A young DOTING mom spoke about her near-death experience and how her family prepared to say goodbye after her body rejected a new heart.
Amy Ellis, from Allerton, said doctors were left with no options after being placed on life support.
“What is heartbreaking about all of this is that I didn’t even know I was knocking on the door of death – it was all empty,” she said.
The 19-year-old had to undergo a major heart transplant to treat the same disease that has wreaked havoc on her family over the years.
She has dilated cardiomyopathy – the condition many in her family also suffer from – and has taken pills for much of her life to keep her at bay.
It is a disease of the heart muscle, where it stretches and thins. This means that it is unable to effectively pump blood throughout the body.
Amy has now found the strength to talk about her latest ordeal. It started earlier this year when she was pregnant with her baby girl. At 32 weeks, she was told she would have to stay in the hospital until her baby arrived because she was “in terrible pain” and would need a pacemaker.
Until then, she had managed to live with her illness until she became pregnant in December of last year, which she described as “the best news in the world”.
She said: “I couldn’t wait to tell my boyfriend how happy I was, being a mom was all I wanted, everything was going well.”
While she was happy to expect it, Amy said problems arose when she could no longer take her heart pills due to the risk of harming her baby.
Being pregnant with her condition is “extremely risky”, but Amy said she had no options and therefore spent half of her pregnancy without it.
She said: ‘I ended up going back to my grandmother in Bradford for my pregnancy where I had more chest pain, I wasn’t feeling well at all so I took myself to the hospital without really thinking about it.
“I was there all day, then it was about six in the evening, they said I had to stay the night.
“That’s when I started to panic, I had never been more than two hours in the hospital let alone at night, so I knew something was wrong.”
The next morning, she was told she was dealing with a left ventricular assist device, a mechanical pump used in patients with heart failure, adapted because her heart was beating.
Amy said things took a turn for the worse from there and she was transferred to Leeds General Hospital where she was awaiting a Caesarean.
Her baby, Ivy, was due to be born in late July, but her date was moved forward to June 21 because her body would not have been able to cope with a full pregnancy – but even that was too late. On June 17, doctors told Amy that she was going to give birth the next day.
She said: “They told me I had to have my baby the next day because my heart was not going at all and if I continued I was not going to make it, so the next day my beautiful baby girl was born.
“Two days later I had another operation to insert my pacemaker, I was over the moon when I finally got home with my little girl, I thought everything would be fine.”
She fell seriously ill once more and was rushed to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, famous for its heart center, and told her she was in urgent need of a new heart.
Amy discovered early in the morning that a heart was ready.
She said: “This is when my life changed forever, I fell not knowing if I would ever come back.”
But she fell ill again and her antibodies started attacking her heart, sending her into a very rare rejection and causing her to be put on life support for 14 days.
She said: “The doctors didn’t know what to do, they had no more options and everyone was taken to the hospital to say goodbye to me, my daughter came to say goodbye to me, all the people. who were dear to me were outside that hospital that day. . ”
Against all odds, she fought back on the brink of death but still had a long way to go. Covered with cables and medical equipment and lots of medicine, she didn’t even recognize her fiancé, Charlie.
Amy said: “It was a huge blur, I had a balloon, I had drains in my stomach, my armpit.
“I had a tracheostomy, a central catheter, two cannulas, a PICC catheter. It was hard, I couldn’t move anything from head to toe, I couldn’t move anything at all.
She is still in the hospital, relearning to walk for the third time, but has vowed that she would recover and return home with her family.
Amy said, “A big part of my determination has come from every person and every angel who is watching over me and supporting me. I know there are a lot of people who are following my story and supporting me during this horrific time, it’s been so hard but just knowing there are people i’ve never seen or talked to in all my life who pray for me, and still pray for me, is amazing and all nurses, physiotherapists, kitchen staff and housekeepers who come to visit me almost every day, the doctors who saved my life, I could not have done it with their full support.
But above all, she paid tribute to her family and their “incredible support”.
” [They] Supported me all through this, didn’t doubt myself once, always kept me strong, protected me from anything that could hurt me and I couldn’t be more grateful.