Pregnancy complication keeps mom hospitalized for months

September 16, 2011 4:51:35 PM PDT
A mother gave birth to a healthy boy and then had two heart attacks and multiple surgeries -- all out of the blue. It started as a rare complication of pregnancy! In this special "Healthcheck Survivor's Story," we learn how she overcame one crisis after another to go home to her children who hadn't seen their mother in almost three months.

Liam Galloway snuggles in his mother's arms. He and his big sisters, Gigi and Missy, are very lucky to have her.

"I had a heart attack, then I had another one. I couldn't believe it," Felecia Galloway said.

She had a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, but a week later, the heart attacks began.

"I was only 40 years old you know. Plus I thought it was the chest and in the arms, and I didn't have any -- it was all in my back," Felecia said.

She had a rare complication of pregnancy called postpartum cardiomyopathy by dissection.

"The strain of the childbirth mixed along with the hormones during pregnancy basically weakened the strength of the arteries," said her husband, Brian Galloway.

"It's not even in the books that I read about pregnancy -- that's how rare it is," Felecia said.

She had emergency surgery on her heart. Then caught a super bug infection in the hospital, which ate through her colon, and that meant more surgery.

"God used every one of those doctors and nurses at both Methodist locations," Brian said.

Brian couldn't be at the hospital with Felecia, and home with their newborn and the girls, so the children went to stay with grandparents out of state.

"When it was just me in this house, I couldn't be with my kids, I couldn't be with my wife. I wouldn't go back to that," he said.

Felecia was in Methodist Hospital for months.

"She came to us in very bad condition, a balloon pump, mechanical support and on a ventilator," Methodist heart surgeon Dr. Matthias Loebe said.

Her one chance was a heart pump. And that got her home. With the battery on her shoulder, she goes bike riding with her kids.

"I really believe that God was holding me in his hands," Felecia said.

So instead of worrying about the future, she's grateful for the present.

Felecia will take tests in the next few months and she hopes that her heart will improve enough to avoid having a heart transplant.


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