Local mom has heart failure just before giving birth to baby boy

Grateful Heart

It was a scary delivery for a Wichita mom before she learned that symptoms of heart failure can be masked by symptoms from other conditions, for example pregnancy.

That happened to a local mother of three who was about to deliver number four.

Julie Shoup says she had no complications delivering her first three children, so she expected another normal delivery with her fourth. 

But a check-up a couple weeks ahead of her due date revealed she had preeclampsia and proved this birth would be different.

“You tell people you can’t breathe, they tell you, ‘Well you need to do the breathing method’,” remembers Julie Shoup. “I remember people in the background saying, ‘Just breathe!’ Nope! Not happening.”

Julie was well into delivering her fourth child when she went into heart failure.  

As fluid built in her lungs, she eventually passed out and has no recollection of her son’s birth.

“They had to put in a heart pump and that stabilized me for awhile, and then, I went downhill,” she explains.

Doctors decided Julie needed a stronger heart pump. The pump kept the blood pumping so the heart had a chance to relax and recover.  

Julie would have to be transferred to a different hospital, and doctors weren’t sure she’d survive.  

All this just days after having a baby.

“I couldn’t let my mind go to that too much because if I did, my blood pressure was gonna skyrocket,” says Julie.

Thankfully, Julie survived a condition that has an 80 percent fatality rate.

Of the 20 percent who survive, 1/3 stay the same, 1/3 get worse and 1/3 get better.  

Julie is now fully recovered.  

She’ll soon be going back to school to become a cardiac sonographer so she can help others.

“We just need to be there and support each other. Whether it’s your heart, your child, whatever. It’s important that we be aware that there are difficulties,” she says.

Julie’s son is doing well too and soon after her recovery the entire family enjoyed a vacation, knowing every moment together is priceless. 

Check out all our Grateful Heart stories by clicking here.

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