What the Heck is PPCM? Part 3

You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here….

Warning: If you don’t like medical talk….like about body functions…don’t read ahead lol 

So my cardiologist began to explain what he thought might be wrong. To this day I have no idea what he was saying. I felt a strange feeling come over me. I remember once coming home from the shore and having to go the bathroom so bad I felt sick. It was like that but ten thousand times worse. I arched my back and tried to listen to what he was saying. Finally I blurted out, I have to go to the bathroom right now! The doctor explained they gave me a strong dose of Lasix, a diuretic, in my IV. I looked back at the IV in terror like he said he had given me poison. It really hurt lol. After the doctor left I made my husband get my nurse. He came in and I said I have to get up or I’m going to pee my pants lol. He went and asked the doctors and they said there was no way I was allowed out of bed. My male nurse ran and grabbed a wonderful female nurse and she had a catheter in in no time. I have never felt so relieved in my life that one, I didn’t pee on the poor girl and two that I didn’t have to go anymore.  

Luckily I’m not a shy person. At this point I had a male nurse, two male doctors and my dad and husband watching as the fluid drained from my body. Everyone was in amazement how quickly it was coming out. Obviously this was not normal. Luckily my aunt arrived for some female support. My mom was on her way but had called my aunt since she was closer to the hospital to get there as well ( my Aunt and Mom are both nurses). After all this fun it was time to head to the ICU. 

I had my breathing machine and was covered in blankets and wheeled to the elevator. I remember getting to the ICU floor and as I was getting off the elevator a little boy was standing there with his parents and he says “that lady is really sick mommy”. The parents look mortified but I just smiled at him. 

It’s odd what I randomly remember. I remember feeling like shit it took so many people to lift me to the ICU bed. I remember the window blinds were wide open and it was a beautiful day. I had planned to take the baby for a walk. And now I’m in the friggin ICU. I think the pain in my chest was more of sheer devastation then from my heart problem. 

My family was with me and my mom had arrived. She stayed with me while my husband went to get me some things from home and my dad went home to be with the baby and my sister. The nurses were great but my mood went way downhill. I was exhausted from not sleeping and hormonal and missed my baby. I would burst into tears every few minutes and my mom would come sit next to me and hold my hand. I asked for something to calm me down and they gave me the anxiety drug I normally take. It helped a little but not much

I drifted in and out of sleep and then it was time for my Echocardiogram. An ultrasound of the heart. I tried so hard to stay awake but I kept nodding off. I felt bad for the girl cause I kept falling asleep and she had to wake me up to get the right angles. Once that was done I passed out. 

I woke up when my pulmonologist arrived to let me know the results of my test. He let me know my Ejection Fraction was about 30-35%. Well below the normal 55-65% in a healthy adult. I was in congestive heart failure for sure but they still weren’t sure why. Right now the goal was to continue to get the fluid off of me as quickly as possible. At this point about 4 liters had come off. The nurses were amazed. 

I was finally able to take off the breathing machine and just use oxygen. I became obsessed with watching the monitors. Each time the machine would take my Blood Pressure I held my breath waiting to see the numbers. They weren’t going down! I started to feel angry. What the hell was going on?! 

I spent the night in the ICU. My night nurse was wonderful. She managed to give me a bath using a special foam soap they use on people and she changed my sheets. Got me a small fan so I was comfortable. I couldn’t help thinking I should be doing all these things for my baby right now. Not having someone take care of me. I was given my new meds that night and was just hopeful they would help my BP come down. 

By morning by meds seemed to be working a little. My cardiologist came in and discussed that he thought I had Peripartum Cardiomyopathy. The “good”news as he put it was that woman normally recover fully and just don’t have anymore kids. Now I had just had my first baby. All I ever wanted was to have a child. I was so in love with my baby. I wanted to have ten more at this point. It was devasting to hear that it was no longer my choice to decide when I was done having children. It’s hard to explain the pain to people about this. I tried for years to have a child. My dream came true. Shouldn’t I just be happy and move on? Shouldn’t I just be thankful I survived and my child was healthy? I’ll write more about that another time. At that moment I wanted to punch my doctor in the face ( he’s actually a very nice person, he just was telling me the only guarantee of this not happening again is to not get pregnant since pregnancy is the only cause). 

After a long day in the ICU waiting to be transferred to a regular room, I was anxious to see the baby. She was not able to visit while I was in the ICU. Finally after about 8 hours I was transferred to a regular room. The baby was able to visit. It was wonderful to see her but after she left I had a total meltdown. I have never felt sorrow or pain like that before. I knew I had to get home to her ASAP

  

To be continued…. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional or doctor. I am just writing about my experience and what happened to me and how my doctors decided to treat me. Everyone is different. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel something is wrong. It saved my life! 


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Where I’m At 

This has been one of the most difficult times of my life. When my baby was born in October I was diagnosed with PPCM. I immediately blamed myself for getting pregnant while so over weight. I have since learned that being over weight may have nothing to do with my condition. Learning you have any illness, especially one that could be life threatening, was terrifying. 

In the meantime I had to adjust to motherhood. Luckily I have a wonderful baby that up until a few days ago was a great sleeper lol. Life continued on and I enjoyed my maternity leave. I didn’t have to return to work until Febuary but I knew I wanted to get started on Weight Watchers before I went back to work. So in January, I joined. 

In the beginning it was easy for me. I could plan out all meals and I had time to make whatever I wanted. Going back to work was a huge adjustment in so many ways. But surprisingly I made the time to make a good lunch and breakfast everyday for myself. I found quick and easy meals to make after the baby went to bed. 

Not getting into to much detail but my separation from my husband was not sudden. We had been having problems for a long time. We were fighting all the time and I admit all I wanted to do was eat my feelings away. And I think if it wasn’t for thinking of my daughter and being there for her, I may have done that. I guess I learned after a few binges that nothing, especially food, was going to take away the pain I was feeling. 

So now I moved back home with my baby and I’ve had to adjust to even more changes. My family has done a wonderful job at making me comfortable and I couldn’t ask for more. I’m in therapy to help deal with all these sudden life changes. 

So I started thinking to myself, why , when life was easier, did I fail at Weight Watchers before? I don’t think I have an answer for that. But this time around I find so much comfort in Weight Watchers. It’s a constant in my life. No matter what, it will be there for me. And at a time when I’m not so proud of myself and the life decisions I’ve made, I’m proud of what I have done with Weight Watchers. And no matter what happens, no body can take that away from me.