My Story of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy
In 2018, I was 39 and pregnant with my fourth child, due in late June. Our Freddie couldn’t wait to see his family, he arrived four weeks early, born June 5. Life was once again falling into our routine when on June 25, I suddenly had shortness of breathe, and very weak. My husband, Andrew, quickly took me to the ER where I was told I was in congestive heart failure with an ejection fraction (EF) of 35%.
I was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart becomes enlarged and weakened in late pregnancy or following childbirth. It can be mild or severe and is difficult to diagnose, as symptoms, such as fatigue and swollen ankles, are similar to those of pregnancy.
I was prescribed several medicines, including a diuretic, beta-blockers, and high blood pressure pill. I was in the hospital for 5 LONG days while they regulated my medications and helped me so I could continue to breastfeed Freddie. Those five days, I had a lot of emotions; the only thing that finally made me feel better was the day when Andrew brought Freddie to see me.
Once home, I was still weak, but I had the support of my entire family. I couldn’t have gotten through this without them. At this time, I was researching PPCM and found Save the Mommies organization. They were my life-line, it was reassuring that there were other ladies out there that had the same story as mine. I knew then I wanted to be part of their mission.
Later that same year, I was at one of my follow up appointments where they performed an ECHO
and checked my EF level. My ejection fraction did improve but still wasn’t where it needed to be.
I returned to the doctor in February 2019. I was advised not to have any more children. So, I decided to have an endometrial ablation. Before I could have surgery, they had to check my EF percentage once again, thankfully it was back up in the normal range of 60%.
Finally, in August 2019, my doctor started weaning me off my prescriptions, and within two weeks, I was off all prescribed medications! I continue to do well and can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next!
In March 2020, I decided to help give back to the Save the Mommies organization that helped me two years ago. Their mission is to advocate, educate, further research, and aid in the prevention of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy. I am proud to be donating $5 from each Save the Mommies product sold from my ARB-Signs’ website (excluding the key chain, only $2.99 will be donated) will go to help save women from this condition directly. My goal by the end of 2020 is to give $500 to Save the Mommies!