Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Acetaminophen / Tylenol Study & Infographic

Hi, friends! It's been a while...my graphic design company (at-home freelancing) has been super busy lately. I'm so blessed to have lots of work coming in, and FUN work at that!

So just a quick update before I dive into this post. My last post was about me planning to try biofeedback. Well, my insurance said biofeedback would probably be covered under their mental health side, and I haven't been able to figure out if I even have that, much less if they would cover biofeedback. I called a bunch of doctors in my area and one was nice enough to give me contact info for a couple places that do biofeedback, but I never got around to calling them. My deductible starts over in January so there's pretty much no point in trying now. Has biofeedback helped any of you? I'm guessing I would still end up paying big copays either way, so I'd rather use that money to try massage, something I really feel would help because of all the tension I carry in my neck/shoulders. But I'm still working on convincing the husband because it's expensive.

Acetaminophen Study

When I was pregnant, I was told that acetaminophen is generally safe to take for headaches (I took Fioricet for the really bad migraines). I tried not to take anything but my headaches and migraines got way worse the first and second trimester, so I couldn't help it. The stress from enduring the pain without taking meds wasn't good for the baby, so it was pretty much a lose/lose situation. Anyway, I just read about this recent study that found:
"Close to four percent of women took Tylenol for at least 28 days total during pregnancy. Their children seemed to have poorer motor skills than kids whose mothers had taken the drug fewer times or not at all. Tylenol-exposed kids also tended to start walking later, have poorer communication and language skills and more behavior problems."
 I definitely took acetaminophen 28+ days during my pregnancy...not gonna lie. BUT the study also says:

"Heavy users most often reported taking the drug for five to seven days in a row a few times during pregnancy."
I didn't do that and I don't ever do that because (1) I'm afraid of rebound headaches and (2) if I take meds too much my body adjusts and they aren't as effective (there's a medical term for this...google wasn't any help).

So far, my baby girl seems to be developing just fine. But I still want to warn anyone who is pregnant to be careful what you take and don't take too much of something (if you can help it) just because it's "safe."

Acetaminophen Infographic

On that note, I have an infographic to share - not related to the above study, but related to acetaminophen. The folks at the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (KnowYourDose.org) emailed this to me. The designer in me is loving it, and it's a great way to spread the word to, again, be careful what you take!

Larger version/download here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Back to the Neuro

After an almost three-year break, I decided it was time to see my neurologist. The one I'm seeing is tied to a hospital, so insurance is billed twice (or something like that) which is one of the reasons I stopped going - I was having to pay a lot out of pocket. I hope things have changed, but it's doubtful. Plus I feel like we tried everything I could afford so there wasn't much else to do. But my migraines are becoming more and more frequent and I'm still having the nearly daily headaches, so I had to do something.

The time with my neurologist (whom I LOVE) was pretty uneventful. Since I'm still breastfeeding and plan on doing so at least a year, there's not much I can try. Biofeedback was at the top of my list and my neuro agreed that it could help, at least with the regular headaches. I was all pumped up until I walked down the hall to talk with the administrative specialist who informed me that biofeedback there is considered out of network for my insurance. Lovely. They do have payment plans if I wanted to pay for it myself, but it would be more than $1,000. The next step is for me to call my insurance and see if they can recommend someone in network to do biofeedback, and even then I still need to see how much it will cost.

But back to the neurology appointment. When I arrived, the check-in person told me that my neurologist had a 1.5 hour wait. Ouch! I'd been lucky enough to never have to wait more than 20 minutes or so (that I recall) at the neurologist. I had little Hollis with me, but luckily I had just fed her before the appointment. Here's a picture of her in the patient room - she slept the whole time! Well except for her waking up briefly when the nurse took me back, and she smiled at everyone (babies attract immediate crowds). She's such a good baby!

Hollis rockin' the chevron blankie
Turns out, two of my neuro's patients had to go to ER that day. One of them was in the room across from me waiting for a ride to the hospital (she didn't want to take the ambulance which is understandable when you have a migraine). At one point the neuro had to guide her to the bathroom because she had a hoodie over her head and coudn't take the lights. She threw up at least twice while she was there. My heart was breaking for the poor girl. :( 

After the appointment it was time to feed Hollis again, so I had been there about three hours (I got there 20 minutes before my appointment time). I fed Hollis in the parking lot (fun) and then ate lunch out...at 3:00. But I was just happy to be back at the neurologist so I could try something - anything!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I seriously hate perfume.

The book review I was going to write is on hold, and my neurology appointment isn't until next week, so I don't have much to write about at the moment. So please let me take this opportunity to vent, if you don't mind.

I HATE Perfume

And all lab-created scents, really...but especially perfume. I admit, before my headaches got out of control, I actually wore perfume for special occasions (prom for example...yes it was that long ago). And some perfumes and colognes don't bother me much. But others literally drive me crazy. They make my nose itch, my brain cloudy, and every time I inhale it feels like I'm getting stabbed in the eye or hit in the forehead or back of my head. Usually it's a minor stabbing feeling, but after too long it gets worse and develops into a bad headache or migraine.

My hatred of perfume has grown lately because I have a baby, and women like to hold babies. Don't worry - I only let people I know hold Hollis - but some of them wear perfume, and then she ends up smelling like perfume, and then it rubs off on me, which requires outfit changes for both of us and a bath for her. Also, I have a friend who wears a certain type of perfume (not sure which brand) that REALLY gets to my head, so bad that I actually dread getting together with her because I know how badly it will affect my head.

I don't feel right telling people what do to, like not to wear perfume or not to hold my baby if they're wearing perfume, so all I can do is vent. Thanks for allowing me to do so. :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Migraine & Pregnancy Stats

I just read a timely (for me) post from James at HeadacheandMigraineNews.com called "Migraine During and After Pregnancy." Check it out if you're interested. I really like how he has been creating images/mini-infographics to go along with his posts. As a graphic designer, I should totally be doing this!! I'm still trying to figure out a schedule with the baby and make the best use of my time (aren't we all?) but I'll do my best to start making some fun graphics. :)

Next week I have my six-week (post-birth) check up with the OB and since I've had at least two migraines since giving birth, I'm going to ask what my options are. Unfortunately they're limited since I'm breastfeeding and plan to do so for at least a year. Since I've met my deductible, I really want to try something new that I'd normally have to meet my deductible to try (Botox, for example). Once I have a game plan I'll blog about it. I also have a unique book review coming up.

Be well, friends!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So, is labor worse than migraines?

Now that I'm putting Hollis down for regular naps, I finally have time to share my labor story. But first, some cute pictures from our photo shoot. Yes, I put my baby in a suitcase. Blame Pinterest. :)

Honestly, I thought I would kick butt at labor. I figured that nothing can be worse than migraine pain and the scenario in my head involved me having some cramping, showing up at the hospital and discovering I'm near 10 cm and ready to push. Ha! Wrong.

I was a week and three days late when I had Hollis. Tuesday morning I had an OB appointment and was scheduled to be induced later that week. That afternoon, I started having contractions. The day earlier I had regular contractions for five hours and then they just stopped, so I wasn't getting my hopes up. But they got stronger and closer together, and by 7 p.m. they were averaging five minutes apart. At 11 p.m., I called the OB who told me a had a looong way to go. Great. By 2 a.m. they were about three and a half minutes apart and I was ready for some narcotics. Called OB and got the green light to head to the hospital.

Funny side story - when I was admitted into my delivery room, I went to the bathroom and since peeing brought on contractions, I finished, stood up and leaned against the sink because leaning on things helped with the pain. Suddenly the sink came off the wall and was hanging by the pipes! It must have happened before and whoever fixed it didn't do a good job, because it was already loose. So during my labor, a maintenance crew came in and attached the sink back to the wall (I agreed to have them come in; I didn't care at that point)!

Once I arrived at the hospital I was 4 cm dilated - up from 1 cm that morning - and they admitted me and gave me Stadol, a lovely narcotic that allowed me to relax enough to take a nap. Unfortunately, it made me too relaxed and I went hours without making progress, so the nurse made me get up and walk. The Stadol only lasted about an hour and they only give two doses, so things were getting painful but bearable. But during the second walk things got awful. My husband was walking the halls with me and would stop and stand with me as I leaned on the very helpful side railings during contractions. Then during one particularly painful contraction, some stainless steel carts (carrying supplies or whatever) and people went by and suddenly everything inside my head (my eyes were closed) got loud and disruptive. I grabbed my husband and realized I couldn't inhale...I was having a panic attack. When the contraction ended I practically sprinted to my room, crying hysterically, and demanded an epidural. This was at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. I hadn't intended to get an epidural, but I definitely had left the option open. Once I got the epidural, I found out I still was only 4 cm dilated so I was put on Pitocin (Oxytocin) to speed things up. If you're not familiar with Pitocin, it makes contractions come on super fast and super strong, so I was thankful I had decided on the epidural.

After napping more (seriously, the epidural was magic - while it lasted), I was checked at 1 p.m. and suddenly I was 9 cm dilated! I felt a slight urge to poop, a sign that it's push time, so the nurse suggested we tried pushing. The first push was great - the nurse could see the baby's head and told me she had a head full of hair, and Jonathan and I were ecstatic. Then for some reason nothing was happening during the next few pushes, and I started to notice the contractions again. Within what seemed like seconds, I was in excruciating pain - the epidural had stopped working. I tried pushing but the pain just made me subconsciously tense up. The nurse upped the amount coming out of the pump (I don't know the medical term) but it didn't help so the anesthesiologist had to come give me another dose through the tube. Once the pain subsided, I was able to push productively, but then my uterus stopped contracting regularly (which needs to happen in order to push), possibly because the epidural relaxed me too much. We went through this cycle twice (epidural not working, anesthesiologist a.k.a. ANGEL administering more drugs, uterus relaxing, contractions slowing). Finally my nurse called in my OB and she told me I had one more chance to push or else I'd need a c-section. I pushed with all my might and with the encouragement from Jonathan that I was, in fact, making progress, Hollis came out at 4:25 p.m. and was placed on my stomach...where she proceeded to poop all over me. I didn't care. I was in love. :)

The pushing took two hours and during the parts where the epidural wore off and I could feel the full force of the Pitocin-aided contractions, I was in SO MUCH PAIN. So, is labor worse than migraines? It's a different type of pain, but from my experience I would say it's just as bad if not worse. The whole experience got me thinking, do I just have a low pain threshold? My mom and sister both survived labor without painkillers. Why was I different? My parents think I have fibromyalgia (Dad has it), which can make your nerves more sensitive. The pregnancy and childbirth recovery were pretty bad - I felt like I had been in a car accident I was so sore - which could also be from fibro. Or are people who get migraines just overall more sensitive? I certainly don't have the answers.

While my migraines went away during the end of my pregnancy (they were worse during the beginning), they're now coming back and it's definitely a hormonal thing because I'm also starting to have breakouts, oily skin, etc. again. I'm breastfeeding and am limited on what I can take, but I'm planning to talk with my OB about it at my upcoming checkup.

The above experience is just my own; every pregnancy and labor experience is unique. If you have any questions or want to share your experience with migraines and pregnancy/labor/breastfeeding, please leave a comment or send me an email!

Friday, July 26, 2013

She's Here! Meet Hollis Kate

At the hospital

Yes, I already did a photo shoot with Hollis

War on Headaches readers, I'd like you to meet my sweet baby girl, Hollis Kate. She was born July 10, a week and three days past the due date. At birth she weighed 7 lb. 7 oz. and was 20 inches long. The name Hollis means "near the holly bushes" and we named her after my sister, Holly. Last year my sister had a daughter and named her Hadley, which means "heather field." The cousins are 14 months apart, same as me and my sister. As for Kate, it's really the only girl name my husband and I could agree on (aside from Hollis of course, but that name had to grow on us).

My next post will be all about the birth. It still hurts to sit down for very long so I've been avoiding the computer, but I'll get started on the post asap and I won't hold anything back, as is always the case on this blog. Let's just say I thought that after dealing with migraines, labor would be a breeze. Uh, not the case. At all.

I'll post more baby pictures too. I used ideas from Pinterest and probably tortured the poor baby during our photo shoot, but she was a trooper. She's such a well behaved baby; I'm very blessed! :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Massage & Other Updates

Since my last post, I've had not one but TWO prenatal massages. They were absolutely heavenly. Why had I not done massage until now? Oh yeah...$$$ (but SO worth it)! My massage therapist has a pregnancy cushion so I could lay on the table and my belly went in the middle of the cushion. It was very comfortable and allowed her to press hard on my back, which she spent 45 minutes of the hour on because my back has been killing me. She pointed out that what I had been saying was hip bursitis from playing tennis in high school (which I did have years ago) may actually be quadratus lumborum pain on my left side. I'm glad she noticed that because all these years I'd been sleeping on my right side because of my left "hip bursitis" but that can actually make quadratus lumborum pain even worse; I read that you're supposed to alternate sides. I doubt any of this is related to my headaches, but it's good to know.

Speaking of headaches, during one of my childbirth classes we did various massage exercises where the partner tries out massages on the mom-to-be...my husband rarely gives me massages, even with the pregnancy, but with the peer pressure of classmates, he had to. *Evil laugh.* One technique we tried was pressure to the indented area in the middle of the back of my head. I had a migraine that day (and since I had a long class I took Tylenol & drank coffee which helped a little) so I'm not sure if it was the massage, the migraine, or both, but the next day when I touched that area it felt like how it feels when you touch a bruise. I told my massage therapist about the experience and asked her to only do a little bit of head massage to be safe. But I think for my next massage I'll ask her to concentrate more on my head and neck to see if it will help my headaches. The next massage probably won't be for a while since the baby is due any day now (official due date is Monday, July 1).

My headaches have been a little bad lately but it has rained or stormed here a lot lately so that might have something to do with it. I still haven't had to take Fioricet in a while, which makes me feel like I'm not harming my baby quite so much. :) The pain levels are definitely not as bad, and it's nice to have a break. We'll see if it keeps it up after birth.

Oh and I have a father-in-law update. If you don't read this blog regularly, my 91-year-old father-in-law moved in with us so we could take care of him. He's been a lot of work lately, especially for me because I work from home and since he's had a big appetite and more energy, he has been asking for things constantly (he's in a wheelchair). Jonathan and I decided it would be best to put him in a nursing home so we'll have time to rest and clean up the house before the baby is born. We checked him into one yesterday and then decided to move him to one closer to his daughter since she'll have more time to visit him (and the nursing home is in the country versus the city so he should be more comfortable there), so Jonathan may be moving him in on Monday. Yes, on my due date. And it's about three hours away. I'm going to stay home, rest and try not to go into labor or panic! We're not sure if it will be permanent or if he'll move back in with us after a month or so (I could write for hours about all the factors involved with that decision) but at least for now we'll have a short break.

So back to massage: if you can afford it, try it! There are lots of Groupon-type deals out there too, so it may be cheaper than you think. I could see regular massages helping my headaches, and it's better than going to the doctor and trying new drugs all the time. One word of caution, and someone mentioned this in a comment in my previous post: massage could possibly trigger a migraine. Too much stimulation can trigger migraine; for example, bright lights, loud noise, strong smells...so when you think about it, touch could have that same effect and could be too overwhelming, especially if other factors are already in play like the weather. This hasn't happened to me, but I've only had two massages. Just something to consider. I still say try it!

Monday, June 3, 2013


I'm on week 36 of my pregnancy with less than a month to go (unless I'm late), and my headaches and migraines seem to be a little better. I'm still getting about the same amount of headaches, but I only had four migraine days last month - which is more than before I was pregnant but less than the beginning of my pregnancy. The pain isn't nearly as strong so I'm not having to take as much medicine, which is wonderful. Hot black tea and an ice pack are still helping. It's weird that sleep has so much of an impact on headaches/migraine, yet lately I've been getting up to pee 2-4 times a night and it hasn't had a negative effect on my head. Of course, I'm lucky and am able to fall right back asleep.

One of the few things I haven't tried for headaches is massage. Well, I did have an acupuncturist who tried an intense neck/shoulder massage a few times and it hurt like heck and only lasted a few minutes, so I don't think that counts. The reason I haven't tried massage is the cost. My husband and I aren't suffering financially, but I haven't worked full time since I went back to school for graphic design, and now that I've graduated, I'm freelancing part-time while taking care of my elderly father-in-law, so I'm not bringing in much money. However, I have never been so sore in my life. My husband can't see my head pain (although he can sometimes tell that I'm hurting) but thanks to the pregnancy, my feet and hands are super swollen and I get so stiff sometimes I can hardly walk. My hip bursitis makes it even worse. So my husband has finally agreed that massage might be worth the cost. 

I'm going to get a prenatal massage - with lots of focus on the head/neck/shoulders so my head will benefit - this weekend. I'm sure it takes several massages to see results in the headache/migraine department, but I'm hoping I'll see at least a little difference from just one massage, and then maybe I'll try one or two more. Unfortunately that's about all we can afford right now, but if it does work, then if/when we have more money, I'll try it again and it might be able to take the place of doctor appointments and medications. I'll let you all know how it goes!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

New Design!

As promised, I redesigned my blog. I decided to do a war/military theme, for obvious reasons. And I kept it pretty dark for all of you with light sensitivity (myself included). I hope you like it! :)

Oh and quick pain update...I went THREE WEEKS without needing any pain medicine!!! Why? I have no clue (sorry). Perhaps it was hormone related because I had a few breakouts on my face during this time, but that's just a guess - plus you would think hormone changes would cause more headaches/migraines. I still had headaches most days during those three weeks, but the pain levels didn't get too high, and I had zero migraines. This occurred during pregnancy weeks 29, 30 and 31. Sadly, the fun is over. This is week 32 and I've had two migraines already. But the break was nice!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Product Review: FrozenPeaz

Aside from medication, I've only found three things that help me feel better when I have a headache or migraine:
  1. Hot black tea
  2. Sleep (but sometimes this makes it worse)
  3. Ice
I've tried a few different types of ice packs, but my go-to one was the kind made up of what looks like clear ketchup packets filled with liquid; I used to use this in my lunchbox for school many, many years ago. It worked pretty well, but then some of the packets leaked so the ice pack had a few gaps. I wanted something with full coverage, so I decided to purchase FrozenPeaz. Clever name, right?

You'll see on their products page that the Face & Eye Wrap is for migraine headaches, among other things. Well, eye wraps don't do much for me, and plus since I have two contract jobs working from home, I need to be able to work at the computer which requires seeing! So I purchased the Large Single Wrap, which was $35. Since I follow them on Twitter I found out about a discount that was going on at the time, so that pretty much covered shipping.

First, some pics I took:

Large Single Wrap with PeazPod cover and straps
How it looks when it's not frozen
Close-up of glass "peas" (I'm so proud of my camera)
Size compared to my big head
Note: Don't use without cover (see below)
Strapped on...sexy, right?
Summary: This is a high quality ice pack - I also used it once as a heat pack just to test it out (works great). But it's not good for all headache and migraine sufferers. I think I'm going to keep looking for something else, but this works in the meantime.

  • Non-toxic
  • Good quality - I can see this lasting for years
  • Stays cold at least 30 minutes as long as you keep it in the cover. I was worried that the cover would prevent it from being as cold as I wanted, but that was not the case. Once it starts to warm up, I take it out of the cover and continue using it.
  • Flexible, even when it's completely frozen
  • Heavy. The glass peas make it pretty heavy for something to put on your head when you're in pain. My migraines already make my head feel too heavy, and when I use this, the weight actually makes me dizzy. I'd prefer dizziness over pain though. *EDIT: FrozenPeaz has acknowledged that the Large PeazPak was heavy, and they have addressed the issue! The new packs are at least 75 grams or 2.65 oz lighter in weight. These lighter weight packs will replace the current packs and should be available later this summer.*
  • The rubber tabs/logo on the cover (where the velcro closure is located) and on the straps smell strong (to me), even after washing the cover in the washing machine. I can't handle any smells when I have a migraine, but it's too cold to use right out of the freezer without the cover, so I've been putting the tabs at the back of my head so at least they're not right above my nose (it doesn't help much). If you're sensitive to smells, this will probably bother you. I may end up cutting off the tabs and sewing on my own type of closure.
  • While the strap did an excellent job hiding my double chin, it's not comfortable at all. I realize that this particular ice pack isn't meant to be worn on the head, but I was hoping it would work so I wouldn't have to balance it on my head. But it's actually pretty easy to balance because of the weight and flexibility - it somewhat molds to your head. 
If the negatives don't bother you or you want to try the eye wrap or one of their other products, FrozenPeaz gave me a special promotional code for my readers. Please use the code MIGRAINE (caps or lowercase) at checkout to receive a 15% discount. This code is good through the end of June. 

Disclosure: I purchased this product with my own money. However, if two or more readers use my promotional code to make a purchase, FrozenPeaz will refund my original purchase price. I'm not including this to pressure anyone to buy it, I'm including it to be honest and abide by disclosure laws. My review is 100% unbiased.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Headache Questions Answered by Stanford Doctor

In a previous post I told you that the Director of the Stanford Headache Clinic, Robert Cowan, MD, was taking questions related to headache disorders. His answers to some of the questions were posted on the Stanford Medicine blog, SCOPE, on March 20, but I'm just now getting around to writing this post. :) Here's the link if you're interested.

I don't have much of an update other than that. I was going to play drums at church on Palm Sunday but I ended up getting a migraine and had to back out (we didn't make it to church at all), so I've decided to stop committing to things other than my baby shower and labor. I'm still working as a contract designer for two companies, but I'm able to set my own hours and work mostly from home, for which I'm so thankful!

I hope to have a product review and a book review coming up on here eventually, so stay tuned! Oh, and if you read this blog directly from the site, you'll notice it desperately needs a makeover. That's on my to-do list, don't worry!

Happy Easter! :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Headache Weeks During Pregnancy

My OB's office is set up where I see each of the OBs instead of sticking to one; that way I'll know the person who delivers my baby...I may not know them very well, but at least there won't be a chance of me having to introduce myself as they're staring up my vagina. (Too blunt? Sorry...)

The good thing about that is I've been able to ask each OB about my headaches/migraines to get lots of opinions. At my most recent appointment, the doctor told me that common headache weeks for pregnancy are weeks 15-21 (I'm 25 weeks along), so he said they could be going away or at least getting better soon. I had never heard that, but I told my sister (a nurse) and she had heard the same thing. I'd always heard headaches are most common during the first and third trimesters. So I guess there's a chance they could get better, but they could also get worse.

Last month I had 16 headache days and 4 migraine days. This month I've already had 6 migraine days, but I've had more headache-free days so maybe things will improve.

FIL Update
Taking care of my father-in-law has been exhausting, but weirdly rewarding. I've always liked volunteering and serving others, and I had to cut back due to my health, so it's nice to be able to help take care of someone. Also, Hospice is now involved, and they have been amazing. He moved in with us about a month ago and the VA (Veterans) clinic isn't able to see him until MAY - you read that correctly...it's seriously sad. So now a Hospice nurse visits him once a week, and Medicare covers it! We also have help from a CNA, social worker and volunteers. They give him supplies and meds too. I can't say enough good things about Hospice.

Bye, Google Reader
If you use Google Reader to read blogs, you may have heard that it's going away. My friend tweeted about a good alternate called Feedly, and they're making it easy for Google Reader users to transition. I've already made the switch, although I have yet to catch up on my blog reading. I'm not slacking, I just spend too much time reading baby name books right now. Girls are difficult to name. Please leave a comment if you have a suggestion, by the way! We want something different, but not too different. The husband already said no to Harper, one of my top choices.

Cute Puppy
I haven't shared any pictures of my darling Ellie in a while, so here's one I took when I was playing with my new DSLR camera (graduation gift from my wonderful parents). She looks innocent because she had just woken up from a nap and was in a daze. Don't let her fool you.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ask Stanford Med

I received an email informing me that the Director of the Stanford Headache Clinic, Robert Cowan, MD, is taking questions related to headache disorders. Considering I don't have a neurologist at the moment, I'm definitely planning on posting a question; I just have to give it some thought.

If you would like to submit a question, you have until 5 p.m. Pacific Time THIS Friday (March 8). Questions can be submitted by posting a comment to this Stanford Medicine blog post or by writing a tweet including the hashtag #AskSUMed. I just set up a column on my TweetDeck to follow the hashtag. (That really makes me sound like a geek, doesn't it?)

Please read the blog post linked above before posting a question because there are some ground rules and the questions should be "about headache disorders, recent improvements in managing them, and the use of a multifaceted approach to treating symptoms."

Answers to selected questions will be in a future Scope (Stanford Medicine's blog) post, and I'll try my absolute best to remember to link to that post on my own future blog post once it comes out.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

We're having a girl!

We found out that, according to the ultrasound, we're having a girl! My husband seemed happy although we both wanted a boy. I had to fight back tears...I know that sounds awful. I love my baby girl, don't get me wrong, but part of me wants the ultrasound to be wrong. And it's not just because I hate princess stuff and girl drama. I'm terrified that a girl would be more likely to inherit my migraines. Statistically, girls are more likely to have migraines than boys. I have a friend who has migraines and her daughter (in elementary or maybe middle school) is getting them already.

If my daughter does end up having migraines, I hope my experience will help give her the knowledge she needs to fight them, and maybe something that doesn't work for me will work for her. Or maybe by the time she gets them, some new treatment option would have been developed by that time. Or she might not get them at all.

I'm going to try my best not to stress over this because it might not even be an issue, but it's tough!

Medication update: my insurance wouldn't approve Orbivan so I'm taking a generic Fioricet. My OB said that even though it's a Category C med, she would prefer I take it over Vicodin because it makes the migraines go away better than Vicodin does. With Vicodin, the migraine usually starts to come back as it wears off. This happens with Fioricet some too, but sometimes it knocks it out. Migraines have been about the same, but I'm still hoping they improve later on in the pregnancy. Gotta have some hope!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Yup, that's my nose. I would NOT have shared this if it was a profile angle!
Last weekend my sister helped me register for baby items while our husbands put floors in our condo. She's a nurse and just had a baby last April, so she was extremely helpful and had lots of knowledge to share. It ended up taking over an hour, maybe two - I'm not sure how long exactly, but I had to pee three times while we were there! She ended up getting frustrated with me because I had to do sniff tests or check ingredients if items weren't clearly labeled "Fragrance Free" or "Unscented" (yes, I ended up having a HUGE headache that day). She even smelled one product she recommended, I think it was face wipes, and said she didn't smell anything, but I took a whiff and it made my eyes water.

She said, sarcastically, that my baby will end up extra sensitive with various allergies because I'm going to shelter him too much and he won't get the exposure he needs - I say "him/he" not because I know but because it makes it easier to type and "it" sounds harsh typed out. :) It makes me mad that manufacturers put so many fragrances, parabens, dyes and other harmful chemicals in products for babies - or ANYONE for that matter - in the first place. But aside from that general vent, I'm wondering if my sister is right. It seems that since I've switched over to scent-free shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, etc. I seem to be even more sensitive to smells when I'm exposed to them. A friend gave me a ton of maternity clothes (new wardrobe, sweet!) but I had to rewash them all because I could smell her laundry detergent, and even after washing them I still smell it a little.

I haven't done any research on this and I'm not sure if any research findings are even out there, but have any of you gone through this? Do you think limiting exposure to fragrances and other chemicals can make you even more sensitive? And if so, what can be done? The only thing I can think of is keep avoiding them like they're the devil and hope my child doesn't inherit my sensitivity!

Oh and I don't want this post to make my sister sound bad, she's awesome and was more joking about it than anything. Needless to say, she doesn't get headaches or migraines so it's hard for her to understand. Plus I've been on plenty of long and torturous shopping trips with her, so this was payback! :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fun Stats

Here are some fun stats. And by "fun," I mean "I want to hide in bed under the covers, hug my puppy and shed gentle tears." The stats are my headache and migraine days since around the time I got pregnant.

  • November
    • Headache Days: 20
    • Migraine Days: 7
    • Pain-free Days: 3
  • December
    • Headache Days: 15
    • Migraine Days: 5
    • Pain-free Days: 11
  • January
    • Headache Days so far, and it's only Jan. 24th: 12
    • Migraine Days so far: 7
    • Pain-free Days so far: 5

I'm at 17 weeks in my pregnancy which is around the half way point, so my hope that my headaches and migraines will get better (or even go away!) is definitely going down the drain. The pain compared to pre-pregnancy is a lot worse...while I'm used to having 20+ headache days a month, I generally only had one or two migraines a month, and now I'm having multiple migraines a week. Also, I can't take Aleve, which helped with the headaches as long as I didn't take it too much. Here's what I can take:

  • Extra Strength Tylenol
  • Vicodin
  • Fioricet (Orbivan)
  • Benadryl (to knock me out)

The first three contain acetaminophen, so even if I alternate them, I still run the risk of getting rebound headaches or having to take more and more for them to work (there's a term for that, I can't think of it though). While I was excited that my OB wrote me a prescription for Fioricet, which has been my go-to migraine abortive for years - side note, I didn't know a brand name of this, Orbivan, existed, but sadly my insurance hasn't agreed to cover it yet...still using samples for now - I'm nervous about using it because it's a Pregnancy Category C drug, which is risky. Same for Vicodin. I've only used these two a handful of times during the pregnancy, only when the pain was too intense to handle.

Thankfully, while I've been getting enough work to help pay bills (praise God!), I can do most of that work from home. I had a migraine today - not a bad one but a migraine nonetheless - and was still able to put in about six hours, and I plan on working another hour or so later tonight. So far my migraine hasn't gotten bad enough to have to take any medicine, but if it does I can take Benadryl to force sleep without having to worry about being anywhere. 

I've also decided not to make any concrete plans the rest of my pregnancy (except my baby shower, since I can't really avoid that). Just making this decision has made it easier to deal with the pain because I know that I won't be forced to do anything that would likely make the pain worse. I've already had to reply "maybe" to two birthday parties. I hate to be that person, but true friends understand. It really feels good to take care of yourself, and I think everyone should do that whether they're pregnant or not!