It was a normal pregnancy
Hi My name is Tara. In the last trimester of my first pregnancy I began to feel out of breath more often, I couldn’t lay flat in bed and had to prop myself up at night with multiple pillows, I was going to the bathroom a lot, and I had excessive swelling and by the last weekend it started to swell above my knee…but this was all normal pregnancy symptoms, right? I started getting bad headaches that weekend, too. I had my regular OBGYN checkup that Monday but when I got there my blood pressure was high so he sent me right to the hospital for tests. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and further tests showed that everything with the baby was fine. I stayed over right and by the next day the plan was to wait till I was 37 weeks ( I was 34.5 weeks) and reevaluate or take the baby… I didn’t even make it till the end of that day. I had 3 extremely high blood pressure readings in a row, the nurses called the doctor, and then I started having difficulty breathing. I asked the nurse for oxygen, they gave it to me reassuring me that it was just a panic attack, but the oxygen wasn’t helping, so I took it off and when I did I started throwing up fluid. I remember thinking I wish I would just pass out…things started getting dim and eventually I did pass out. When I woke up 13 hours later I was on a ventilator, I had an emergency C-section, I was diagnosed with pulmonary edema, renal failure, I might have to go on dialysis, and that’s when they said I had some form of cardiomyopathy, but they were not sure at that point if it was Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM). My heart wasn’t pumping as it should which meant my lungs filled up with the excessive fluid and my kidneys were shutting down. My ejection fraction (EF) was 26% at the time. During my time in the ICU I developed Congestive Heart Failure. Eventually I was transferred to the Cardiac floor with a heart monitor, then to Maternity, while my baby was in the NICU. 4 months later I had another echo, my EF was 45% and that’s when they officially diagnosed me with PPCM. Then one year later in October of 2016 I had my one year echo and it showed I had an EF of 60% so I was considered fully recovered. Now I am off all medications. I feel very lucky that I was in the hospital when everything happened otherwise me and my baby wouldn’t be alive. But I do feel this all could have been avoided by a simple blood test or an echo when I was first admitted to the hospital and if I were surrounded by people who were aware of what PPCM was then maybe those tests would have been done. Please spread the awareness!
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