Heart transplant for Momma of two

For the last 7 months, it was unknown whether Jillian's heart would recover on its own or if she would need a heart transplant. She and her family have been through a rollercoaster of ups and downs, thinking that Jillian was recovering and then finding out she wasn't.  We are not giving up yet, but the doctor says it's time to start considering the possibility of needing a heart transplant. Jillian's heart has not recovered to a level that she is able to function on a day to day basis. Taking care of her two young daughters is a strain, and she hasn't been able to return to work yet, and may not be able to. 

It all began when Jillian was 6 months into her second pregnancy that she believed to be happy and healthy when it took a sudden turn of events. Jillian was at work when she suddenly blacked out and when she awoke, found herself lying on the floor, confused and not knowing how she had gotten there. This was the first indication that something was wrong. Her husband Micah raced her to the ER, they ran several tests, but everything seemed normal and she was released. She passed out again 3 weeks later while eating at a local restaurant with her parents, giving her parents quite a scare. She was unconscious and unresponsive for 10 minutes before finally coming back. She was raced to the hospital via ambulance and even more tests run, but again released as everything looked normal. Jillian continued her normal routine, but every day she grew weaker and weaker. All of her symptoms however still seemed to reflect normal pregnancy symptoms. Her family continued to encourage her to get additional testing, fearing that something much more serious was going on. Finally, she felt so weak that her mother had to come to stay with her, to help her with the dishes, cooking and cleaning, because she was too weak to do it herself. Jillian continued to go to work, but had to be wheeled to her desk in a wheelchair by her co-workers because she could not make it on her own. Then she began to wake at night, gasping for air. Sitting up on the couch , she managed to get maybe 2 hours of restless sleep per night. The swelling in her legs began to creep up her legs all the way into her back. After an Echocardiogram was run, she received a call from Dartmouth telling her to come down immediately because they feared if she didn't, she might not even make it through the night. Jillian was diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomypothy, a rare heart condition that women get in late pregnancy. After two days in Dartmouth, the Darthmouth Cardiology team ordered Jillian to be airlifted to Tufts Medical Center in Boston. The weather took a turn for the worse and she was transported by ambulance instead.

Upon arriving at Tufts, her family learned that Jillian's life was in danger, that giving birth may be too much strain on Jillian's heart, causing it to stop. Jillian was sent to Tufts, the top heart transplant hospital on the East Coast in case she needed a heart transplant. Jillian could not start healing until the baby was removed, but the labor was so dangerous, it took 4 days for her team of 40 doctors to determine the safest way to deliver. They had to remove all the excess fluid in Jillian's body from the swelling before delivery in order to reduce the strain on her heart. Over the course of 4 days, they removed 40lbs of excess fluid build up from Jillian's body,  and they were finally ready to deliver. Ezra was born safe and healthy on Saturday, October 15, 2016.  Jillian immediately started to feel better, but her heart did not get better after the delivery.

It was determined that Jillian's condition was so advanced it was more likely a condition she has for a long time, possibly even her entire life and never known. An average person's heart pumps out 60% of the blood in the heart every pump, but Jillian's heart pumps only 10%, this is called the Ejection Fracture rate. A typical patient with an Ejection Fracture rate of only 10% is so sick, they are unable to talk and walk. After delivery, Jillian seemed to bounce back, she appeared back to her normal, happy, healthy self, so much so that doctors around the hospital were astounded. They were astounded by how healthy Jillian was in her condition. It was determined that the only reason she was able to still function was because she had conditioned her heart to operate with such low functionality by living such a healthy lifestyle. Before her pregnancy, she hiked 30 miles a week and ate a healthy whole food diet. This had likely saved her life. 

Jillian has been able to spend that last 7 months at home with her family. She can't do the things that she used to, but she is grateful to be alive and to have this time with her family that was almost taken away. 

Heart transplants are incredibly expensive and Jillian does not yet know what insurance she will have over the next few years. She will be losing her COBRA insurance in the next few months if she can't return to work. Most insurances won't cover the entire expense and you need to have the money up front to cover the remainder. It's a long, complicated process that may take several years to get a new heart. 

Please help Jillian get a new heart and be able live a long and healthy life with her family.
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 61 mos
  • Patricia Folsom 
    • $50 
    • 61 mos
  • Tammy Bates 
    • $25 
    • 61 mos
  • George Hall 
    • $100 
    • 62 mos
  • Fran McKay 
    • $250 
    • 62 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Jillian Marie DeFreest Weaver 
Organizer
Littleton, NH
Jillian Weaver 
Beneficiary