Diagnosis :: Peripartum Cardiomyopathy {What Is Happening to Me?}

I have PCOS so it’s no surprise that I had fertility issues and struggled to get pregnant. I got pregnant with my first child after failed Clomid and IUD. I had a great pregnancy with no issues and a 20 pound weight gain. Surprisingly 8 weeks after I had my daughter, I found out I was pregnant again with fraternal twins! I was extremely upset.

This pregnancy was terrible. I was in a lot of pain and had extreme weight gain. I would gain 10 or 15 pounds a week. I could barely move and was barely able to get out of the bed, care for my daughter or even walk around without getting out of breath. I was so swollen and in so much pain, I literally went to the ER and L&D almost every other day. Every time I went, they would tell me that everything was normal and my symptoms were normal for carrying twins then send me home.

At 37 weeks, I had a scheduled C-section. I had trouble breathing postpartum and developed preeclampsia so I was treated with a magnesium drip. I was told my difficulty breathing was a side effect of the pain medication. I even gained weight while in postpartum care. My OB told me to stop eating so much and made the nurses take my hospital food tray away and swap it out for healthier options. I was discharged to go home.

While home, I couldn’t keep my eyes open or hold my twins. My swelling became worse. When I brought my twins to their first pediatrician appointment, I couldn’t breathe and felt my heart racing. I drove myself to the ER that night, after my newborns were asleep with my husband. At the ER when I had to lay flat for my CT scan, I was unable to breathe on my own. The tests came back; I was in stage 4 heart failure. I was immediately rushed to another hospital in Downtown New Orleans by ambulance and the rest is a blur.

I woke up to cardiologists telling me I had congestive heart failure, a condition called Peripartum Cardiomyopathy. I had a 1/3 chance … 1/3 of women recover to normal, 1/3 decline and need transplant or die, and 1/3 stabilize on medication and remain the same. I had to wait and see what percentage I would be. My heart function was below 30% -severely low. I stayed in CCU for 5 days. I lost 150 pounds of fluid while there and was back to my pre pregnancy weight. I was given heart medication and sent on my way home. My follow up cardiologist appointment was 3 months later.

In the meantime, I was terrified. I wouldn’t hold my newborn babies because I was scared my heart would stop while holding them and I would drop them. I wouldn’t drive. I had severe anxiety that my heart would stop at any moment. Everything changed for my follow up, I had a new cardiologist … married with twins, he was compassionate and actually cared about me as a patient and a mother. I owe my recovery to him honestly. He gave me his work email, and I emailed him all the time with every symptom or problem and he would always respond.

My anxiety decreased so much thanks to him. He put me on the right meds and ordered the right tests and my heart is now at 46%. Normal is 55%. I will make a full recovery with patience and time.

About Beth Wood

Beth is a 34 year old stay at home mom with a nursing degree who lives in Kenner.


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