Ah-ah-chooooo or “Better safe than sorry” – yeah, screw you.

I am not completely sure I should even be posting today, but I figured what the hell.

I am not in the best mood. It is not because there is really anything wrong with me or there are any problems per se. I just do not feel good. My head is pounding. I have suffered from sinus issues for years upon years. My mother has had 2 surgeries on her sinuses. I can remember when I was a kid that I could walk into the house after school and, from the irritable aura surrounding my mother, my brother and I could tell she had taken Sudafed. I suppose that was the only OTC sinus med that worked for her and she had no choice but to take it, but, dear god in heaven, it made her crabby. She is a wonderful mother and loved us dearly, but on Sudafed days I thought she would have cheerfully skinned us alive. My brother and I gave her a wide berth on those days. I inherited this wonderful condition.

I have been on everything from Claritn to Alegra-D, Flonase to Nasonex. One will work for a while, or even a year or so, and then it will quit working as well and I will move on to another. During the winter months, this is not that much of a problem, but Spring time in the South is Allergy Central. It will not be long and all of our cars, porches, rooftops and every other single thing outside will be covered with yellow pollen. Rain will come and it will wash it out of the air and the gutters will literally run yellow. Unfortunately, I am also extremely allergic to mold which attacks me when it rains. As my sinuses are already sensitive during the Spring, the rain induced mold will make it worse and I will be miserable.

I love Spring. I was born in April, for goodness sakes. I love it when things start to bloom and turn green after months of cold and barren landscapes. My sinuses, however, do not love it and the histamine production goes overboard so I feel wretched. Headaches, sinus pressure, itchy eyes, itchy skin, irritability – you name it, I have to deal with it.

I had been on Nasonex since Flonase stopped working sometime last year, but I came off it around Christmas, when I decided to come off all prescription meds. This was not done by way of preparing for a pregnancy, by the way. I had no intention of getting pregnant. The real reason, if I am being honest, was sheer laziness. I hate mornings. And that is when I would try and take my meds, including Nasonex. I always forgot or ran out of time, though. I took to keeping it at work and tried to remember to use it there, but I would get busy and forget – and I was not at work on the weekends. I did not have a set routine and I would only take it 3 out of 5 days. Enough of that and it would stop working. At some point I figured I might as well just stop taking it if I could not be consistent, so I did. In the winter this was not an issue. But it is now. And now I am pregnant.

Last week it started full force. Out of the last 7 days, I was miserable at least 4 of them due to my sinus problems. When I was pregnant with Ezra, on my first doctor visit I was given a list of approved medications. Some of them I took often, like Benadryl, so I knew it was *safe. I took it once last week when I simply could not stand it anymore and also yesterday. It knocked me out and I was absolutely worthless both times, but at least I stopped sneezing and itching and even if my head hurt, I did not know it because I was passed out for about 3 hours. I realized this morning on the way in to work that I could not do this the entire Spring. I have to be awake at work. It is just not negotiable – they will not pay me to sleep here. Atlanta is fixing to be in full bloom and, while I may love the way it looks, I will have problems breathing.

So I called my OB’s office and told them my predicament. I explained that I had been controlling the symptoms with Benadyrl over the last week, but that was a short term solution and I was going to have to have something else to manage this over the Spring. And then she said it. Apparently, the doctors there do not approve of their patients taking Benadryl. Sudafed non-drowsey is ok and she started to name off the list of meds. Why the doctors at this practice do not provide a written list is beyond me, but I am fairly certain I can still dig out the list I had from my previous OB. And I KNOW Benadryl is on it. I KNOW it. It was one of the few things I could take. I remember it specifically. I did not say anything about this to the woman on the other end of the phone. I was afraid to walk through that door as I was on the phone at my desk and did not want to run the risk of having too much of my conversation overheard, but I sooo wanted to tell her this. However, I knew it would not matter. For one thing, I have already taken the damn medicine, so if I am wrong (which I am NOT) I have already risked this baby growing a second head by taking the aforementioned 2 doses of Benadryl. I explained to her the list she was giving me would not work for me because I would be taking Sudafed almost everyday until June. There had to be another option. She got my number and the number for my pharmacy, said she would talk to the doctor and call me back.

As soon as I got off the phone, I of course googled Benadryl during pregnancy. The first several sites told me the same thing, basically, “Pregnant women should always check with their health care providers before using any drugs, including over-the-counter allergy medications such as Benadryl. Most healthcare websites, such as the one linked below, list Benadryl as a safe medication to take during pregnancy. However, more research is still needed to prove that Benadryl is safe.” Benadryl was approved by the FDA in 1946, making it the oldest antihistamine available. If they haven’t found any problems over the last 65 years, I am going to go out on a limb and make a guess here. I suppose that means that probably more pregnant women have taken it more than any other antihistamine and so far it has caused nothing like the birth defects of say, Thalidamide, so they suppose it is probably ok. But there is always that little asterisk at the bottom reminding you that “*Please Note: No drug can be considered 100% safe to use during pregnancy.” F#%@&^% cop out. Thanks a lot.

I am trying to put it out of my mind, but I am obviously having difficulty with that. Intellectually, I KNOW I took Benadryl with pregnant with Ezra and, trust me on this, he is good to go – memory like a baby elephant, social and talkative as he can possibly be and, well, maybe a bit hyper, but I attribute that to being a 3 year old boy and not to any kind of mental retardation brought on by my taking Benadryl while pregnant or doing any of the other 5,000 no-nos I am sure I did while carrying him. As you may can tell, this really kind of pissed me off this morning. And I am sure it has nothing to do with me feeling like shit because I cannot get rid of my sinus headache.

What is really upsetting is that there is no consensus. I have had 2 OBs in 4 years and what is fine for me to take according to one of them is not fine according to another. All this basically underlines the “no amount of ________ can be considered safe while pregnant” mentality. It is no better than the abstinence argument used by your sex ed teacher – while fully aware of what was going on every weekend in the back seats of literally hundreds of cars. Since no method of birth control absolutely prevents any chance of pregnancy or STD, then we cannot tell you about or recommend any form of it because to do so would be 1. to promote sex to teenagers and 2. expose us to liability by telling you about something we are not 100% sure of – mostly sure does not count, as this is an all of nothing kind of thing.  As if anything ever can be all or nothing.

All of this just serves to make a pregnant woman feel even worse and more fearful than she already does – and you would think that would not be possible. I have had 2 kids and I am obviously second guessing myself. I cannot imagine how I would feel if this were my first time. I would be petrified.

I just got a call from the nurse. Apparently, I have a UTI as well. Now, I went the doctor over 2 weeks ago and they are just telling me this. And I called them. I wonder how long it would have taken them to get around to letting me know they need to put me on antibiotics (which must be fine to take, but not Benadryl) had I not called about my sinuses. Good thing I am asymptomatic, but I suppose had I been peeing lava, I would have already called them and told them I had a UTI.

When the nurse calls me back, I promise I will not ask if 14+ days is their normal turnaround for informing patients of infections. I will not. That would be bitchy of me, right? But I may make a suggestion that they give patients a list of doctor approved medications, because if Benadryl is not approved, I am scared to think of all the other ways I can screw up this pregnancy.

I already hate the “better safe than sorry” people.  They usually say it in that mind bogglingly irritating sing-song voice.  It screams judgment and a holier-than-thou attitude.  I cannot think of anyone I have ever heard say that who I have not wanted to punch as soon as the words crossed their lips.  Probably even my own mother. Right now, I may just be emotional to do it, too. 

Yeah, I probably should not have posted today.  I promise to make up for it with a happy, sunny, “I am in love with the world” post tomorrow… just hold your breath and wait for it.

1 comment
  1. Turns out the woman who told me that Benadryl was a no-no was mistaken. I nicely asked the nurse to inform who-ever-it-was of this as she could potentially terrify pregnant women. She said she would take care of it.

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