Leanne, Ryland, Kaitlin, Jeff & Maryn

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ryland's Birth Story

I went in for a regular Non-Stress Test (NST) on Fri, May 18th. At the NST, Ryland's heart rate was consistently between 160-200bpm (should have been between 120-160bpm). I was having fairly regular contractions, although they were still far apart and of varying intensity. I had a large contraction, and Ryland's heart rate dropped, but after the contraction, rather than during.
After about an hour of observation, the nurse told me that the high heart rate can be indicative of fetal distress or possibly an infection, and the delayed drop in the heart rate after the contraction was indicative of low oxygenation. She sent the monitoring strip to my OB's office, and my OB decided that he wanted to do a CST (a stress test on the baby).

So, I walked over to labor & delivery for the CST. During this procedure, they induce you with pitocin to encourage frequent & strong contractions, and watch the baby's heart rate during the stress of the labor. Because this was another test, it also meant no epidural during the 2-3 hrs of contractions & observation. I wasn't thrilled about having to go through pitocin contractions for a few hours & called Jeff and my girlfriend, Stacey, to come in with me. If Ryland's heart rate responded well to the stress of the contractions, they would send me home. If his heart rate continued to dip, they would deliver him by c-section.

It turned out that my contractions were frequent & strong enough to monitor and that I didn't have to be "induced" for the observation period. Ryland's heart rate seemed to be doing better during the contractions, but was still between 160-200bpm. Given the fact that I had a previous IntraUterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) baby, was Group B Strep Positive, and had a fever of 101 degrees & felt crummy 2 days prior, the OB decided that I was going to be induced on Fri & was going to have the baby one way or another. Since I was already dilated 3cm & was 75% effaced, the OB figured that my induction would go well, as long as Ryland's heart rate stayed consistent.

Fri afternoon, the nurses started me on a light pitocin drip. Taking my cousin's advice (she's a doctor & had a previous pitocin induction), I asked early on for the epidural before they turned up the amount of pitocin I was receiving. I had to wait about an hour due to the anesthesiologist being in the OR for a c-section, but once I received the epidural, the nurses turned up the pitocin to bring on the stronger contractions. I was talking to Jeff and Stacey in the room when the nurse came in to look at my strip.

She told me that she was going to bring in a couple other people, and suddenly there were at least 10 people running into my room. They switched me laying from my back to my left side, then to my right side. After that happened, they turned me over and had me up on my hands & knees with my head down. Meanwhile, the nurse was moving the paddles all over my belly saying nothing. Before I knew it, I was being unplugged, my IV bag was hooked to the bed, and I was being wheeled away into the OR. Through the mass chaos, nobody said anything to me or Jeff. In the background, I heard one of the nurses say "we lost him." At that moment, my heart sank to the bottom of my stomach, thinking that something horrible had happened to my baby.

When we got into the OR, the anesthesiologist must have noticed the look of horror on my face, and started to calm me down. He told me that they found the heartbeat, but the heart rate was very low, so they were going to do a c-section & I would be holding my baby soon. He also told me that it was a good thing I got the epidural when I did, or I would've had to been put under general anesthesia for the surgery.

He numbed me up from my lower rib cage down, and the OB made the incision at 3:43pm...right after the incision was made, the nurses brought Jeff into the OR. Ryland Jeffrey was born 2 mins later after tons of tugging and pulling, at 3:45pm. They took him over to the warmer and it took a couple of minutes for the pediatrician to stimulate him, then he wouldn't stop crying. That was the best noise I heard all day! Jeff went over to look at him, while the OB sewed me up. They brought Ryland over so I could finally see my little guy & pointed out a birthmark on his little forehead. It was the most amazing thing to see him - I still get tears in my eyes just thinking about how scared I was, and how relieved I was that Ryland was perfect. His APGARs were 8 & 9, and he had tons of hair on his little head.

After the OB finished sewing me up, I went to recovery, while Jeff went to the NICU with Ryland for his first bath & for additional monitoring. He had fluid in his lungs and his oxygenation levels weren't stabilizing, so he ended up staying overnight in the NICU, but came to my room late the next morning. I stayed in the hospital until the following Tues...was given the option to go home on Mon, but the lactation consultants suggested I stay the extra day to work on Ryland's latch. My milk production was extremely low & he was having a difficult time keeping a good latch, so we stayed.

I am healing well now. I can't believe how painful the c-section recovery was for the first 5 days or so...honestly, I never really looked into the c-section procedures/recovery info that much. I guess I just figured that if it had to happen, it would...and it did. BUT, wow - I would've much rather had the vaginal delivery. Obviously that wasn't Ryland's plan though. He's amazing, and we are so in love! I can't imagine life without my two kiddos and feel so blessed that I've been able to experience motherhood for a second time.

Ryland Jeffrey's Stats:
Born May 18, 2007
5 lbs 12 oz
18" long

Sunday, May 6, 2007

May 6, 2007: Belated Update

Hi everyone...

I have to apologize for it being so long since I've last written! I keep putting it off to the next milestone, and it seems that there's always one around the corner, so I keep waiting. I am doing well - finished Round 5 of chemo about 3 wks ago, and am now on a break until 4-6 wks after the baby arrives. Woohoo!! Boy does it feel good to have a little break! I tolerated the first 5 rounds pretty well - very minor symptoms compared to what I read & imagined. I was even able to work 2-4 days/wk & have a pretty normal life chasing after a VERY active little girl.

We met with my Oncologist on Tues, and we have decided to forgo the final round (6th) of the CAF regimen due to the 3 month gap in doses. The docs think it would be more beneficial for me to move on to the next regimen - Taxol + Herceptin. The plan is that I will start when the baby is 4-6 wks old, I will finally have my baseline PET scan done to see if I have cancer anywhere else in my body, and will start going in for Taxol every week for 12 wks - the Herceptin will be every 3 wks for one year. Once I've completed the Taxol, I will start radiation daily - still looking at 38-40 rounds of radiation (8wks). That will take me out until Nov roughly...then I will continue the Herceptin every 3 wks until approximately July '08 & will start Tamoxifin orally for 5yrs. My calculated risk of recurrence right now is approx 17.5% with the chemo & radiation I will/have received. I've decided that I will likely undergo a 2nd prophylactic mastectomy to reduce my risk even further (I'd like to see our kids grown and the lower the chances, the better!!!), and will have to wait on that until at least 6 months after concluding radiation. I will likely have breast reconstruction at that time as well, but haven't firmly decided on that yet. I think it would be nice to not have to wear a bra!! =)

In other news, we have a name for our baby boy! It only took us almost 30 wks to name him, but he will be called Ryland Jeffrey. Jeff & I had a very difficult time deciding on a name - mostly because we couldn't find one that we both agreed on and loved. Ryland is it! He is doing very well in his growth, unlike his big sister when she was still in the oven. We had a growth ultrasound Tues to follow up on him, and he is approx 5 lbs 4 oz at 35 wks gestation. Maryn was only 4 lbs 5 oz when she was born, so looks like we have a healthy boy in there! I had a visit to the OB on Wed, and surprisingly, I'm dilated 2cm already....it could be any time now! Ryland's due date is June 5th, but looks like we will be having a May baby. I've been having a lot of contractions lately, but nothing regular. I will go in 3x/wk now for monitoring & if it looks like Ryland's heart rate drops or that my amniotic fluid is decreasing, the docs will induce me.

We are all keeping busy. Maryn is 100mph all day long when she's awake. We celebrated being off chemo by making a mad dash to our favorite place on earth - Boise, Idaho. We got to spend two wonderful weeks with Jeff's parents & my family and best friend. It was so incredibly nice to relax, enjoy the weather, and know that I had two wks free of doctor's appts. Our trip was amazing (with the exception of the very snowy & cold drive up there), and we can't wait to go back. I'm hoping I'll have another gap in appts after the baby is born, so we can make another trip north before I start chemo again. I won't have a break for 5 months at that point, so we'll be stuck in California for the summer & fall. I think we are going to celebrate the end of all of my treatment by taking a trip to Italy...alone! We'll have to hit up the grandparents & see if they are willing to watch both kiddos, but I think it would be nice to have some quality time with my amazing husband after this roller coaster of a year.

SO, that's the latest news in the Lusk household. Once again, I have to apologize for those I have not written back to....my email inbox is still swamped. While I've read the emails, I haven't found the time to sit down and write back! Life never seems to slow down around our house. =) We hope this email finds you well, healthy & enjoying life!!!

With love,
Leanne, Jeff & Maryn