Monday, March 9, 2015

After the Birth..


Well we arrived home with our new bundle of joy on Wednesday afternoon.  We filled my rx's for my pain medicine and got settled in.  Wednesday evening my head started hurting.  Nothing new to me, I have experienced chronic migraines for years, and had more migraines than usual when I was pregnant.  No biggie.  I got this.  We went to bed (well kind of, as much as you can with a three day old!) and that was that. 

Thursday morning I still had the headache although it was getting more and more difficult to manage.  I was taking 800mg of Tylenol and 7.5 hydrocodone and it wasn't helping.  I started feeling helpless and frustrated.  Nothing was working.  I took a nap, I rested, still nothing helped.  By Friday morning I was at the end of my rope.  I had just had a baby on Monday and now I was in so much pain that I could not even sit up.  All I could do was lay flat in a dark room.  Something wasn't right.  Nothing I took or did was even touching this pain.  Around mid-morning we called the OB office.  I spoke with Dr. Williams' nurse and told her what was going on.  I tried to explain that next to labor, this was the worst pain I have felt in my life.  She asked me if I had a history of migraines, I told her I do.  She told me to take some excedrin migraine and lay flat for the next 24 hours and see how I was.  No.  NO.  Was she not listening???  I could not function, I was not going to be in this much pain for 24 more hours and only take Excedrin Migraine.  As someone who has had migraines for years, I think I know the difference between whatever was going on and a migraine. 

I became hysterical on the phone and couldn't talk.  I felt like no one was hearing me that there was something wrong and that I needed help.  Derek got on the phone with the office and told them that they needed another plan because we were not going to be like this for another day.  The nurse told us that we could go to the emergency room but that they wouldn't be able to help me anymore than what they had already told us to do.  By this time we had googled my symptoms and were pretty positive that I was suffering from a post-dural puncture headache.  This happens when spinal fluid leaks out of the hole left by the epidural that causes low spinal fluid levels in the brain and spinal column.  It is quite rare that it happens due to new technology used for epidurals. 

Since we didn't get anywhere with the OB's office, my Mom and Derek decided that we needed to go to the ER and would not leave until we had some answers.  Cecelia's first doctors visit was Friday and while Derek left with her to go to the pediatricians office, Mom left with me to go to the emergency room.  I remember the pain and crying uncontrollably the entire way.  I could hardly walk by the time we got to the Emergency Room entrance.  I cried the whole admission and triage process.  I could not.stop.crying.   (Hormones and severe pain are NOT a good combination!)  The Lord was really looking out for me that day because the Emergency Room was unusually not crowded and I was ushered into a room right away.   Not only a room but a private room with the lights turned off. 

I told the attending that I was pretty sure that I had the epidural/spinal headache and he agreed.  He right away called anesthesiology to come down.  Again, I was so lucky, the anesthesiologist told me that it is very rare that they are able to come down so soon to see a patient in the emergency room as they are usually in surgery or doing epidurals.  I told them that after that epidural I needed, that those pregnant women should DEFINITELY take priority over anyone else! 

Oddly enough the treatment for the epidural headache was... another epidural.  A kind of super creepy and gross one.  They took a good bit of my blood and then injected it into my back as another epidural.  The blood is supposed to stop the leak by clotting over the previous puncture hole that was leaking.  About 20 minutes after this "blood patch" epidural, the staff started sitting me up.  I didn't feel the pain and didn't feel sick.  FINALLY!  Within an hour they were doing my discharge paperwork and I was home from the hospital.  I had missed my girl's first doctor's visit but it was worth it to get the issue fixed.  I felt like I hadn't been able to be a mommy since getting home from the hospital.  The blood patch was amazing and worked like a charm.  I had to be VERY careful for the next few days to not dislodge the clot or else the headache could return.  Thankfully I had no complications, although my back was sore for about two weeks from the three epidurals!  I will still say that even with the complication, it was worth it to get the epidural(s) during labor! 

P.S.  My doctor felt REALLY bad about what happened and apologied profusely that they didn't tell me to go to the ER to deal with the headache.  Thank goodness we went though!

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