Water Breaks Before Labor…Then What?! {A PROM Birth Story}

I am one of those women who love being pregnant, and I was happy to wait until the 7th, Teagan’s due date, for her to make her appearance. We had been planning a home birth, and with the help of my mother who was staying with us, had managed to get the house and birthing supplies just about ready.

On Wednesday the 4th of July, we all went out to Village Inn and then to the local park to see the fireworks show. As I was sitting at dinner, I felt a sudden gush of fluid and got up to use the restroom, I suspected that my water had broken, but had never had SROM, so I wasn’t quite sure. I went back and finished dinner, and didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to ruin our evening plans if it was nothing. As soon as we pulled up to the fireworks, though, I felt another large gush and let my mother and husband know. I also called our Midwife to let her know.

I did some reading, and figured labor would start soon (upwards of 90% of women go into labor within 24 hours of ROM). But it didn’t. I was just having irregular, medium strength contractions, and I knew the clock was ticking. Our midwife told us to drive down to see her on Thursday to try and confirm, and while we were there a PH test did confirm that it was amniotic fluid. Now we were really on a time table. I went home and did everything I could do induce labor. My midwife put me on a protocol of castor oil, black cohosh, and blue cohosh, which I diligently took even when it made me feel like throwing up. Nothing. I stayed awake and bounced on my birth ball and timed them, but as soon as I laid down to rest a little, they tapered off. At 7am Friday morning, I called the midwife to report on the lack of good news, and she said she would be up at 10am, and that we needed to have this baby today.

She got here and started giving me Blue Coshosh as 15 minute intervals, along with castor oil, hoping to see some results. Nothing. I started getting discouraged and was wondering what I was doing wrong. I started to fear that my dreams of a home birth were slipping away. Personally, I was comfortable waiting until labor started, whenever that would be, but I knew that most OBs will induce within 12-24 hours after ROM to prevent infection. I had had NO vaginal exams, though, and thanks to the regiment of probiotics my wonderful midwife had me on, had tested negative for GBS. I knew from my research that the time frame for induction with PROM was more due to liability than actual research findings, and I was praying my midwife would overlook the 24 hour rule. At 4pm on Friday, with no strengthening of contractions, my midwife sat me down to lay it out. She said she was at the edge of protocol, and needed me to know that the she had to recommend that I go in and start Pitocin.

I told her that I was comfortable waiting until noon on Sat, and could I please just have until 9pm that night to see if I could make some progress. She agreed, but said that it might be good for her to leave for a little while, and for me to just have some time alone or with my husband, seeing as how “a watched pot never boils”. So she went to hang out around town for a bit, and I went outside and jumped on our kids’ trampoline and just went about the day as usual. I don’t know how to explain it, but I had total peace about waiting until baby was ready. I just knew and had faith that things were going to be okay. I started to pace a bit, and told my baby that “it was okay, it was time to come out and meet her family.”

Around 5:45pm, I started noticing some more painful contractions, and I had more diarrhea than I had had with either application of Castor Oil. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I thought this might be it. I just hung out downstairs in the library, which we had set up as the birthing room, by myself, and paced back and forth the length of the downstairs. My mother came down at one point and started timing me, and discovered that they were about 3 minutes apart. At 6:15 I texted the midwife, telling her I was“90% sure I was in active labor”, and that there was no rush, but that I thought she might want to know since her partnering midwife lived about 45 min away. She texted back at 6:22 and said she was going to give me a little more time. Just to walk and and remain active. About 10 min. later, however, I heard told Mike to call her and tell her to come back. My contractions were lasting over a min at this point, and coming every 2-3 minutes. The pain was getting very bad, and I had to get on all fours and focus and verbalize to get through them.

Just after she arrived, she gave me the okay to get in the birthing pool, and it felt really good to sink into the water. I didn’t spend more than about five minutes laboring in there, though before I told Beth rather panicky, that I felt like I had to poop. She told me that was the baby, but I was just sure that I was about to take a huge embarrassing dump in the tub. At this point, the urge to push was overwhelming, and I squatted in the tub and wrapped my arms around my husband’s neck to push.

I am normally a very reserved person, and never did see myself being very vocal in birth, but at this point, I needed to be loud. It hurt, but more than that it was just very intense, and I remember thinking that I couldn’t do this much longer. Turns out, I didn’t have to. After 2 pushes, the midwife told me to slow down and breathe, because Teagan was posterior, and she was trying to keep me from tearing and help her turn. After 1 more push, she told me to “turn around and take your baby”. Oh, how those sweet words will ring in my ears for eternity!

Teagan was born at 7:02pm, the day before her due date and almost 48 hours after my water broke. I did not have a single cervical check, and had absolutely no tearing or even “skid marks”. She was born quiet and alert, with her eyes wide and staring at me and her daddy. My older daughter and son (4 and 2) came down to see her minutes after she was born, and were simply in awe of how tiny and cute she was. I feel so incredibly blessed to have a midwife that had the faith in me to understand my intuition that my body just needed more time, and who allowed me to have the birth I wanted. It was truly amazing.


  • Kat

    Wow, awesome story! Quite similar to mine. It was 28 hours after my water broke before I had my first contraction. Never felt a thing, not even a braxton hicks, before that. But it was another 38 hours of contractions before my little man arrived. At first I was worried about the lack of contractions after ROM, but my mum told me the same thing happened to her. Maybe it’s genetic? Either way, although my midwife suggested I go to hospital for IV antibiotics (and I was GBS positive), I decided not to and I’m so glad to stood firm. A few days later, my midwife found some research that said the danger of infection isn’t present until after 48 hours at least. Not that it matters, but still, great to trust your instinct and just know what’s right! Awesome!

  • Elizabeth

    I’m not really impressed with the way the midwife handled this labor. There was so much unnecessary fear involved that no doubt had an effect on the birthing process, and I can’t believe how quickly she turned to potentially dangerous interventions such as castor oil. With my 3rd birth I too had SROM which I’d never had before and my midwife was more than comfortable letting things happen as they did. She came and took some blood to check for infection markers, and that’s it, even after 24 hours of SROM. I was comfortable and so was she. At around 30 hours I had my husband simply perform a little nipple stimulation and that was enough to kick me into full-on labor and baby was there 1.5 hours later.

    • Joy

      I have to agree with this commenter. Of course hindsight is 20/20. I’m just glad you were given the alone time you most likely really needed (I need to be alone! I cannot be watched!) and laid it all out that you wanted to wait. Way to advocate for yourself! I’m sure your midwife isn’t terrible but I did find myself irritated that she was putting so much fear out there and pushing such a rough protocol on you.

    • Ana-Livia

      I’m surprised as well and it’s very different from my own experience. I had SROM and not a single contraction until 47 hours later and my midwife suggested nothing beyond walking, bouncing, relaxing, and nipple stimulation. Certainly not castor oil and cohosh less than a day in. It ended in a home birth, 56 hours after SROM.

    • Kaitlan

      Thank you for writing out my concerns/thoughts! I DO think we REJOICE with this mother’s good outcome, and good experience, but we can still educate about evidence based choices. Midwife does not automatically mean they are using evidence based care in all situations.

  • Tina

    I had SROM with my last and I just wanted to be able to walk and try and start labor on my own. I actually stopped at the store and then drove myself to the hospital with a towel between my legs. I allowed the OB to scare me into being induced and it was the worst thing I had ever been through. Your story gives me courage not to let them push me around again.

  • Jenny

    I had PROM (nearly 48 hours) before our son was born. My midwife applied absolutely no pressure; we did choose to do antibiotics, and she put me on a breast pump regimen. We also did a ton of walking, Rebozo, and figure eights to turn what was likely a posterior baby. Worked for us! He was born facing my back, in his own time.

  • Andre

    Well, I also believe the reason for inducing a woman after the water has broken is definitely liability.. I spent from December 23th to January 18 with an amniotic fluid leak.. until my baby was ready to come out. I had to take vitamin C and Echinacea and keep as clean and dry as possible to prevent infection.. I was also taking probiotics. I had an amazing waterbirth at home. Congratulations!

  • Sheena

    Your story sounds very similar to my first birth when I lived in Japan. I am Canadian and live here now. During that first labour I also started with a leak but after 5 days of waiting I gave into the induction which eventually lead to a c-section. I am so glad you still managed to have your home birth. I had to wait about 3 years before I did things the most sane way I could and had my homebirth for my second son, stress free, safe and relaxed.

  • Kinzie

    My water broke on Friday at 10:30pm, and I slept that night, then labored at home throughout Saturday day and night, finally going to the hospital by 8am Sunday morning, and had a natural waterbirth at 1:27pm – sweet boy was born. Water break does not mean to rush to the hospital, as the movies would have us believe. 🙂

  • Jerusha Welborn

    My water released with my first birth as the first sign of labor and my son came about 9 hours later. With my second, the water released about an hour before my daughter came. It really varies! I’m glad your midwife listened to your intuition and you were able to have your home waterbirth! I’ve had both my babies at home in the water and LOVED it!

  • Barbara

    I am so happy to have read this. And angry at myself for not getting informed more during my pregnancy. My water broke 37 weeks pregnant, no contractions, I got scared, phoned hospital and they told me to come first thing in the morning. About 10 hours after water broke they told me I have to get induced and got Pitocin ( i think) for starting contractions. It was awful expirience… knowing so much now I want to scream…. I just belived the docs… Didnt listen to my body at all. My beautiful babygirl changed everything ofcourse…she is the most amazing thing in the world and she latched right on. But I had nightmares of being pregnant again or giving birth for months. It is 16 months now…and I have read so much about it, so many stories, so many informations. I want to give birth again. Differently! Thanks for your beautiful story from another Marley follower 🙂

  • Rebecca Day

    Wow. That was a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing it. I’ve always wondered what happens after the water breaks and if it’s something to worry about. Thanks for answering so many of my questions!

  • Mandy

    I had PROM with my second child. Water broke at 6 am on a Monday, and then nothing happened for a day and a half. My caregivers wanted to induce me at 8 Wednesday morning, but thankfully she came on her own at 12:52 am Wednesday. My parents started their 18 hour (plus overnight stay in a hotel) drive when I told them my water broke. My labor started within the hour they arrived at my house. Baby just wanted to wait for Grandma and Grandpa to show up before she made her appearance!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Order the BIRTH WITHOUT FEAR Book at One of the Following Book Retailers!

Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iBooks 

 Google Play • Books-A-Million • IndieBound

***Sign up below for more updates on the Birth Without Fear book!***

We respect your privacy.