Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Happened Wednesday 6

This is the continuation of the story about how I got where I am. It started here.

It means I can not take any type or hormonal birth control EVER. It also means that since birth control pills are meant to mimic pregnancy hormones I am at an increased risk of developing blood clots while pregnant.  I spent the next year on Coumadin.  During that year I spent a couple of months on oxygen, usually just when I was walking around for a while.  I also spent the year going back and forth to the doctor and lab.  There were some weeks that I had to have my blood levels checked twice.  That's the tricky thing, Coumadin is a strong blood thinner and the doctors needed my levels to be within a certain range so that my blood wasn't too thick and at risk of clotting again and so that it wasn't too thin.  Within a few months I had a standing order at the lab and could tell by the way I was feeling when my levels were off.  When I began to feel really tired and lethargic or lightheaded I knew I needed to get them checked and they were usually off and my medication was adjusted.

In May 2006, approximately a year after being hospitalized with blood clots, I was given the green light to stop taking Coumadin.  It was pretty scary to go from taking a medication everyday to being told that I didn't need to take it anymore.  During this time the hubby and I had wanted to start a family but could not until I was healthy and off of the blood thinners.  Since we knew that birth control caused me to have clots and that birth control mimics pregnancy hormones we figured I would be a high risk pregnancy but we weren't sure what precautions would be needed.

In October 2006, approximately 5 months after coming off of Coumadin, I found out I was pregnant with little man.  Because of my medical history, I was sent to a maternal fetal medicine specialist to determine what course of action should be taken.  The specialist retested me for clotting disorders and immune disorders which all came back negative.  I had to do twice daily blood thinner injections and have extra ultrasounds to make sure no clots developed on the placenta and that little man was growing as he should.  Everything went well and I have a healthy little boy. Did I have an easy or normal pregnancy? Not at all.

I had to be careful and make sure that I did not miss an injection.  Some days were better than others.  Luckily, when I was released from the hospital the year before I was on Lovenox and they taught my husband and myself how to do the injections.  There were several occasions where I was so tired and emotional that I was unable to do the shots myself.  On those days I was so thankful that the hubby could step in and do it for me and that he was willing to.  Throughout my pregnancy with little man there were several sonograms.  I can't complain about getting to see my little guy more than most.  I did have a scare after my 20 week sonogram.  The doctor saw that my placenta was low.  Low enough to be of concern.  Their concern was that if I developed placenta previa and began to bleed it would be difficult to stop since I was on blood thinners and I couldn't stop the blood thinners for fear of developing a clot.  I was extremely lucky and my placenta moved on it's own and the additional risks vanished with it.  

Around 33 or 34 weeks I began to swell.  My hands and feet were the worst.  All I could wear were flip flops and drinking excessive amounts of water and putting my feet up were not working.  One leg was worse than the other and at my next appointment I was sent for an ultrasound to see if I had developed a blood clots in my leg. The results were good, I didn’t have any blood clots.    The swelling was getting worse because my blood pressure was rising.  I had noticed at my previous appointment that my blood pressure had crept up from it's normal range.

Maybe a week later I began to feel ill.  I thought I had a stomach bug.  I was swelling and it wouldn’t go down and my stomach was a mess.  I could barely keep food in it.  My co-workers at the time insisted that I leave and go to the doctor.  I contacted my OB’s office and the nurse said it was probably a bug but if I was worried they could fit me in that afternoon.  I requested the afternoon appointment.  (Aren’t you proud I didn’t write it off like I did when I had the clots?  I learned my lesson.)  When I went in the doctor took my blood pressure several times.  She then told me that my blood pressure was too high and wasn’t going down.  That along with my other symptoms had her concerned.  I was told to leave the office and go straight to labor and delivery.

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