On January 4, 2010, I had just given birth to my first child at the age of 20. It was an emergency C-section that I was not planning on. The next day, I was having a hard time breathing, and I informed the nurses about this. They told me it was normal pain from birth and the C-section, and that I would be fine. I laid in bed for over 24 hours before getting up to walk around. I was in a lot of pain as I tried to recover, but I pushed through. Before being discharged after four days in the hospital, I once again mentioned my pain in my chest and that it hurt when I breathed. The doctors gave me pain medication and sent me home.
The next three weeks were the hardest weeks of my life. I was taking care of a newborn baby and each day, it was a struggle to breathe. If I tried to lay down in bed, I had a sharp pain my left side, followed by what felt like popping. I had to try to sleep standing up. I was gasping for air and couldn’t get two words out before stopping to breathe. For three weeks it got worse and finally after a night of tears and pain, my husband at the time said we needed to get it checked out. I told him the nurses said it was normal and that I didn’t want to leave my daughter. At first he listened but after seeing me in pain that night, we decided to head to the ER. I left my three week old daughter with her aunt and we went. I told my daughter that hat mommy would be back in a few hours.
Within ten minutes of arriving in the ER, I was getting a room. They took blood work and it showed I had some clotting. I had no idea what that meant. They took me for X-rays and a CT scan of my lungs. The results showed multiple blood clots in both lungs with more in the left lung. I still had no clue what was going on. All I knew was that the doctor told us we were lucky we got there when we did or I could have had a heart attack or stroke.
I was very confused and scared. I was just turning 21 years old, and I was being hooked up to IVs and getting blood thinners in my stomach. They still would not tell me how bad everything was. I was without my daughter for a week as I laid in intensive care with around the clock care. In that time, my O2 stats were as low as 68 percent. I had pneumonia and needed blood transfusions as well as other treatments to stop any more clots from forming. I saw my daughter after a week and she held my hand and gave me strength to keep fighting.
It wasn’t until after I got home and had a year of doctor visits with INR checks and treatment with blood thinners, that I truly knew how seriously this all was. Research made me feel lucky and blessed to have survived. I went three weeks with clots forming in my lungs, and I was too stubborn to go get checked, even though I knew something wasn’t right. I never knew what a blood clot was until that very day.
Now, I inform everyone I can about blood clots. During that year, I came up with my own little motto to keep me going when I didn’t want to see doctors anymore – “I am a survivor and there is nothing I can’t do.” I almost lost out on being a mom because I was not informed and wasn’t taken serious by doctors who didn’t think I had a blood clot.
I am now a mom of two children, even though my second pregnancy was considered high risk because of my past experience with pregnancy and blood clots. I went back to school to get a college degree and graduated with high honors. I realized life was short, and I didn’t want to waste another moment, because I was so close to not getting the chance to live life to the fullest.