The clock ticked...The year was 1982, and I was 21 years old. Newly married, my husband and I didn't plan on the pregnancy, but we all know how that goes. A bit of nausea and a doctor's office visit later, I found out I was pregnant just a month after the wedding.
Being young and just starting out, we made very little money in our jobs. And there were absolutely no benefits, so...I was uninsured.
What I didn't know was that I had undiagnosed thrombophilia. I should explain. Thrombophilia is a condition whereby a person experiences abnormal clotting of the blood. Complications can include stroke, heart attack, deep venous thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism. For a pregnant woman, thrombophilia can result in miscarriage, preeclampsia, and eclampsia.
A couple of weeks later, I landed in the hospital with extreme dehydration and a condition called pernicious nausea. I had lost 23 pounds in about as many hours, and the veins in my body were so collapsed that they had to try three different places before they found a spot willing to accept an IV. Nobody could say why the sickness was so severe: All they could do was treat my emaciated body with massive amounts of fluids and vitamins.
After a week I was sent home, and believe it or not, the rest of the pregnancy was somewhat uneventful. So, on a chilly February morning, after 23-and-a-half-hour of labor, I delivered a healthy 8 pound 4 ounce boy, and my life had changed forever.
So many things have happened since that morning in 1983. My son's husband and I are no longer married. My mother, 77, has cancer, my father, 81, has Alzheimer’s. My son, 26, is happy and healthy. Me? Well, I have thrombophilia.
Scientists today are constantly discovering new things about the human condition, helping to unlock the mystery of good medicine. New medications and treatments are making normal lives possible for people who have conditions like thrombophilia.
I lift my eyes to Heaven each day with a grateful heart, knowing that I am alive despite the odds; that I have been given the gift of motherhood; that I have been loved, and loved in return. Yes, that clock keeps on ticking, and with it comes the hope that I can look forward to a long and happy life.
For more information about thrombophilia, visit http://www.fvleiden.org.