Did my water break or did I just pee my pants?

 If you think you have experienced your water break, rupture, or trickle, please contact your healthcare provider immediately.  This blog is not meant to offer any medical advice, but to offer insight to my experience. 

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One day I was standing on the playground of the preschool I taught at, 41 weeks pregnant, ready to have a baby any day.  "Teacher Aurora, teacher Aurora, pick me up," said one of the sweet 50 pound 5 year olds....and just as I  always did, I picked her up like it was no big deal.  Suddenly I felt a trickle.  My pants were wet!  I was the only teacher and every one else was on break.  Did I just pee my pants???????  In front of a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds?  I mean, that could happen at this stage right?  As, I waited for my co-teacher to come back and relieve me for break it kept happening.  Either I lost complete bladder control and needed to start wearing adult diapers or my water just broke.

As soon as my co-teacher returned, I jetted to the bathroom.  Every step I took more came out.  Good thing my wife and I had an extra bag in the car for just this reason.  When I got downstairs to the bathroom, coincidently where my wife taught her class I told her I needed the bag. 

When I sat on the toilet more came out.  It was clear and it smelled sweet.  Not like pee.  But just incase I made sure to pee and it definitely was not pee.

I put on the new clothes and a pad that my wife brought me, went to the staff lounge and called the midwife.  After talking with her it was definitely a spontaneous rupture of membranes (SROM). 

This was not like anything I had seen in movies.  There was no "oh god, the baby is coming."  It was just a trickle, and I really thought I pee'd my pants for a moment there.

Flash forward to my second pregnancy, around 39 weeks I got out of bed from my mid-day nap.  And the same trickle happened.  So just to be sure I went to the bathroom.  No more came out.  It was just pee and fortunately it didn't happen again.  With my son my water didn't break until I was pushing. 

So how do you know if your water just broke? 

If you think that your water may have broken it is a good idea to call your midwife or doctor.  They will be able to trouble shoot with you like mine did with me to determine if a rupture of membranes is likely. 

If they think your water has broken they may tell you to come in to confirm, or they may tell you to call back when contractions start to pick up. 

How do they confirm if your water has broken?

There are a few different ways.  When my water broke and a whole lot of nothing happened for 24 hours my midwife had me come in for a non stress test.  At that time she also tested the fluid that was constantly flowing out of me with a Nitrazine paper.  Nitrazine paper tests PH levels so if it changes color, it is likely that your water has broken.    She also took some of the fluid and put it on a slide and put it under a microscope to watch for ferning.  In my case, my water had definitely been broken, both tested positive and the giant gushes of fluid were pretty obvious.  I had a great non-stress test and no signs of infection so she sent me home and told me to drink some castor oil (eiw).

Some providers will also check for pooling with a sterile speculum.  Usually that is the fluid they will also test the PH of and collect some to check for ferning.  My midwife did not do this since fluids were consistently flowing out of me. 

Will this happen to me?

Possibly.  Pre-labor rupture of membranes is when your water breaks and it takes longer than an hour for labor to begin.  While it is fairly uncommon for your water to break and stay broken long before labor starts it is even more uncommon to go more than 24 hours before going into labor.  At the 24 hour mark many hospitals or midwives would recommend induction.  Some will take the wait and see approach.  My midwife and I did have the discussion that if I was not in labor at 48 hours or if I started showing signs of infection, that I needed to transfer.