Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving clot

So! Thanksgiving. It was lovely, although it didn't go quite as expected. Still, for the most part, relaxing and enjoyable. And the FOOD.

We didn't prepare anything in advance--just decided what to cook, bought the ingredients, and figured we'd do all the cooking the day of. Since there were no guests, the timing of the meal didn't really matter, and we figured we were bound to mess up one or two of the dishes.

But we didn't! Everything was delicious, and doing all the cooking the day of wasn't stressful at all--it turned out to be fun. There was Yorkshire pudding, which I realize is more of a Christmas dish, but it is so yummy that it seems it should really be made as often as possible. (Plus, it's really easy to make.)

There was also homemade lemon meringue pie, which blows store-bought pie out of the water, if I do say so myself.

And there was a ton of other food, all incredibly tasty.

After dinner was when things took a turn for the unexpected. We went for a walk to work off at least a few of those gravy calories, and when we got home I sat down to take off my shoes and inadvertently brushed my left leg against my right leg in the process, and felt an incredible searing pain in my right leg. So I had a look, and my inner right calf was hard and swollen and kind of red and blue and very, very painful and tender to the touch.

So, I called my midwife. I figured she would tell me it was nothing, but I thought I should check since I know that pregnant women are at increased risk for blood clots (due to extra estrogen in the system plus the pressure of the uterus on some important arteries). And the midwife did say that it was most likely nothing, but she wanted me to come to the hospital to get checked out just to be sure.

Luckily, she sent me to Labor & Delivery rather than the ER, so I didn't have to pay my insurance's $100 ER copay, and there was no waiting. They brought me into triage as soon as I arrived, checked my vitals (all normal), and hooked me up to the fetal monitor, which allowed us to hear that Piglet was doing just fine as well.

Then began a four-hour process of nurses, midwife, ultrasound tech, radiologist, OB resident, and maternal-fetal medicine specialist. There are so many ASPECTS to diagnosing a blood clot, I had no idea. Also, did you know that when you have a suspected blood clot, they ultrasound your entire leg to check for additional blood clots, and it's surprisingly painful? They push that wand really hard on your inner thigh in order to check all the veins through to the other side of your leg, and I am not used to that much pressure on my inner thigh. It hurt! Warm-up for childbirth, I guess?

Anyway, the whole thing wasn't as scary as it sounds because I was convinced the whole time that it was all fine, just a varicose vein or something, so I really wasn't worried. When it turned out that I did, in fact, have a blood clot, I was more surprised than anyone else. Luckily, it wasn't the scary kind of deep vein blood clot that you read all those dire warnings about. Mine was very small, and was classified as superficial venous thrombosis, which means it was in the surface vein system, where there was no possibility that it could travel to my lungs or heart the way a deep vein clot could. Superficial clots can be painful (and it was, believe me), but they aren't dangerous. Also, it was in a varicose vein (which I didn't even know was varicose!), so apparently that made the symptoms worse.

So! Four hours after we arrived, we were told that yes, there's a blood clot; no, there's nothing to worry about; and no, there's nothing we're going to do about it. Then we were allowed to leave. By now, a few days later, the pain and swelling are pretty much gone, though my calf does have a giant, nasty-looking bruise at it (maybe from the blood from the swollen area dissipating?), but I will thoughtfully refrain from posting a photo of the bruise here.

The midwife did say that if I experience similar symptoms again, I should come back to have it checked out again, and that it was good that I came in, and the fact that there turned out to actually be a blood clot made me feel validated about the whole thing, even though there turned out to be no treatment necessary. And, it was nice that if it had to happen on Thanksgiving, it was a nice, low-key Thanksgiving and didn't involve us sprinting out the door leaving piles of worried extended family members behind.

Also, it was interesting to see how the whole Labor & Delivery triage and admission process worked. But still, here's hoping I won't be back there until I'm actually in labor.


  1. Glad to hear you and Piglet are okay and that the clot was superficial. Clots can be serious business!

    On a lighter note, YUM lemon meringue pie!

  2. OH, yikes on the clot! Those were always a fear of mine, but I'm so glad that yours was a non-dangerous kind.

    The food looks delish!

  3. Happy that everyone is okay! I had an incident that turned out to be nothing, but landed me in Labor and Delivery nonetheless. I was impressed with how thorough they were. Also, with how understanding they were that it was a non-issue that sent me there. At no point did they roll their eyes at the girl who cried wold.

  4. I have no idea what Yorkshire pudding is. I thought that was a picture of grilled cheese sandwiches!

    The clot soudns scary. I didn't realize a clot could hurt! I'm glad everything turned out ok.

  5. So scary! I'm glad everything is OK. I was super worried for awhile reading this.

  6. How scary! (and may I say: you seem like the type of person who stays calm in dire emergencies--perhaps extraordinary heroics are in your future?)

    Also: nice plates. Your table looks so warm and inviting.

  7. Yikes! Glad you guys had a good Thanksgiving and that you are okay.

  8. oh MY. that is slightly terrifying. glad to hear it ended up being the "good" kind of clot.. :)

  9. I'm so sorry you had a clot but very glad it wasn't serious!

  10. Holy cow!! Glad everything is ok! I had a nasty kidney infection and stones when I was pregnant with Lucy, and was admitted through Labor and Delivery. So much better than the ER, and there was no co-pay!

    I was admitted and stayed for 2 days, and my roomate was there because she had a blood clot--the bad one. I'll never forget her sobbing as she learned how to stick herself with a needle. SO glad you don't have to go through it.

  11. Glad everything is OK! I'm not sure I would have recognized that it was a blood clot!

  12. Read this in the break room at work on my lunch hour and GASPED when I read about the clot! No bueno!

    Glad it's not the "serious" kind.

  13. So glad you're okay! Now keep those feet propped up the rest of your pregnancy! Doctor's (okay, my) orders.

  14. Nothing wrong with a dry run, especially when everything turns out alright at the end! The rest of your Thanksgiving sounds really great!

  15. Scary! I'm glad you & Piglet are both fine. Also, I had no idea pregnant women are more likely to get clots. Weird.

  16. It's good to know you're okay! And nice that you have a bit of an idea how things will work on The Day Of.

    And your meringue - by the way - looks FANTASTIC! Perfectly golden!