Danielle Barrett found out she had venous thromboembolism (VTE) when she was 19 years old. She hadn’t been feeling well for a few weeks. One day, Danielle was heading out the door to go for a run, when she suddenly collapsed from a pulmonary embolism. “It was instant,” she says.
Fortunately, Danielle survived. While at the hospital, Danielle’s mother told the doctor that Danielle’s mother and uncles had antithrombin deficiency, a genetic risk factor for VTE. Danielle and her brother were tested, and they learned that both of them also had this risk factor.
When the time came to start a family, Danielle began talking to her doctors about the associated risks. However, she wasn’t worried because she knew a doctor would be monitoring every step. Throughout the course of the pregnancy, there were no issues and she successfully gave birth to a son.
Within five days after delivering her son, a clot began developing most likely from when Danielle was off of her blood thinners during delivery. Luckily, Danielle knew the signs, went to the emergency room and explained her symptoms. For Danielle, it was nerve-wracking caring for a newborn and experiencing another clot. Fortunately, she received the treatment she needed and made a full recovery. Four years later, she delivered her second son with her doctors modifying her treatment based on her previous pregnancy.
A few years after Danielle's first pregnancy, her brother told her he had been experiencing shortness of breath. By the time he went into the hospital, it was too late. He passed away from a pulmonary embolism.
While Danielle and her family have experienced a lot, her positivity remains. She implores women who have a history of clotting and are going through a pregnancy to get as much information as they can and to ask questions.