Connect with other survivors of this rare post-pregnancy health disorder

United States
March 10, 2007 2:23pm CST
I am a one year survivor of post-partum cardiomyopathy. In Feb 2006,less than a week after delivering my daughter, I was having difficulty breathing. When I couldn't even lie down to sleep and walking to the bathroom became a huge task, I went to the ER and was diagnosed with post-partum cardiomyopathy. It looks and acts like congestive heart failure except that it happens to women after they give birth. Its a rare occurance and most women live with this for weeks before finding out what is really wrong, and some, unfortuntunately do not find out until its too late. Reasearch on this is very limited, if any at all. It is classified under heart disease as dilated cardiomyopathy. Basically, it means your heart size stays overly large after delivery causing many related problems. When I was admitted to the ER and then to telemetry unit, my blood pressure was 180/115, heart rate was 135 and my ejection fraction was 25% (normal is 45-60%). I was told that 90% of all women diagnosed with this recover at least a bit, while most recover completely and only 10% get worse. Here I was a 37 year old momma to 2 children at home, an Angel Son, and had just has a baby, on the telemetry unit, using a breast pump and hearing the words 'heart failure'...however, here I am, one year later, with blood presure of 122/76 (controlled by meds), pulse of 80, and an ejection fraction of 50-55%. I feel very fortunate. Not everyone recovers this well. I would love to connect with others who have been diagnosed with this to have a support system. I was told, as well as other women who have been diagnosed with this, that no more children is recommended as the ppcm can always come back in any successive pregnancy. Fortunately I had had all the children I wanted to have and my husband and I had talked of no more children, but would have rather made my own decision in my own time.
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