Friday, April 20, 2012

Pregnant with Broken Heart Syndrome

6 months ago today I went in for a routine gallbladder removal. Little did I know that the surgery would lead to 2 days in the ICU and weeks of recovery time due to a heart issue. My heart started racing during surgery and my blood pressure dropped severely. I was diagnosed with pulmonary edema and more importantly Broken Heart Syndrome, also known as Takotsubo syndrome. Read more about my surgery and diagnosis here. I'm happy to say that I am now fully healed.

As we started talking about the future, my health obviously stood out as a big issue. I had always planned on having at least 2, may be 3 kids. Both Mike and I came from two child households, so we never thought twice about it. We fully planned on having another baby a few years after having Grace. But that all changed one fateful day when I met with a high risk OB to discuss plans for any future pregnancies. The visit did not go well. I will not rehash it all here, but basically the evil OB guy (that has become his name in our house, I honestly don't even remember his real name!) said I shouldn't have any more kids due to my "heart attack" and that I should get my tubes tied right away. Read more about that visit here if you're interested, but be warned it's not pleasant.

After some reflection, more research, and a ton of discussion with Mike, my family, and my general practice doctor, I came to the conclusion that evil OB guy was totally insane and wrong. I did not have a heart attack. I had a cardiac event that I am now fully healed from.

To get more information, I decided to find a cardiologist who knew something about my syndrome and amazingly enough, I found one of the only specialists in the world on Takotsubo right here in Kansas City. He gets calls from all over the world about my syndrome and he was one of the first in the US to publish research about it. I quickly made an appointment with him and was greatly reassured by his words. Basically, he reiterated that I did not have a heart attack. The chances of recurrence are low. Only about 1 in 10. I need to stay away from stress as much as possible and not push myself too hard, but he make it quite clear that he didn't think I would have any trouble having a perfectly healthy pregnancy.

As I announced earlier in the week, we are now expecting our newest addition in late October. As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I made an appointment with the high risk group associated with the same hospital as my cardiologist. They are one of the premier high risk groups in the area and I love them. At my first appointment, the OB said she was worried when she saw my chart because it said I had had a heart attack only 5 months before and normally they like heart attack patients to wait a year before getting pregnant. But when she heard that I did not have a heart attack, instead had broken heart syndrome, she immediately felt better and laughed it off saying "oh, you're fine then, in fact you're boring. You'll most likely see the nurse practitioner most of the time because you're pretty much a normal patient." Since I don't have any damage to my heart, they will simply monitor me at each appointment, and as long as everything continues to go well, I will be treated like a normal, boring patient. I'm completely happy with that.

Obviously we are being very aware of my health during this pregnancy and like I mentioned, I am trying to keep myself away from stressful situations as much as possible. I had to miss the funeral of a childhood friend of mine several weeks ago and I was devastated, but I knew that I couldn't emotionally handle it right now. I have to keep myself and this baby healthy!

Had I not gone to see evil OB guy, I probably wouldn't have been nearly as worried about this pregnancy as I was. I wish I would have just gone to see the high risk group I'm with now because they are wonderful. I have a great medical team who are confidant in my health and Mike and I are excited to welcome a new baby into our mix. I don't know how excited Grace will be, but that remains to be seen!

I am going to try to be better with this pregnancy about taking photos of my growing bump. So here's the latest one taken Wednesday at 11 weeks 4 days!

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  1. So glad you'll be a "boring" patient. Those are the best kind!

  2. I will keep you in prayers...congratulations!



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