Lincoln woman 'Saves the Mommies'
"It was very traumatizing to pull away from the house in an ambulance wondering if I was going to come back home and see my babies."
She thought it was a heart attack...
Deanna Stewart, a new mom to her second child, Will, was rushed to the hospital in January 2008, two weeks after she had given birth.
She knew something was wrong – and that something turned out to be serious.
"It was very traumatizing to pull away from the house in an ambulance wondering if I was going to come back home and see my babies," she said.
She was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), a rare type of heart failure that occurs between the last month of pregnancy to six months post-partum.
It means your heart becomes enlarged, and can’t properly pump blood, and it affects only about 1,000 women in the U.S. per year.
Those women, along with others all over the world, Deanna now calls heart sisters.
Ten years after her diagnosis, she's launched a non–profit, Save the Mommies, aimed at bringing awareness to the dangers of PPCM while pushing to mandate early testing in all expecting mothers.
"Something just struck me to the core and I just said this can't happen,” she said. “It's so simple. It can not happen."
Deanna says she hopes one day all moms will given a BNP blood test during pregnancy – it's the only blood test that can detect signs of PPCM.
She says that early detection can help to save the mommies.
Deanna has a save the mommies team signed up for the Lincoln heart walk this April..