I stood up in church to sing a Christmas hymn and don’t remember passing out. I was 14 weeks pregnant with my third child and ended up in the Emergency room. They could only detect a rapid heartbeat and I was sent home. It would take one more visit to the ER to obtain an referral to cardiologist. It was now February and the doctor could tell that I had tachycardia (rapid heart rate) but was not sure why. She put me on a 30 day monitor and was going to call if she saw anything unusual otherwise she would see me in March. I never heard from the doctor and just felt fatigued. I went alone to the appointment thinking all was fine. The doctor walked in with a terrified look on her face and said the baby needed to be delivered right away. My average heart rate during the 30 days had been 192 and I couldn’t sustain my life and the baby’s like that. My results had been accidentally placed in my file without the doctor reviewing them so I had gone an extra 30 days in that condition and didn’t even realize it. I went immediately to the hospital and was placed on the cardiac unit. We discovered there that my heart rate was 200 if I tried to get out of bed. A team of 5 doctors would follow my case and try to get the baby further along as she was only 27 weeks. Each day would make her a stronger baby. They gave me the necessary steroid shots to strengthen her lungs (very painful shots) and I waited. I couldn’t even sit up. My two older kids would come to visit and it was heart wrenching to tell them goodbye each night not knowing what the next day would bring. On Easter morning, it was determined that I had lost too much amniotic fluid and a C-section was scheduled for the following day. My little girl would be 31 weeks and the doctors were honest that both of us had a 50/50 chance of surviving the ordeal. She was delivered at 12:36 p.m. and rushed to the NICU. I had complications in the operating room but was finally stabilized and returned to the cardiac ward. My little Hannah (which means by the grace of God) would fight for 21 days to finally come home on Mother’s Day and I was carefully followed by a cardiologist and placed on medicine to control what would later be diagnosed as Super Ventricular Tacycardia (SVT). The next few years were controlled well by medicine but in 2009 thing got out of control and I was having up to 7000 skipped beats per day. I had my first cardiac ablation that year and it was successful in correcting the skipped beats. Another few years of stability followed until 2012 when I began having regular and frightening episodes of SVT. It was hard to watch my kids as we had to call an ambulance to the house on several occasions. The terror they experienced was worse than mine. After a second failed procedure in 2012 to control the SVT, I turned to myself to find ways to meditate and heal on my own. I knew I would be on medication all of my life, but I had to find a way to stop living terrified each day that at any moment my heart would jump from 75 to 190. Somehow I found my way through and today I am 4 years past any emergency room visits. I credit positive thinking and relaxation techniques learned as I went along. Not only do I live with this heart condition, I also work as a self-employed financial planner, raise 7 kids in a blended family, and write a column for the newspaper and local magazines. I will never let my heart condition stop me from pursuing my life dreams. Never!
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