Saturday, October 28, 2006

First Pregnancy Memories

So about this day 10 years ago, I was discovering that I was pregnant for the first time. I remember it all so clearly! I had been faithfully charting, and I was maybe 15 days past ovulation--not the 18 days where you can be pretty sure you are pregnant. But Bob was going TDY the next day for a few days, and I wanted to find out before he left. So I went to the BX (ah, those days of freedom where I could just pick up and go wherever I wanted to whenever I wanted to, LOL!) and bought a test. I knew what it would reveal could possibly change my life forever, including my diet, so I decided to have a slice of Anthony's pizza before going home and taking the test (since I would never sully my mouth with something unhealthy like pizza if I WERE to be pregnant, LOL!!!). It was positive, and Nathan was born about 8 months later.

I remember that day so clearly, but I don't really have any other strong memories of the pregnancy. I guess I was tired, but I could nap whenever I wanted to (I wasn't working). I didn't have any morning sickness, I do remember that. The main thing I remember was having to give myself heparin shots twice a day in my stomach. Yeah, you don't forget that sort of thing very easily!

A few months after Bob and I got married, I developed a blood clot in the right subclavian vein of my arm. Apparently I have always had a narrowing there (it actually bothered by when I would run track in high school, but of course I had no idea what the problem was), and somehow after I got married, something triggered a clot. I was lifting a lot of weights and working out (Bob and I would go to the gym together in the mornings--ahhh, how sweet and healthy of us newlyweds!), so maybe bulking up in the area did the trick. Anyhow, I ended up with a large clot, made larger by the fact that the Wright-Pat ER doctors didn't realize that was the problem when I went in with excruciating pain in my upper arm (this from someone who has had 5 natural childbirths, so you can tell what kind of pain it was!). After several more days of pain, and finally purple dots (burst capillaries) showing up all over my upper arm, a civilian doc figured out it was a blood clot, and I was immediately admitted to the hospital for about 2 weeks. I was put on some super-duper clot-busting drug (urokinase? It's been awhile and I didn't write it down--and now my records have been lost by the same lovely military health system), which caused me to bleed pretty much constantly out of my IV port in my right arm. I was in the ICU because I was losing so much blood while they were dissolving the clot. Finally the clot was gone and I was able to go home and back to classes. I was taking Genetics, Org. Chemistry, Logic and Methods of Proof, and God and History, I believe. God was gracious, and I still managed to get a 4.0 that quarter, although I'm sure Dr. Phipps, my genetics prof, wondered about me. His class was at 8:00, and I fell asleep every morning (Amy remembers, LOL!!), and then I missed over 2 weeks--who was helping me cheat?! But fortunately for me, genetics is like a big math puzzle, and I always loved it and didn't have any trouble! I had an excuse to miss chapel for several more weeks, though, because I wasn't strong enough to walk across campus. So to wrap up the story, the clot kept coming back, and in May 1995, right before I graduated, I had my right first rib removed. I have had no other problems with clots since then.

Fast-forward to my pregnancy. When I went in to my first appointment at the USAFA hospital, they greeted this news of past blood clots with great alarm! I was immediately cast as a high-risk pregnancy, and I had to start giving myself these heparin shots to prevent clots from forming during the pregnancy. Whoa--wasn't expecting all that! But I wanted to do what was best for the baby, so I started poking away at myself. In the beginning it was pretty easy--gather up extra tummy flesh and give the shot there. By the end, when your belly is stretched so tight, it became quite difficult and painful, and the shots left huge bruises more often than not. It looked like someone routinely took a big baseball bat to my tummy, and combined with my attractive newly-minted stretch marks, made my tummy something for a horror exhibit! I would hardly look at myself in the mirror! I had to keep on giving the shots until 6 weeks post-partum, but well, you know how much extra skin is there then, so that was no problem, LOL!

I had to give the shots while I was pregnant with Luke, since we were still in Colorado, but when we moved to Ohio, I became pregnant with Caleb. When I went in to the Wright-Pat hospital for my first appointment, I duely told them all my previous woes. There was a real high-risk OB there, and I think he laughed at the idea that I needed the heparin shots! "No problems with clotting after your surgery? Then there is no reason for you to be taking heparin!" REALLY?! How wonderful! What a wonderful pregnancy! And I haven't had to give myself a shot ever since. You will never enjoy pregnancy as much as you do when you thankfully realize every day when you wake up that you don't have to give yourself any shots that day! It makes every pragnancy a breeze! I wonder if we could have even contemplated having so many kids if I had had to give myself the shots with each one. What a hassle! But it does show the extent that I was willing to go to make sure my babies were healthy! And, praise the Lord, they have been!

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