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My name is Claire and I was diagnosed on the 9th of March 1996, when my daughter was 5 days old. I had pre-eclampsia from about 20 weeks into the pregnancy and my pulse was always racing, which I was told was due to a water infection, which came back negative?? (I couldn't understand that either). Towards the end of the pregnancy I was taken into hospital a few times because my blood pressure kept going up and I was putting on alot of weight with all the fluid, about 5 stone. At 37 1/2 weeks I was induced and I had my daughter about 40 hours later. I was told that once I had given birth my blood pressure would come down and I would lose weight quickly because of all the fluid, but it didn't happen. I was kept in hospital because my blood pressure wouldn't go down but I wasn't given anything to help it. Two days after my daughter was born I started to feel as if I couldn't breathe, it was hard work just getting out of bed to care for Courtney. I reported this to a nurse who said "of course you're breathing, you haven't turned blue", I was then given some simple cough syrup because I had a cough. The next day just got worse and I was put into a single room because I was told I was keeping all the other mothers and babies awake with my coughing. By now I was coughing up pink frothy stuff and the next day I was sent for a chest x-ray. I was so weak because I hadn't eaten for a few days so they had to prop me up against a post to be able to do the x-ray. A doctor looked at the x-ray that night and said it wasn't very clear so I would have to have another one the next day but he thought I had servere asthma and a chest infection so he put me on steriods. That night was such a long night I couldn't even get out of bed to go to the toilet, I was actually wetting myself but luckily my mum had stayed with me for the night to help with Courtney so she washed and changed me. The next morning a different midwife came on who I hadn't met before and she arranged for a different doctor to see me who, as soon as he saw the x-ray I had done the day before, could see that my had was enlarged, and my lungs were full of fluid. While he was looking at the x-ray the nurses had sent the physiotherapists in which I was told afterwards was dangerous because they laid me flat so they were actually drowning me in my own fluid. Then everything happened, I was rushed straight to intensive care, the cardiologist came down and by then I was barely with it. He then told my mum that is was ppcm and that he thought it had gone to far and I probably wouldn't make the night. BUT I did and 3 weeks later I went home. I was lucky enough to have a private room on a cardiac ward that allowed me to keep Courtney with me so I didn't miss out on those first 4 weeks and they made a bed up next to mine so my mum(good ol' mum)stayed with me and helped take care of Courtney. I was told right from the beginning not to have any more children which upsets me but I could not go through that again, or put my family through that again, maybe even leave Courtney and another child without a mother. I an still on medication, just 2 captopril tablets a day which is a small price to pay, I just feel so lucky to be here, we all are!

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