Diagnosed With PPCM after Having Twins

2 min read

I am 22 and in March of 2014 I was pregnant with twin girls. We were ecstatic because they were our first babies and everything leading up to their birth had gone so smoothly. I was monitored very closely because they were twins and towards the end I was seeing doctors 3 times a week. They monitored my heart rate and blood pressure which were both VERY normal. I finally had my babies and it was the happiest day of my life besides my wedding day.

Two weeks later, I was having trouble sleeping while lying down. Tired, still swollen from pregnancy, and still recovering from a C-section, I decided to just sleep sitting up. I developed a cough and one time, when I coughed I coughed blood. I went to the doctor and she was worried that I had a pulmonary embolism. They sent me to the ER right away for a CT scan and it showed that my heart was enlarged. I was medevaced to Oahu (since I was from the Big Island of HI) and learned that I had Post partum Cardiomyopathy. I didn't understand. I still can't believe it to this day. It was supposed to be a happy time. Now I was sitting in a room on another island with my two week old baby girls at home and I wasn't sure if I was going to ever see them again.

The cardiologist ordered an Echocardiogram which said that my EF was 20%. I was functioning at less than half of what a healthy heart was supposed to do. I was told that it was reccommended to prevent any more pregnancies because my heart would likely get worse. They gave me metroprolol and captopril to lower the stress on my heart since it needs more time to heal. They also gave me aspirin to thin my blood a little.

I was still bleeding due to giving birth and the aspirin they had given me had thinned my blood so much that I lost an incredible amount of blood and blacked out. My blood pressure was 80/40 and my heart rate was extremely slow. I went back to the ER several weeks after coming back home to the BI and they changed my medications.

I also developed a cough that would not go away no matter how much water I drank, cough drops I sucked on, or cough suppresants I took. I talked to my Cardiologist about it and now they have me on Valsartan instead of Captopril and it seems to be helping.

One of the hardest parts for me about this diagnosis is that I will not be able to have kids again. It is something that I cried a lot about and so did my husband. With us being so young - me just 22 and he just 24, we were really looking forward to having a big family and it looks like that is not the route Heavenly Father had in mind for us. We are so happy that we were blessed with 2 healthy and strong twin girls. They are the love of my life and even though this is very hard on me I am just so thankful that my pregnancy went so smoothly and I was able to deliver healthy babies.

Another thing I struggle with is the low sodium diet. I am trying very hard to change my habits but it is something that I really struggle with since I have never been the healthiest of eaters and it is difficult to get a homecooked (non-processed) meal on the table everyday with newborn twins and a heart condition.

I had my second echo done today so I will not know the results for another week or so. We are hoping for promising results!

My Details

  • Date Diagnosed: 05/04/2014
  • Child: 1
  • Initial EF: 20
  • Current EF: NULL

Story By Desirae Christensen

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