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June 9th, 2014: The day we found out we were pregnant.

February 17th, 2015: Due Date.

February 24th, 2015: The date my precious baby, Nash William, was born.

March 1st, 2015: Admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and possible PE.

And the date that will forever rock my world....

March 2nd, 2015: My heart birthday...the day I was told I was in heart failure.

I cannot even begin to explain the ache you feel as a mother being told your heart is in jeopary, your life is in jeopardy. First you think...I'm 24 years old. I exercise. I've always been healthy. I've never had any issues. Why me? How? Then the worst thoughts...Will I get to see my son go to kindergarten? Will I get to see him make his first soccer goal? What about him getting his drivers license? Graduating High school? College? Getting married? These are just some of the hundreds of questions that raced through my mind within the first 24 hours of being diagnosed. Then suddenly I snapped out of it and said to myself "these are the cards I was dealt and I WILL get through this; pacemaker, transplant, whatever it takes". I was discharged 3 days later after my pneumonia cleared and told to come back in 2 weeks for a follow up Echo

March 17th, 2015: The day I was told my EF was still dropping...3% lower in 2 weeks.

May 4th, 2015: The day my Cardiologist told me to give up breastfeeding to get on Lisinopril because there was no other drug to help me.

June 1st, 2015: The day I drove 5 hours to a highly recommended Cardiologist for PPCM patients, who told me I didn't have to stop feeding my son because there was proven drugs to help me.

July 17th, 2015: The day I was informed my heart was on the mend.

October 28th, 2015: The day my EF was 54% and I was "normal" again.

I will never forget any one of these dates. I've always been someone who can remember any significant date, but these are the most significant to me. I was told by my diagnosing cardiologist that Carvedilol wasn't working and I needed Lisinopril so I had to stop breastfeeding. Anyone who knows me even a tiny bit knew that just wasn't going to happen. I cried for 3 days straight and held my baby. Declared numerous times to his daddy that I couldn't do it, I couldn't give up the one thing I told myself I would do no matter what, which was feed my son until he was a year old. He finally told me to give up my pity party and get a new Cardiologist. That's the best advice I got from anyone, and I did just that. I did my research online, finding the top 15 heart failure hospitals in the nation and chose 2 of the closest ones to call, Cleveland Clinic and WashU. Cleveland couldn't get me in until July, but WashU got me in in just 3 weeks. Perfect. I drove to WashU in St Louis, Missouri on June 1st. I met the most amazing Cardiologist named Dr. Vader. He talked to me for 45 minutes about everything. No rushing me. He just listened. He let me know there was a drug besides lisinopril I could get on so I didn't have to stop breastfeeding, and that drug was Enalopril. After 6 weeks on Enalopril I drove back to St Louis to get a follow up Echo and heard the beautiful news I was hoping for, my EF was rising and I didn't need more aggressive medications. In October I was told I was "normal" again, and oh what music to my ears that was! I still have anxiety anytime I can't catch my breath, or have heart palpitations. It's always in the back of my mind, "Could I relapse?" But for the most part, I'm finally at peace. I know I am a survivor, and that in itself pushes me to be a better mother, friend, person in general. Not everyone is as lucky, so I always try to remember to count my blessings.

My Details

  • Date Diagnosed: 02/03/2015
  • Child: 1
  • Initial EF: 30
  • Current EF: 54

Story By Jess Wayson

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I have a hard time finding another story quite like mine no matter how hard I look. I was 26 and pregnant with my second

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