This week in pregnancy:
This week I ended up walking through Johns Hopkins with my mom for an appointment she needed to attend. I don’t much like hospitals for a slough of reasons, but the number one reason is that they make it very easy to get sick, so I wanted to stress in this post that being healthy during pregnancy is more than getting a flu shot. I can’t tell you how many women I hear enter a bathroom, use the facilities, maybe flush, and exit the room without washing their hands. And when you think of all the microscopic junk that can get on a person’s hands while using the bathroom. . . just yuck. I’m no germophobe. I think people who insist on wiping off the water bottle top before sharing are silly and people who won’t share drinks a little less, but still silly. Sometimes I skip the sink and use anti-bacterial sanitizer, and I don’t always wash my hands for the recommended amount of time. But when you’re somewhere like a hospital, take the time to wash your hands and use that sanitizer every chance you get. And when you’re in public, stay away from people who appear to be sick. Don’t stick your hands in your mouth after touching things like movie armrests and door knobs. Be smart about getting sick because while you have an adult immune system, the child you’re carrying only has you as a defense against all the grime.
Migraines! I’d nearly forgotten them. I’ve had really bad headaches for years. I never called them migraines because I understood a migraine was a specific type of headache and didn’t want to misrepresent what I had. Turns out I get migraines. Apparently those headaches that last for days at a time causing a dull throb to an intense pound in your head, making you hypersensitive to sound and light and sometimes cause nausea are called migraines. And boy did I have them. I started having them in high school. When I became pregnant they all but went away. I could count on one hand the number of migraines I’ve had since becoming pregnant and they’ve all been in the past few months. Being pregnant, I only took low dose tylenol and tried to wait them out.
But I did have a couple dizzy spells, one so bad my vision started to vignette and I had to force myself to stay upright. Good times. When I went to my OB the CNM recommended the basic stuff (make sure you don’t skip meals, ensure you eat protein at every meal, watch your blood sugar, etc.) and also told me to see a neurologist with whom she works closely. She said to discuss the possibility that I’m having dizzy spells in relation to my migraines.
So to the neurologist I went. I’ve never seen a neurologist before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. She greeted me, we talked family history a bit, and she gave me a physical exam (really minor keep-your-shirt-on type exam). She continued to discuss family history with me while she gave the exam, so I suspect she was testing my abilities to multi-task as well. It turns out these dizzy spells are directly related to my migraines. In fact, she went one further and told me that if you have migraines and you have inexplicable dizzy spells, they’re garunteed to be related.
So when you have a migraine your brain’s blood vessels expand in a pattern starting at your cerebellum and working circularly and forward in a half-moon shape. This slowly brings on more pain as more blood vessels expand. When the migraine begins you don’t always feel the pain right away, but maybe just a stiff neck, or maybe you see spots a little bit, or if you’re like me you have a sudden dizzy spell. Woohoo. I did notice after each dizzy spell that I had a headache, but I chalked it up to a change in the weather or some other excuse. I never registered it as a full-force migraine.
She’s instructed me to start taking some extra vitamins to decrease the risk of migraines, don’t skip meals, take time to relax every night, and that if I get a migraine I need to immediately take two extra strength tylenol, prefferably with a coke as the caffeine can help stave off the migraine. She also told me (news to me) that if you allow your migraines to go completely untreated and kind of “let them run their course,” they can scar your brain over time, and can even increase your risk for stroke.
She also informed me that once I give birth there’s this awesome little melt-in-your-mouth medicine you can take at the first sign of a migraine and it will completely stop the migraine within 15-20 minutes. Gone. Voilla. Kiss it goodbye. It’s not a daily dosage you have to remember, just a when you need it medication. I can’t take it now while pregnant, but she said I’d be able to take it during breast feeding so long as I pump and dump a certain amount after taking it. How wild. Where has this been the past 7 years of my life?! Needless to say I’m relieved that my migraines are being addressed before they begin to interfere with my life, and I’m relieved that there are simple solutions.
Update on the hips: I saw a different physical therapist this week due to a scheduling conflict with my normal gal. She was pregnant and very skilled. She confirmed what I had initially thought about physical therapy: it’ll be a temporary relief for something that needs to be addressed post-partum. There is probably something wrong with my hip (like a tear in my cuff, etc.) and I’ll need at least an x-ray and possibly more complicated tests like MRI or CT scans. I’m not really afraid of it, I’ll be glad to understand what’s causing the issue and hopefully resolve it. We did pinpoint that a great deal of discomfort is coming not from the hip itself, but from the muscles constricting a sack of fluid that runs down my leg. She tells me that on the hip a couple of muscles connect and where they would cause a “gap” there’s this fluidy sack that cushions the hip. Trouble is that with my hip acting strange my muscles are super tight and they’re straining the sack, causing pressure, pain, and discomfort, especially when I put any additional pressure on that side (like when sleeping). So we’re trying a few tricks to keep the pressure off and I’ll be sleeping on my left side more often.
Speaking of sleep, I’ve been sleeping on my stomach (kinda to the side of it recently) up to this point. I can still sleep on my left side/stomach, but not on the right. Reason being the baby loves hanging out on my right side under the ribs and having a hard body in the way rather than the cushy uterus fluid is just plain uncomfortable. It’s like sleeping on a helmet or an awkward lumpy pillow. I had asked my CNM at what point it was bad to sleep on my stomach and she didn’t really give me a straight answer. Everything I’ve read online says it’ll be too uncomfortable before you can do damage, but up till last week I was perfectly comfortable sleeping on my side and belly. When I asked my CNM she suggested that I sleep with a pillow between my knees. I told her that wouldn’t be comfortable due to the size of the bed I’m sleeping on and she looked at me like I had three heads and asked how hard it was to sleep with a pillow between my knees. -.- It’s obnoxious and uncomfortable lady, especially in a shared twin bed. It was my first time seeing this CNM. I think I’ll avoid her in the future. . . .
That about sums up this past week and gets me up to date. ^.^ I’ll be moving this coming week and hopefully will be able to keep up with writing much better post-move. Fare-thee-well, dear readers! Until next week!!