First time Mom

3 min read

I couldn't have been happier to see a positive pregnancy test only 2 months after going off birth control.  The first 34 weeks of my pregnancy couldn't have been any more perfect.  All tests came back as good as possible, we were expecting our first child, a baby girl on March 28, 2013.  I had many ultrasounds during the pregnancy due to a "higher BMI" and everything always came back great.  At 32 weeks we started monthly ultrasounds as well as monthly NST.  At 34 weeks I became concerned about the swelling in my legs and feet and had my school nurse check my BP.  It was high, so my OB had me go to L&D for monitoring.  Since it went down in the few hours I spent there, they ordered a 24 hour urine collection and sent me on my way.  It came back elevated, so my OB had me do another the following week.  It went up a good bit, but was still under the pre-eclampsia range so OB had me do another the following week.  I was due to turn it in on Monday, March 11.  That weekend I began to wake up at 3AM each morning having difficulty breathing.  It went away after I got up so I didn't worry much, figuring it was normal pregnancy stuff.  Monday morning it happened again and it didn't go away when I got up.  My husband took me to my Dr to turn in the sample and get checked over.  My BP was around 155/95 so I was again sent right over to L&D.  By that evening I knew I wasn't going home until I had the baby and the plan was to start induction Tuesday and have baby on Thursday (exactly 38 weeks).  The protein count had gone up to over 1000 so I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.  The problems breathing weren't that bad while I was in the hospital, but I was keeping myself elevated most of the time and was given meds to help me sleep.  Labor was pretty easy and quick.  I was able to push a few rounds before finding out I needed a c-section since she couldn't get past the pubic bone.  After this I don't remember much of anything.  During surgery my BP stayed elevated and my pulse went up to over 150.  I have no idea what lead my Dr to ask for further tests but something lead to my being moved to the cardiac floor that evening.  My husband had gone home along with our family members so I was alone.  I was told it was "no big deal, there is a monitor there that we want you on that isn't here".  Okay....sure.  They did an EKG, x-ray and echo on that floor and less than an hour or 2 later I was told I was being moved again.  THis time to the CCU (ICU for heart patients).  Again, I was told "no big deal....just want to monitor you 24/7".  Again, okay....I believe them.  I found out later that I had PPCM and my heart was only functioning at 10%.  My daughter went home on Sunday and I had to stay in the hospital until Tuesday.  I was sent home on a Life Vest "just in case".  In the first 2 weeks I had 43 pounds of fluid pulled off of me, most of which the cardiologist says was on my lungs....the reason I had difficulty breathing at the end of pregnancy.  By 2 weeks post partum my function had improved to 40.  I am currently 6 weeks post partum and have been able to get rid of the Life Vest, but have doubled up some of my meds and been told that the right side of my heart is still pretty weak.  I'm scheduled for a stress test soon to find out a little more about it.  I'm looking at being on my meds for a year and hope things will have improved and have a "normal" heart again by then.

My Details

  • Date Diagnosed: 14/03/2013
  • Child: 1
  • Initial EF: 10
  • Current EF: 40

Story By Kathleen Rathien

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