Pregnant woman: CPR saved my life!

Happy CPR/AED Awareness Week! Here at the Red Cross, we talk every day about the importance of getting trained for emergencies. However, this week we want to turn the spotlight on our readers and give you all a chance to share your thoughts on preparedness. Have you gotten trained for CPR before? Have you needed to use your training to save someone’s life?

Let us know through our Facebook page to participate in our contest. We are giving away brand new First Aid and CPR for Everyone kits, which contain materials to help you learn Compression Only CPR. The kit isn’t intended as a substitute for a formal training course, but it is a great way to get started and motivated to learn more.

Below, Amy Jones shares her story on how her husband used CPR to share her life:

    My name is Amy Jones. Sept. 7, 2009, was the day my life changed forever.

    We were at home in Charlotte, patiently awaiting our “labor” day; I was nine months pregnant, just 2 days shy of my due date. I was sleeping on the couch because I was too tired to go up the stairs. I told my husband, Arnie, to go upstairs for a good night’s sleep because we wouldn’t have too many once the baby was here.

    He did not listen to me and stayed downstairs with me, and I am so thankful he did. Arnie heard me struggling during the night, and before he knew it, I had turned blue. I wasn’t breathing and I had no pulse. Arnie placed me on the floor and called 911. He started CPR. After what seemed like an eternity the rescue crew arrived and the paramedics took over. I was shocked two times without any success. The third or fourth time, they got a pulse – a weak one, but it was there.

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    I was then rushed to the hospital, my life still uncertain. They lost me twice in transport, but once again a weak pulse appeared. Although it was a holiday weekend, the area’s top doctors were on duty and oversaw my care. Once I was stable, they performed a Caesarean section and took the baby. She arrived strong, weighing in at 8 pounds 12 ounces.

    I was admitted into ICU. I was then placed in a medically induced coma while my body temperature was kept low to help minimize the brain damage. I was in a coma for several days.

    Once I was conscious, they implanted an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) to help regulate my heart rate and to shock me in case it happened again. The first few days after waking were not good. I was not responding well. When I first woke up, I didn’t even know I had the baby. But as the days went by, I regained more of my mid-term memory.

    While I am still unable to remember the trauma and a few weeks around that time, I am doing much better. Ten days after my sudden cardiac arrest my daughter Elizabeth and I went home. We are doing really well. I have very minor memory loss. My heart is strong with no permanent damage. I have an implantable cardioverter-defibr (ICD) and will have one for the rest of my life. It is a stark reminder of how close I came to dying.

    I now tell everyone I can about my story. My family and friends have heard it so much they are tired of it!

    The cause behind my sudden cardiac arrest was Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (a form of dilated cardiomyopathy that is defined as deterioration in cardiac function presenting typically between the last month of pregnancy and up to five months postpartum). I know that I am back to help in my own small way.

    I tell my story because CPR saved my life. If my husband did not know CPR, I would not be alive today. If you know CPR, you truly have the power to save a life. It’s something small, but the results are big.

    Anyone can be a hero – my husband is mine.

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