meanwhile, she is jabbering on about ways to try and soothe him when the nurse walks in and nods.  I must have looked confused because the nurse finally says, “It was positive for blood.”  My pediatrician was surprised, but said “Well, OK” and she went and got some information on infant milk allergies.  She said that he probably is allergic to both milk and soy and told me to start formula or cut all dairy and soy from my diet.

I decided to try and cut all dairy and soy from my diet and see what happened. It was not easy to do, but I did it.  Unfortunately I had to give up many things that I loved, yet again!  Had I not already given up alcohol for 9 months!  Now I had to give up lattes and milk chocolate and I was forced to survive on Rabbit Food!  Luckily, the baby did start to feel better.  His crying decreased, and he slept a little better, but you started to see signs of a very strong personality.  When my kid wanted something, he wanted it now!  It seemed the months of constant pain left my kid with a short fuse.  It was like the perfect storm – when you combine a very ticked baby with his fathers’ insanely determined genes (his father is a former Olympic athlete), you were left with one rough ride.

At the age of two, he can drink a little chocolate milk and eat a little white cheese, but he basically wants nothing to do with dairy products.  They don’t seem to make him physically sick anymore, but he really can’t stand the taste.  He is still a demanding little man (yet totally adorable) with an abundance of energy.  I am now starting to fear that I will be exhausted for the rest of my life.  Between my very active children and my insanely busy husband, it is like living with a family of Energizer bunnies – I am starting to think all that rabbit food may be to blame!