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Pregnancy Souvenirs – The Crappy Kind

veinsBefore having kids, I had this kind of vague understanding that my body would change. I mean, obviously, there would be the belly and the boobs, and I hoped like hell that I’d avoid stretch marks, but guess what never even occurred to late twenties/early thirties me?

Varicose veins.

Well, surprise! Four kids and nary a stretch mark to be seen, but my legs were a fright show come babies three and four.

And here I am, almost three years since my last delivery, and I’m still dealing with these damn veins.

I sailed through my first two pregnancies, but things came to a screeching halt with my third. My leg left sprouted horrendous, bulging blue veins, with this kind of knot on the left side of my knee. And it hurt, in this deep, aching way.

I lifted weights every single day, no joke, because it was the only thing that alleviated some of that ache. After our eight-pounder was born, things cleared up so well that even my super-awesome OB was impressed.

“Seriously, you dodged that bullet,” she said. “But don’t push your luck, okay? If you go for number four, those things will be back. And they’ll be worse.”

Like we were crazy enough to have another kid! But that’s another story, and here are the Cliff’s Notes – the vasectomy appointment was delayed, the pill failed and boom: baby number four was on her merry, unplanned way.

Immediately, that throbbing ache was back and, bonus, it was in both legs this time. My doctor laughed and shook her head and recommended compression hose. I found a super sexy pair of thick, beige thigh-highs that I wrestled myself into (with seriously increasing difficulty) every single morning before I got out of bed. And I only took them from a horizontal position, after collapsing into bed at night.

Again, I lifted weights religiously, because it helped with circulation, but it was really a hopeless situation. The only thing to do was wait and see how things looked after the baby came.

Spoiler: things looked not good.

My right leg bounced back, but the souvenir from that fourth pregnancy – besides our adorable baby girl – was a rippled thigh and an angry mass of spider veins around my left ankle and up my shin.

Oh, and bonus – that leg continued to ache all the time, and it got worse as the day went on.

About a year ago, I had a vein ablation to tackle the big daddy in my thigh. The doctor basically nuked this vein from the inside out, and then made 26 teensy incisions (her record, she said, which makes me oddly proud) to pull out the little branching veins all the way down to my calf. I was totally chill on a Valium for the procedure, which is an out-patient deal, and then I was back to compression stockings for another week or two.

But it went really well, and that bulging thigh vein is no more. I’m sorry to report that it didn’t resolve the spider vein mass around my ankle, which looks like a purplish bruise unless you’re really studying it. Then you can see all the teensy, spidery veins and ugh, it’s ugly. This sucker hurts too, and it makes me feel about ninety.

I tried to correct it with sclerotherapy, another out-patient thing that targets the feeder vein in an attempt to kill off the little branches. Two hundred bucks later – no thanks to insurance, which doesn’t cover this “cosmetic” procedure – and I’m still dealing with this painful mess.

I met with a laser specialist, who was forthright and frank. Gravity sucks, basically, and laser treatment might help, but then again, it might not. I’d need probably three or four sessions, and pain or no, insurance doesn’t cover this procedure either. And at $400 per session, it’s not cheap.

The thing is, even after my other two procedures, this clump is progressively become more painful, not less. I can kind of mask it with self tanner, and if it was just unsightly – because Lord knows it is – I’d put on my big-girl panties and deal.

But if I’m honest, the achiness isn’t just bothersome, it’s a little scary.

If I’m struggling with this at 36, what will it be like in ten years? Twenty?

Modern medicine has to have a solution to this. Hit me up when you find it.

jessica timminsJessica Timmons is a work-from-home mama, which sounds awesome until you actually try to do it. She’s been on this crazy ride for the last ten years, juggling the busy little lives of her four kids, a handful of regular accounts and her long-term side gig as a kickboxing instructor, and the truth is, she just makes it all up as she goes. Doesn’t everyone? Check out her website, www.jessicatimmons.com, to see what she’s doing at work these days.


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