Jen's Story

3 min read

I'm not even sure how to start my story. It is quite long so here goes. I had my first baby in 2004 when I was 18 years old, still a senior in highschool. I had no problems whatsoever, he was perfectly healthy, I was perfectly healthy. I ended up starving myself after he was born to lose the weight which I think played a part in developing PPCM in my next pregnancy. So I became pregnant again with my second in 2008. I had been swelling really bad a couple months before her due date and the dr I had didn't even care, she just told me I was gaining too much weight. My baby was due August 13. On june 13, I was in a bad car accident where I was driving and when the car hit me, it caused the air bag to go off, I was scraped up and bruised and went to the hospital to check on the status of my baby. She was alright, even after the air bag had blown up on my chest and the upperpart of my belly. I call her my miracle baby because she lived through that. After that my blood pressure started getting high. By late July, my whole body was swollen, my ankles all the way up to my thighs and even my stomach and the dr. still didn't seem to care. My blood pressure was really high so she scheduled an induction for July 30, but I woke up to my water breaking on July 28th at 5:30 in the morning. I was in labor with her for 6 hours, when I had only been in labor with my first for 4 hours, I always thought the second ones labor was faster. the labor was terrible, it went much worse than the first one. But she weighed 2 more pounds than her brother did, so I just chalked it up to that. Anyway, I only stayed in the hospital for 24 and they released me. I came home on July 29 and I could not breathe at all. And I'm the type of person who won't go to the ER unless I aboslutely have to, so I dealth with the shortness of breath all day long until about 9 that night, I couldn't take it anymore, I drove myself there while my husband stayed with the kids. Through what seemed like hours, finally someone came and said in this serious voice "somethings goin on with your heart." I freaked out and started crying and they admitted me to ICU. It wasn't until august 1, I was diagnosed with PPCM with an EF of 20%. I stayed in ICU for 3 days, i dropped 50 pounds just from having the catheder in and them giving me water pills. It was the most terrible thing I think has ever happened to me. I had nurses that had to help me bathe and go to the bathroom all while i was still bleeding really bad from just having a baby. And the worst part was I couldn't see my children and my new baby because they weren't allowed in ICU. Then i got moved to a pediatric room where my kids could come see me. i stayed there for 3 days before getting to come home. It was worst thing in the world not to be home with my new baby. I remember crying all the time saying, "I just want my babies." Anyway, I stayed depressed for a while. I was told no more children or I might die and I was fine with that, I had my boy and girl, I was set. Well about a year later my EF got up to 40-45. I found out in February of last year that I was pregnant again. I was scared to death. Aborting it did come to my mind, but I just could not do that. I kept thinking that God gave me this baby for a reason, I saw a high risk OB an hour and half from my home for this pregnancy. To sum up all of this pregnacy, everything went fine. I had no complications at all. I went in to labor at home, when it was snowing and we headed for the hospital an hour and a half a way. We made it the closest hospital we could, we were still 30 minutes away, i checked in at 10:45, am. and he was born at 11:19. These doctors took very good care of me. Now my surprise post PPCM baby is 6 months old, I did not relapse i was not recovered. My EF stayed 40-45 throughout the whole pregnancy. I stayed on my medications and am still taking them. I have not had an echo in over a year because i don't have insurance, but I would love to have that piece of mind. I see my cardiologist only twice a year because I have been doing so well. I've been breastfeeding and the dr. wants to put me back on ramipril when I'm done breastfeeding. He said eventually we would start talking about weaning because he is confident I will fully recover. After I had him, i got my tubes tied. this whole experience was been very scary. Sometimes i still wait to relapse with this one becasue I read that relapse can happen 5 months after birth, but here he is 6 months old, and I have not had problems yet, (knock on wood).

My Details

  • Date Diagnosed: 01/08/2009
  • Child: 3
  • Initial EF: 20
  • Current EF: 42

Story By Jen Reichenbaugh

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