Posted on 05/09/2014

My husband Mark and I were married July 26, 2008. We were recent college grads, in love, and ready to start our life together. Little did we know how challenging the road ahead would be. Soon after our wedding we found out we were pregnant with our daughter, Kaylee. We were ecstatic and looked forward to her arrival. A few months after Kaylee’s birth I noticed that I was feeling extremely fatigued, had a noticeable loss of appetite, and persistent heart palpitations. Of course I chalked most of my symptoms up to being a new mom running on little sleep. I eventually decided to have an echocardiogram performed since I did have a history of mitral valve prolapse.
Two nights later Mark found me on the floor having a seizure. After a short stay at the emergency room I was sent home. Shortly after that, I visited with my cardiologist to receive the results of my echocardiogram. Nothing would prepare us for the diagnosis of postpartum cardiomyopathy. Heart failure related to the pregnancy. We were absolutely stunned. I was 24, healthy, and active. The next couple of years were spent in and out of doctor’s offices and taking a daily dose of beta blockers and ace inhibitors. After over a year of medication my heart was finally pumping at “normal”. Little did we know that we were about to jump an even bigger hurdle.

On August 7, 2011 Mark was once again awakened by the sound of me gasping. He knows immediately that something is wrong. He recalls me taking a “last breath” then I lay lifeless. He put his ear to my chest and heard no heart beat. At this point he knows that he needs to take action. He calls the 911 operator and she is able to walk him through chest compressions. As my skin began to change color Mark was sure this was it. He had lost me. After 20 minutes of compressions the paramedics arrived. I received two shocks. Mark said that as they were wheeling me out of the house he heard them say, “We’ve got a pulse”. I spent the next five days in ICU at which time I had an ICD placed.

My survival is a miracle. God orchestrated every moment of the event so that the right people were in the right place at the right time. Surviving cardiac arrest at my home would not have been possible without the quick action of my husband and the steps he took to perform compressions until help arrived. People are often interested in hearing my story, but I really see this as our story. He is a vital part of my survival. He is my hero and I cherish the time I have with him and our daughter. I hope you will consider honoring him for his bravery.

Nominated by Jenna Miller, TX