Marathon runner and working mom Julie Manning was always on the go, until she delivered her second son during a routine C-section.
She felt ill. Her arms shook. When Julie, a pediatric cardiac nurse practitioner, checked the heart monitor, she knew something was wrong.
In fact, her heart wasn’t beating properly. Her baby was fine, but after hours in the recovery room and some tests, the cardiologist was worried about a family history of cardiomyopathy.
Julie couldn’t even hold her baby because of all the tests she needed.
“She wanted me on the cardiac floor, and I just wanted to be with my baby,” Julie says. “We compromised that I would stay with the baby as long as I alerted someone if anything felt wrong. I also wore a mobile cardiac device, which allowed the telemetry unit on a different hospital floor to monitor my heart.”
Julie also promised to follow up with the cardiologist six weeks later. Soon she got a diagnosis that changed her life.
“I knew when the doctor called me herself right after my appointment that I was in for some bad news,” Julie says.
Her heart was operating at only half its normal blood volume, which explained Julie’s dizziness and shortness of breath after her son was born. The doctor recommended several medications. After being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, she went to see an electrophysiologist who recommended an ablation for her ventricular arrhythmia.
But Julie’s heart had so many troubled spots, the surgeon couldn’t safely perform the procedure. Her heart stopped while in surgery, and doctors had to shock her twice to bring her back to life.
For the first time since her ordeal began, Julie began to have doubts and slipped into a depression.
“Having to be shocked was a big turning point for me,” she says. “I’m a pediatric cardiac nurse practitioner, and I know what it means when they have to do that — not once, but twice.”
Read the full story about Being a and didn’t exclude Julie from via Julie Manning’s Story – Go Red For Women.