'All I could think was that I was leaving my husband behind with our new baby' (From Watford Observer)
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Radlett mother Hollie Sassienie's aim to raise funds for Pulmonary Hypertension Association
A mother who was told she could die during her pregnancy wants to use her experience to help others.
Hollie Sassienie, 32, who lives in Radlett, was diagnosed with a rare and potentially fatal heart condition, pulmonary hypertension, when she was about to give birth.
The condition, which leads to extremely high blood pressure in the artery between the heart and lungs, is especially dangerous during pregnancy.
She said: "I started to get dizzy and suffer breathlessness. At one stage I blacked out eight times in a day."
She went into hospital where a consultant told her she had a 50 per cent chance of survival.
The mother of one added: "I was terrified. How do you get your head around being told to get your life in order and tell your friends and family?
"Luckily the baby was already at a stage where she would be viable, but all I could think was that I was going to be leaving my husband behind alone with our new baby."
She added there was very little advice on offer as only a few thousand women suffer pulmonary hypertension during pregnancy worldwide.
Those with the condition are advised not to get pregnant for fear of risking their or their baby’s lives.
Mrs Sassienie’s baby, Gabriella, who is now 15 months old, was delivered through Caesarean section.
The new mother then spent ten days in intensive care in Hammersmith Hospital fighting for her life.
She added: "It was an extremely scary time and not being able to see our new daughter regularly added to my worries."
Thanks to specialist care from doctors Mrs Sassienie pulled through, though she still suffers breathlessness and will be on medication for the rest of her life.
She now wants to raise awareness of the condition, which can often be misdiagnosed as asthma, and give other mothers-to-be the support she lacked.
Mrs Sassienie and her husband Darren are about to launch a baby goods delivery company, Sassy Bloom, and will use it to raise £100,000 for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.
She added: "The idea for the company, which launches in September, came about when I found it difficult to leave the house to buy things for my baby.
"The Pulmonary Hypertension Association is poorly funded as it relies on donations from sufferers.
"I want to encourage customers to donate and give something back to the organisation that helped me come to terms with my condition."
To find out more about the Pulmonary Hypertension Association visit www.phassociation.uk.com
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