Mom discovers she has heart disease in delivery room

"This was my will to get better," said Jennifer Ayers-Millar. "He was not going to grow up without me."

By Stefanie

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - February 1 kicks off 'Go Red For Women' month. The American Heart Association is fighting against heart disease and if you think it can't happen to you, think again.

Heart disease causes one in three women's deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute, according to the American Heart Association.

To add to that, 90 percent of women in the U.S. have one or more risk factors of heart disease.

One local woman didn't know she had heart disease until she was in the delivery room. Jennifer Ayers-Millarn of Mount Pleasant said she{}noticed something felt wrong after delivery her beautiful baby boy, Keenan.

"My husband said that throughout the day I just kept saying, 'I can't take a deep breath,' which was unusual," said Jennifer Ayers-Millar.

Jennifer said she then suddenly stopped breathing and knew it was serious.

"I had post-partum cardiomyopathy; which is for some reason after delivery the heart enlarges and the left artery just stops pumping and functioning properly," Jennifer said.

While breathing on a ventilator for several days, Jennifer recovered, and says it was a wide-awakening experience.

"Most heart disease, especially in women, is called the silent killer because we often misread symptoms as being just normal everyday things," Jennifer said. "We think we don't have the time to go to the doctor. You really don't have time to die is what it is."

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women affecting around 43 million women in the United States alone.

"Your body is the only place you have to live and you are ultimately the most valuable thing that your family has, so we need to stop thinking we don't have enough time to take care of ourselves."

Time is exactly what this heart survivor said she fought for, so she could live to take care of her son.

"This was my will to get better," Jennifer said. "He was not going to grow up without me."


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