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Meagan Crouch wearing a red dress

A Young Mother’s Experience with Open-Heart Surgery

Two days after Meagan Crouch turned 25, she was not at home with her six-month-old daughter, she was undergoing open-heart surgery. Meagan, an administrative assistant at OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, refers to her daughter as her “little lifesaver” because it was her labor and delivery nurse that detected Meagan’s irregular heartbeat while she was in labor.

Photo of the Crouch family
The Crouch Family

Though Meagan was told to follow-up with a cardiologist a few months after she went home with her daughter, she did not think of it again until Tejas Mehta, MD, called her on a random Saturday afternoon to ask her to come in for more testing. Meagan went in the following week and after Dr. Mehta discovered Meagan’s mitral valve was only working 30 percent, he quickly concluded she would need open-heart surgery.

“I had no plan to have a follow-up because with an infant, you take care of yourself last,” Meagan said. “I asked Dr. Mehta, ‘what if you wouldn’t have called me?’ and he said, ‘one day you’re going to get tired, so tired that you want to take a nap.’ And that would be it.”

The Need for Surgery

This harsh reality led Meagan to schedule her surgery two weeks after her initial appointment. Those two weeks before the surgery were full of many types of preparation: arranging childcare, because Meagan was not able to pick up or hold her daughter after surgery; organizing family members to look after Meagan while her husband was at work; and scheduling her daughter’s baptism before the surgery date.

“My daughter not having a mom was what scared me the most,” Meagan said. “I felt that I needed to make sure she was baptized so she was taken care of. I wanted to make sure she was protected and if my husband needed assistance, then her godparents could help.”

After surgery, Meagan’s recovery was frustrating as she was forced to depend on others and could not care for her daughter. One of Meagan’s biggest concerns throughout the process was not being able to have another child, but she gave birth to her son two years later. He was born with a cleft lip and pallet, but is a healthy and energetic boy today.

“My advice to young moms is to swallow your pride and take care of yourself because if you’re not there, no one is going to treat them like you do, no one is going to cuddle them like you do or dress them in the outfit you want them to wear,” Meagan said. “It sucks, it really does, to put yourself first; but sometimes, you have to take that step.”


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