Thank you all for your comments yesterday! You definitely made me feel a lot better about accidentally mangling my baby.
After a long Wednesday and long Thursday, I was really, REALLY looking forward to finally being able to catch up on my stories. But the lack of sleep, residual stress, and guilt over Annie’s arm left me exhausted and I climbed into bed early (for me) at 11 pm with a borderline migraine. Mike came home from the gym as I was laying out my nightly prescriptions. He rubbed my shoulders a little bit, then I rolled over and went to sleep.
I woke up at 1 am with some confusion. The drugs I take at night make me sleep like a rock (finally!), so I couldn’t figure out why I was awake. But then I realized I was having MAJOR cramps, and I became more confused because I’d just taken my first dose of the anti-contraction medication. After blinking a few more times, I realized my cramps were of the gastrointestinal variety. After I used the bathroom, I got back into bed and started absentmindedly rubbing my eye. I laid back down and tried to go back to sleep, but a few minutes later I needed to use the bathroom again.
When I was washing my hands, I noticed my left eye was really itching, so I looked in the mirror to see if something was in it. The inside of my left eye was a bit red and swollen – it reminded me of when I’m around cats (I’m terribly allergic). Right then the left side of my nose started running like mad, as if a switch had been thrown. Add all of this to my migraine and I was an unhappy camper. I got back into bed, only to get up to use the bathroom again ten minutes later.
This time, I called to Mike to come look at my face, because now both eyes were itching. He got out of bed and looked at me and said, “Yeah, your eyes are a little red.” I looked in the mirror and was like, “UM NOT JUST A LITTLE!” Both of my eyes were swelling and my nose was non-stop running. I took a picture of my face to show my mom in the morning.
I sat up in bed and watched some TV and felt my nose close up. And was like, this is the weirdest migraine I’ve ever had. I went to the bathroom again and my face was like WHOA.
That’s not my left cheekbone – that’s my SWOLLEN JAW.
Finally, FINALLY something in my head said, “YOU ARE HAVING AN ALLERGIC REACTION DUMMY.” I woke Mike up again and said, “I am having an allergic reaction to my contraction medication. Call Dr. Risky while I call my parents to come stay with Annie.” Dr. Risky’s answering service told Mike to take me to the nearest ER. The nearest ER…hmm…where was that, oh yeah, we’d just spent four hours there the night before with Annabel.
My mom opened our front door and almost fainted when she saw my face. But there wasn’t time to linger because my throat was itchy and it was getting hard to swallow. Luckily we live about a 90-second drive from the ER. If you want to be seen instantly when you walk into an ER, an allergic reaction when you’re 22 weeks pregnant definitely works. I was in a bed with an IV in less than five minutes.
The doctors were actually really grateful that I’d taken pictures documenting my facial swelling. Right before they pushed the drugs into my IV I took one more picture:
I’m not sure how long I laid there before the medicine started working, but it definitely got worse before it got better. My lips started to swell (my lower lip split), my tongue was tingling, and my ears were ringing. I was clearing my throat every few seconds and the ER nurses were all hovering around me all, “Can you breathe?! CAN YOU BREATHE?!” The Acrobat, meanwhile, was kicking away like it was the greatest day ever.
When I was finally released, my face looked like this:
There was a woman in labor checking in when we were leaving, and she and her husband literally backed away when they saw me. I wanted to say, “oh, this is NOTHING, you should have seen me a few hours ago!”
The rest of the day I was really uncomfortable. My face ached in ways I didn’t know possible, but the worst was the full-body-itching. I was on a steady stream of Benedryl and it couldn’t touch the itching. Luckily, it made a difference to my face:
We are all baffled as to why I would suddenly have such a strong reaction to a drug that I took without incident when I was pregnant with Annie. I have a call in to my former pharmacy to see if I was given a different generic three years ago. Dr. Risky (obviously) told me to stop taking Indocin, and I have an extra appointment to see her this week to check on the baby and figure out a new course of action. In the meantime, I will continue popping Benedryl and randomly texting pictures of my face to people to scare them.
hahaha its not funny, but I love your humor. I hope everything goes well.
I always used to take Amoxicillin for the annual bronchitis I seemed to get. Then I took it one night, and all of a sudden started itching in my legs. I took a Claritin, but before it had a chance to take effect my tongue started swelling and I was wheazing/coughing/clearing my throat. This prompted a trip to the ER where they stuck me in a back room and promptly forgot I was there. (It was a busy night, but you would think anaphylaxis would have been higher up on the priority list.) Luckily, the allergy pill took effect, and while I sat there my symptoms started to fade. It was scary, and I now avoid all penicillin derivatives and carry an Epi Pen. Unfortunately, it was only my first experience with allergies to medications. It is somewhat common for allergies to develop or worsen as we age, but in my case it turns out to be some sort of genetic allergy condition. Just keep your eyes open in the future, but hopefully this will be a one-time fluke for you.
I have taken sulfur based antibiotics for UTI’s and such for years and years without any problems whatsoever, and the first time I took one after I had my daughter, I had a serious allergic reaction to it. I also developed an allergy to cats after being pregnant, despite living my entire life with a virtual menagerie. Pregnancy does weird stuff to your body, man. And don’t be mad, but all I could hear running through my mind when I saw that picture was, “Ruth! Ruth! Bay-BEE Ruth!”. Glad to hear you’re no longer a Goonie
I can’t believe I didn’t make a Goonie joke!
I’m sorry you had to deal with another crazy medical situation, but I just wanted to say that all these close-up shots had me thinking “Wow, Heather has pretty great skin!!” So there’s that!
Thank you! I got a Clarisonic Mia for Christmas and I swear, my skin is AMAZING now!
I bought myself a Clarisonic Mia with Christmas gift cards, and I love it. Greatest gift I’ve ever given my face!
That is very, very scary! You didn’t even look remotely like you anymore. I’m so glad you realized what was happening and got to the hospital quickly.
Are you sure it was the drugs?
My husband was absolutely convinced that he was allergic to whisky. Then he had a reaction to eating an apple. He’d not linked the fact that he often had whisky with apple juice or that he ate lots of apples. He is now quite happy. He can drink and with fore thought, and anti-histamine, he can still eat apple crumble!
So what did you drink?
I hadn’t ingested any food since about 7pm – toast and some water. And I didn’t keep it down. So the doctors are very certain it was the new medication!
Wow! Poor thing that doesn’t look like fun. I am glad Annie is on the mend and I hope you are continuing too also.
AAAhh – My poor friend!!! I am so grateful you are okay though .Nothing come easy, does it??? Get some rest. HUGS!!!! xoxo
About 4 weeks ago, I had some type of reaction like yours….They call it urticaria without an obvious cause. I had it once in my twenties. “This time” i knew I could try benadryl. Didn’t work for long. Finally, on the fifth day, my eyes were swelling and my lip. On the way home from the office, I pulled in to the urgent care. My ears were flaming red, and my lip was really losing it with the tingling. They gave me a steroid shot, and put me on a twelve day course. Last time I got an epinephrine shot and the swelling disappeared instantly. This time, it was gradual and no epi since my airway was not obstructed by swelling…I still had hives for 2 more days…bonus for me, though…I had bursitis in my shoulder and it was not going away with traditional treatment. After 3 days on steroids, I could hook my bra, pull my pants on and scratch between my shoulder blades again!! I hope everything goes well and you find something you can take…Oh the stories you’ll be telling!!
Kayla N. says:
Glad to hear you are ok and on the mend! Allergic reactions are scary. The last time I had one (also to a drug) I freaked out because being let right back in to the ER with no wait plus everyone being eerily calm and telling you not to worry really really made me worry. By the time they epi penned me only a few minutes in to the exam I was totally crying and made my best friend hold my hand to get the shot, like a little kid.
After having a bout of severe hives last year,,,that lasted for 9 whole months, I can certainly appreciate what you were going through with the itching, Heather. I used to be able to take the max dose of Benadryl with no complications, but the last time it sent me to the hospital for 2 days with severe nausea, elevated blood pressure, and heart rate through the roof! I had passed out on my kitchen flood after taking just one Benadryl! Feel better soon, and I hope that you can find out why this happened since you had no side effects when taking this before. Thank God for your wonderful mother in helping you the way she does!
Casey P says:
Oh Heather, I am so sorry Ugh, you have not had an easy go of it with this pregnancy. I am really sending you good/healthy vibes from the East Coast – you are due for a break! Take care and feel better soon!
Oh dear! I’m sorry you had to go through that. Rough couple of days.
I knew someone who took one medicine without incident for over 10 years. Then one day their lips started swelling like crazy; it was very bizarre, but it was linked to that drug they had been taking. They quit taking it and it went away, but it was very odd. The doctor said it was typical. Maybe age has an effect?
Charlene RN says:
Sometimes the drug manufacturers change a base ingredient that they decide is not worth mentioning and that may be what happened to cause this reaction.
Glad you made it to the ER and are on the uphill mend!!!!
That is terrible Interestingly enough, I just found out my husband is allergic to Indocin. He was given it as a kid and had the same reaction you did – stomach upset, swelling, etc. I’m glad that they took care of you promptly in the ER! You guys have had one hell of a week!
Wow, that must have been scary. So glad you realized you were having an allergic reaction and got to the hospital.
OH MY GOSH, Heather! That is so scary…so happy that you are okay!
If you didn’t post the pictures, I would think you were making it up. Really, you have the most unbelievable stories! Hope you are feeling better.
I know, right? I really am “THAT GIRL.”
If anyone in the world deserves a textbook typical and very boring pregnancy, it is you. You poor thing……..
Good lord Heather! This is a very stressful pregnancy! *rubbing my hand over my face*
I’ll be so happy to see your little baby boy come and you don’t have to have any more shots or puking or scary stuff.
Om my gosh! You guys so deserve a break.
Geez, the hits just keep on comin’, eh?! Sending you good vibes that the rest of your pregnancy is smooth sailing. xoxo
Yikes, glad urnfeeling better!
Momma, PhD says:
Oh my goodness! I’m so glad you realized what it was and were able to get it under control without it getting worse.
Wishing you all health and boredom for the duration!
Erin W says:
OMG! How terrifying (not how you look…the reaction itself!)! When it rains, it pours, right? Feel better soon!
You seriously have THE WORST luck when it comes to pregnancy ailments. I’m so glad you figured it out and were able to seek treatment so quickly.
Oh no! you guys should have your own special VIP suite at the ER. I’m sorry you have to spend so much time there. Hope you feel better soon. UGH.
Oh. My. Gawt! The horror! I feel so bad for you. I hope you feel better by now.
This is exactly what happens to me when I take NSAIDs (like Indocin). I’m really allergic. You can develop an allergy at any time to a medication even when you’ve taken it before. Hope it’s not that!
Kristin Hicks says:
I had this happen to me with an antibiotic. I had taken it a few times with no incident. Then was prescribed it for a sinus infection and had the same reaction you did. It was the worst experience I’d ever felt. I’m with you on the itching! It took me about a week or more to feel normal again.
Oh Mylanta! How scary! I’m glad you realized it was an allergic reaction and got to the ER when you did.
One thing that stuck out was you posted that you were 22w pg, I think that’s the first time you mentioned how far along you are… I’m 22w now- also pg with a boy- so we’re only one week apart! Made me smile. I’ve been following your blog for a looking time. I cried happy tears when you announced your pg with Annie, I followed closely your whole pg, I found out I was pg with my daughter right before Annie was born, I’ve smiled and cheered every time you posted a post after she was born, I’ve used your blog as a what-to-look-forward-to with my daughter, so the fact that we’re pg with boys “together” makes me smile.
Lol, I swear I'm not a crazy person… I just re-read that blurb and I sound like a stalker. I'm not! I'm statesss away from you- I'm just a hormonal, sentimental, sahm who gets attached to the bloggers and their families.
I'm glad your allergic reaction is under control.
Aw yay! Congratulations! I hope your little guy gets here safely! Exciting to be pregnant at the same time! xo
I’m 22w pregnant too! I knew we must have been around the same based on your clues yay for June babies!!
Oh HEATHER!! This looks and sounds awfully scary. I am so glad you live that close to an ER and they took care of you within seconds.
You poor thing! I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this awful allergic reation, and while pregnant too! I’m glad you went to the ER before it became any worse!
Unfortunately, you can suddenly become allergic to something you have had before without issue. It happened to me about a year ago with humus (particularly the tahini in humus) a snack I had all the time. It took a few trips to the ER with reactions and several visits to an allergist to narrow the trigger down to sesame tahini because it was one of those things where it came on out of no where.
I hope that this never happens to you again. If you do feel like it might be a reaction please go to the ER right away, as reactions can get worse the next time around. Sending you my thoughts.
Nicole H says:
I don’t comment often but I am a loyal reader But I wanted to say thank you for sharing your tough times with us, as well as the good times. Glad you got to the ER quickly, and I hope you’re feeling better!
Migraine sufferer here and took a small dose of aspirin with tylenol and caffeine through my teenage years to battle those beastly headaches. Developed an allergy to aspirin in my late twenties out of nowhere. I put Quasimoto to shame with my first aspirin allergic reaction.
Crazy how we can eat or take something that we’ve taken before without incident and then BAM! I was traveling when I had the intital reaction and walked up on a cop sitting in a travel plaza to ask where the nearest ER was and he nearly spilled his coffee when he looked up.
Benadryl hazey head is no fun either, so I feel your pain Heather. Hope you feel better soon and hope they figure out a new medicine that won’t cause you to scare people.
Whoa! So not fun! I had meningitis a couple years ago and it turns out I am allergic to both Rocephin AND Vancomycin and when I was discharged (with what turned out to be viral meningitis anyways, so the antibiotics wouldn’t have helped but they give them to you while the culture is growing) they basically said “Hey, so…..don’t ever get bacterial meningitis for real. Cause we can’t treat you.” Yay allergies!
Kimberly Ruckman says:
If it was indocin you were on, I was also allergic to the generic. My nose went numb feeling, and omg did it ever tear up my stomach! I was needing to take it long term for a condition I had. And even when I was put back on the name brand, I needed something like prevacid because indocin can tear up your stomach. But I didn’t have anymore allergic reactions with the name brand.
That looks awful! And after reading through and knowing you are ok my next thought was how Jackie! would have teased you. Cos that’s what my besties would have done!
((HEATHER)) – that’s me saying your name and hugging you simultaneously. OH MY!
My oldest (16 now) used to have allergic reaction after reaction as a baby. You just brought back quite the memory of picking him up from his crib, bringing him down in the dark (Sleep? We don’t need no sleep! was his motto) and turning on the light to find him lookng similarly to your pics.
I know I’m always sharing my stories on here with you, but that was the only way I knew how to send you a great huge amount of empathy after reading your story! I was reading and talking outloud saying “Hurry up and get to the part where you rush to the ER” and I’m so relieved to know you are doing good now.
Darn it anyhow – I’m ready for things to go easier for you. Find the humor in this and take care!
This is not a funny situation and I’m very happy you are doing better now, but man did your words and pictures make me giggle I know how you feel (somewhat) as I had an allergic reaction at age 14 to a form of penicillin I was prescribed by the dermatologist… because you know, as if life isn’t ‘bad’ enough as a freshman in high school with acne so severe you have to take a prescription drug. Sure… go ahead and swell my eyes shut and give me raised hives the size of softballs all over my body. My mom kept putting her hand under my nose to make sure I was still breathing since I couldn’t open my eyes. Fun times.
Last year, though I had taken it before, I developed an allergy to Naproxen. I broke out in terrible hives. Yuck.
Glad you are feeling so much better.
Oh, you poor thing. How scary for you! I’m sure they’ll find another med for you that you can tolerate. I have had a reaction to blood pressure medicine wherein my feet/ankles/lower legs are swollen. My doc said it would take time to go away, but it’s been at least three weeks now. I only have a couple pairs of shoes I can fit into. Hate.
Whoa. Those pictures are crazy. Hope you are feeling better now!
Good Lord! So glad you’re ok! You do have some strange sh*t happen to you. You and Snarky mom should write a book together. And glad Annie is on the mend too, I about died at how cute her little sling was.
Phew! On living close to the ER, your mom able to get to your house quickly, and = I guess, to have gastro issues that woke you up enough to get you into the bathroom! Hope the rest of the week treats you far more gently than the last few days.
O. M. GOSH! Wow Heather…you poor thing. You are such a trooper and I really hope your doctors figure everything out for you! Here’s to hoping that little guy is the easiest baby ever!!
Even if you have the same generic, it’s possible they changed a filler or an inert ingredient — or even the coating, if it’s a pill — which could be the allergy. (Certain kinds of generics, of medicines I’ve taken, have coatings which don’t dissolve in a timely fashion & therefore the medicine doesn’t work well. Hrmph.) Even a different dye could be the problem. I hope you don’t see the ER again for a long, long, long time.
Mary Ann says:
I am so glad that you are ok – Poor thing I hope things start looking up soon. Feel Better!
OMG. What a scary reaction! You are so awesome and brave for posting those pictures of your face. Maybe it’ll help others realize an allergic reaction is occurring if it ever happens to them or a family member.
Heather I hope that you keep feeling better (and there is no more swelling). Wishing you a less eventful rest of this pregnancy!! Take care. xo
Leigh Elliott says:
Omg!!!! You poor girl!! I am so glad you are doing better now. Those photos are frightening. I had a horrific allegic reaction to an antibiotic years ago. I was just beginning to date my husband. I had golf ball hives all over me but especially my back. He took such good care of me and put hydrocortisone on my back whenever I asked. Even at 2am. That was th first time he took care of me through an illness.
Hoping you feel better soon ! The itching is so hard!
OMG! I am SO glad you woke up and realized what was going on! That is utterly terrifying. I had a mysterious allergic reaction one time- woke up with my face swollen and my entire body itching. I went to urgent care, got an antihistamine and steroids, but never found out what it was! (I have food allergies, but know I was not exposed to those.) So creepy. Yours looks/sounds much worse. I’m sorry you are apparently allergic to the medicine now and I hope you get a good, safe alternative soon!
For the love – the same thing happened to me in law school. Started with hives and then I would randomly swell up like that – usually at the most inopportune times. Like, when I was on spring break with my BFF in Orlando. We were at a party with her boyfriend and his school friends. He had suffered through many a law school party, so our dumb (drunk) selves decided we should just stay. There I was, meeting people, shaking hands. What? Oh, you think my eyes look swollen? And half of my bottom lip? Really? I hadn’t noticed.
Glad you got some relief and hope you can get the med situation figured out.
Jenn Wild says:
Holy Mother of God!! Crap! So glad that you realized what was happening and went to the ER stat!
Whenever you would say (type) that this was your LAST pregnancy, I would send up a hopeful thought that maybe you would just have one more. But, NOW…I am with you! Pregnancy is way too dangerous for you! Not like you needed me to tell you that
Glad you are feeling all better!
I’m so glad you’re ok! I was actually glad to read it was an allergic reaction and that you figured that out so quickly. This very same facial swelling happened to my sister recently and it was not an allergic reaction. It ended up being a staph infection – IN HER EYE. They had to keep her in the hospital for several days and were worried she would lose her sight and also worried that it would swell to the point of affecting her brain. It was very scary. I can only imagine adding the Acrobat into the mix!
Here’s hoping you get some peace and quiet for a while.
I saw your tweet and we had a lil convo I didn’t imagine it to be this bad. So scary! Hope you’re feeling better!!!
Holy smokes batman! I wont complain that the antibiotic I was given made me vomit for 24 hours and feel like a few mac trucks ran me over yesterday. Wowzers girl! Praying that they find a med that works for you.
Lisa P says:
Hey–looks like a mugshot! Glad you are okay.
Jalene T says:
My 8 yo had this same reaction after playing indoor soccer. She now carries an epi pen, and is believed to be allergic to exercise. Fo real!! The swelling also happens when she gets sick. I think there is something that happens when her body gets stressed. It is scary, and glad everything came out ok for you and acrobat!!
OMGoodness!!! And Holy Crap!!!!!!!!!!!!! Geez woman!!!!!!!! Will you never catch a break?!?!?! So glad you took pix for the ER to see and even more happy that it dawned on you what was happening!!!! Yay for a short drive to the ER and IVs to wash that ickyness out!!!
And here I thought I was bad with my itchy, swollen eyes from having a yeast infection in my eyes (random, I know)…but you, my dear, take the cake. But could you puh-lease stop trying to take the cake and instead spend the next 16-18 weeks just being boring as hell?
Thankful you and Acrobat are well!!!!!!!!!!