Megan Moss Johnson of Ferguson survived a heart transplant seven years ago but died Tuesday shortly after delivering a healthy baby girl.
During high school at North County Christian School in Florissant, Johnson developed a virus that led to myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart. She recovered, but complications including congestive heart failure and pneumonia led to a heart transplant at Barnes-Jewish Hospital when she was 23.
Johnson had since married musician Nathan Johnson and moved to Nashville, Tenn., where she delivered Eilee Kate early Tuesday. She spent six hours with the baby before she lost consciousness, according to a friend.
Pregnancies following heart transplants are considered high-risk for both the mother and baby.
Women are advised not to get pregnant in the first year after a transplant when the chances for rejection are highest and drug treatments are most potent.
The risks to the mother are highest immediately after delivery because of changes in blood circulation and volume that can lead to high blood pressure and blood clots.
A fundraising page for Nathan and Eilee Johnson was launched to help with their immediate expenses. After more than $250,000 poured in, the campaign has turned into a college fund for Eilee.
Johnson was featured in a Post-Dispatch story in 2011 after her heart transplant to promote organ donation.
“I never thought about being an organ donor until I needed one,” she said at the time. “It can save lives. It saved mine. It’s the gift of life.”