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Days after delivering twins, mother suffers rare heart attack

Posted at 8:12 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 22:43:50-05

GREEN, Ohio — Within one week, Jen Petraitis, of Green, went from celebrating one of the most joyous moments of her life to fighting for her life.

The 37-year-old mother suffered a heart attack four days after delivering twins, but has no memory of the life-threatening event. Instead, she relies on her husband, Ryan, and medical personnel to explain what happened.

"It feels very surreal. It feels like they're telling me a story about somebody else," Jen said.

On September 30, Jen and Ryan Petraitis welcomed a baby boy named Jack and a baby girl named Ella.

Everyone was happy and healthy and two days later, the couple brought the twins home to meet their brothers, 7-year-old Evan and 3-year-old Garrett.

"Everything was great in the hospital and the transition home. Everything went well," Ryan Petraitis said.

However, on October 4, life changed dramatically for the family when Petraitis went upstairs to check on Jen Petraitis and found her on a bedroom floor not breathing.

"At that point, I started CPR, chest compressions and called 911," Ryan Petraitis told News 5.

Green paramedics raced to the home. Jen Petraitis had a pulse but still wasn't breathing as she was taken to a hospital.

"The ambulance driver told me that he was praying for us and said it was very serious," Ryan Petraitis said.

Jen Petraitis had suffered a heart attack brought on SCAD, Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. The Petraitis family was told by doctors that SCAD can happen without warning, and while the condition is rare, it is more common in pregnant women or those who recently had babies.

According to the Mayo Clinic, SCAD occurs when a tear forms in a blood vessel in the heart.

Petraitis underwent successful emergency triple bypass open heart surgery at Summa Akron City Hospital.

She believes it's a miracle she survived and didn't suffer brain damage especially since stopped breathing for an unknown amount of time.

"There were a lot of prayer chains going on, a lot of texts and messages and that's why I'm here," she said.

The couple decided to share their personal story to express their gratitude to everyone who had a hand in saving her life, including the paramedics and the doctors and nurses at Summa.

"It's overwhelming," Ryan Petraitis said. "That's why she's here. I know it."

Jen Petraitis is working on regaining her strength but said she is often tired as she continues her recovery.

She is also quick to count her blessings for her husband's quick actions on the night of the heart attack and for friends and family supporting the family.

Since she was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, Jen missed some bonding time with the twins but is anxious to make up for that.

"Anytime I'm feeling down about some pain that I'm having or just not being able to be 100% myself, I'm here for them. That's all that matters."