Naiya Atkins, a new mother in New Jersey, is finally returning home after over two months in the hospital following a heart transplant, after an uneventful pregnancy and delivery last year.
According to ABC New York station WABC, Atkins said it was about 17 days after delivering last February that she began to experience unusual symptoms, though nothing she felt indicated a heart issue.
"I just felt lightheaded, hot, cold," Atkins told WABC. "But you know, I'm attributing it to 'I'm a new mom.'"
According to WABC, Atkins was actually suffering from a heart condition known as spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or SCAD.
SCAD is caused by a tear in the wall of the main arteries supporting the heart. This can lead to interruption of blood flow to the heart muscle resulting in heart muscle injury and symptoms of a heart attack including chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, nausea, fast heartbeat, pain in jaw or shoulder and extreme fatigue.
It can happen to anyone, but is more common in women, people with high blood pressure, those experiencing extreme stress, and those who have certain genetic pre-disposing conditions. There is also an association between SCAD and pregnancy and post-partum states, believed to be related to changes in hormones and stress on the body during this period.
Atkins said prior to her symptoms, she did not have any medical history suggesting heart malfunction.
Atkins had a complicated course of SCAD and was intermittently hospitalized as medical staff worked to save her heart. According to WABC, she was in and out of the hospital for several months, until she received a phone call in November from her doctor, telling her that her heart was failing and that she needed to go to the hospital immediately.
She was rushed to the hospital that day and ended up spending the next two months in the medical wing of the advanced heart failure treatment and transplant program at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
Efforts to save her failing heart proved unsuccessful, and on Jan. 6, Atkins received a new heart.
Atkins said she was in disbelief at the short amount of time she spent on the transplant waiting list.
"I couldn't believe it. I had only been on the list for less than three weeks," she told WABC.
While Atkins was being treated, her husband Tristan Griffith raised their baby -- a son named Joseph Zion Griffith -- at home.
Joseph will turn 1 on Feb. 1.
"You live your life a certain way and you think, well you know, you have it figured out -- and then things happen," said Griffith.
Now, Atkins is returning home to her husband and son to finally enjoy motherhood from the comfort of her own home.
"I made it through," she said.
Erin Hannon, M.D., contributed to this report. Hannon is a resident physician in pediatrics at Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian Hospital and a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.