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Woman’s discomfort dismissed as pregnancy symptoms until she collapses; Doctors describe what happen


June 25, 2017

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Joy and excitement usually surround pregnancy and births of brand new babies into families. But pregnancies and births aren't always smooth; some come with risks and scary medical situations.

Brittany Forrest was seven months pregnant when she began experiencing pain in her shoulder, exhaustion and shortness of breath - all of which were dismissed as pregnancy symptoms, according to BBC News.

Not just pregnancy symptoms

But when she passed out in the emergency room near her home, she was flown to another hospital over 100 miles away and admitted into the cardiac intensive care unit. The cardiologist diagnosed her with myocarditis, "a disease marked by inflammation and damage of the heart muscle," according to Myocarditis Foundation.

Myocarditis is usually caused by "viral infections, autoimmune diseases, environmental toxins, and adverse reactions to medications" - not pregnancy.

It was a medical emergency

Forrest was now weak and needed medication to keep her heart pumping and supplying the placenta with blood for the baby. Her obstetrician wanted to avoid induction because of the extra stress it would put on Forrest and her heart.

An emergency C-section was ordered when Forrest went into cardiac arrest - her heart had stopped beating. Her doctor performed the C-section while a team of about two dozen doctors used CPR and a ECMO bypass machine to keep her heart pumping blood.

It could have been worse

Forrest didn't see her baby, Jaxon, until he was twelve days old. While Forrest was recovering from her cardiac arrest, Jaxon spent his time in the neonatal ward. She doesn't remember giving birth or much from the several days before her heart attack. "I was still trying to process what had happened to me, and then I was going to see a baby that I didn't even know," she told BBC.

Forrest was released from the hospital, but Jaxon remains under special care until he can go home to his family.

Though things could have turned out much worse, her doctors agree it was a miracle that both Jaxon and Forrest have little permanent damage.

A true miracle

Miracles happen in times when, logically, the opposite should have occurred. Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines a miracle as "an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs."

We may not know why a miracle happens, but they are surely events that we should note and remember. Jaxon and Forrest will be forever grateful for their miracle.

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