Okay, okay. . . you got me. I hired no one. I simply rolled out of the bed where I had just put my daughter to sleep, found my husband (that’s Anthony- The Migraine Doula), and told him in however many words, “I need you to help me. My head is exploding.”
Migraines are like birth.
Hear me out. . .
That afternoon and evening, it was still in headache territory—think early labor, okay? And I was handling things just fine on my own. I even said to myself, “This isn’t so bad! I’ve got this!”
But suddenly, the brain contractions seemed to be getting longer, stronger, and closer together. It was time to call that doula.
Just like birth.
Every time I have a migraine, I think of birth. I think of laboring women. I imagine that I am a laboring woman. This is just like that moment in labor when you think, “Oh there are so many other women giving birth right now! We are all in this together!” Ah yes! Such a lovely thought. Besides that I am, in fact, not birthing, not getting an awesome human baby out of this, I am just in agony and so out-of-my-mind that I actually think I am in this together with those birthing babes out there. . . Hey, no one ever said you could stay sane while your head explodes.
Back to my birth story. I mean my migraine story!
In the midst of a mega-migraine, with the doula at my side, I found the following labor pain-coping techniques to be successful in coping with the intensity of feeling that my head was going to explode:
Hydrotherapy: A shower or a bath. Different phases of birth—err, migraines, call for different water therapies.
The use of hot and cold: Cold cloths are underrated.
Breath Awareness: In order to make my mind stop saying, “When will this end? This has been going on forever. It is just getting worse and worse,” I focused on my breath. I just paid attention to how good it felt to just breathe. In. Out.
Non-Focused Awareness: Same idea as Breath Awareness, but instead of focusing on my breath, I used all of my senses to quiet that mental chatter.
Physical touch: I could not have gotten through it without the massage from the Migraine Doula. I told him where to press, squeeze, rub. He massaged my neck until I said, “by my ears” and stayed there until I said, “shoulders.”
So, I finally fell asleep. Which means, if you will allow me to continue this birth metaphor: that the hard labor has ended, the baby has been born, and I can now nurse the baby. We did it!
Thank the Birthing Goddess that I learned those pain-coping techniques.
Maybe I should add Migraine Doula to my services. . .