When I was 37 weeks pregnant with my first child, I began experiencing a painful, pressurized cramping sensation in my upper thigh that was dismissed by three different OB/GYNs during my weekly appointments. They assured me it was just the baby putting pressure on nerves and ligaments in my pelvis.
However, at 17 days post-delivery I was short of breath, experienced a stabbing pain in my rib, and I thought I was having a heart attack one evening while holding my newborn. At the hospital, a CT scan of my chest and a Doppler of my leg showed I had bilateral pulmonary emboli and an almost occlusive deep vein thrombosis.
Blood work and genetic tests revealed I have two copies of the Factor V Leiden mutation and one copy of the prothrombin gene mutation. I was placed on blood thinning injections twice daily for nine months, then switched to an oral anticoagulant.
For subsequent pregnancies, I was monitored by the hospital’s High-Risk Maternal/Fetal medicine clinic, gave myself daily blood thinning injections, and had inductions scheduled so the baby and I could be monitored.
Fast forward to January 2021. I was 11 weeks pregnant with baby #3 when I experienced shortness of breath and pain in my lungs. I went to the ER immediately and they found another PE, despite being on injectable anticoagulants. After a few days of monitoring and discussions with my hematologist and pulmonologist, I was sent home to rest and recover.
I’m so thankful that the remainder of my pregnancy was largely unremarkable, and I experienced no physical complications postpartum. However, dealing with the psychological toll that a PE and DVT can take on oneself has been difficult.
I took a very deep dive into learning about blood clots after my diagnosis. NBCA provided me with resources and validation, which my medical team did not.
I highly encourage people to advocate for themselves and their loved ones if something doesn’t feel right and to seek mental health treatment and/ or support after such a traumatic event if needed.
Signs and Symptoms of Blood Clots
Blood Clots and Pregnancy
Factor V Leiden