Since many of you have been asking about my headaches, I thought I'd just write a blog and direct people here...
History: I started getting migraines in 2003, after I returned home from Hawaii, so I've been dealing with them for nine years now. They have morphed into daily chronic headaches, with a really bad migraine occurring about every two months. I have been asked by many if they are hormone related (because they did improve during my pregnancies with Joel and Gabe, although not Zoe), but because they occur so often, it's been difficult to figure out any triggers, including hormone balances.
Doctors: I have literally sought help from any medical professional I thought would help. I've seen two neurologists, and have had several MRIs. I've seen an ENT to see if it was related to my deviated septum or my sinuses, and have undergone allergy testing with a specialist. I spent months with a chiropractor, and visited an acupuncture MD who didn't think the treatments would help at all. A few months ago I saw a spine/pain specialist who told me my spine was straight and not curved like it should be, and that I had developed arthritis in my upper spine. I went through the pain of trigger point injections in his office, and because my headache disappeared, we agreed a spinal injection would be beneficial. After that procedure, my headaches improved 50 percent, resulting in pain every other day, instead of everyday. My doctor said the procedure was successful if I had a 30 percent improvement, but my insurance didn't cover it all so we decided it was too expensive, and too invasive, for such little improvement.
Now: My latest theory is that my headaches may be related to my TMJ. I was given braces, like most kids in middle school, because my bite wasn't perfect and because I had TMJ. But, it recently occurred to me that I must still have TMJ because I grind my teeth at night as well as anytime I'm stressed during my waking hours. I did a little research and realized that most cases of TMJ go undiagnosed and are often misdiagnosed as migraines because the pain starts in your face muscles/jaw and go down the neck, causing chronic pain. Hello!! This might be the ticket! So, I met with my dentist yesterday and she seemed astonished at how bad my TMJ actually was, informing me that my jaw clicks both when I open and close my mouth, and that in certain severe cases, your bite will actually shift depending on whether your mouth is open or closed - like mine. So, I was fit for a mouth guard I will wear at night. She explained that the muscles in your face that are affected are very strong and that she could tell by looking at me that I clench these muscles often, as they were more prominent on my face compared to others. Then she assured me that I was beautiful, but that it was obvious to her because she looks at faces all day. Thanks.
Please, please, please pray that I have finally found my solution. I pick up my oh-so-attractive mouth guard tomorrow and she said I will have a period of about two weeks that may be tough. I've been instructed to go to sleep with a heating pad and warm compresses on both sides of my face, and to avoid chewy foods. I will keep you all updated!! :)
So, yesterday was the first time we ever put Zoe in our church's nursery. She did really well, I however did not. I was anxious all morning just thinking about dropping her off, leaving her in someone else's care, being away from me.
I spent a lot of time praying, asking God to calm my heart. I dropped her off, explained that I was a crazy Momma who was worked up about leaving her, and not to hesitate to have me come get her when she, inevitably, freaked out when she realized her entire world was not within ten feet of her.
It was nice to be able to get my coffee and not have to try to juggle it all. But, as soon as the worship started, the tears started. I was singing and crying, and crying and singing. So I took a moment to reflect... Was I was upset about leaving Zoe because she's my little girl - precious in every way, or because she's my rainbow baby - and I'm overprotective of her, always fearful that something may happen to her... Through the tears I started to wonder if God wasn't calming my heart because my mommy instinct was telling me to run and go get my little girl, or if I just wasn't letting go. And then it occurred to me, through all these racing thoughts, that I was actually allowing myself to worship for the first time in a long time. I wasn't preoccupied with staring at my sweet Zoe, but I was actually praising God - for the present moment I was in, and everything He has done for me.
So I took a deep breath and prayed a little prayer - God, please calm my heart. Take this anxiety from me unless I really am supposed to get up and check on my little girl. And like a gust of wind, the negative lurking feelings disappeared. I was only left with contentment and I realized what a gift it was to be able to praise my Creator, without any distractions.
Thought I'd show my bloggers the finished product of the star tattoo I was talking about a few days ago. Enjoy this picture of me lounging in front of our fireplace on a lazy Saturday...
I woke up this morning with another headache. It's so exhausting, mentally and phsycially, to have chronic daily pain. As I laid in bed listening to my kids start to wake, I thought of Gabriel. I'm not exaggerating when I say that not a day goes by that I don't think about him, but on special days like holidays, he's usually my first thought. I try not to have "what if he was here" thoughts, but there's just no denying that there's a piece of my heart missing.
So, what's a grieving gal to do?? Gather the kids, put them in cute red clothing and take their picture! I told Joel to go upstairs and grab his "Gabey Bear" so that he could be incorporated into the photo as well. Enjoy this picture of my little ones. All of our LOVE, from here and ABOVE.
And here's a Valentine's Card I made two years ago, in 2010. My little man is getting so big!
Striving to be content in all things. It's a decision I have to make every single day. Thankful for the two beautiful children I have on this earth, but oh so sad for the two waiting for the rest of our family in Heaven.
Kyle and I have been reading "Heaven is For Real," and decided to buy the kid's version of the same book for Joel and Zoe to read. I highly recommend both. The book is about a little boy who visits Heaven during a near death experience, and he explains it the only way he knows how, like an innocent child. One of the most profound things he shares with his family is that he met his little sister, a child his mother miscarried - something that they had never even shared with him.
It's made me think so much about the baby I miscarried in July of 2010. I think since then, I've really emotionally dismissed that loss because it felt so insignificant compared to the loss of Gabriel, who was full-term, born alive, and died in our arms over the course of two hours. But if I believe that life begins at conception, there is another life that was lost and is now with Gabriel. Gabriel is experiencing Heaven with his sibling! Why have I never thought of all of this before?
I remember a friend of mine explained that she always "felt" the baby she miscarried was a boy, and that she named him. In the book, the little boy shares that his sister in Heaven didn't have a name, because his parents never gave her one. I'm now comfortable enough emotionally to share that I always felt my first July baby was a girl. And I have decided her name is Mercy, because she escaped the hardness of this life by the grace of God.
Somehow, I've found more healing since giving her a name. And I can't wait until Friday, when I celebrate turning 30 by having three more stars added to the top of my foot - four stars total to symbolize the four children I have.
Reading the bible with Joel the other night really solidified my decision to honor my children in this way. Genesis 15:5 reads, The the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, "Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. This is how many descendants you will have!"