I was 15, in my sophomore year of high school and living the teen life and loving it. I was invincible! My family and I were at a restaurant for dinner and as we were standing up to leave when my 6’4” father, (who mind you was strong like bull) fell to the ground. Me, being 15 was so embarrassed! Mom helped him up and asked him what happened? He said nothing, of course… nothing is ever wrong with dads, right? Later, when my parents were alone, my dad told my mom that his calf and behind his knee had been aching with unbearable pain. Like he had pulled a muscle but didn’t remember doing anything that physical lately. He went to the urgent care for an ultrasound on his leg and the doctors immediately stopped and rushed him out the door to the hospital. He had a foot-long blood clot in his leg! After many tests, pokes, and ultrasounds they discovered he had Factor V Leiden.
After a couple weeks of being in the hospital, they decided to not perform surgery on the blood clot for fear it would break and go straight to his heart. They would leave it be and just put him on Coumadin which is a common blood thinner that my father has now taken for close to 17 years. The Dr. also asked my parents to have all of their children tested as Factor V is a genetic disorder. The four of us were tested and I was the lucky one who also got this wonderful gene. In my youth I learned that I would later have to give myself a shot of blood thinners in my stomach throughout my pregnancies and that bearing many children wouldn’t be in my future. That was a hard thing to hear as I pictured my perfect future family with 4-6 kids. I also learned that my chances of having a blood clot were very likely. WAIT, wasn’t I invincible??
Fast forward a few years, not much considering I got married at 20! It was now time to get down to business :). My hematologist advised me to go to an OB as soon as I was pregnant as they would need to start the blood thinners immediately. During my pregnancies with my three daughters, I was prescribed Lovenox during all three trimesters and six weeks postnatal. Like any shot your body bruises and the medicine burns for a bit. Factor V poses two big risks to pregnant women. The first is that you are more likely to develop blood clots when pregnant and the second is that your body is very susceptible to miscarriages.
Ladies, if you are having reoccurring miscarriages and or the back of your knee or calf aches quickly go in and be tested for this common genetic blood clotting disorder.
All of this Factor V crap is the beginning to my life in foster care and adoption. Stay tuned for the rest of my journey.
You can read HERE for Part 2.