Labor (Pains) Day: ‘Is That Pee Or Did My Water Break?’

My sister-in-law, Jeannette, was pregnant with her first child when she awoke wet in the middle of the night. She sat up, felt the dampness all around her and thought, “Oh my Gosh, I just peed in the bed.” I think we can all agree that when you’re nine months pregnant, it’s completely possible that you lost control of your bladder. Any good sneeze, laugh or random movement can lead to a little leak. But Jeannette was pretty sure that she hadn’t wet the bed.

So she woke up my brother-in-law, Jason, with a phrase that I’m pretty sure every man would be thrilled to hear, “Honey, I can’t tell if I wet the bed.” Well, the bed was wet and so was my sister-in-law. Obviously, something had happened. The question was whether they needed to be rushing to the emergency room or simply changing the sheets.

“It took 35 minutes before we actually called the doctor,” Jason told me. During that time, they discussed all the possibilities. Jeannette didn’t seem to have contractions yet, so she didn’t really feel like she was in labor. Yet, she was still pretty sure that she would remember wetting her pants. They were so determined to get to the root of their wet sheets, my sister-in-law was bending over and sniffing the damp spot on her bed. “It does not smell like urine,” she proclaimed proudly.

While I wouldn’t judge any woman who actually wet her bed while pregnant, Jeannette was right. It wasn’t urine. She had a leak in her amniotic sac and was leaking fluid. She headed to the hospital where nurses got her hooked up and ready to go. She was all set to have her first little one, but the doctor on call had different ideas. The doctor seemed convinced that it wasn’t a big leak, it wasn’t a big deal and this wasn’t going to be Jeannette’s big day.

Jeannette and Jason were understandably upset. They were going through a scary situation, but seeing the end in sight. The nurses led them to believe that they would be having a baby that day and suddenly this doctor was shutting the whole thing down. Now, they might just have to go home and change the damn sheets.

“The doctor just rubbed us the wrong way. She was rushed and short,” my brother-in-law told me. Apparently, it was the end of her shift and this lady did not want to stay and deliver their baby. With only 20 minutes before this woman’s check-out time, while my in-laws’ doctor rushed to the hospital to take care of everything, Dr. No walked back in to check on Jeannette. She decided to manually break her water, since the leak had already occurred.

“So there she is with this huge knitting-needle stuck up there. She finishes breaking my water and… Oh my Heavens. It was the flood from Noah’s Ark. It was just this huge whoosh of liquid all over the place.” Jeannette is giving me huge wave motions to show me what it was like. “Oh yea,” her husband chimed in, “it completely soaked the doctor.” That’s right, amniotic fluid covered the doctor’s legs and feet. Jason tried desperately hard not to laugh. Jeannette was too relieved to be upset. And that doctor who didn’t want to deliver their baby today was a little more frustrated. And sopping wet. But it wasn’t pee!

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