Save A Life...

Jennifer’s Story

Jennifer’s Blood Clots in Pregnancy Story

My story began when I was 26 weeks pregnant with our first baby in August 2015. I walked down to work from the DART station and felt a slight pain in my left leg. When I got to work, I went up to the wards but had to sit down my leg was so sore. One of the nurses told me to go down to my office and ring my maternity hospital for advice.

The maternity hospital advised me to go straight to A&E where they would scan me to rule out a clot. On arriving to A&E it was busy but I was seen in triage without too much of a wait. I updated the doctor about my call to the maternity hospital and their advice to rule out a clot to which he replied “we do our own assessment here”. I was seen by two doctors and one of them went to discuss my presentation with his consultant. When he came back, he said that the consultant’s wife was also at a similar stage of pregnancy and had pain like mine and advised me I had pelvic girdle pain from doing aqua aerobics and antenatal yoga the two nights prior to the sudden pain. I was sent home with a bottle of water, 2 x Paracetamol while limping, and the hospital prescribing me bed rest.

The next 2 weeks were eventful. I had a call with my GP who wasn’t happy with me being sent home from A&E and she sent me to the maternity hospital. At the maternity hospital I was again told I had pelvic girdle pain and referred to physio. When I finally saw physio, I was walking on crutches. I’ll never forget the weekend in between all this as my Dad had a joint 60th birthday party with my uncle who was 50. I was miserable, sitting in a wheelchair in agony, heavily pregnant and trying to put on a happy face for friends and family I hadn’t seen in ages. I had so many medical staff dismiss me by then that it was hard to keep pushing for answers and as it was my first pregnancy, I didn’t have anything to compare it to.

Eventually, 12 days after my first visit to A&E, I went back into the hospital, in a wheelchair unable to walk, armed with my mother and we had decided we weren’t leaving the hospital without proper investigations. I still remember sitting outside the scanning room doubting myself and thinking I was wasting everyone’s time but knowing I couldn’t get through 12 more weeks of pain. If I’d stayed at home believing that I had pelvic girdle dysfunction I wouldn’t be here today. I was diagnosed with a massive DVT which had started in my groin and traveled down my leg.

The next few weeks were a blur, hospital stays, learning to inject me with Clexane injections, trying to stay positive for my little baby, and having physio sessions to try get off my crutches before going into labour. The need for maternity services to be on-site with hospitals was never more apparent. I was a week in hospital when I got my DVT diagnosed and all I wanted was to see that my baby was OK but no one could provide me with a scan of my baby.

Once I was linked back in with the maternity hospital, I met the most amazing team in the high-risk clinic. They were so reassuring and thorough. After my delivery, the nurse in charge was straight up to my ward making sure everything was in order. My hematologist is one of the calmest and level-headed ladies I have ever met and I’m so thankful to them. We really have brilliant health care professionals in this country. My experience was that getting the right diagnosis so that I was linked in with the right people was so difficult but once I was on the right pathway I couldn’t have been in better hands.

Our gorgeous Tilly was born in November 2015 after a traumatic and very medical-led labour and in March 2016, I was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden and May Thurner syndrome. Since then, I’ve had our other little girl Emma and my pregnancy and delivery with her was totally different experience as I started heparin injections, immediately I knew I was pregnant.

Life now is busy and great fun with a 4 and a 5-year-old. I wouldn’t have it any other way but I do worry if they have inherited Factor V Leiden from me. I take a small dose of aspirin daily as a preventative and attend Haematologist every 2 years. There are so many stories of people being sent home from hospital with clots and I’m thankful for the awareness Thrombosis Ireland is bringing to it.