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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:

Stupid bruises from the heparin injections.

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.


I love the compression boots. I have had elephant ankles at the end of the day for years, to the point I can't wear socks.

They put me on the boots when I had my surgery in may and the edema is much better. I'd like to sign up for the boots every three months. Okay, I'd like to sign up for them every night, but I know that isn't happening.

im sorry you are bruising! keeping your eye on the prize is a great way to look at it!!!

Is there a reason why they can't/don't/won't put in an IV and push all your meds through it? Seems like it would be kinder to your skin!

I hate IVs, so if you've opted NOT to have one I completely understand. They're annoying as hell. But since I was forced to have one "just in case something goes wrong" when they induced my second kid, and considering all the things they're monitoring you for, I would think they'd already have one installed and ready to go, "just in case."

I know it's hard to believe, but someday you'll barely remember all of this. The joy and love you feel at the birth of your child will shine so brightly that it will obscure all of these painful and uncomfortable memories, when you look back at them. You'll remember that it all happened, and if you try you'll be able to remember the details, but when you look back it'll just be, "When the baby was born," not, "When I was stuck in the hospital for weeks, scared and bruised and bored."

Hang in there!

Adding an extra "risk" factor to an already high risk pregnancy does suck, so you have a right to be frustrated!

You are doing a great job!

Those bruises look brutal! Sorry you have to go through that, but I'm glad you know that it will be worth it once you have the baby in your arms!!!

OUCH! Hang in there Kerri! Sending positive vibes to you and bSparl~

On a personal note, thanks for the heads up on this thing called Factor V Leiden.
I need to learn more about it.

Kelly K

Screw painkillers, the thing that helped me actually sleep after surgery were those compression boots. I missed them so much the first few days home, when I swelled, twenty-five lbs of water weight.

Nasty bruises, although I'm wondering what I do wrong as some weeks I come of looking like that with my insulin pen needles!

I have read your blog for quite a while and really consider you to be an absolute inspiration. My daughter, now 11, was diagnosed at 8. I am so excited for you and Chris that your little one is almost here. I have two daughters and cannot even fathom my life before them. Hang in there! I wish you didn't have the "puffiness", etc. but trust me it will all be worth it!

ohhh... your story is unfolding just like mine a little over a year ago! I was on Fragmin injections, woke up with "those" boots on after delivery, tho. The first night I woke up screaming 'Get those %$@&-ing things off me' I was SOOO itchy underneath the boots... I figured it was the morphine. I hate to tell ya... but if you're hands are puffy... the anastelogist (sp?!) is going to have a difficult time finding a vein to poke you for an IV... and he will continue to pok your hand until he gets ir right. but STAY FOCUSED ON THE PRIZE at the end. That's what my diabetic nurse kept telling me. I can't believe how much your story sounds lik mine! Hang in there!!! It's SOOOOOOOOO worth it! xo

I just got put on lovenox (for about a week) and then coumadin. The bruises are terrible and last forever. I had the same difficulty finding a place to inject with the dexcom and pump occupying prime real estate. I'm glad it all worked out. I can understand the concern you must have felt.

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