Anybody Got an Aspirin?

*I started writing this post on Saturday, Aug 11th

 At first, I wasn't really sure whether or not I wanted to post about this on my blog, but the idea of putting my thoughts about all of this somewhere felt comforting, and so I changed my mind. Not to mention the plus side of trying to record the overload of information I received yesterday as well as the possibility of relating to anyone else with a similar situation/history.

I just realized as I was filling you in on the background, it seemed as though I was building it up to tell you I was dying or something. So I've decided to forego the suspense and start out with the punch line:

Yesterday, my neurologist told me I shouldn't have any more children.

Now, allow me to back track a bit.

In 2007, I found myself pregnant with my beautiful baby boy, Ryder. I dare say it was my smoothest and most uneventful of the three of my pregnancies. Ten days past his due date we arrived at the hospital to start an induction. Somwhere between hooking up my IV and administering the epidural, I experienced  a little aphasia episode (even though I'm not sure if that's the correct term for it). As the nurse was asking me a bunch of questions, my answers began to come out all jumbled.  Essentially, there was a disconnect between my thoughts and processing them into words. Kinda like the light is on and someone is home, they just can't come answer the door. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the nurse didn't even go get a doctor. She attributed it to anxiety and moved on. That did always bother me a little bit.


At the end of 2009 we were blessed with baby #2! This pregnancy was also pretty smooth. I did notice an increase of headaches that usually came with blurry circles and blind spots. Luckily, they started getting farther and fewer between as I approached my third trimester. Penelope Rae joined our little family safe and sound.


And here we are in 2012 with our sweet Hazel Ane. This pregancy was different. And by different it was a lot harder than my previous two. I finally got to see what morning sickness was and those wonderful migraines came back. Again, however they started fading around the middle of my second trimester. Phew! Around week 35/36 I was disappointed to feel a migraine coming on. However, this one brought along another aphasia episode. This one wasn't nearly as dramatic since I was at home and no one was forcing me to speak. I just felt that confused feeling and felt like I should go sit down. I was helping the kids clean there room and so after I sat on their bed and rested for a minute I asked Ryder to get me something, I looked at him smiling at me like he was about to laugh because I think I had asked him to get me something pretty random. It would be like I didn't realize what I was saying was mixed up until after it came out of my mouth...or I had my son looking at me funny :)


So for something like this to happen again almost 4 years later was worth mentioning. I told my parents and my wonderful dad did some research and found that in 2011 the same thing happened to a pretty little news reporter named Serene Branson while on the job. Where there's no telling when or why these things happen, it was pretty great to get something like this recorded, so people like me can use it as a reference and say, "See! That's what happened to me!" And if you too would like to see, here's the link. Even though it scared the socks right off Phil and I when it happened he had a good time trying to do impressions of me later...ya know...when enough time had passed and you could laugh about it:) After multiple tests, they later attributed Miss Branson's episode to a migraine. So I'm thinking, great--it's just a crazy migraine symptom!

Well, I also told my OB at my upcoming appointment giving him the big sell on my migraine theory, and since we all know migraines are just a common side effect to pregnancy, I expected him to tell me I was right and to not worry about it.

Instead, he referred me to a neurologist...preferably, before I had Hazel.

Dang it.

Who wants to go to a specialist for something you're sure isn't a big deal right when you're supposed to be having a baby? The earliest I could get in was about three weeks after Hazel was born, which turned out to be yesterday. I didn't want to go. I debated whether I should go multiple times and I almost completely forgot about it. But alas, I made it to the consultation. I told him what I told you and well, the whole thing gave me a headache (laughter). Really though. It gave me a really big headache.

Here is what I learned:

  •  Really bad headaches associated with blind spots (auras) and disrupted speech are known as complex migraines (same thing that Serene Branson lady had).
  • Best case scenario, this is what I have--and only seem to get when I'm pregnant.
  • However, in order to safely diagnose a complex migraine, you have to rule out the possibility of it being anything else.
  • This equals a hematology report (blood), heart echo, MRI and an examination of my carteroids. Which I'm sure all sound a bit more intimidating than it really is. I've been told they're all pretty noninvasive tests. 
  •  I'm planning on all of them coming back negative. But I suppose if some of them don't, more testing will resume.
  • Unfortunately, even with the best case scenario--complex migraines in someone my age puts me at a high risk for a stroke. The obvious solution is prevention. In order to prevent them, you need to find out what triggers them, which is different for everybody. In my case, since it's clear that they only happen when I'm pregnant, the obvious solution, so my neurologist tells me, is to not get pregnant anymore. Or as my neurologist sensatively put it, there's no point in having kids if you're not around to take care of them. 
Here is what I feel:
  • Sad.
  • I still feel like I'm still processing everything (with a Costco size jar of chocolate-covered raisins). A lot of times I'm not sure what to think about everything. I know I'm not that concerned with what else it possibly could be because even with the best case scenario, I got told the last thing I wanted to hear. And that's really all I can dwell on right now.
  • It's hard to process right after having a baby. While we were pretty sure we still wanted at least one more, I certainly didn't feel like I was in a place to be making any such decisions, but having the ability to make those decisions taken away is so very disappointing to say the least. 
  • I need to talk this all over with my OBGYN as well as consider getting a second opinion, but again, I think we'll revisit that option at a later time.
  • I am beyond grateful to have the three beautiful babies I have now and I can't help but wonder if I looked into this right after having Ryder, that may not have been the case. So maybe I should be thanking that nurse that didn't seemed phased at all by my odd symptoms.
  • Although it is a lot to process, I am so grateful I found out when Hazel was only 2 weeks old--just in case she is my last. As you can imagine it has greatly affected my current attitude toward this "challenging" newborn phase. 
 Now you can see why the whole thing gave me a headache:) 


Well, I'm on day 3 of 3 sans Phil. I've been telling people it's not so bad as long as I don't have to do anything or go anywhere. As long as I make sure to only fill my day with diapers, nursing, potty runs (which only happen while I'm nursing), naps, less than mediocre meals and picking up a toy here and there--I can do this thang!

I only get overwhelmed when I think of eventually having to run errands or doing anything fun and interesting with three kids. I'll just stay at home's such a nice safety net.

Ironically, not getting out of the house is one of the hardest things I find about those first few weeks with a newborn. And I'm that odd sort of duck where the longer I don't do something the more anxious and overwhelmed I get about doing it. So today was the day. I picked the easiest outing I could think of--taking the kids on a walk at a nearby park. We could make it home quickly if we had to and for a baby girl who despises her carseat, I thought a little stroll in said carseat would be a good way for her to get used to it.

How did it go? Well, besides getting ready and in the car actually taking two times longer than the time we were actually at the park, it was a minorly successful outing. Hazel only screamed a little bit. Penny only fell and scrapped her knee once and I think it's only like 99% humidity out there as opposed to 100%.

Alas...we needed to start somewhere. We'll try again soon, maybe tomorrow even (or maybe not). We'll perfect our getting ready routine in order to beat the heat and enjoy ourselves a little longer. That's my game plan, people :)