Some of you may have been following what has been going on this week through Twitter and Flickr. I still can't understand what has happened so I have decided to write about it here in hopes that someone who reads my blog has experienced something similar.
It started early last Sunday morning, I woke up to a sharp pain in my upper arm. So intense that it made me jump up in tears. It felt like someone had stabbed me in the arm or what my brain thought it would feel like if someone stabbed me. I got up and shook my arm out a bit in hopes that it would go away. Max was sleeping in the bed with me and I didn't want to wake him. I layed down and tried to sleep but was unsuccessful. The day started and we got up to meet with family for morning play and lunch. I ignored the pain in hopes that it would go away. It did not. I endured the pain until the afternoon and I think sometime upon returning to my sister's apartment I passed out because of fatigue and pain. I woke up to the most intense pain I've ever felt. My arm was pretty much incapacitated and we decided to go to the ER.
After waiting nearly 4 hours to be seen due to other cases that were more serious, I was finally sent for a sonogram of my upper extremity and there they found that I had two clots. One in my internal jugular and another in a secondary artery. Both that run from my heart through to my arm. After that diagnosis, I was wisked away into a room and give medication and told to lay down. I suddenly became a priority patient. With in minutes, I was seen by a barrage of doctors and specialists and told that I was going to be admitted. All the while, I only knew they found a clot and that I needed medical attention asap.
Once I was admitted I was given a drug called Lovenox. Apparent this is THE DRUG to combat against blood clots. And the best one to take when you are pregnant. It does not affect the baby because the drug can't pass through the placenta. I was administered a shot in my belly and later learned that I would have to administer this shot myself twice a day until the end of the pregnancy and 6 week postpartum. And I learned that because of the proximity of the clot to my heart (it is located in my chest on the upper left side) they can not operate to remove it. The only thing that can be done is to take Lovenox to prevent the development of other clots and hope that the existing ones do not break off and go where they are not supposed to. Like to my lungs.
The OB/GYN specialist who followed me explained that it's highly rare for there to be a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) in the upper extremity like the one I have unless I've had an IV port recently or a blood transfusion. Both of which I haven't had. The last time I had an IV was two years ago for the birth of Maximilien. I have blood drawn once a month to monitor for toxoplasmosis but that is usually in the other arm and the doctor doesn't believe that it came from that. And to my knowledge I know of no other member of my family that has had blood clots so the only other explanation is that pregnant women are higher risk for clotting due to the pregnancy itself. But the doctor didn't seem to really buy into that either because I would have mostly like developed a clot in my leg and not in my upper body.
All this scares the shit out of me.
So, this is what I know now....
- BB is just fine. She is active and growing and the blood flow through my placenta to her is exactly as it should be.
- I have to take two shots of Lovenox for the next 4 months and 6 weeks after birth. A shot that I have to administer myself in MY BELLY. I was scared of needles but not anymore...
- I will probably have to take some sort of anti-coagulant every time I fly now. The reason being that once your body clots like this it has a tendency to keep doing it. Sounds weird but the doctor explained it to me as like Girls Gone Wild, once one clot shows up and decides to hang around others follow suit.
- I am now considered a high risk pregnancy and probably won't have too much control on how BB will be born. But this is to be confirmed with my own OB/GYN in Paris. The American doctor told me that I would need to C-Section to birth this baby to make sure everything went alright.
- And the thing that scares me the most is that this clot probably won't go away. And it's in my chest and near my heart. The doctor reassured me that it's much more dangerous to have one in your leg then your chest. Because the risk of pulmonary embolism is much higher but still. It freaks me out that it's right there in my chest.
I did some quick research of giving birth while on Lovenox especially VBAC and found a thread on Baby Center that was interesting. I have a lot of researching to do on my part and am anxious to get home and see my own doctor which will entail getting on an international flight again. I am scared.
So, there you have it. Our vacation so far. Whoopee.
Anyone who has an experience on DVTs, giving birth on anti-coagulants or any word of support is very welcome. The power of Twitter is amazing. Someone sent me this tweet the day I was released. But for now I don't even know how to get my mind around all that has happened.