My name is Amy Jones. I am 37 years old. September 7, 2009 was the day my life changed forever. The first part of my story will be told from the recollection of others – the story may be incomplete because my husband, who is a major part in this story, does not like to talk about this. It is simply too painful. It is easier for me because I don't remember. I am almost a third party to the entire experience.
We were at home in Charlotte, NC, patiently awaiting our “Labor Day”. I was 9 months pregnant, just 2 days shy of my due date. I was sleeping on the couch because I was simply too tired to go up the stairs. I told my husband to go upstairs for a good night sleep because we wouldn’t have too many once the baby was here. Well, he did not listen to me and stayed downstairs with me. I am so thankful he did. Arnie heard me struggling, and before he knew it I was blue. I wasn't breathing and I had no pulse. Arnie placed me on the floor and called 911. He started CPR. After what seemed like an eternity the rescue crew arrived and the paramedics took over. I was shocked two times without any success. The third or fourth time, they got a pulse – a weak one but it was there.
I was then rushed to the hospital, my life still uncertain. They lost me twice in transport, but once again a weak pulse appeared. It was at this point that some more miracles occurred. Although it was a holiday weekend, the area's top doctors were on duty and oversaw my care. Once I was stable they performed a caesarean section and took the baby. She arrived strong weighing in at 8 pounds 12 ounces. I was admitted into ICU. I was then placed in a medically induced coma while my body temperature was kept low to help minimize the brain damage. I was in a coma for several days. Once I was conscious, they implanted an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) to help regulate my heart rate and to shock me in case it happened again. The first few days after waking were not good. I was not responding well. When I first woke up, I didn't even know I had the baby. But as the days went by, I regained more of my mid-term memory. While I am still unable to remember the trauma and a few weeks around that time, I am doing much better. Ten days after my sudden cardiac arrest my daughter Elizabeth and I went home.
We are doing really well. I have very minor memory loss. My heart is strong with no permanent damage. I have an ICD and will have one for the rest of my life. It is a stark reminder of how close I came to dying. Other than that, looking and talking to me you would never know what happened – until I tell you my story.
I now tell everyone I can about my story. My family and friends have heard it so much they are tired of it. Most importantly, I tell my story because CPR SAVED MY LIFE. If my husband did not know CPR, I would NOT BE ALIVE TODAY. I tell everyone I meet that CPR is important. You need to know how to do it. If you know CPR, you truly have the power to save a life. It's something small, but the results are big.
Cardiac arrest can affect children and adults alike. By learning CPR and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator), anyone can save someone's life. Know how to check a pulse and an airway. Anyone can be a hero – my husband and the Charlotte Fire Department Ladder 26 and Engine 37 rescue crews are mine.
The cause behind my sudden cardiac arrest was Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (a form of dilated cardiomyopathy that is defined as deterioration in cardiac function presenting typically between the last month of pregnancy and up to five months postpartum). I know that I am back to help in my own small way. If someone hears my story and it moves them to learn CPR or to make sure they know where an AED is in their office or how to use it, I have done my job.