Team Ring

Team captains:

Team Ring Supports March for Babies

Our Story:

My husband, Dan and I found out were pregnant in July 2018. At our 16 week appointment, we found out we were going to have a little baby girl. We decided to name her Ruby Renee. As the weeks passed, we continued to prepare for the arrival of our baby girl. Around 33 weeks, I started to experience a lot of swelling in my hands and feet as well as some shortness of breath. I had read in my research that this is very common so I didn’t think twice about it. I thought it was strange that my swelling never seemed to go away, even with rest and elevation. When it would go away, it would come back very fast. I mentioned it to my doctor and even told her how the swelling never seemed to go away. The doctor confirmed that it was very common and not worry. My blood pressure was always normal so she had no reason to
suspect anything was wrong.

On Monday, March 11, 2019, we went in for our 36 week appointment. Everything looked normal. Later that night, I started having a cough that seemed to get worse if I was laying down. We had been doing a lot of cleaning , and since I had no other symptoms, I thought it was just allergies or from the dust. As the week went on, things got worse. On Thursday, I was experiencing a very intense migraine. I went home early and had my husband take my blood pressure. It was 160/110 and we were at the hospital within 15 minutes, however, we waited almost 2 hours before we were sent back to be seen. I remember feeling like I wasn’t being taken seriously.

I was kept overnight and given medications. I kept telling the nurses I was having hard time breathing, but my oxygen was reading 100% so they weren’t concerned. By the next morning, my condition hadn’t improved. I was told that I would be induced Saturday, at exactly 37 weeks.

As we were just starting to wrap our minds around our baby girl arriving 3 weeks early, things got worse and I was put on oxygen. The baby’s stats were not maintaining and there was a concerning amount of fluid built up in and around my lungs. I would need an emergency c-section within the hour. Because my lungs were so filled with fluid, I had to be put to sleep and Dan would not be allowed in the room. Within 30 minutes of hearing the news, I was wheeled back to the OR while my husband stood outside the door waiting and wondering.

Ruby Renee Ring was delivered via emergency c-section on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 5:22pm. She weighed 5lbs 12 oz and was 19 inches long. She was beautiful and so perfect. I would stay sedated and intubated for the next 18 hours while our baby spent her first few hours in this world without me. Dan got an immediate crash course on what to do and how to do it without my help. My OB stayed at the hospital overnight because he was very unsure I would survive the night, and I almost didn’t. My first moments with Ruby were spent totally sedated with a tube in my throat helping me breathe. I spent 2.5 days in ICU and an additional 3 days in the labor and delivery unit, during which they drained nearly 30 lbs of fluid out of my lungs and body. Nothing had prepared me for the trauma my husband and I experienced bringing our daughter into this world. I was trying to recover all while trying to learn how to be a new parent and support Dan from my ICU bed, as he was running on no sleep and taking care of both me and Ruby.

After we came home, I never really felt better. I started having breathing difficulties within a day or two after being home and my cough returned a few days later. Being a new mom, I didn’t know that the symptoms I was experiencing like extreme shortness of breath, fatigue even just when doing minor things, and a cough, were caused by anything more than recovery from birth. I had no idea that my lungs were filling with fluid and that each day, my heart function was dropping dramatically. My friends and family came to visit and see the new baby. How were they to know that when I said I felt ok that I was terrorized at night from not being able to breathe while I was laying down to rest.

After 2.5 weeks, I finally admitted to Dan what was going on and we returned to the hospital. This time, we didn’t wait. We were back up in labor and delivery within 15 minutes of arriving at the hospital and I was admitted within the hour. The next morning, I was diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy, a rare form of heart failure that is induced solely from pregnancy. They drained almost 20 lbs of fluid out of my lungs and body. We were told at that time that my heart was functioning at 35%, I would have to take medication for the rest of my life, and that having another child was not a possibility, that it would most likely kill me. Everything that had happened to me leading up to my delivery was caused by my heart failing, and no one caught it. I was on my way to dying twice. Hearing all of this less than 3 weeks after the birth of our first child was devastating.


The signs and symptoms were there. I had told my doctor for a few weeks about swelling and shortness of breath. It was considered normal pregnancy symptoms. A simple blood test could have been ordered to check my Pro-BNP, which is a hormone the body releases when your
heart is in stress leading to heart failure. This condition affects anywhere from 900-4000 mamas a year, many of whom don’t survive. The large gap in diagnosed women is due to misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis of the condition. I was one of the lucky ones because I was surrounded by medical staff who were knowledgeable and aware of what was happening to me. Many women, especially those in rural areas or medical deserts, aren’t as fortunate.

The United States has the worst maternal mortality rates in the modern world and the number of deaths are continuing to climb. In this day and age, it is completely unacceptable for a woman to die bringing another life into this world. The fight for babies is important, but babies need mamas, and we need to make it our mission to fight for them, too. The March of Dimes has worked tirelessly for years to fight for babies and moms. It is because of organizations like this, that provide funding, research, and education to the public and the medical community, that I am alive today. I almost lost my life and left my husband and new baby alone. Thankfully, I’m here today to tell my story. It is my mission to make sure all expecting mamas, their families, the public, and medical communities are educated and aware of their symptoms and feel empowered to advocate for themselves and their families.

I still have a long way to go, but I am here fighting with and for my family. I'm thankful for the March of Dimes allowing me to tell my story. Your contribution will help support other families like mine who weren't as fortunate, and to help spread awareness. Our precious babies need love, support, and someone to fight for them. Our mamas need the same. Thank you for supporting this incredible cause and joining our fight! 

-The Rings

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WE NEED TO UNITE, CONNECT AND FIGHT FOR FAMILIES

With preterm birth rates continuing to rise, the U.S. remains among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth, especially for women and babies of color.

At March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement you're lifting up communities, creating connections and taking action to make America a more equitable place and ensure that every mom and baby is healthy.

Together, we’re marching to raise funds and awareness to transform the health of all families!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!


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Saturday, May 14, 2022
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