When I became pregnant with my daughter, I was busy. I was working a physically demanding job 20-30 hours a week as well as finishing my last year of a BSc in Nursing – requiring me to do 24-36 hours per week of a clinical rotation.
Partway through the pregnancy, I began to develop varicose veins in my left leg. The first ones didn’t look bad and didn’t hurt.
Then they began to get worse.
By my third trimester, I was wearing compression stockings and hoping that the unsightly veins would disappear when I delivered. Thankfully, they mostly did.
I became unexpectedly pregnant with my son when my daughter was just one year old. My first symptom was a juicy varicose vein running across my thigh that made me say to myself – “Hey! I haven’t seen one of those since … oh no!” – and run out to buy a pregnancy test! During my second pregnancy, my veins got much worse much more quickly. Thanks to some incorrectly-fitted stockings, by mid-second trimester I was in agony every time I stood, dissolved into a crying ball from the pain every night when I removed them to shower, and my leg was mangled – my ankle/foot was lumpy and purple, behind my knee was a network of throbbing, bulging veins, and they extended into my groin. It was not pretty. When I attended a Vascular Clinic to seek diagnosis for a superficial blood clot that I developed, the doctor said something along the lines of, “Well, the good news is that even if a piece of the clot were to break off, your veins are so twisty-turny that it wouldn’t make into your deep vein system.” Um, I suppose that’s good?
After beginning on a homeopathic vein remedy, the pain lessened significantly and the swelling became more mild. After I gave birth, the change was even more dramatic.
But my leg is still ugly. I struggle with feeling like it makes me look like an old woman.
I’m 26 years old.
I not only have a stretch-marked belly, but stretch marks behind my knee where the varicose veins bulged out so dramatically and quickly – and there’s no one-piece bathing suit that can hide them!
I have two completely different looking legs. As we come to summertime, I struggle with how bizarre my legs and feet will look once I break out my Birkenstock and skirts/shorts. Will people wonder why one ankle looks bruised? Will people notice at all?
I will likely need to wear some sort of compression hose for the rest of my life in order to prevent my varicose-vein prone legs from getting worse. That’s a lot of years. Years of uncomfortable, unsightly, WARM support hose – likely at least over-the-knee, if not thigh-high.
I knew my body would change once I was privileged to grow a life within me; I knew my stomach wouldn’t be the same, I knew my breasts were likely to droop, I knew I was likely to experience some perineal tearing and maybe even some incontinence.
I had no clue that I would have to deal with varicose veins.
This post is participating in the Body Image Carnival being hosted by Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and MamanADroit who will be posting articles on themes pertaining to body image all week! Make sure you check out their blogs everyday between April 12-18 for links to other participants’ posts as well as product reviews, a giveaway, and some links to research, information and resources pertaining to body image.