After the unexpected death of their daughter and sister, one Effingham family is pledging to put one foot in front of the other.
In March 2016, the Melton family had just returned from running errands and completing their daughter’s new born photo shoot.
Seven days prior, Ashley Melton, 27, had given birth to little Adeline.
“She was really in tune with her family. She loved her kids,” sister Jennifer Alford said. “She was very excited to have a little girl. And she was going to be her little princess.”
That Friday, the fairytale took an tragic turn.
“My brother-in-law went to take the kids inside, she went to go check her mail, and he came back out and she was laying on the ground,” Alford said.
Melton was rushed to the hospital and the family says she was treated for a blood clot but it was too late.
“But we had an autopsy done, took about six weeks and found she died of heart related issues and it was Peripartum Cardiomyopathy, which is PPCM for short. And it happens to women who are pregnant or up to six months after pregnancy,” Alford said.
Symptoms of PPCM include fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling. Melton showed all those symptoms but those around her, including her, attributed them to her pregnancy. PPCM can be treated and detected through an echocardiogram.
“With early recognition and treatment with the proper heart failure therapy, many women with PPCM can return to normal heart function in the first year. But it must be detected early, and an echocardiogram is the only test that definitively diagnoses heart failure and the severity of the left ventricle dysfunction. Echocardiograms are usually given when there is high suspicion of heart failure so that is why it is important to talk to your healthcare provider if you feel something isn’t right.” – Dr. Mark Lawton, Hilton Head Hospital cardiologist
Now Melton’s family is sounding the alarm so other mothers can learn and live.
“A lot of moms’ don’t take care of themselves cause they’re so worried about their baby that they’re not worried about themselves and we wish Ashley worried more about herself because if she did she could still be with us today,” Alford said.
On Saturday, April 28th, Melton’s family is taking part in the annual American Heart Association’s Palmetto Heart Walk to raise awareness and fundraise for research. The walk starts at 9:00 a.m. at Shelter Cove Community Park on Hilton Head Island.
For more information and to sign up, click here.