Local mom learns of heart defect during child birth

Grateful Heart

The days and weeks after having a newborn are challenging enough without the added stress of serious health issues.  

A local mom learned about those health issues during child birth.

Linda Newman learned she had an atrial septal defect, or a hole in her heart, when her blood pressure and heart rate shot up giving birth to her second daughter.  

Things got a little more complicated when she started looking for treatment.

“They said my heart was like Swiss cheese so it wasn’t gonna work,” explains Linda.

It was another discovery by Linda’s doctors as she tried to have her condition fixed with a catheter closure.  

With that out of the question, Linda headed back to Wichita for open heart surgery.

It was just six months after her daughter was born.

“I had to give up my baby for six weeks. She stayed with my sister in Topeka for six weeks so I couldn’t, because I couldn’t lift anything over 10 pounds,” Linda remembers.

As Linda learned more about her condition, memories from her past started to make more sense.

“Now, that I know what I have, I always hated track, and I could never run as fast as the other girls, and I knew that it just felt like my heart was beating out of my chest, and I thought well that’s normal, that’s what I’m used to,” says Linda.

Even memories as recent as the delivery of Linda’s first child just a couple years earlier.

“During my labor with Lolly, my first, that I did have some complications, higher blood pressure, higher heart rate with her, but they never discovered the hole.”

That surgery was 14 years ago.  

Since then, Linda’s family sends out a Valentine’s card instead of a Christmas card.  

It’s a holiday all about the heart, and she sends a card to her surgeon and her cardiologist.

“The American Heart Association was the first resource I went to after finding out about my condition,” says Linda.  “Because they have a very simple website at the time that explained A.S.D. in very simple terms easy for me to understand.”

It’s no surprise that Linda would get involved with the American Heart Association.

First she chaired the Heart Ball, then she got on the board and just this year she’s chairing the board.

“I just want to be around for my girls, so whatever I can do to help.”

Linda also shared that she wants other moms out there to pay attention to their bodies and take action if they notice a symptom they think may not be right, like the intense heart pounding she experienced.

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