Being diagnosed with a clot was the scariest and most unexpected thing to ever happen in my life.
When I gave birth in March, I was so excited. I wasn’t scared for labour because I knew that this meant it was the end. I’d finally meet the baby of my dreams and it would be the time to become the mummy I’ve always wanted to be.
I gave birth to beautiful daughter at 06.06am on a Sunday, weighing 7lbs and 5oz via forceps delivery.
On the Monday I was sent home! It was finally time to deal with things on my own, on our own. I was bleeding heavily but I didn’t realise this was an issue. With her being my first baby, I didn’t know what to really expect and what was normal. Most women bleed a normal amount, however for me, I was passing extremely large clots.
I am 21 years old and in March I was diagnosed with a clot to my left lung (professionally named a Pulmonary Embolism) but this isn’t something I was educated by from my midwife.
I am here to spread awareness and let other mummies who suffer clots (PE or DVT) know that I’m here for them. This article isn’t to scaremonger, no, it’s to educate.
On the second day after not leaving my bedroom with the exception of weeing, I didn’t have the energy. I was sore from my delivery and I was tired because I was on tap for a baby who only slept 25 minutes at a time but fed for 1-2hrs. I again, thought this was normal. I couldn’t move anywhere due to being breathless, my heart was racing like I was going to have a panic attack but I remember sitting there thinking ‘what am I freaking out over?’. I didn’t understand what was wrong.
On March 14th the ambulance service was called to my home because I had collapsed. I couldn’t see properly, I couldn’t catch my breath and I was very dizzy. They rushed me in without a moment’s hesitation, got me wired up and explained after some blood tests that when I went into labour I was 121 HB (haemoglobin) then straight after birth I was 71 then on the Tuesday I was only 84. They told me I was showing all the signs for a clot and I needed blood thinners, they also told me I had to send my daughter home due to the area of the hospital that I needed to go too.
I was crushed. Scared. And most of all, worrying for the future.
I was on a heart monitor at the time and had the worst breakdown. My daughter was the only thing making me feel this was worth fighting and for her to not stay with me? Especially as she was EBF? I couldn’t cope. My husband saw the effect it was causing and spoke to a nurse on shift, she was extremely nice and managed to get me a bed behind the A&E department.
To this day, I am incredibly thankful to this woman. She doesn’t realise the positive effect she had on my mental health.
Breastfeeding during blood transfusion.
The Wednesday came and at 9AM I was sent to have a scan of my chest. My next hurdle could of jeopardised my breastfeeding journey. This is because before going in, I was told after I had the scan that I was now on a 72 hour breastfeeding ban. I cried. I kept thinking ‘now this is it, I’m never going to do it again’.
I gave her one last feed, taking a lot of pictures to remember this wonderful moment. Then she was taken off me by my sister and I was carted away.
I struggled walking to the special bed, the gentlemen there held my hand and helped me to get comfortable. I was injected with a small amount of radiation which served the purpose of highlighting any blockages. I went into the machine and told to follow the steps it commanded, which I did.
But for the 15 minutes I was in there all I kept thinking was how I was a failure to my husband and daughter. I thought this was going to be the end and I was to never see my little family again.
But most of all, I thought I was faulty at only 21.
They took me back to my room to where I don’t really remember much. I was put into bed and straight away I felt sick, dizzy and in pain. I couldn’t speak, or open my eyes. I knew this was it, this was now the end. I made peace with myself and fell asleep.
The took me to the Cestrian ward to recover with my daughter near. The room had two beds and this was so my husband could stay over with me, to help with feeds and to look after me and our brand new little person.
My husband and sisters stayed to look after Phoebe in shifts. A few nights it would be one sister, then they’d swap and other nights I would have both of them and send my partner home.
This is something they didn’t have to do but because now I was on a ban, it was time to feed her with bottles of donor milk. For two days I didn’t eat, drink or pee because I was basically unconscious and I slept for two days straight.
On the Friday I was just a good few hours from my ban being lifted. I spoke to the doctor who put me on a drip and in total I had four bags of blood to help lift my levels.
Donor milk is something I will always be thankful for. I hope soon I will be able to repay the donor banks and donate more than my daughter needed, just to help others.
Saturday came and it was breastfeeding day. From the Wednesday when I was admitted, I was told to express hourly. Unfortunately this was something I only managed to do twice in the whole of the three days because I physically had no energy. After a good breakdown in the bathroom with my husband, I had convinced that it wouldn’t happen. That I had left it too long and I had failed.
She woke up for a cry, my husband handed her to me and bang! She latched on! I was crying tears of joy, I couldn’t believe it. This is something I have dreamt about since day one. My husband fetched the consultant who checked my latch, checked I was producing and congratulated me by saying ‘you’re doing fine. I can hear the milk and she is very happy’.
First latch picture after the ordeal.
After this I was in for two weeks altogether. I had my Tinzaparin shots at 9am every day, I was breastfeeding on and off when she wanted it and I was starting to get back to normal. It took about a week or two after the diagnosis to start getting my strength up with daily iron tablets, water and rest.
Now 7 months onwards I’m able to go to the gym, walk the dogs and do more activities than what I was able to do whilst pregnant. What upsets me is that everything I went through wasn’t ever mentioned by midwives. Pre-Eclampsia is something that is drilled into your head but nothing about the off chance you could suffer with a clot in either your leg or lungs.
On the 3rd October I finished my 6 month treatment on Warfarin which I started in April. I had to get my blood levels checked every two weeks and given a dose to suit my levels. The staff were fantastic, helpful and informative. They gave me the inspiration to blog and raise awareness on this because it can happen.
If you or someone you know ever has to suffer with this then know you will get better, you will survive this and to be able to tell the tale like me. Take each day as it comes, take it slow and don’t push yourself to feel better straight away as you need time to recover.
When I want to start trying for baby number two next year, I will be on baby aspirin. Then throughout the whole of my pregnancy and the 6 weeks after, I will be on blood thinning injections. Even though it was scary and I thought it was the end for me, I am now completely back to normal and ready for my next baby. It was a horrible and traumatic experience but it isn’t going to stop me from wanting my big family and lots of babies.
Last day in hospital.
I’d just like to thank the Countess of Chester nurses who aided me in everything, from taking my daughter for a walk around whilst me and my husband slept to checking my stitches. If it wasn’t for those ladies then I don’t know where’d be today. Thank you to the staff who helped me. And also a thank you to Anticoagulant Clinic for being so sweet to me and my daughter.
But my biggest thanks goes to my wonderful husband, Clarke. My two sisters, Emily and Katie. Not to mention my Mum and Dad and also my husband’s side too. All of you gave me such motivation, extra pair of hands and cuddles when I needed it most. I love you all so much, I couldn’t of done it without you all.