The only day that I had hoped my babies would NOT arrive was Easter Sunday. Being married to a pastor, I’d hoped he’d be able to preach at church that Sunday morning. But God had other plans.
Around 2 o’clock on Easter Sunday morning, I woke up with some labor pains. Contractions were anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes apart. I took a bath until they tapered off, then went back to bed. I woke up again at about 6:00 with the same irregular contractions and again with the same moderate intensity. Like any good laborer, I downloaded a contraction app on my phone and tried timing the contractions to see if they were getting more regular. No luck–2 minutes, 8 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes.
My parents were helping us that weekend and encouraged me to go to the hospital. I didn’t want to create a false alarm 2 hours before Michael was to be preaching, but with each contraction intensifying and at my parent’s urging, I decided I’d go to the hospital 20 minutes away. Michael was already at church getting ready to preach. Our plan was for Michael to meet us at the hospital. If it didn’t appear to be real labor, he could hurry back to church in time to preach, if need be.
When I arrived at the hospital, we registered. It was 8:30. As the contractions got more intense, I quickly realized how slow the world moved. None of the rushing you see on TV. The admitting staff and nurses strolled around as if they had all the time in the world. I was wheeled to the triage room, where I met Michael. They did an initial check-I was 6 cm dilated. It was 9:00. At this point, I knew there was no going back and was admitted. I began to ask for my epidural.
All the nurses sauntered around the delivery room getting things ready as I continued to beg for my epidural. My brain still sees the nurses movements and the slow-motion manner in which they moved.
“Yes, we’ll get you an epidural as soon as your blood work comes back.” And she repeated this 5 minutes later when I asked again. Then, again in 5 more minutes, after I requested the epidural again. The contractions were getting much more intense.
Somewhere in the midst of the slow-motion nurses, my husband leaned down and whispered this sweet nothing in my ear: “I hate to tell you this, but you’re not going to get your epidural.” These aren’t the words a laboring wife wants to hear. I bit back, “You don’t know that! Be quiet.”
At 9:35, the nurse once again promised my epidural, “Your blood work came back fine. Now we’re just waiting for the anesthesiologist. Then we’ll get your epidural, call your doctor who is 30 minutes away, get you comfortable and we can check your dilation again.”
Michael looked at the nurse intently and urgently said, “You need check her NOW. I think you are going to have babies soon.” The nurse obliged, though I don’t really think she believed much progress would have been made.
“You are 9. I’m calling the doctor.” And the fast-forward button was now pressed. Let’s just say there was much more scrambling than sauntering at this point.
“May I have my epidural?” I asked one last time. The nurse hemmed and hawed “…Well, if we give you an epidural now, then it would put the babies at risk, and…”
My mom claims that I snarkily replied, “So, that’s a ‘no’?”
At 9:45, they checked and I was given the instructions “You are 10– DO NOT PUSH.” With increasing pressure to push, I was given instructions not to. The only thing that kept the babies in utero was that the membranes were still intact. But I knew I couldn’t push because one baby was head down and the other breech. If I delivered one, the other could have been put in danger. The next 30 minutes were the hardest of my life.
And time stood still as I waited for the doctor to come from his church service to the hospital. He was still on his way. Many times I questioned the nurses about the status of his commute. I requested someone call the doctor and tell him to hurry. Then I asked, “PLEASE, CAN I PUSH? I have to push.” The nurse was told that there was no doctor and it was reiterated NOT TO PUSH.
Michael looked at the nurse and said, “We need a doctor and we need one NOW.”
“We are trying to get another OB GYN who would come in to deliver (It’s Easter, remember). You just cannot push.” The nurse was running from station to station at this time, in and out the door. The pressure was intense.
Then there appeared in the room a quiet 40ish woman who soon identified herself, “I’m Dr. Hannigan. I’m happy to help you by staying here with you until your doctor comes, but I want you in the SURG room.” I resisted because I didn’t want her to automatically perform a c-section, but she promised that just because we were in the operating room didn’t automatically mean she’d do a c-section. It just meant we’d be ready in case something went wrong.
I was wheeled to the surgery room. At least now there was a doctor. All was now in place for these babies. Except my doctor. They scrambled to get ready for the babies’ arrivals and FINALLY my doctor walked through the door in his plaid Easter sport coat.
“I have never in my life been so thrilled to see another man!” I exclaimed.
My doctor hurried to get suited up. Even though they told me not to push, I took his presence as license to finally yield to the pressure. On the next contraction, even though my doctor wasn’t fully suited up, I pushed. At 10:19, With a gush, Twin A, Anders Warren, flew out and was caught by two nurses. They held Anders up and I oohed over him, but my doctor stopped me from oohing further, “We still have another baby to get out, Maren.”
Dr. Wright asked the volunteer doctor to help find the legs of twin B. Via an ultrasound wand, she informed Dr. Wright where baby B’s legs were. And the doctor went in and pulled baby B by the legs out. Pretty effortlessly on the doctor’s part, very painfully on mine. He kept saying, “You have to relax, Maren.” But difficult to do when someone is up to their elbows inside of you feeling for a baby. And at 10:23, Merritt Paul, was born. Merritt had some bruising on his legs from the extraction, which cleared up in a couple days.
And once again, over the span of 4 minutes, my life was forever changed and blessed for the fourth and fifth time.
Anders Warren Boehm – 10:19 a.m.; 7lbs 5oz, 21 inches
Merritt Paul Boehm – 10:23 a.m.; 8 lbs 1 oz, 21 inches
Last photo, thanks to Sunlight Photogaphy Thanks, Sara!