Raylan’s Birth Story

During both of my pregnancies I was monitored frequently because of pre-existing high blood pressure that required meds to control.  Starting at 32 weeks, I had NSTs (non-stress tests) two times a week, and my fluid was measured by ultrasound once a week.  I was scheduled for an induction when I hit 38 weeks.

Sunday January 24, I felt decreased movement from my little one.  My husband was working, so I took Savannah to stay with my sister, and my mom drove me to the hospital so the baby could be checked.  Once I was on the monitor, the baby started moving like crazy, which was typical for him.  It was clear by his heart rate that he was happy.  All that was left was to measure my fluid, and I would be on my way.  When the midwife started measuring the fluid with ultrasound, I could see there was a lot less than there had been just a few days before.  She said she was going to talk to the doctor and would be back.  Within a few minutes, we were told that we would be staying, and my induction would start that day.  I was 37 weeks 5 days.

At about 1:30 in the afternoon, I was moved to a birthing room so we could start the induction process.  The official induction started at 3:45pm.  My cervix was 1cm, 25% effaced and the baby’s position was high.  A cervidil was placed and was to remain in for 12 hours to help “ripen” my cervix.  The whole week prior to the induction process, I had frequent contractions that varied from just uncomfortable to painful.  On Saturday and Sunday, the contractions had basically stopped.  I was having less contractions those two days than I had been having since 28 weeks!  Fortunately, a few hours after the cervidil was placed I started contracting again.

My sisters were super sweet and brought Savannah up to see me since we hadn’t anticipated staying.  She was a little nervous to see mom in bed, but she was excited to hear her brother’s heart beat on the monitor.  She also got to play in the game room.

At 3:45am, the cervidil was removed.  The doctors discussed placing another cervidil vs placing a foley bulb.  The thought of a foley bulb scared me because during my previous induction an EXTREMELY painful attempt was made to place one that ended up being unsuccessful.  I wasn’t super thrilled with the idea of another cervidil, either.  I didn’t want to sit for another 12 hours waiting for it to work.  I agreed to having the foley bulb placed with morphine prior.  At 5am, I had morphine, and at 6:15, the doctor successfully placed the foley bulb.  At that point I was 2-3cm, 50% effaced and the baby was at a -3 station.

The foley bulb hadn’t fallen out by 8:40am, so the doctor checked me to see where we were.  She found that I was 4-5cm, 50% effaced and a -2 to -3 station, so she pulled the foley bulb.  We were making some progress.  The next step was pitocin.  I had been dreading pitocin for weeks because I wanted to make an attempt at laboring and delivering without an epidural.  I feared that having pitocin would make that much more difficult, but I was realistic and knew my body likely needed that push.  After getting a new IV placed (my veins are terrible with IVs), the pitocin was started at 11:20am.

All day I sat on the birth ball, stood at the side of the bed, walked around the room, and took some time laying in bed.  At around 4pm, I requested to be checked.  I was discouraged to hear that I was still only 5cm, 50% effaced and a -2 station.  At that point I decided to get in the tub to labor for awhile.  My contractions had become pretty painful, so I wanted to see if the tub would allow me to have some relief.  I was only in the tub for about 45 minutes.  It was nice, but it was tough to keep the water warm enough for comfort.  We had to keep draining water to add more hot water.

At 7:55pm, the doctor came in to see if I was making any progress.  I was 5-6cm, 75% effaced and a -2 station.  I was frustrated that baby didn’t seem to want to descend.  The doctor felt that breaking my water would help speed things up, so she did.  When the first contraction after that hit, my plans for going without an epidural went out the window.  The pain was intense!  The funny thing is just before they broke my water, I told my mom I thought I should be in more pain, and now I was!  The anesthesia team came pretty quickly to place the epidural.  It was torture sitting through the placement.  Anesthesia tried for a full hour to place the epidural without success.  I finally asked for another person to try.  At 9:08pm, I felt I couldn’t sit any longer.  I was feeling tons of pressure, so I was checked again.  I was still only 6cm, 75% effaced and -2 station.  I agreed to let anesthesia keep trying.  I was given morphine to try to help me during the epidural.  I tried to sit for the placement, and I just couldn’t do it.  I was able to get through the contraction pain, but I started feeling a new tearing pain that didn’t come and go with contractions.  I remember saying I felt like I was being tore apart inside.

From this point on, things are a little fuzzy and went fast.  I was screaming that something was wrong.  I was begging for a c-section.  I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t lie down.  My poor mother and sister were in the hall (they couldn’t be in the room while the epidural was being placed), and all they could hear was my screaming and crying.  My husband was wonderful as he stood by feeling helpless, trying to help me get through the pain.  At one point they placed an FSE (fetal scalp electrode) because I couldn’t stay still enough to keep the monitor on, and it was important to be able to monitor the baby’s heart rate.  I would hear the heart rate drop, and I would panic, but I was assured that the heart rate would come right back up.  I remember hearing my husband ask if my mom could come back in.  The nurse said in a few minutes.  At that point I blurted out that I NEEDED my mom.  When she came in, she got right by my ear and was able to calm me down.  Prior to her being there, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  She brought me back to what was going on.  At 9:44pm I was 7cm, 100% effaced and 0 station.  I kept feeling the urge to push, and my body was even pushing involuntarily.  The doctors gave me a pudendal block (a lidocaine injection in my cervix), and at 9:53pm I was 9cm.  At 10:08pm, they said I was 10cm and could start pushing.  They doctor said I could do a practice push, but if she told me to stop, it was because they needed to break the bed down.  I pushed, and she said to stop.  While they were breaking the bed down, I was yelling that he was coming.  My body was pushing on its own.  They gave me the green light to push again.  At 10:14pm, after just 3 pushes, Raylan was born.  I heard them say he had a nuchal cord, but my mom and sister say it was wrapped across his face.  My husband cut the cord, and after being placed on my belly briefly, he was taken to the warmer.  I saw the nurse tapping on his feet, and I never heard him cry.  His apgars were 6 and 9.  The first one was only a 6 because he never did cry, but he was fine otherwise.

Weighing in at 7lb 7.6oz and 19.5 inches long, Raylan was brought to me.  He was eager to nurse and latched at 35 minutes old.

We are so happy to have a healthy new addition to the family.

The Quiet Life of Cold Sores

The burden of getting cold sores has been something that I’ve experienced since high school.  Outbreaks were always something I dreaded, but I dread them even more now that I am a mother.  Not being able to kiss my child for 2 weeks is heartbreaking.

I was always horribly embarrassed to admit that I suffer from cold sores.  I will never forget my first outbreak.  It was New Years of my junior year in high school.  About a week before, I took a volleyball to the mouth during a tournament and split my bottom lip.  It was no big deal, other than the split lip didn’t seem to want to heal very well, staying pretty tender longer than was typical.  I went to a friend’s house for New Years Eve and stayed the night.  When I woke up, I felt terrible!  My gums felt like they were on fire, I felt feverish, and I had ulcers all over the inside of my mouth.  I was so miserable, and my mom was so worried about the appearance of the inside of my mouth, she took me to the ER.  The doctor said I just had some canker sores.  I had had canker sores before, but never this painful or widespread.  We went home, and I went and laid in bed.  We had people over for my dad’s birthday, but I never came out.  My mom tried to bring me a plate of food, but I couldn’t even eat.  The next day, she sent me to my pediatrician with my dad.  By this time, I also had this painful sore on one of my fingers.  The Dr. promptly diagnosed me with Herpes Simplex Virus-1, or cold sores, which is different than a canker sore.  I was horrified and embarrassed.  How could this have happened?  She gave me a prescription for an antiviral and sent me home.  I missed school and volleyball practice for probably almost a week.  I could hardly eat or drink, let alone talk.  I had a few sores on my lips that broke open, so my lips stuck together.  In order to get my lips apart, I would have to break open the sores again.  It was extremely painful.  I lost about 10 lbs that week.  When I returned to volleyball, many of the parents in the stands remarked to my mom how much weight I had lost while I was out sick.  I never told any of my friends or teammates the reason I was sick.  This breakout was considered a primary infection, which is why I was so sick.  It usually only happens during the first outbreak.

Over the years, I have tried to be extremely careful about preventing the spread of my cold sores.  If I had an outbreak, or even thought I felt one coming on, I wouldn’t kiss anyone, share drinks or utensils, and I wouldn’t share my lipgloss.  I think friends at the time may have thought I was being rude, but I was trying to spare them while never telling them the reason I wouldn’t share.  How could I admit that I had oral herpes?

When I started dating my husband, it wasn’t long before I had to tell him about it.  When I would get any hint of a cold sore coming on, I wouldn’t kiss him.  I had to tell him it was for his own protection.  It sucked having to go 2 weeks at a time without kissing the man I loved.  It still sucks.  When my daughter was born, it seemed that I was getting cold sores about once a month.  It was devastating having a newborn that I couldn’t smother in kisses.  It was also terrifying to me as a nurse knowing the vulnerability of a brand new baby.  During that time, I asked my OB/gyn for an antiviral prescription.  Now in my chart, oral herpes is listed.  I am still a little embarrassed about it.

The reason I am admitting all of this is to spread awareness.  An article I read said that antibodies to HSV-1 is found in about 80% of all adolescents, so it is a very widespread virus.  Many people are exposed to this virus, and there is no cure.  It stays in your body and lies dormant.  About 1/3 of people will suffer from relapses.  For most people, cold sores are just an annoyance.  For infants and people with weakened immune systems, it can be dangerous, so for that reason, if you have a cold sore use extreme caution.  Wash your hands frequently, especially if you touch an area where there is a sore, and do not share drinking utensils, cups, or anything else that touches the sores, and do not kiss others.  Also be aware that it can be spread to the genitals with orogenital contact.

Feel free to share your experiences with me, and try not to be embarrassed if you do suffer from cold sores.  There are likely more people that you know that also suffer with them.