Friday, July 11, 2014

The unexpected

So after I went to the appointments on Tuesday, Wednesday I woke up and was noticeably winded when walking around the house. I attributed it to the fact that I'd just had major surgery and everyone told me to expect recovery to be difficult. Also, I'd gotten 2 hours of sleep the night before, so of course I was exhausted. I started coughing a bit too, but everyone who's ever woken up in the same house as me knows I cough. My friends lovingly refer to it as my morning cough.

The next day everything was worse. I took a Zyrtec, thinking the cough/congestion was allergies. Throughout the day my breathing became more and more labored. I messaged Beth and she said she'd come by and just check. We both thought it was because of all the above symptoms as well as my blood pressure issues that were lingering from pregnancy. Later Beth said she'd had the fleeting thought that it could be my diagnosis, but it was just so rare. By around 4:30 my breathing was pretty bad. Mom put the babies in the car and we prepared to go to Beth's for her to check me out. By the time mom got in the car I told her we needed to go to the ER. I couldn't breathe. We went back to Woman's where I had delivered my sweet babies just a week before. I knew they had my history and figured this was linked to the c-section. We got to the ER and I was taken back immediately. I was put on oxygen, and spent the next 2 hours struggling to breathe. They reassured me that my pulse-ox was 100%, but that doesn't really matter to a person who feels like they can't breathe. They immediately did an EKG, a chest X-ray, and an echo cardiogram.  The chest X-ray revealed both lungs about 2/3 full of fluid. I had pulmonary edema- my body and lungs were overloaded with fluid. They started a drug that made me pee all the time and put in a catheter to collect the fluid. By the time they sent me to the ICU (a few hours) they had drained out 9 pounds of fluid and I was breathing much better. By an hour or two later i was hungry and wanting to eat (a good sign according to Beth). 

The next morning we got the results of the echocardiogram. I had developed a disease with a 1/4000 chance. It's called peripartum cardiomyopathy. So basically your heart generally pumps out 60% of the blood from your heart each time it beats. Normal/low normal is at least 50% and above, heart failure is 40% or below. This percentage is called your ejection fraction. Mine was only 34%. This was a big deal. I could have died, and the indicators were that I wouldn't really live a 'normal' life. With my type, peripartum (which means it developed in the last few months of pregnancy- 6 months postpartum), there was a 50% chance of full recovery but not till at least 6 months out. Another echo would have to wait at least 3 weeks because it wouldn't show enough change. 

Now there's a lot more to the story, but you don't really need to know it all. The important details are that I was I'm the hospital from Thursday to the following Wednesday. My parents and husband are amazing for taking care of me and my week old babies. I was in the ICU for 3 days and couldn't see the babies. I was released on 2 medications and wearing a life vest- a wearable defibrillator i had to wear at all times except when showering. They pulled out 15 pounds of fluid. In 2 weeks I had lost 53 pounds. 

I was feeling loads better when I got home. I am blessed to have a doctor best friend who helped me get an appointment with an awesome doctor. That awesome doctor changed my medications so I could breastfeed. She ordered a follow up echocardiogram. I had the follow up last week and today received the results. You ready? In a miraculous amount of time my heart is COMPLETELY NORMAL. She took me off all meds and the vest. She told me to go be exhausted for normal new mommy reasons. She told me to go live life as normal mom. I am so grateful to God for full recovery. The only thing affected in my life is that I cannot carry any more babies in my body (too much risk of this happening again). For that reason I am all the more grateful that God foreknew what would happen and gave me two babies- and one boy, one girl. As I sit here with my two precious sleeping angels, I could not be more grateful. 

The first time I heard this song after this it became so much more meaningful. He truly is our lighthouse.