Thursday, July 19, 2012

Worst Headache of My Life

A few weeks ago, Miles and Vivienne spent the night over at Grandma and Granddad's house.  This was their first overnight trip away from us.  It was fun to pack a little bag for them and take them over to my parents' house.  The kids had a great time, as always, and it was nice for me and Jason to be able to sleep in in the morning at home.  Of course, I slept in, and Jason got up and ran something like 16 miles.  To each his own, I guess.

It's a good thing that we did this initial overnight away, because this week they stayed at Grandma and Granddad's house for 3 nights in a row.

For the past 3 weeks, I have been battling this very frustrating head cold.  The congestion and sore throat were the worst part.  It would get a little better; then it would get a little worse.  And back and forth we go.  I would always ask the midwives at my weekly appointments and they would just say something like, "Yes, pregnant women are often congested.  Hang in there."  In retrospect, I clearly should have been more assertive and insisted that this was beyond regular pregnancy congestion.  After all, I have had twins, and I know what it is like to be very, very  pregnant and to have normal pregnancy colds, but this cold had clearly surpassed normalcy.

Last Thursday night, I had a piercing headache - probably the worst of my life.  My eyes hurt.  My teeth hurt.  This progressively got worse throughout the weekend, and it never relented regardless of the amount of acetaminophen I took.  On Saturday, we celebrated Miles and Vivienne's birthday early.  I'm so glad that we did this, because I was too ill on their actual birthday (this past Wednesday) to celebrate well with them.

By Sunday, the pain had gotten even more intense and I was in tears.  I had an awful time sleeping, and when I did sleep, I would wake up in pain and be unable to go back to sleep again.  I would get up for hours in the middle of the night to take medicine, take a shower, sit in the recliner - try anything to get myself to sleep.  I decided that I couldn't take it any more, and I went to Urgent Care.  The physician there was very kind and helpful, and she gave me cephalexin (an antibiotic) and recommended some other OTC medications that might provide me with relief.

I had become terrified of going into labor in the middle of this sinus infection and headache.  I have no idea how I would handle labor on top of that.  I was just hoping that if I did go into labor, my body would take over and somehow the illness would be pushed into the background.

After I got back from the doctor's office, I crawled into bed and never really came back out again.  Jason was in full-force solo daddy mode and took great care of the kids.  He eventually packed them up in the van to go to my parents' house.  My parents offered to keep the kids so that I could rest.  This was an enormous lifesaver.  I was completely debilitated by the headaches.  At this point, the pain was so strong and my jaws were so tender that it hurt to eat even soft food - it reminded me of what it was like when I was an early teenager with braces.  My eyes hurt so much that I would just lie in bed and press on them with my hands for hours.  I could actually press on the bones in my face and feel the pressure and pain.  And at this point, the headache had been there since Thursday night without any reprieve whatsoever.

This week was so rough that I didn't see the kids at all on Monday.  On Tuesday, I went to my parents' house for a few hours and then retreated back home to spend the rest of the day in bed.  On Wednesday, their second birthday, I thought surely I would feel good enough to take them to a museum or bring them balloons or something special.  After trying to eat breakfast and shower, I retreated to my bed again.  At this point, I had had the worst headache of my life for six continuous days.  That afternoon, I started to feel a little better and finally was able to wish Miles and Vivienne a happy birthday in person around 2:30 in the afternoon.

The kids had a great birthday at my parents' house, though.  Grandma and Granddad took them to the playground every single day this week (which I hadn't been able to do in quite a few weeks because of my sickness and the crazy heat wave).  The kids played in the pool on their back porch.  Granddad made them a bubble solution with some huge bubble wands that they love.  Vivienne fell in love with Mindy, my parents' Shetland sheepdog, this week.  Grandma splurged and let the kids each have their own strawberry creme from Starbucks (because they are always coveting her frappucinos).  She also made a delicious dinner for all of us (and brought over chicken soup for me that night).  Then we finally brought the kids home last night for the first time since Sunday.

Mom and Dad said that they shrieked with delight when they saw that they were finally going to a playground again.

I think she was a little happy about the special birthday drink.

And he was pretty excited, too.

Today, I feel like a human again.  I'm extremely tired - more of a "sick" tired than a "pregnancy" tired, but I have continued to feel better throughout the day.  I'm no longer scared of going into labor, and I'm so thankful to just not be in pain any more.  And I'm also thankful that it didn't turn out to be something much more serious, because I was honestly starting to wonder whether this was something much worse that was being misdiagnosed.

I have to thank my parents profusely for getting me through this.  I cried at their house while I was thanking them for taking care of the kids.  It is such a huge blessing to know that they live just a few miles away, and that my children are as well loved and cared for there as they are at home.  Grandma and Granddad are always so attentive and full of love.  Miles and Vivienne feel just as comfortable at their house as they do at our house (maybe even more comfortable, because Grandma and Granddad are so fun, and then there's Mindy).  =)

Jason has been amazing, as usual.  He got off work early every day to come home and check on me and then go check on the kids at Grandma's.  He would think to get things for them from home (their firemen hats, blankets, stuffed puppies, favorite books) and take them over so that they had them at Grandma's house.  He would stay with the kids until they went to sleep and then come home.  He is always so attentive and loving and has endless energy for our family.  I couldn't ask for a more supportive or loving husband.

It was so hard for me to not be able to take care of Miles and Vivienne.  This is the first time that I have been unable to care for them since they were born (besides a very short bout of mastitis when they were a few weeks old).  I found it difficult to be incapacitated, and it made me feel like a failure as a mother sometimes, which I know is completely unreasonable.  I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who love me and my family and got us through this awful week.

Now, let's go have a baby!


  1. So glad you are feeling better. 39 weeks! You are almost there, hang in there. Your kids are so lucky to have you and Jason as parents.

  2. Leslie, that sounds so horrible. I'm like you, I would have been wondering if there was something terrible going on. I'm so glad it's better now. Thank heavens for grandparents and resilient children. I'm sure they thought they were on a fantastic vacation at their house, and it gave you the rest you needed. Don't feel guilty - it's easy to do, but you have to take care of yourself (and baby C) to be able to care for Miles and Vivienne and make it through delivery soon. Glad you are better!

  3. It's great to know that you are surrounded with such supportive loved ones. The way you described your experience was so vivid, I could almost feel the pain while reading it. But knowing that you are loved and your kids were having fun as they were taken great care of, I knew somehow you were feeling a sense of relief. I'm glad that you recovered eventually.

    Laverne Bodnar @