Heart Stories – Jessica Grib

Surviving peripartum cardiomyopathy and experiencing a near-death experience has inspired Jessica Grib to become an advocate for all pregnant women. She is a strong supporter of heart health awareness and hopes to prevent other women from enduring the trauma she faced. Here is Jessica’s story.

My name is Jessica Grib and I am a survivor of heart failure in childbirth.  At age 32, during my second pregnancy, I began experiencing extreme fatigue. I attributed my exhaustion to normal pregnancy symptoms, coupled with chasing after my two-and-a-half-year-old son, Noah. With my blood pressure high, my team moved forward with inducing labor. At 37 weeks I delivered my daughter, Amelia, via C-section.

Post-delivery, I went into cardiogenic shock from post-partum cardiomyopathy (PPCM). Unknown at the time, I had a paraganglioma tumor which caused my heart to fail.  In the recovery room, I crashed and coded. I received CPR en route to the cardiac cath lab.  I was placed on a ventilator and the Impella heart pump was inserted into my heart. Next, I was transferred to another hospital and placed on ECMO support. My physicians did not expect me to survive.  

Heart Stories - Jessica Grib's PPCM Story - Jessica on life support
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After days of maximal life support, physicians explanted the Impella and removed my ECMO machine. I do not remember anything from weeks prior to delivery. At two weeks old, I finally got to meet my daughter. Getting home to my family fueled my determination to keep pushing. I began physical therapy to learn to walk again and regain my fine motor skills. I was working to be able to hold my daughter on my own and put a pacifier in her mouth. These two tasks I was unable to do for weeks after Amelia was born.  I had the tumor removed when Amelia was 2 months old and have made a full recovery.

Heart Stories - Jessica Grib's PPCM Story - Jessica and her daughter
Heart Stories - Jessica Grib's PPCM Story - Jessica and family in hospital

Since my heart failure, I have made it my mission to educate, advocate, and spread awareness about peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM).  I promote testing to help women discern pregnancy symptoms from those of PPCM through a self-test from Save The Mommies.

Do you have a heart story? Share Your Heart Story on This Mommy‚Äôs Heart.

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