I developed my first blood clot at 16 years old, a massive deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my left leg, extending from the middle of my shin to my belly button. Unfortunately, this clot resulted in multiple pulmonary emboli (PE), both caused by oral contraceptives.
I developed another DVT at eight weeks pregnant, even though I had started a low dose of heparin two weeks earlier upon learning of my pregnancy. My third incident, two pulmonary emboli, was almost a year after childbirth. This was my first non-hormone-related clot. It was also when doctors found my antithrombin III deficiency and told me I’d be on blood thinners indefinitely.
I was prescribed warfarin. About a year later, I was put on enoxaparin while I conceived another child. My entire second pregnancy went well on enoxaparin, and I nursed my baby for two years on warfarin afterward.
However, my levels were always up and down on warfarin, and I clotted for the fourth time. I was then switched to rivaroxban and went years without any issues.
It wasn’t until I had my third child, almost a decade after the switch to rivaroxban, that I had my most recent DVT. I followed the same protocol of conceiving on enoxaparin, and I had planned to stay nursing on enoxaparin. Unfortunately, I developed another DVT during childbirth in the 12 hours that I was off all blood thinners.
Afterward, I went back to rivaroxban. I’m currently a year postpartum. I recently had an ultrasound of my left leg, where all of my DVTs have been, and was told all is clear!
My antithrombin III deficiency, combined with birth control, pregnancy, and childbirth, contributed to my blood clots. Having a clotting disorder has made me view life, especially motherhood, as a privilege I am so grateful to experience.