My name is Aimee and I am aged 33. This is my Story.
At 7 weeks pregnant I began to feel unwell; It started off as a head cold and there were lots of doses doing the rounds at the time, but I normally suffer with chest infections and don’t ever remember having such a bad head cold. I had to call in sick into work just before the Christmas holidays. I spent all of Christmas dosed and managed one walk with my husband and really struggled even at that. I had to go back to bed on Christmas day as I had no energy, severe headaches, and huge pressure in my temples and behind my eyes.
I got shooting pains to my head when I coughed and these shooting pains happened if I reached down to pick up something, stood up or looked in a different directions. After 10 days, I was not improving. I saw my GP who prescribed antibiotics. These helped with the sinus infection but the pains in my head continued. I returned to work in January but still didn’t feel great. I went back to my GP and was prescribed stronger inhalers and five days of steroids. The day after I completed the course of steroids, I went down hill again dreadfully. I was unable to get out of bed as the pains in my head were so excruciating. I had cried myself to sleep and begged my Husband to squeeze my head to alleviate the pain/pressure. I had to call sick into work again despite forcing myself to get up and just get on with it. I was not able due to the pain. I revisited my GP and he didn’t like what I was describing and sent me to A&E in Beaumont hospital with a referral for an MRI. The first doctor that saw me, was happy to arrange for a CT scan on my brain. After a turn over of staff, after waiting hours to be seen , the second doctor was hesitant to send me for a CT scan. He was very close to sending me home but also expressed how he was not happy to do that either. He didn’t like the symptoms I was describing. Especially how I described the pain when I moved my head.
The CT scan was arranged. After another number of hours. I was then introduced to a stroke physician who told me I had a clot on my brain. He informed me it was a CVST, Cerebral, Venous Sinus Thrombosis. I was shocked but also relieved that I had an answer to why I was in so much pain. I was immediately injected with a blood thinner and was told I would continue to take these every 24 hours for the remainder of my pregnancy and post-delivery. I was 12.5 weeks pregnant at this stage and I was unaware that being pregnant increased my risk of getting a clot. I wish someone had informed me. I wish I knew all the signs & symptoms of blood clots. I would never have waited at home for so long and put myself and my baby at risk. I could have had a stroke or even died.
I am 33 years old and a non-smoker. I have a healthy BMI, I am very active and enjoy looking after my health. I did not answer ‘yes’ to any questions that the stroke team asked me. They ultimately put my CVST down to a combination of the sinus infection and pregnancy.
My pregnancy is now deemed high risk as a result of the clot and I am under the care of a Senior Haematologist in the National Maternity Hospital. I had a review with the stroke team in Beaumont and will get another CT scan 11 weeks after our baby is born. I am injecting every day and I am scared that all will go well with the remainder of my pregnancy.
I hope that my story can help raise awareness for anyone else that might be of similar age and expecting a baby, or for anyone that might be experiencing similar symptoms, male or female because I now know that blood clots can happen to anyone, young or old, fit or unwell.
I was told by a member of staff in work that they too experienced headaches for their entire pregnancy. A family member had said she experienced migraines throughout her pregnancy too. I would suffer with headaches, migraines and sensitivity to light quite regularly but the level of pain and pressure I was experiencing was nothing like I had felt before. My advice would be not to ignore your pain, especially if it does not improve. Go to your GP and continue to keep going if you still feel unwell. My advice to friends and family would be that, if a loved one is unwell and they are presenting with any symptoms that don’t sit right with you, encourage them to get it checked and to continue getting it checked until they have an answer or show improvement.
Luckily, I was listened to by my GP and the Doctors in the hospital. I am blessed the clot was discovered.