Pregnancy 911: A Purple Leg & Bloody Breast Milk

Pregnancy 911: A Purple Leg & Bloody Breast Milk

Before I get into my pregnancy horror story, I want to start by saying I am blessed to have a healthy, happy three-month-old baby boy. That being said, grab your wine, you’re in for quite an experience.

After surviving 4 months of “morning sickness” (I don’t know who the genius was that named it that! Should be 24/7 sickness.) I thought it would be smooth sailing. However, I was very wrong. Around the end of my sixth month, I started noticing a pain in my upper left leg and difficulty breathing.  I assumed it was normal pregnancy symptoms. At that time I was working my full-time job interpreting as well as cleaning houses with my mom part-time.  It was not until my seventh month of pregnancy that I started thinking something was not right. My mom started noticing how much I was struggling to breathe after performing even the easiest task. The pain in my leg was getting consistent and more intense. I decided to tell my OB about it at my next appointment. When I told the nurse practitioner about it she said it was probably a UTI and prescribed antibiotics. In my head, I was like “I’ve never heard of a UTI hurting in your leg and not having any other UTI symptoms, but whatever I won’t argue with her about it”. By the following week, the pain continued to increase.

 

Photo of Maggie's leg due to a blood clot

That Thursday I went to work and was in severe pain.  I could not walk more than five feet without struggling to breathe. Midday my leg was numb. Now at this point, I’m sure you’re asking yourself why the heck is this woman not in the hospital?! Answer— I refuse to go to the ER unless I am on my last leg. Well by the end of my workday, I literally was! I was dragging my left leg around and it was purple. When I say purple I mean Barney the dinosaur purple.

Finally, I went to the ER. Of course, I got the typical arrogant doctor who laughed at me and said it was probably just round ligament pain. Thank God for the nurse. She helped me fight my case and convince him to do an ultrasound on the leg. They did, and the ultrasound technician found it instantly.  Turns out I had a deep vein thrombosis. A fancy term for big freaking blood clot. They then did a CAT scan and found clots in both my lungs. They kept me 48 hours, put me on Lovenox shots, and told me over and over again how “lucky” I was they found it.

The end right? I wish! The nightmare had just begun. I had to give myself 2 injections daily, go to a minimum of 2 doctors appointments a week, and stop cleaning houses. They sent me to specialist after specialist, each more arrogant and rude than the other. My OB decided that it would be best to induce me one week before my due date, due to being on a blood thinner. A week before I was supposed to be induced I was dilated 5cm and had lost my mucus plug. My OB was extremely worried and told me they were sending me to the hospital to get induced THAT night.  I was freaked out. However, the delivery really went as well as it could. Other than the fact I had him natural and that is the most horrific pain imaginable, but that’s a story for another time. They switched me to 5mg of Warfarin plus the Lovenox shots, in hopes of phasing out the shots eventually. That ended up taking longer than expected. They were struggling to get my blood thin enough. Weeks and weeks went by of changing doses. I had to go in once a week to have it tested. They could not figure out what was going on. Each time saying “you have us stumped”, which is just what you want to hear. Finally, they decided to take me off the shots and just increase my dose of Warfarin to 15mg daily.

 

Bloody Spit Up On Maggie's baby's Blanket

 

One night, I breastfed my son and then left him with his dad so I could run a quick errand.  I got a text from his dad with a picture of maroon vomit on my son’s shirt.  I was freaked out!I immediately did the two things everyone does when they don’t have the answers. Ask Google and ask Mommy. Both said he had probably swallowed some blood. My nipple must’ve been cracked and bleeding. Just to be safe I decided to give him formula for the night and pump.

 

Later that night I pumped and was horrified at what I saw.  I was pumping out bright red blood. Not just a little drop here and there, literally all three ounces was blood. The next morning I told my hematologist about it and they had no answers for me.  When they did a blood test my blood was thinner than it had ever been. We assumed that was somehow the cause of the blood in my milk.

 

 

Maggie's breast milk mixed with blood

Since then they have lowered my dose of blood thinner and soon will be taking me off of it all together. At my insistence, they are planning on doing some tests to see if the blood clots are genetic or if I just got them because of being pregnant. My symptoms have subsided for the most part. If I get pregnant again I will be put on a blood thinner for the whole duration of the pregnancy.

This was definitely a learning experience.  First, you have to listen to your body! You know better than anyone when something is off. Second, do not just accept what the medical professionals say. Many of them do not seem to care enough to actually find the cause of an issue, they just want to prescribe medication. Third, sometimes you can do everything right and something can still go wrong. The important thing is to not freak out and remember everything is in God’s hands.

 

 

 

Do you have a pregnancy horror story?  We would love to hear yours below in the comments.

 

 
Maggie is a first-time mommy to Robby,
an ASL Interpreter, swim instructor,
and Plexus rep.

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