Now What?!

A Grumpy Guide to Pregnancy

Friday, February 15, 2008

You must be kidding

(Still Week 39) Went to a "Babycare basics" class last night, which was useful -- got advice on sponge baths, practice with swaddling and diapers on dolls, and various other tips. However, right in the middle of it I started to have a visual disturbance. It started as a small blurry spot (kind of like the after-effect of a bright light can cause a grey spot briefly) right where I was looking, but gradually spread to encompass a third or so of the left half of my visual field. I initially thought it was an effect of looking at the teacher against a vibrating blue video screen (esp. since it was sort of oscillating), but then it was pretty clear that it was something else. After running some, um, diagnostics (still there with eyes closed; visible in left part of what each eye sees) I got up and got a glass of water, did some deep breathing, made sure I wasn't dizzy, checked my blood sugar, etc. Basically it just hung around for about a half hour (ramping up and then ramping down) and then went away, but everything else was fine.

After the class, since we were already at the hospital, we stopped by the Perinatal Assessment unit and asked whether this was something to worry about (a blood-pressure drop? sign of trouble?). The two results of that were: (1) an additional two hours hanging around the hospital -- a combination of data time (a new non-stress test, bp, urine, a quick neurological work-up, and some other busywork) and down time (waiting for the resident and/or attending to stop by). yawn! (2) Eventually the attending told us that this was not that uncommon (a bunch of the staff had been trading stories about similar incidents during pregnancy) and called it "visual migraine." Because pregnancy hasn't involved screwing up enough systems yet, and I was due for a little malfunction of [blood vessels of] the visual cortex. I mean, really.

So I guess that's water under the bridge, but a bit freaky at the time. I hope that by mentioning it here I can at least reduce the scare factor for any of you guys who might have a similar experience. Let me say, it's just more fuel for my Get This Done, Already jets!


Medley said...

fwiw, I had something similar years ago (when not pregnant) and actually went to the ER for it - and got the same diagnosis -- some sort of visual or aural (?) migraine... I did an opthalmological workup a little bit afterwards and there was nothing to be found.. again.. for what it's worth.

Yay swaddling. I picked up a copy of 'happiest baby on the block' (which is big into swaddling combined with a few other things for calming fussy ones) the other day. My yoga instructor and a couple of friends recommended it. Hopefully we don't get a fussy one, but you never know!

Joni said...

I get those from time to time. I can remember once my peripheral vision in one eye on one side completely turned to static and stayed that way for something like a day. It is unnerving, but I'm just glad I don't get the headaches too.

Just be forewarned that you might experience some nausea/vertigo/headachiness after the baby is born while you are nursing. I had a couple episodes after my kids were born where I had to just go to bed, essentially. I think it was really only one with each kid. And they were totally random.

I discovered that wacky sleep + pms + nursing is a bad combo for setting off these migraine auras for me. I hope you can avoid them. The last aura I had was a case of vertigo so bad I couldn't get out of bed for four hours. My dh had to stay home to take care of the kids.