February 23, 2013, the day my life changed
Mackenzie was my second baby. She was born 8 years to the day after my oldest daughter, on Saturday, February 16th, 2013. Yes, my girls have the same birthday, that's my fun fact.
My pregnancy was normal, for the most part. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes about halfway through, but a slight change of the diet and a few finger prices a day was the only price I had to pay for thay, no big deal. Her birth was very quick and without complications. We were cleared by the hospital and sent home that following Monday.
We came home and everything was fine, but i noticed my feet were swelling on Thursday and I remember thinking that was strange, but i brushed it off and assumed it had something to do with the pregnancy. On Friday, I started feeling a heavy pressure in my chest but didn't think much of it. I remember being in this complete state if euphoria tags day as well. I mentioned to my partner that there was an "elephant on my chest" and "someone could punch me in the face right now and I wouldn't even care." Looking back, I realize that I probably should have gone to the hospital then.
That night I had the hardest time getting comfortable to fall asleep; I couldn't breathe. I fell asleep. The next morning, I woke up around 7. Paul, my partner, walked past me and asked me if that elephant was still on my chest. I said yes. He had the kids up, including the one week old baby, dressed, packed, and we were off in the car headed to the ER within 5 minutes. I arrived, walked in the ER doors and said, "I just had a baby last week and I feel like there is an elephant on my chest."
They came and grabbed me, took me into a room, and a whole group of nurses came running in and they hooked me up to all kinds of machines. The nurse turned to me and said, "Honey, do you have a low heart rate?"
I said, "No, why?" I turned up to see the monitor and my heart rate was 33 BPM.
After that, a whole new team of people came in and performed a test, which I now know was a very quick echo. Within 30 minutes of arriving at the ER, I was diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy with Accute Congestive Heart Failure.
I was in the hospital for 3 days and I have the nurses a few good scares, but i was reals ed when my heart rate was finally increased to 47 BPM. I stayed home from work for another 6 weeks whole I rested and learned to take care of myself.
It's been 3 years since I was diagnosed. It's been a long road, but overall, I'm doing very well. I have been taken off all medications except Carvedilol, 3.125 MG twice a day. I have changed my diet completely, minimized my salt intake, switched to healthier foods, and added exercise, and quit smoking. My doctor says that all of those things have increased my chances. I don't know what my EF rate is currently since my doctor always tells me that my heart is functioning exactly like a normal, healthy heart to date.
If I had any advice to give, it would be to take care of your body; change your diet, excercise, and take your medications. I believe that I will pull through this, and I think a lot of others can too with the right attitude!!!
I also have to give a ton of credit to my family who had been by my side every step of the way, giving me breaks when I need them and holding as much stress off of me as they can. I'm sure that has helped a lot too.
Well, that's my story. I'll update as time goes on!
Keep your head up! This is not a death sentence!