On Thursday night, 11/2/17, things felt very different compared to all the previous nights of my pregnancy. I was having some mild cramps throughout the night and my discharge was increasing almost by the hour. Everything just felt really weird each time I got up to go to the bathroom, which was about every 45 minutes or so. Much more than my average nightly routine, which was every 2-3 hours. I didn’t mention it to Bobby since I didn’t want him to worry and not get a good nights rest before his last day at work the next day. I was scheduled to be induced that Sunday, 11/5/17, due to my blood pressure rising the previous two weeks, referred to as gestational hypertension. It would have been 38 weeks and 1 day, so my doctor thought it would be the safest option for me since I was 1cm dilated, 70% effaced and she was engaged pretty low already. However, Maci seemed to have other plans.
The next morning on Friday, 11/3/17, around 9am, I walked into the bathroom and was startled by seeing Bobby in there since I was half asleep (waking up all night doesn’t allow for any kind of real sleep). I noticed something trickling down my legs and freaked out a little bit thinking maybe he surprised me so bad that I had peed myself a little. I went to the bathroom and cleaned myself up then headed straight back to bed as Bobby left for work. Around 11am, I decided to take a shower and start my day. It was going to be a good day because I had some good shows to catch up on and we planned on going to Outback for a nice steak and shrimp dinner for our last hoorah before Maci arrived on Sunday. As I got out of the shower and finished drying off, I felt something trickling down my legs again just like earlier that morning. I halfway blew it off and dried off again thinking maybe it was just water from my hair dripping (I know, pure denial). Still in my towel, I leaned over the sink to brush my teeth. At that moment, almost triple the amount as the last two times trickled down my legs and onto the bath mat. I dropped the toothbrush and stripped off my towel looking down in shock. Small puddles were on the bath mat and I was certain that I hadn’t peed. It hit me that something was happening. I grabbed my towel and ran out into the living room where my mom had literally just sat down on the couch with a coke and bag of Cheetos after just getting home from grocery shopping. I remember saying, “Mom, something is happening” as she jumped up from the couch. I put on a pad and we decided to wait a little to see if it continued to happen as my mom made me a grilled cheese sandwich. I watched some TV, then felt another sensation. I began to eat the grilled cheese, then felt yet another sensation. Sure enough, it was continuing to happen, I was almost positive my water was breaking.
By this time, it was about 1pm. I called the doctor, but the office had just closed and a different doctor was on call that day so I left a voicemail. About 15 minutes later, the on call doctor returned my call stating that I should head straight to the hospital and they would be able to confirm if my water broke. So me and my mom hopped in the car and headed to the hospital. My packed bags were in the car that Bobby took to work, so I just grabbed my phone and wallet. I called Bobby to let him know what was going on, and he left work right away to meet us at the hospital. Once we got there, they quickly confirmed that my water broke. It was official, I was being admitted and Maci was coming on her own terms! Bobby arrived right before being admitted. At this moment, I remember thinking how I wouldn’t get Outback after all and how I had planned to shave my super hairy legs on Saturday. Boy how plans can change so quickly.
As I walked into my labor and delivery room, I was washed over with several emotions. The first thing I saw was an incubator near my bed where Maci would be placed when she arrived. Then I noticed a whiteboard that had “Happy Birthday, Maci Ann!” written on it. This was really happening. I suddenly became nervous and scared. I had no idea what I was about to go through.
Once I was settled in my bed, all hooked up, my nurse asked if I wanted ice chips. I happily agreed, but then she said it was all I could have until the baby was here. I thought about how I hadn’t eaten the whole grilled cheese sandwich my mom made me and how I was hungry. I figured I should get used to the hunger, who knew how long this was going to last.
It was 6pm when they decided to start me on Pitocin to help my contractions start since I wasn’t contracting at all. The waiting game had officially started. I kept glancing over to look at the screen that showed my heartbeat, Maci’s heartbeat, and my contractions. My contractions showed tiny bumps that weren’t very close together. I tried watching TV for a while, but hospital channels are the worst. I began feeling the contractions, but I could talk through them and they just felt like small cramps. Around 9pm, the on call doctor came into check me and I had made zero progress even after they had been increasing the Pitocin. Since my water broke, we were sort of on a time crunch. So the doctor gave me two options, either continue the Pitocin overnight and hope that it kicks things into gear or place a foley balloon catheter with two balloons until at least 4 or 5am. I had never heard of that before, but she warned me that it wasn’t looking too good with the Pitocin alone so she recommended the balloon to speed up the process. It was a scary moment for me to decide, but I went with her recommendation and chose the foley balloon. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s where they insert a tube that has two balloons attached, one inside the cervix and one outside the cervix to help dilate. Then they insert fluid and the balloons expand to 4cm right away. Once they had it inserted and the balloons were filled, it was extremely uncomfortable and I was in constant pain. It was only 11pm. I had to go through this until at least 4am. I was terrified.
My mom sat next to me trying to comfort me as tears began to stream down my face. Only 15 minutes had gone by and I couldn’t stop crying. They increased the Pitocin and then things got real. I began feeling the contractions become a bit more intense, on top of the constant balloon pain, about every 8 minutes. The pain from the balloon was hard to describe, but it almost felt like having the biggest dry tampon inserted scraping away my insides. I had told myself I wasn’t going to get any pain meds, but this was making me become nauseous. I let the nurse know I was open to some pain medication, which ended up relieving a small amount. The constant balloon pain just felt like pressure now, but increased to full pain every 8 minutes with each contraction. But at least I got a tiny relief every few minutes. My mom sat with me the entire night as tears continued to trickle down. She gave me ice chips to help distract me. It was the longest night I have ever experienced. Around 5am, the doctor checked the balloon, but it wasn’t quite ready to come out. I was losing my mind.
It wasn’t until 8:30am that the doctor took the balloon out. Just as expected, that hurt like hell. Everything was hurting. So it was nice to hear her say that it had worked and I was now between 7-9cm but it may shrink down to 5cm since it had really been forced to stretch out. They continued the Pitocin and my contractions were slowly getting stronger. It was a relief to have the balloon out, but I was in so much pain and felt beyond exhausted (and starving!). By 10am, I felt completely out of it and could barely focus. I remember being in a haze when they asked me if I wanted to finally go ahead and get the epidural since every time before they would ask I had said no. But this time was different, this time I could barely see straight and make out the faces of the doctor, nurses or even my family. It had been 16 hours of labor so far and I felt like my body was going to shut down with the amount of pain I had been going through. It was at that moment I knew I wasn’t being any kind of superhero by refusing an epidural. I just nodded at the question muttering “okay” and everyone immediately scattered. I had a new shift of nurses and a new on call doctor. Next thing I knew I was being propped up on the bed prepped for the epidural. Everything around me looked blurry. The next moment I’m laying back down being told about something they called a peanut. Apparently it’s this huge peanut looking ball they place between your legs as you lay on your side. This was moments after they gave me a catheter and Bobby tried making a joke that I had a pee bag to lighten the mood. And now a joke about a peanut ball? I was mostly confused at all these jokes. But I can understand everyone trying to make me smile.
This was the next leg of frustration. Every 30 minutes, the nurses came in to flip me on my other side, peanut ball included. Oh, and I forgot to mention that since 2pm the day before, I had a blood pressure cuff that was going off every 15 minutes. My arm was so bruised from that dang thing. Basically, I would finally start to drift off after the epidural until either the cuff went off or the nurses came in to flip me over. It was an endless cycle of frustration. At 4pm, the doctor came into check me and I was at 6cm. I remember thinking this was never going to end and I was going to be pregnant forever. She said she would come check me again in about two hours. I felt helpless, exhausted, frustrated, and beyond starving. The flipping continued.
At 7pm, I felt a knot at the top of my stomach. I mentioned it to my mom and it was matching the contractions on the screen which were happening every 3 minutes. Then I started feeling the knot at the top of my stomach followed by a downward forceful sensation. I described it as pressure. But then things took a turn when that was followed by a severe lower cramp with intense pelvic pressure. These were matching the contractions on the screen and I began to internally panic assuming my epidural was wearing off. I didn’t want to mention it as anything other than pressure for fear that they would tell me the epidural had worn off and there wasn’t enough time to get it going again. Silly me, I was completely delusional at that point so my reasoning made no sense. Everyone seemed a little confused when I started crying with every contraction. My mom began coaching me through my breathing with each contraction. It was such an intense pain.
At 9pm, the doctor came into check me and I was finally dilated and effaced! However, things were not making sense to me anymore and the next thing I knew my mom had one leg and Bobby had the other with the doctor instructing me to try pushing. After a few pushes, they sat me up and I hazily stared at the doctor as she instructed me towards what was called “labor down”. I sat there in this labor down position for a little over an hour feeling every contraction as the nurses brought in all kinds of stuff to the room around me. I remember the man who gave me my epidural walking in and I guess replacing the bag. Sure enough, the bag was basically empty. I had no idea if I was about to feel everything. But I just knew I couldn’t hang on much longer and was ready for this to happen. I could feel her head, she was so close.
The next thing I knew, I was back on my back pushing around 10pm. I felt so sick and it took every ounce of me to keep it together. They placed a cold, wet towel on my forehead because I was drenched and my fever was rising. I just kept picturing Maci in my head and imagining myself seeing her for the first time. I think that’s what got me through those final moments. The doctor was now there and I heard her say Maci would be here in the next two pushes. That was all I needed to hear. I could halfway feel the burning sensation of her crowning, but I didn’t care. I was finally about to meet my baby girl.
I pushed with everything I had left. That’s when I heard them say her head was out and in just one more push she would be here. With one final push on 11/4/17 at 10:55pm, Maci Ann Boggs was born as I heard the happy cries from my mom and Bobby. She was placed on my chest and literally all of my energy returned with tears rolling down my face. There she was, everything I had imagined and so much more.
As I held her in my arms, the doctor was stitching me up. I could feel it all. But staring at her and finally holding her continued to take away all of the pain. I couldn’t believe my baby was here. Meeting her was beautiful.
She was worth it all. She was SO worth it all.
Maci Ann Boggs
November 4th, 2017 @ 10:55 PM
6 lbs 4 oz