It seems our streak of pregnancy good luck has come to what we are hoping is only a temporary pause. Last Friday I developed severe pain in my left leg which had swelled up and turned an impressive shade of purple. After sticking it out through the weekend, Jeff drove me to see the doctor first thing Monday morning. She took one look at my leg and sent us immediately to maternity triage where they took an ultrasound of my leg and found a large blood clot.
Blood clots in general terms are mostly healthy and lifesaving because they stop bleeding. However, they can also be very dangerous when formed abnormally in the body causing a handful of life threatening conditions. The doctor explained to us that during pregnancy, your body ramps up it's ability to clot blood in preparation for delivery. However, in some cases, your body gets really good at clotting which, unfortunately, can be bad.
In my case, the clot formed just where my left leg meets my midsection. The doctors think that what might have happened is that the baby has been sitting in a way that was pinching one of my veins. This slows the blood flow and sometimes even stops it at times which are prime conditions for blood clots to form.
After the diagnosis, the baby and I have temporarily become downtown residents at Butterworth Hospital - we missed living downtown just that much!
This condition puts us in the high risk pregnancy category, but have no fear, the doctors are putting together a game plan on how we will proceed over the next couple weeks and into the delivery process. They've started by putting me on blood thinners which are self administered shots to the belly twice daily and they've recommended pain medication so I can get some sleep during the night. I'm still in quite a bit of pain that the doctors say will go away once the clot dissolves itself. The thinners, while aren't necessarily intended to make my current clot go away, will help prevent more clots from forming. The clot I have now will eventually be absorbed into the body and in some cases new veins, if the old vein was shut off completely, will form around the clot. The body is a wondrous thing.
From the sounds of it, I'll need to be on the blood thinners for the next 6 months and then start the process all over again with any subsequent pregnancies moving forward. Once susceptible to blood clots, always susceptible to blood clots.
The real 'game plan' starts rolling in the few weeks leading up to delivery. While the blood thinners are great for preventing clots now and after baby arrives, they are not allowed during labor because they increase the risk of bleeding out. The exact details are still being worked out but from the sounds of it the doctors are considering inserting a filter in the main artery leading to my lungs at around 36 weeks (in about two weeks). It's a minor surgery that will prevent any clots that may form during labor from reaching my lungs preventing breathing. After delivery, I'll go back on the blood thinners per usual and a few weeks later they'll remove the filter.
The good news is that the baby has not been affected by this so far. She's happy and healthy and still getting hiccups 6 times a day. This is most certainly a 'momma issue' and not a baby one and as long as I can stay healthy through delivery we'll all be good to go. I just need to get used to sticking myself with a needle twice a day.
As for Jeff and I, we're a little startled by the news but glad to know what's going on and grateful for our awesome doctors. We were told there was nothing we could have done to prevent this and that this just happens sometimes. It really is out of our hands so we're just going with the flow and following the doctors game plan.
We've been told we'll be discharged as soon as the doctors have all the details sorted out and blood work is returned making sure the dosage I'm on right now is sufficient. We're in good spirits and pretty damn grateful for health insurance right now!
We're not up for visitors right now (there's nothing to see here anyways ;) but feel free to call or text Jeff or myself - I may not be able to walk but I can still type an talk!