question of the ...uh, day re: blood draws

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Re : question of the ...uh, day re: blood draws

Postby catherine » Fri Jan 02, 2004 08:45 am

Stand well back people, this is so not for the faint-hearted!!!

I'm short on good veins at the best of times, failing the 1 hour glucose tolerance test always broke my heart because I never had enough veins to go the distance on the three hour..LOL! The first time I did that, they got the final sample from a vein in my ankle!!

Well, I blew up like a balloon when I had preeclampsia. My husband says that I looked like I played for the Redskins or the Patriots. I had no neck, "chin" went all the way down to my shoulders. Sticking me was a nightmare. I don't remember the epidural, I think that went ok but afterwards.... I didn't have any platelets worth a darn for about 6 days so they were always wanting to draw blood to see if they were coming back. I was such a bad stick that they would send two anesthesiology residents (supposed to be the most expert stickers). One guy was indian and the other chinese. I couldn't pronounce either of their names so I just called them "Mutt" and "Jeff" in my mind. No insult intended toward either of them, they were lovely guys. They would sit on either side of my bed and sort of just jab in the needle and feel around for veins. When that was a bust they'd head to my feet!! Most of the time they'd get nothing and they'd be so apologetic. I don't remember it hurting at all, I'd actually go to sleep while they tried. I suspect that I was either drugged to the eyeballs or that I was so swollen my nerve ending just weren't getting the message.

There was one nurse on L&D who had the magic touch, Mickey, who ever you are (I doubt I'd recognize her) Thank you!! When she was on, she'd come in and get it with one try. When it came time to do dialysis I didn't really mind, they stuck a large venous catheter in my neck(jugular vein) and connected me to the machine from there. The side benefit, subsequent blood draws came out of those ports!!!

It took quite a while for the swelling to go down afterwards. I weighed more leaving the hospital than I did arriving! I had to go to the renal clinic every second day for about two weeks. I didn't bring the baby with me until my 6 week pp visit. The nurse and receptionist were stunned to discover that I'd not been pregnant all the way along, they thought I was still pregnant when I first visited.

Now, I'm totally blase about blood draws, you can have as much as you like... need an IV? Go right ahead, I don't care. When Chloe was in the hospital at 5 weeks and had to be on an IV I was right there holding her hand for the nurses. They were stunned that I didn't mind what I was doing. I had really learned the lesson, "no IV access, no progress treating the problem".

Catherine (37)
DH, Dave (40)
Finn (6)
Lucy (2)Preeclampsia & HELLP
Chloe (7/2/03)

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Re : question of the ...uh, day re: blood draws

Postby sarab » Fri Jan 02, 2004 07:34 am

I have always had hard to find veins, even back in the days when I was "slimmer" [8D] ...but with pree it was near impossible to find any. By the time I was admitted to the hospital, the ONLY places they could find anything worth sticking were my hands and feet. The night after I was admitted they decided to start the mag (was on that for 6 days...what a treat). By 3:00am, ANYONE in the hospital who could start an IV had been in my room. I had 8 blown veins between my hands and feet. Needless to say, I was in tears. They just kept poking and proding, DH had spent the night at home so I was alone, and to top it off, it was my birthday! Finally they called the anesthesiologist at home, and he got out of bed just to come start my IV. (At this point I was still at the small local hopspital so my regular OB could still manage my care). The poor guy stumbles in with bed hair and sleepy eyes, NUMBS (FINALLY!) an area on my wrist, and gets it in one take. The crowd that had by then gathered in my room just stared in awed silience. He was in my room less than one minute, and was more than a little annoyed that he had been called out of bed just for this.

Between this and the next week and half of twice daily blood draws, my hands and feet were literally black with briuses. Although my experience was bad, I think you got me beat, Laura!!

Sara, 23
DH, Scott, 25
Maggie Lylas, 6/9/03, 29 weeks, severe pre-e

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Re : question of the ...uh, day re: blood draws

Postby amyk » Fri Jan 02, 2004 06:40 am

Well, like Julie, you could see every vein in my body so it was very easy to stick me. But I don't know if it was because of the low blood platelets or what, but my blood would just gush and gush and keep squirting for awhile after they decided they had enough vials. My epi, though wasn't as easy and what I remember hating most of all about being in the hospital was all the excess fluid leaking out of my back from the open hole left by the first failed epidural.
I don't think I want to know the story behind the feet though! What a nightmare!


Chloe (8/6/01) 35 weeks, p/e, hellp
Tristan (9/3/03), 32 weeks, p/e and hellp AGAIN

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Re : question of the ...uh, day re: blood draws

Postby alimarie » Fri Jan 02, 2004 05:19 am

they had some trouble finding the right spot on me after a few days after i gave birth. my iv had blown(right term?) on my one hand so they tried to move it to the other. by this time i was used to being poked what with all the blood testing being done. still it was highly uncomfortable as i am sure it always will be. i never look forward to needles.

Quick long was everyone in the hospital before or after birth even? i was in the hospital only a day before i had her and five days afterward.
also, anyone else have the privelage of staying in a ronald mcdonald house after baby was born? we did in albequeque,nm and i hold a special place in my heart for that organization. to make such a rough time as homey as possible is a real blessing to families. it was a lot more comfy than a hotel and friendly people baked cookies or meals for everyone that wanted it. let me know your experiences!


AliMarie---mommy to Madalyn Anne-born at 35 wks due to severe pe (9/18/2001 4lbs. 14oz.)

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Re : question of the ...uh, day re: blood draws

Postby ileana » Fri Jan 02, 2004 04:29 am

I must have been lucky compared to you... They did my epidural on the first try and only poked me twice on average to draw some blood.
But at a certain point, I started asking for the best flebotomist and learning communication skills of making them perform their best

However, I am a bad stick at all times... it just felt so much worse during the pree hospital stay.

And 6 weeks after delivery, when they did my tests (15 vials of blood), it took some patience and 2 pokes, but they could do it.

Ileana 33
Angel stillborn 24w p-e 2/17/03

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Re : question of the ...uh, day re: blood draws

Postby mamc2003 » Thu Jan 01, 2004 11:59 pm

I usually just lurk, but thought I would jump in for this question. I think that my best friend developed pe at the end of her pregnancy. She was so swollen it's been three months since the birth and she still has edema, plus her bp had risen way beyond normal for her. While she was in labor, the anesthesiologist came to do her epidural. It took over an hour and a half and she was poked more than 25 times.[xx(] The dr said it was because she was so swollen that she couldn't find the right spot. The epidural never did take, she ended up with a c-section and couldn't have general anestesia, but that a whole different story.[:0]

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Re : question of the ...uh, day re: blood draws

Postby julie f » Thu Jan 01, 2004 11:25 pm

Don't hate me but... Surprisingly enough, they could find my veins from a mile away when I was in the hospital... I really didn't swell externally much at all if you can believe that. Keeping my fingers crossed that all my future sticks go as smoothly...

Laura, I'm so sorry for your horror story - I can only imagine.[xx(]

Zachary James, 7/22/03-7/27/03, born at 26 weeks due to severe pe

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question of the ...uh, day re: blood draws

Postby laura » Thu Jan 01, 2004 11:15 pm

Ok, Ileana got me thinking about the havoc preeclampsia wreaks with our poor veins- I was a notoriously hard stick when drawing blood during pregnancy, including, but not limited to blood draws and the epidural placement with the first, spinal with second.

I even have a 'horror' blood draw story, that involves a epidural gone wrong, blood patch, big frickin' needles, and MY FEET. You folks didn't know there was going to be a floor show, huh? Just kidding.

Question: How many of you out there brought seasoned medical professionals to their knees in the pursuit of blood during hypertensive/preeclamptic pregnancy?

DH Jack-30
Allie 5-13-98 (35 weeks-pre-e)
Baby Camille 4-17-03 (36 weeks- htn and oligo)

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