Fake Factor V, Heparin, and the Puffy Pregnant Girl.
I have fake Factor V Leiden.
Okay, not exactly "fake," but this blood disorder can come in two forms: heterozygous and homozygous. I have Factor V Leiden heterozygous, which means I have one mutated allele and am a higher risk for deep vein thrombosis than your average blogger, but not as high as my homozygous counterparts.
I didn't know this disorder was part of my genetic makeup until about a year and a half ago, after a family member was diagnosed and prompted the rest of us to get screened. And at that time, I didn't have to make many changes, other than switching my birth control pill and popping a baby aspirin before I got on a plane.
But playing host to my little lady friend now, Ms. BSparl, raises risk factors for clotting across the board. Which means that I need to regard Factor V as a viable enemy, instead of "just that thing." Between bed rest (aka "lazy lump of Kerri), pregnancy (aka "growing awesome baby"), and Factor V (aka "blargh"), I'm at an increased risk of throwing a clot, so precautionary measures are being taken.
Namely: compression boots and Heparin shots.
The boots don't bug me. I know some people on Twitter were a little split on their opinions, but I am holding on to about 10lbs of fluid below the knees, so these boots (which blow up and relax in a way that compresses my legs and keeps the circulation at an optimal level) are helping to alleviate some of the swelling. I wore them for a few hours and after taking them off, I saw my ankles again. ANKLES! Hadn't seen those suckers in about two weeks, so that was a treat. Ankles and I had tea and crumpets and celebrated their re-emergence.
What bugs me are the Heparin shots. For several reasons.
First off, I'm not on complete bed rest. I'm on modified bed rest, so that means I'm able to use the bathroom, shower, and wander to the kitchenette for ice water and tea. So the idea of taking an anti-coagulant because of my doctor's requests that I lay low just makes me feel plain lazy. Lazy and I? We don't get along, not even in theory. I'd much rather do a little exercising every day instead of taking these injections, but I do understand that the priority is keeping my blood pressure down, watching the swelling, and - oh yeah - resting.
Secondly, the concept of Heparin freaks me out because if my situation progresses quickly and my daughter needs to be delivered without much notice, this whole mess goes from "scheduled c-section" to "actual surgery," where I'll need to be put under and wouldn't be awake for the birth of the most important person I'll ever know. In that situation, Chris wouldn't be able to be in the delivery room and I wouldn't see BSparl until I came around from the anesthesia. That does NOT sound like a fun plan to me. Granted, Heparin takes 4 - 6 hours to get out of my system, so this kind of emergency situation is unlikely (especially considering how often they monitor me here), but still, I'm uneasy at the thought.
And thirdly, the shots suck. Royally. Even though I've asked to use an insulin syringe and administer the injections myself, the pain is sharp, and the bruising is intense. It looks like someone stuck violet petals all over the backs of my arms and on my thighs, but that's making it sound too pretty. Actually, it looks more like the nurses come in here at night, grab me violently by the arms, and shake me around until I yell "Uncle!" (Or, more likely, "Nurse!) Here, have a look:
Ghastly. And other than the look of it, it's hard to find real estate to inject the Heparin into, seeing as how my lower back is claimed by the pump and my legs have dibs called by the Dexcom.
I'm having blood drawn today to check the levels of anti-coagulant in my body, which will help my medical team see if this is the right course of treatment for me to actually be on. I think this just gets chalked up to "another hurdle during a high risk pregnancy," and while I'm bitching about it now, the payoff (read: cuddling with my kiddo) far outweighs any arm bruises or discomfort.