June 14 Bradley and I headed to urgent care early in the morning at Kaiser in San Jose. I had an abbess cause by a chronic skin condition I have called hidradenitis suppurativa, that needed to be looked at and was extremely painful. It’s a horrible disease that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and I’ve had it since I was about 9. I usually don’t talk about it because honestly, it’s pretty yucky, but it’s part of the story-and part of my story.
Apparently, the urgent care had only been open for a few days and wasn’t very busy. I walked up to the outdoor tent. Bradley wasn’t allowed to come in. They gave me a piece of paper with an appointment on it and directions to walk to another building. I waited for less than a minute and the nurse took my vitals. The top number of my blood pressure was 175! I knew this was going to lead to at least getting checked out by an OB. The doctor lanced the abscess and called labor and delivery and they admitted me for observation. Bradley was finally able to join me. They told me they would give me meds to bring down my pressure and send me home. I had a few more crazy readings, the highest I remember was 212/75. Even though they finally got my blood pressure in range the Labor and Delivery head doctor (that’s probably the wrong term), who was known for being very conservative about risking mother and baby’s health, decided it would be best if I was admitted and induced. It all went by so fast. They put me on induction meds (a pill) and magnesium to reduce the chance of seizures and eclampsia. The combination of medications was horrible on my body. I remember losing all my strength almost immediately and not even being able to lift my own leg. I had the most horrible heartburn of my life but then I puked and felt so much better. I also felt super warm and constantly has an ice pack behind my neck. One of the things I hated was how many things I was hooked up to. I had a catheter, and IV in my hand, the inflatable boots on my legs to avoid blood clots, an oxygen mask, straps across my belly to monitor the baby… just stuff everywhere.
I had a dedicated nurse for every shift. They would have to come in every hour and rotate me from one side to the other and every time they did that the monitors would lose the baby. They had a really hard time tracking her and tracking my contractions. They also wouldn’t let me have pain meds because they were worried about Maggie having heart decelerations after my contractions-but since they couldn’t really track my contractions it was a guessing game. Basically, if the decelerations were during the contractions, that was normal, but if they happened after it was a problem.
The nurses kept telling Bradley that induction would take days and he should head home. We had nothing with us, and no hospital bags packed at home. I thought I had at least 2 more weeks before something like this could happen. I needed him to go home and at least get some essentials and so he could get some sleep. He headed home around 10pm so he could get some sleep and a proper shower. While he was gone the OB came into my room concerned about the baby’s decelerations and my blood pressure was on the rise again. If things didn’t turn around in the coming hour, they were doing a c-section. The doc and nurses agreed I should have Bradley come back to the hospital. He had just gotten to Hollister around 11pm, and had to turn around and come back. By the time he got back to the hospital things had gotten better and they decided to proceed with the induction, and we were both scared for him to leave again because things could turn on a dime. My nurse Jenn took really good care of me. She was the best at finding Maggie’s heartbeat and she taught me how to breathe through contractions. I had solid contractions for hours. They would wax and wane in intensity but there was never a break. I just wanted to be able to curl up in a ball or move at all, but I physically couldn’t.
Bradley left again around 5 in the morning on June 15th. Oh, did I mention it was his birthday! We had planned to go for a long drive on the coast, but Bradley had been worried I might go into labor out where there wasn’t any reception. I remember thinking how ridiculous that was because the baby was at least a few weeks away. Boy was I wrong!
I knew Bradley needed actual sleep at home and to get his meds and shower. He didn’t want to leave but I knew I needed him rested. I had another amazing nurse Niki. She had them put a Monica on me, which was wireless, to track the contractions and it worked way better than the belt monitors. This also meant I could have pain meds and I finally got fentanyl. I would say it took the contractions down about 50% but they were still strong, and it would only last an hour. Niki let me know they could only give me 5 fentanyl doses and that she recommended having one during an epidural so I wouldn’t move while they placed it. I was really grateful for that advice so I could make decisions.
About midday, the OB came in and asked me if I’d like to have lunch or if I’d like to do an epidural. I blurted out “epidural!” without hesitation. I hadn’t had food in at least 24hrs but I didn’t care. I was in too much pain and wouldn’t enjoy food anyways. The epidural went pretty smoothly, and it definitely helped pain-wise. I was finally able to sit up for a little bit. One of the hardest things for me was not being able to move on my own, so sitting up was like a treat. As far as contractions after the epidural, I felt some tightness but not pain. I remember the OB saying on multiple occasions that the baby would be small, and how easy it would be to push her out because she’ll be tiny. I asked how he knew she would be tiny, thinking maybe they took some measurements or something, and his reply was “oh, I mean I’m just assuming cause you’re only 34 weeks.” I laughed. Spoiler alert, I knew she was going to be a big baby, and I wasn’t disappointed.
3pm rolled around and the OB came in to talk to me. He let me know that the baby was still having decelerations after my contractions which means she’s in distress and not coping with labor. He looked almost sad to tell me he recommended a c-section. I was relieved!! I knew my body couldn’t push out a baby like this, so I was ok with that. He offered to check me anyways to see how far along I was and I hadn’t dilated AT ALL! AT ALL!! I knew we were making the right decision at that point. I called Bradley and he was already about 15minutes away. He walked in and it was time to suit up in scrubs and go. This meant Maggie and Bradley would definitely have the same birthday! I was hoping the whole time that they wouldn’t have to share, but once it happened, I knew how special it was, and that she was destined to be a daddy’s girl from the start.
They wheeled my bed out of the room and I tried to stay as calm as possible cause I knew freaking out would only make things worse. I’ve had so many people say I was brave or strong. I don’t think I was brave. In most of the things that happened, I didn’t have a choice. There was no option B, so I knew I couldn’t get scared. The nurses transferred me from my bed to the operations table (which was super small). The doc came around and pushed on my belly. It hurt! I told the doc that it hurt and he looked at me puzzle and said I shouldn’t feel it. The anesthesiologist spent the next 10 minutes asking me what I could feel and what I couldn’t. Basically, I could feel anything above my bikini line. The epidural worked but it didn’t go high enough. Honestly it didn’t really surprise me. I always have a super high tolerance for pain meds and always need extra numbing shots.
So, I had to have a spinal block done on the OR table. I couldn’t move my lower body, so all these tiny nurses had to hoist me up into a sitting position on the table with my legs over the side and I hunched over 2 nurses. One nurse said “how tall are you?!?! You’re as tall as me sitting and your feet almost touch the ground!” I laughed and said 5’10”. I don’t remember feeling any pain as the anesthesiologist did the spinal block. I think I could feel her hands but I don’t remember feeling the needle. They lowered me back onto the table and had to wait for it to take effect. I felt tingling at first, like your leg falling asleep and then total numbness. I remember one of my legs falling off the table and yelping that I was falling. Poor Bradley had been waiting this whole time. They told him it would just be a minute and I think it ended up being more like 30 before he came into the OR. I asked one of the nurses to go tell him what was going on and she told me she already had.
I didn’t get the shakes which was something I was slightly worried about and was very happy to avoid them. I remember thinking it was taking forever to get her out-but considering they take your whole insides out, I guess it didn’t take that long. I kept waiting for “the cry”, when I heard it I was so relieved. I asked Bradley how big he thought she would be, he didn’t have a guess. I said I think she’s going to be 6 and a half pounds. When they weighed her she was 6lbs 6oz and 18in long. I was only off by 2oz and felt so proud of myself.
Maggie Elizabeth Boggs 6.15.20
Bradley did an amazing job with the birth photos and comforting me at the same time. I cried because I was so happy she was finally here and safe. They bundled her up and brought her over to me. I tried to touch her cheek to mine but the wrap was in the way, so I could only touch her cheek with my hand. I only got to see her for a few seconds before they headed off to the NICU. I noticed she was starting to turn bluer and was about to say something when the nurse whisked her off. I was heartbroken she left but knew they needed to take care of her. Bradley asked me if he should stay with me or go with the baby. I told him to go with her. By the time they had closed me up Bradley was back and she was settled in the NICU.
As I waited to be closed up, I heard the doctors and the nurses talking and counting sponges over and over again-saying they were all accounted for but the machine kept telling them there was still one inside me. I even remember hearing the doctor second guess himself “I definitely took that one out..didn’t I??” They got another machine thinking the first was broken and it read the same. We waited while they got the x-ray machine. Finally, a light bulb went off in my head and I yelled over the paper curtain “they used gauze to pack my abscess and it’s still there”. The entire operating room made a relived sigh. They had to get the x-ray anyways because they had so many positive readings but that was the culprit.
They wheeled me into recovery and my legs started to tingle again and I knew that was a good sign. Eventually I could wiggle my big toe and I reminded me of that scene in Kill Bill. While I didn’t get the shakes I did get the “itches” something fierce! They gave me Benadryl but it didn’t help. I had them for about a day. They took me to my room and let me know I had to stay on the IV magnesium. Not only was this going to make me feel like crap but it meant I couldn’t leave my bed, and since Maggie couldn’t leave the NICU we couldn’t see each other.
I had Bradley go visit her and FaceTime me. Honestly it almost felt like I didn’t have a baby because she wasn’t with me. I had to stay on the magnesium for 24 hours, so I counted them down. 5pm the next day rolled around and the nurse helped me get out of bed. My feet hadn’t touched the floor in 3 days so it was a little bit weird to stand up. But I made it and walked down the hall to the NICU and finally got to hold my baby!
I think we all thought since she was so big she wouldn’t need much NICU time. She only needed to be on the Cpap for half a day, and she didn’t have any blood sugar issues, surely she could come home. But what we didn’t realize was since she was so early she didn’t have a properly developed sucking reflex and wouldn’t eat by bottle. They had to give her a feeding tube and she had to slowly learn how to eat. It was hard, but I don’t ever remember being scared for her. I’d look around at the other babies with alarms going off constantly and Maggie in the corner bassinet by the window chilling and I knew she would be ok. Maggie spent 15 days in the NICU. It was a rollercoaster of weight gains and losses, and praying for even just a couple grams up every day. When we got the call that she could finally come home it was such a weight off our shoulders and we were so excited to take our daughter home and start life as our new little family.