This story was sent to me so that I could repost it to share with you on my herpes stories pages… I thought it would be nice to switch things up a bit and post a few true stories on my herpes blog so my readers could find them this way too. If you would like me to post your story please send them to me as I would be more than happy to. You are more than welcome to share a photo and if you prefer to remain anonymous that is fine too… we can just go by your first name only. Ok, this next story now begins…
I have had the herpes simplex virus type 1 cold sore since 2002. Being that type 2 is genital herpes I thought that was the only type of herpes that could be contracted from sex including oral..I was wrong. My ex boyfriend had cold sores on his mouth and without knowing he had them at the time, we had oral sex and that is how I got the disease. I didn’t know it at first. It was a few years ago so I can’t remember all of the symptoms. I just remember a burning and itching feeling down there as well as very bad chills and a fever. I went in to see the gyno and she diagnosed me with herpes type 1, vaginally.
I was devastated and depressed but I got over it quickly because I realized just how common this virus is! Then a year later I met my now husband and we got engaged a year after meeting. We planned our wedding for exactly a year from when he proposed. We then got pregnant and I was ecstatic. This was our first little bundle of joy and we were sooo happy!
Well being the worry wart that I am, that led me to think about neonatal herpes. I was aware of it from doing research on the Internet. I told my gyno. at every visit how worried I was and expressed my concerns. They blew off my concerns with “Oh don’t worry, neonatal herpes is very rare” and that was that. Even though I stated time and time again I wanted a C-section because I heard the baby would have a very very low chance of acquiring the disease if I had the baby via cesarean.
Well about a month before I delivered, the gyno prescribed Valtrex. I thought she prescribed Acyclovir which is a more mild form of the anti-viral med. So I went back a couple weeks later and she gave me an Acyclovir prescription. I took that medicine for 12 days up until the baby was born. I delivered vaginally per doctor’s advice, going against my gut instinct. Well I had NO SYMPTOMS of any herpes outbreak coming on. Truthfully, I even forgot about my whole worrying about the baby getting herpes when I was in labor. I remember the doctor telling me she was putting a fetal scalp monitor in me to monitor the baby’s heart rate I believe. But later on I read that if you have herpes DO NOT let the doctor use a fetal scalp monitor, because that punctures a little skin of the baby and the herpes virus could seep in.
Well, a week after we had our beautiful baby home I noticed a red bump on his leg that later turned into a blister. I honestly still didn’t think anything of it and took him to the doctor for his normal check up and I pointed out the blister and the doctor mentioned to me that she thought it was herpes. My heart sank at that point. All of the worrying before I had the baby came flooding back. It was like an ocean of worry that I had built up all 9 months of my pregnancy flooding me and knocking me down, when I heard those words: “I think it’s herpes”.
Without even having the blood work or any of the testing done I knew in my heart my baby had contracted the cold sore virus from me. We took him to the hospital and they did spinal taps on him and hooked him up to an IV. It was a nightmare I was living. To see my beautiful baby in a hospital, potentially dying or severe brain damage because of a disgusting disease picked up during sex. The thought of that just made me so sick- I felt the world was coming to an end for me..
My husband stood by me the whole time and was there standing strong for both me and him. Luckily he knew I had the cold sore virus and he knew how I always went to my gyno during my pregnancy scared shit. So although we were both scared and horrified, it wasn’t a guessing game as to how he got it. We stayed with our baby for 2 days before we got the results. They came back that he had HSV 1 skin eye mouth disease. So far the spinal taps came back negative- Thank God, I thank God every day. But at the same time he is now almost 5 months old and doctors say he could STILL get encephalitis or the herpes virus can come out and attack his organs. I am very angry at the gynecologists for not listening to my concerns. She should have never used a fetal scalp monitor on me, knowing that I had herpes. She was very careless with my baby and my body- I truly hate this person. To walk around with hatred is no good, but I have to worry every day about my baby’s disease..that could have been prevented provided I had good doctors looking after me.
This is a warning to all women who have herpes and want to or are pregnant. I don’t want other babies out there getting this virus. Please make sure if you choose to have a vaginal birth that the doctors don’t use a device called a fetal scalp monitor. Make sure you request herpes cultures to be taken during your last month of pregnancy to make sure that there is no viral shedding. The virus could be present with no symptoms, known as asymptomatic shedding. I think that is what I had at the time of delivery. It scares me to know that you can have the virus present at the time of delivery and not know it. The doctor can’t do a culture test at the time of delivery because it takes a few days to get the results back.
They say it’s rare for a baby to acquire the disease but it DOES happen. It happened to my baby. If you personally feel it is worth having a C-Section, because that reduces the risk of giving your baby neonatal herpes (There is still a change the baby can get the virus while he/she is in the womb..that is called in utero , meaning they acquired it in the uterus) please get the c- section. I know I will with my next. Although it is a very rare disease, it does happen. 1 in 3000 doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you are the 1 like I am out of the 3000, that ain’t nothing but a damn number. I think because neonatal herpes is so rare, doctors take a pregnant women having herpes lightly… and the consequences to that child are deadly.
Note from Angela:
Obviously I don’t agree that women with herpes should be forced to have C-sections. C-sections are major surgery and should only be used (in my opinion) as a last resort. Furthermore, a baby can not contract herpes while inside of Mom. A mother who has had herpes prior to becoming pregnant shares her antibodies with her unborn child. For those who have yet to read my herpes pregnancy story you can do so here…
I’m sure Laura shared her story as best she could but I’m also suspecting that there might be parts of her story she doesn’t understand. Even so… I went ahead and decided to go ahead and post it because after all… it’s her story to share. If you have read this story and would like to share your opinion as well, feel free to leave a comment.
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