Saturday, August 8, 2009

Postdural Puncture Headache


Headache. Really really bad. Getting worse every day. Pounding insanity when I'm up and sweet glorious relief when I lie down. Complication of the epidural? Maybe... I'm almost out of narcotics so hopefully it gets resolved soon.

Stephen finally found a friend of his that he had been out of touch with for a few years. That friend wanted to go to a concert and take Stephen with him. Some random metalish concert with Manson I think. Well, being the good wife that I am, I said sure, go, have fun. I was in too much pain to really be of use to anyone and you could tell he really wanted to go. Now I know most people would have said no, spend time with your new family and take care of your wife, but I have spoiled him and I always cave in where it makes him smile. It's a weakness of mine, I know.

So from about noonish to midnight, I was in charge of the house guests. Us ladies had some female time and made sketti. The good sketti too. Not the plain, traditional boat-style sketti. Real sauce with chunkies and everything. Stephen doesn't appreciate the chunkies, the "healthy crap", so it was a real treat. Not to mention the fact that all my meals have been cooked by someone else since I have been back home and I cannot stress enough the gratitude I have for that. Being the sole meal maker in the house gets tiring. Planning and buying and prepping and cooking and cleaning. Over and over every day. And that's at full health. I don't know what we would have done if it was just me and Stephen here. Probably starve. Surely we would have killed each other and turned to cannibalism.

Our neighbors from behind us stopped by too. Amazingly sweet old retired couple. Retired military and civilian shipyard. They came a knockin' on the front door and brought a freshly baked loaf of cranberry orange bread. It was so sweet but I was in so much pain. I stood there talking to them for perhaps a half hour. We cajoled about the other neighbors and the joys of traveling, but all I wanted to do was run to the nearest restaurant supply store, buy a behemoth black cast iron skillet, duct tape it to my hand and proceed to pummel the living shit out of my facial area. As they waved goodbye and I shut the front door, I wilted into the couch and not-so-silently cursed God. All of them.

And in pumping news:
1 more fucking ounce. I swear. One Ounce?!?! At this rate, I can feed Lizzie expressed milk at the rate of one feeding per 4 pumpings. Abysmal. Pathetic. And a whole string of other adjectives that laughingly point to my inadequacies as a career cow. Sheesh!

Did I mention there's this little angel that makes it all worth it?


I bought a new griddle awhile back for pancakes. I make only waffles solely because I don't have a griddle. And making pancakes in a little pan, one at a time, is like arranging the gravel in your fish tank one piece at a time. Futile. And I also bought it knowing that my Mama would make pancakes when she came down. Her pancakes are AMAZING! They are fluffy and soft and deliciousness personified. They look at my pancakes and say demeaning things like "Don't quit your day job." So on this glorious Friday, the griddle is a griddling away and spitting out these yummy dough pillows. Everyone was so excited. It was like the World's Fair and we were waiting on the first fresh funnel cake to fight over. And on top of that, she cut up fresh strawberries and peaches to go with it. Plates were being distributed, kids were laughing. Puppies and kitties and rainbows and shit. And where was I? On the couch, cradling my throbbing cranium in my hands, muttering "Fuck my life..."

You hate to be that guy (or girl or unicorn or whatever). You know the one. The bitchy moaning Debbie Downer who always has to suck the fun out of the party. But that was me. Everyone around me was having such a grand hoorah of a good time, hootin and hollerin. Celebrating the baby. Admiring the roses. And I was wishing death and destruction upon each of their souls. Thanks God I don't own a gun. Or a flame thrower. Or a land mine. I knew, logically, that no one was trying to kill me, but every word or quick movement each of them offended me with was quickly sending me over the edge. It's pretty sad when you can feel the loopy softening of narcotics and yet still be writhing in the untouched agony of the subject of your misery. I stuffed a dry piece of pancake in my mouth to fit in and tried not to cry. At least the pancake was delicious. Even with no butter or syrup, it was just as good as I remembered her pancakes. Oh the small victories :)

One reason the house was so full of laughter and joy was because Rhiannon had stopped by with the kids. She was in the area and she brought me this little bag from the Vitamin Shoppe. I had talked to her on the phone the night before and we discussed breastfeeding and how I remembered she had difficulty keeping her supply up too. I remembered a tea she drank but couldn't remember the name. She said it was Mother's Milk Tea and also that she took Fenugreek supplements. I wanted to get some eventually to see if it would help. Not any time soon though. I couldn't drive. My head was trying to throb its way off my shoulders like a loose ceiling fan on the highest setting. There were people everywhere and all together too much to do always. So I was absolutely astounded when she came the next morning and brought both the pills and the tea to the house. It was like being hit by a mack truck of gratitude. I simply cannot remember a more thoughtful and appreciated gift. Everyone had their own worries and interests at any given moment. My biggest thought was if Lizzie and I were going to make it much farther as breastfeeders. And reinforcements came charging in! Thank you Rhiannon for thinking of my boobies :) I would have mixed it with my own blood and slathered it all over my body if that's what the directions said. But thank goodness they didn't. I made the tea and took the pills immediately.

And in pumping news:
One ounce...
From each side! Maybe more but I don't want to jinx it. That stuff is already starting to work hopefully! Also on that note, no more formula as of today. We have been supplementing since we got home. Just like at the hospital. 30 min each boob and then offer the Satan juice. But no more. Now we are EBFers. YAY!
(Exclusively Breast Feederz)

Another knock on the door and the FiOS guy showed up. Now, when I scheduled him to come in the first place, I had all these grand plans about how I wanted it done. How I wanted the cable run. Where the ethernet cable would start and end. The setup of the security. Everything. But the moment he walked in the door, that all went out the window. I simply could not handle him. All I could do was look at Stephen and say "you have to get this". That's not normally his job. Normally I handle all that involves/touches the house, and I have usually done hours of research on it and need to be in control and on top of the situation. Not today. The headache was so bad, I couldn't even say Hi to the guy. It was too much. And for me to walk away and say "do whatever needs to be done" you know something is wrong. Amazingly enough, a little while later, we were sans FiOS tech and back to civilization with interwebz and cable. YAY! No more iPhone interwebz.

At mid day, enough was enough. I think everyone else was getting really tired of seeing me on my deathbed and sensing the diabolical thoughts swimming in my head. I remembered the anesthesiologist explaining that the most common complication of the epidural was the postdural puncture headache, but I wasn't sure if that's what I had or not. Rhiannon had a friend who had the same thing and said they gave her a blood patch, which cleared it up immediately. Well, either way, whatever was happening was not right and I needed help. After a week of suicidal pain, I was at my wit's end. Off to the ER we went. I didn't want to take Lizzie but we called ahead and Portsmouth wasn't busy so we went there. I figured it would be safer for her since it's a military hospital on base and not somewhere out in town for any and all to congregate in. It's probably less likely to have crack heads and homeless people. But once again, I don't want to jinx myself.

Soon we were safely sitting in the ER waiting room. Soon after that, I went back. A few doctors talked to me, took my vitals, and hooked up the IV for fluids. They wanted to rule out meningitis and late onset eclampsia. More tests. Some drugs. I like drugs just as much as the next guy. Hell, maybe more. But when that doctor stuck my IV with a shot of morphine, I almost freaked out. I was sitting up and I looked at the doc and said "I need to lie down". I almost didn't know if I could make it. It was a little too powerful for me. I had a minute or so of fear, although I don't know of what. And then some other drug. And a few percosets. More tests. I hooked up my sweet angel boobie sucker twice in between for her feeds. More dosctors.

Diagnosis: Postdural Puncture Headache. Layman's Explanation: basically it's a leak of the fluid in your spinal region. Your brain needs that fluid to float. If the level is low, the brain pulls on these "tethers" that hold it in place. That results in pain. When you lie down, it gets better. Going vertical hurts because gravity pulls even more fluid away from the brain area. Stop the leak, stop the madness.

Eventually they sent me to Anesthesia for the blood patch. Now, an epidural when you are in labor sucks because you are having contractions and what a bitch of a time for someone to be poking you in your spinal area. An epidural without labor is another animal all together. You are more jumpy and it's a bit scarier. And no one could be there to hold my hand (I don't know why). So one doctor sticks your back and another doctor draws blood from your arm at the same time (has to be fresh, like, vampire Twilight fresh). A third doc takes the blood around the table and they insert it into the epidural line. Voila: Blood Patch! Weird, but it worked. All that waiting and the procedure takes like 2 minutes.
No more headache! I live!
I'm ok'ed to go home so I get dressed and book it. It's late and all I want to do is get home!

Here's to hoping tomorrow is a headache free day!

And 2 more photos of my princess to help me sleep :)

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