Shoreview, Minn. mom undergoes heart transplant after pregnancy uncovers problem
SHOREVIEW, Minn. - A Shoreview, Minnesota mom is healthy and happy today but a couple of years ago she faced a scary situation involving her heart. And now, during American Heart Month, she's sharing her story.
By the looks of little 2-year-old Lindy Lu Jensen, you'd never know her birth was so dangerous for both her and her mother.
In fact, her mother and the doctors didn't realize the danger that was lurking in that final month of pregnancy.
"Lindy Lu was born September 14th, 2017, so it was about four weeks before she was due that all this stuff started happening," said Lindy's mom Laura Lee Jensen.
Laura's heart was quietly starting to fail -- a rare, but pregnancy-induced phenomenon. In her case, doctors think her heart was already enlarged and the pregnancy made it worse. But, at the time, all the symptoms seemed to just be exhaustion from the ninth month of pregnancy.
"For example, I used to walk every day and then I would do simple things and I would feel like I ran a marathon," explained Laura. "I just had to sit down and catch my breath."
Laura Lee Jensen (FOX 9)
After her delivery, though, she knew something wasn't right.
"So, they put the baby on my chest and that's when I said I can't breathe, you know, take her off," said Laura. "They adjusted her and then you grabbed her [Laura looks at her husband Ryan] and you said, 'Help her something's wrong.'"
Her heart was in rough shape and beyond repair.
"There were a lot of doctors running around," said Ryan. "It was scary; I didn't know. I thought she was going to die. I had no idea she was in rough shape and doctors were in a panic."
Laura lived with a life vest, to help if she went into cardiac arrest, for ten months but doctors decided she really needed a heart transplant. In July, that's exactly what happened and, just like that, she could breathe again.
"Yes it was immediate," she recalled. "I felt like I could breathe again. It's like having an elephant sitting on your chest and then it's no longer there," she added. "I will never forget that feeling."
Laura's story isn't just a heart story or a pregnancy story. It's also a donor story. A story where two are lucky to be alive and one more lives on through both of them.
Now, Laura is a Minnesota Go Red For Women Ambassador for the American heart Association. She is being featured on billboards as part of the campaign. The goal of the campaign is to remind people to be aware of the symptoms of heart issues and get checked out.