Well I've thought before that I wanted to write a post about this sometime and when someone I know was asking me a question about my heart the other day it made me think of it again.
Let me just tell you how it started for me......
I gave birth to my sweet baby boy January 24th, 2008 (Thursday), while it wasn't a wonderful delivery there was nothing significantly wrong with it or my pregnancy. I was scheduled to go home Saturday morning. Friday night my husband brought me a hamburger and big coke from Chili's! It was exceptionally yummy and I was glad to have some good food since I'd already been in the hospital a few days. Later that night I felt like I was having trouble breathing! Alarm right? Well the nurse said I probably had gas and gave me some nasty chalky stuff and made me walk the halls! Of course my husband and I thought it was the food (and later joked that it caused everything, though we know better)! I had to sleep propped way up because if I laid down I couldn't hardly breathe (one of the symptoms). Sometime in the night my nurse gave me another dose of chalk, which helped none! In the morning I got a new nurse who was concerned and the Nurse Practitioner from my OB practice was in soon. When she found out about my new symptoms she quickly got an OB. Soon afterward I saw my OB, was started on O2 and quite a few test run, including an EKG, chest x-ray, sonogram of my legs and a spiral CT. During this time, my newly named and birthed baby was kept in the nursery. At some point I said to my nurse, "I guess you can give him formula," she said they already had (sniff, sniff from me)! They started me on IV lasix (a diuretic) and I lost like 16 pounds in 24 hours, not including the weight I lost from giving birth. The next day my OB decided I should see a cardiologist and they ordered a blood test (BNP) that showed my heart was under duress. So after having an echo cardiogram the cardiologist came back in and told me that my heart wasn't working at what it should be. It was at 50% when it should be at 65%. Which looking back knowing what I do now it really isn't that bad. Chances are it was worse before I was started on the lasix, as I was already feeling better. I stayed in the hospital a few more days as they started me on some new drugs and weaned me off the oxygen. One of the most difficult things about the whole ordeal for me was not being able to nurse due to the medication I was put on. I only nursed my sweet baby for one day before this happened. My last baby (Curlyhead) was breastfed for over 2 1/2 years. I actually pumped for a month hoping to go off the medicine but was not able to at the point.
But I was one of the lucky ones! The fact that I was still in the hospital when my symptoms happened enabled me to get care right away which I might have put off if I was at home already.
I was also lucky that my heart was back up to 64% at my echo 6 months later with no more dilation (or enlargement). I'm due for another echo this month and hope to hear it has continued to stay at what it should. While this can be life threatening and have lasting affects, most woman have a full recovery if it is caught in time. That is part of the reason in writing this post to inform others about this. PPCM can occur anytime during pregnancy or within a few months afterward. The symptoms often mock normal pregnancy symptoms making it go overlooked sometimes.
Some of the symptoms of are: shortness of breath, trouble breathing while lying down, swelling in the arms, face, legs and sometimes in the chest and abdomen, chest pain, dizziness, excessive tiredness and more. If you want more information please visit the heart shaped link on my sidebar. That is a great site complete with message boards where a specializing cardiologist answers questions.