So many blessings

So I went back to the hematologist today for a quick follow-up visit to make sure we’re all on the same page for the birth, confirm that all the blood tests he did were negative for anything weird, check my blood thinner dosage, etc. But things didn’t go according to plan when he said that he did find something in the blood work (to which I was thinking, he just took too much blood — you test eight vials of blood and you’re bound to find something!)

Turns out the clot was not just a freak event of pregnancy. I have prothrombin mutation 20210, a genetic disorder that basically means that my blood is overzealous about clotting. Evidently it’s not uncommon for those of us with a lot of Irish genes, although I inherited it from both parents which makes it worse and is very rare. [I want to throw in for general info and for potential Googlers that the doctor mentioned that if I also had the Factor V Leiden Mutation, which is somewhat common, I would be at high risk for recurrent miscarriage. Fortunately I do not.]

So what does this mean? Well, for one I will be the lucky recipient of some sort of big boots that I have to wear during labor to keep the blood circulating from my legs. And those of you who read my post where I expressed my uncensored feelings about hospital births know I’m lovin’ that! Speaking of which, all future pregnancies will be “high risk” so I’m done with the birthing center or homebirths for good. And I’ll be giving myself shots of blood thinner for something along the timeline of “forever” and get to go in to have my blood drawn every other day in the first few weeks postpartum. Oh, and since the trauma of birth kicks the clotting mechanism into high gear, they’re going to go all ER on me after the baby is born and monitor me heavily for at least a couple of days (we’ll see how necessary they really think it is when I tell them I’m broke and my insurance isn’t paying for it).

What’s funny — and amazing — about all of this is that I really don’t care. The hematologist commented that he was surprised that I seemed to be in such a good mood considering all this news and that I’m 8.5 months pregnant. And a year ago I would have been all upset and flustered about this. But something about this new worldview of mine, this new life of seeing life as a Catholic and a Christian, made it seem like today was filled with blessings and good news.

- I’m still going to have a healthy baby.

- I’m not longer eligible to take the Pill, which is awesome. It’s nice to have a medical reason to throw out when I don’t feel like explaining my family planning decisions to non-Catholic doctors, nosy family members, etc.

- I am now under doctor’s orders to get off my ass. (This ties in nicely to the forthcoming Part 2 of my previous post). Being sedentary, especially after a physically traumatic event like childbirth, puts someone with this condition at high risk for a clot developing, so getting out and walking more is no longer something that I can mean to do but just never quite get around to. I’ve wanted to be a more active person for a couple of years now, and now it’ll happen.

- Having to go have my blood drawn every other day starting immediately after the baby’s born sounds horrible to me. Finding someone to watch my son, having to take the baby, having to have blood drawn with my fear of needles — ugh. But over the past few months I’ve found that events like this are prime opportunities to make me realize how trivial my problems are and how abundant my blessing are. Every time I grouse about something I don’t want to do I ask myself, “Is it really THAT bad?” And the answer is usually no. And then I start thinking about all the things that are good about the situation.

And that’s one of the amazing things about the Christian mindset. When you stop seeing yourself as the center of the universe and dwelling on how everything affects you and what you wanted and what your plans were, you can’t help but see the big picture, or at least get a glimpse of it. And from that view, most of life’s “problems” seem pretty insignificant.

That’s one of the things I’m finding to be most interesting about living life according to Catholic doctrine: it works. It’s not always fun or easy or what I feel like doing, but it gives me sense of serenity and calmness that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. Not even close. It’s one of the reasons that I’m not as concerned lately with not “feeling” God’s presence very often: I’m going to follow Church teachings either way. If there is no God and they’re basing their teachings on an imaginary deity, in some ways that makes it all the more amazing that they managed to come up with a set of teachings about life that is so insightful and effective at speaking to and dealing with the human condition.

So that’s the news from the doctor. News that would have ruined my day just a year ago in my life before God now seems to be nothing more than a reminder that life is so good.

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Enter the Conversation...

7 Responses to “So many blessings”
  1. Jennifer says:

    You, my friend, are amazing. You may or may not feel his presence but I can feel the Holy Spirit in your life even just voyeuristically.

    What else can you attribute to this absolutely tectonic shift? Absolutely amazing. Praise God and alleluia.

    Us celts are just blood mutants I think—I’m MTHFR homozygous. I only have to take aspirin for now, though.

  2. SteveG says:

    Wos! Just…Wow!

    Another amazing post.

    You are such an inspiration.

    I echo Jennifer’s comment….all except the celtic part…and the curse word that has something to do with blood. ;-)

  3. Jennifer F. says:

    Thank you, you guys are great.

    And I forgot to mention, I’m also homozygous with this thing. Evidently it’s so rare to get it from both parents like that that there aren’t even studies showing how much it’ll increase your risk for clots.

    Thanks again for your comments. You’re a significant part of the reason I am where I am today spiritually.

  4. Colleen says:

    Jennifer:
    I wonder if this condition has anything to do with the fatigue you were concerned about in your other post? Did you happen to talk about it with your doctor?

    (You can tell I am too much of the earth; everyone else is talking about the important things. I am still thinking about your fatigue!)

    In any case, I have to echo the others. Wow!

  5. Ersza says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling more positive. Sometimes all it takes to feel more joyful is to decide that you’re going to do it.

    I am dumbfounded by your lack of maternity coverage with your insurance. I think you mentioned that your husband is a lawyer, so I guess you’re on top of the legal issues, there. I hope something comes up that can help you. In the meantime, it sounds like your attitude is great, and I’m glad you’ve punched through all of these unexpected disappointments and found a way to keep going and keep smiling. It is fantastic that you are only a few days away from meeting your second child. This is a really exciting time. And, hey, you get to make a fashion statement at the delivery with your “boots”. Heh.

    I thought of another idea about your friend with the little boy and the job and the husband and the cooking, etc. I thought, What if the reason she’s always smiling when you see her is because she enjoys your company? We don’t always show our troubles and insecurities outwardly, but I know I often forget mine when I am with a good friend and having a nice time. Just a thought, there. I’m praying for a safe, healthy, and pain-free delivery for you.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Jen,

    I’m sorry to hear about your clotting disorder but can’t help but think it is a huge blessing that this was discovered BEFORE some horrible complication happened.

    I know from personal experience that having a chronic disease can be a blessing in many ways, although there have been times when I honestly couldn’t see that because of physical suffering. Now that I’m feeling better, though, I can clearly see all the benefits—-I don’t take ANY healthy day for granted, I have MUCH more empathy for the suffering of others, and I have the perfect “excuse” to take proper care of myself (plenty of sleep, good food, and exercise). Not to mention that I always have the fact that life is TOTALLY short in the forefront of my mind, so I am sure to take advantage of living life to the fullest, as I know I most likely will not live a long life.

    So yes, blessings can come in the strangest of packages *g* I’m so glad you are in good spirits, and I will pray for a happy and healthy delivery/postpartum period for you.

    Hang in there.

  7. SmartBlkWoman says:

    Just think, you’ll have stories to tell your baby years from now about how he was the first “funny boots” baby in the family.

    It’s good to hear things are really coming together now and…..a few more weeks to a new baby!! :)