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Veronica's Story

May 17, 2024

Veronica shares her story to help raise awareness during Peripartum Cardiomyopathy Week.

Veronica, a vibrant mother of two, faced the unexpected challenge of peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) during what was supposed to be one of the most joyous times of her life. Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare and potentially life-threatening heart condition that occurs during the last month of pregnancy or within the first few months postpartum. Veronica's perseverance in the face of this challenge highlights the importance of awareness, early diagnosis, and support for affected women. By sharing her story, Veronica aims to shed light on PPCM and encourage other women and families to seek timely medical help and support.


"I still remember the sense of breathlessness I felt when I tried to sleep those two nights in a row and the level of desperation when anytime I lay down. I felt like I was drowning. I had a doctor's appointment the next day, for my 33-week check-up, and I was almost in tears describing how I was feeling to my provider. She took me seriously and sent me to the ER within minutes of the appointment. To this day I am so grateful I was heard, taken seriously and immediately sent for additional care, especially as a woman of color navigating the health system.  

After several abnormal tests, the ER doctor broke the news to my partner and me. I had pregnancy-induced heart failure or peripartum cardiomyopathy. It was shocking news to hear and difficult to understand. But as I got more information, I learned that I had been having symptoms for a while. Losing my breath while talking or with minimal exertion, fatigue, etc. but I thought it was all due to pregnancy and my growing baby, never something as serious as heart failure.   

I was then sent to KU’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), where they began a plan of care and got an amazing team together to take care of the baby and me. It was then I found out the severity of my situation, my heart was only pumping 15-20% of blood at every heartbeat, also called Reduced Ejection Fraction, all as a result of pregnancy. I had my baby three days later, in a cardiothoracic surgery unit surrounded by the most incredible team of 25+ medical professionals. Because of the amazing medical team, my heart baby, and I made it through okay. I am still giving it my all to try to recover from this condition, and maybe one day go back to “normal”. 


My doula, Yahaira, was there for me along the way, keeping me calm and making sure I had what I needed because having my baby at a CICU was not remotely part of my birth plan. She was an immense support postpartum, advocating for my ability to breastfeed, helping with pumping, and supporting the CICU nurses who had not had recent experience supporting a nursing mother in the unit. Yahaira, became an extension of our family during this time, communicating with my partner, and mother and helping have everything ready for the baby while the baby and I were hospitalized. Yahaira even made and shared her delicious pozole recipe with us, and we have made it many times since. I am so grateful to have had her as part of my care team. Thank you, Yahaira, and Thank you Doulas of Douglas County."


Thank you for my incredible support team: 

My family and Friends 

Doula Yahaira Dominguez 

Kelly Jimenez APRN, Dr. Bennett, Melissa Hoffman DNP, Dr. Roldan, Dr. Gorman 

CICU Nursing Team 

LMH Cardiac Rehab Team 

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