11 is my number. Ever since I started playing basketball, 11 was my favorite. So much so, that to this day when I see 11:11 anywhere, instead of making wishes, I name at least one thing I am grateful for. Instant mood lift. Well every August, as the month nears its end, I am grateful to be here. Alive.
See, 11 years ago this August, I was laying in a hospital bed being told by every nurse and doctor that walked in that I am very lucky to be alive. That I could have died at any moment. That’s because, as some of you may know, in 2007 I suffered from a DVT – that’s a deep vein thrombosis, or as we know it more commonly, a blood clot.
I’m choosing to share this story in a little more detail this weekend and this year because on the 11th anniversary of one of the scariest times in my life, I’m reflecting on how it’s shaped my life, my attitude, and at this time especially, my pregnancy.
The blood clot? Wasn’t your average blood clot. It’s the kind that kids would die from when you hear they dropped dead out of nowhere on a basketball court. It’s the kind that starts in your leg and when left untreated, moves to your lungs, or even worse, your brain. It creates pulmonary embolisms and aneurisms. It causes death.
But, it didn’t for me. Instead, it just changed me. At first, for the worse. Or so it seemed. You ever hear the people who have near death experiences and then turn reckless? I did that in a sense. My whole life became a series of decisions I didn’t know how to make. A series of decisions that did not take the best care of myself. That were not really in my best interest. But at the time, I didn’t even know what that was. All I knew was that I almost died. I couldn’t student teach so my college graduation was delayed. My fiancé broke up with me and we called off the wedding that had been being planned, invitations and honeymoon included. My love life and my career seemed to be turned upside down, as well as my health as I knew it.
I eventually finished student teaching. I still personal trained. I got back together with my fiancé. I graduated college. We went on our honeymoon that was planned even though we weren’t married. I decided to stop pursuing teaching and train full time. Then, long story short, I got married, I spent more time on my body, or should I say worrying about my body than anything else, my training partner moved to California, I got divorced, and bam, life as I knew it was completely different.
This is not a sob story. But it was a chaotic time in my life. It changed the path I was on, or thought I was on. But if you ever wondered why I’m better at not worrying and planning so much, this is partly why. First of all, no plan goes exactly as planned. I’ve written about this before. Also, your body can be trusted. I truly believe it will tell you when something is wrong. I should have listened to mine sooner. And finally, I do believe everything will be ok. We may not know how or what it will look like, but everything does happen for a reason.
So on this 11th year, I remember how one of the biggest implications from my blood clot was that I would be a high risk pregnancy. My fiancé at the time wasn’t big on having kids, and I figured since I was now a high risk pregnancy, sure, I don’t need kids.
Well, as I sit here 20 weeks pregnant, I can’t imagine not taking that risk. Yes, my past blood clot and blood condition make me a high risk pregnancy. Yes, it was easier, and more selfish, to take the easy way out and just decide not to risk having kids. But as time went on, and my life evolved to what it is now, I didn’t care if it was a risk. I trust my body. I trust me doctor. And I trust what’s meant to be.
While most people are grateful to be pregnant and just want a healthy baby, I also pray for my health during this. I held my breath for a while as the risk and fear of miscarriage was real. If I were to have a blood clot again, I would need to be on blood thinners for life. As a 22 year old then and a 33 year old now, I did not and do not want that. Having been on bed rest in the hospital where I wasn’t even allowed to get up to pee, I know how badly I want to avoid that during pregnancy. So while everyone wonders how I’m dealing with a changing body and weight gain, I am being truly honest when I say this is so much more than that. I trust my body will heal. And I’m just not concerned with it right now. I know what true health means to me. And I know that is my focus. There is no number of pounds or stretch marks that defines that.
Every night at 8pm you will find me in my dining room giving myself a shot in the fat of my stomach. It’s a blood thinner to protect my baby. Some nights it’s smooth. Other nights it hurts. Sometimes it stings. And sometimes it even bleeds. I have bruises that will only get worse as time goes on. And then for my protection, I will continue shots post-partum at least six weeks.
But, we do what we gotta do. It’s a small precaution to take and has gotten to be second nature. I remind myself that my little sister had to do the shots, too. She’s been a big support through this. But the thought of not being a mom because I am “high risk” scared me more than being high risk.
Every pregnancy means something different to everyone and I wanted to share what this one means to me. It isn’t about how much weight I gain or don’t. It isn’t about how fast my body bounces back after birth or doesn’t. It isn’t about modeling how much I workout or can do during pregnancy.
I hope you aren’t looking to me just to see what my body does through pregnancy. I want you to know what’s behind it. I want you to know the struggles behind the glow. I want you to know if ideal plans don’t happen. I want you to know I’m anxiously awaiting feeling my baby kick. I want you to know that I may not be able to nurse. That a c-section is a possibility though I want to avoid it if possible. I want you to know my body wasn’t perfect to begin with and I’m ok if it isn’t perfect after.
I once had a client tell me they didn’t think I’d want kids because they assumed I wouldn’t want to do that to my body. Do what? Perform one of the greatest miracles possible?
When we found out we were having a boy and got to share that with our family, I can’t explain the pure joy I felt. It was the best day of my life so far. A feeling I could have never imagined and hasn’t compared to one I have ever had. If I could have frozen time or bottled that up, I would have. I have never felt so much love or support from our family and everyone around it. It’s a day I will never forget. A surprise I couldn’t even imagine the feeling of. And emotions I could not control or contain.
So, this is my 11. This is what I’m grateful for, high risk or not. We grow up. Our perspectives change. And sometimes, if we are lucky, we realize what truly means something to us.
Not gonna lie, there’s a small chance if Chip is a little late, he may land on the 11th. And I wouldn’t be surprised one bit.