It was a shock when Linda Owen, 34, from Middlebie, was diagnosed with heart failure in October 2014 at 34 weeks pregnant.
Her breathlessness turned out to be peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare disorder which occurs in pregnancy, causing the heart to weaken.
And it led to an emergency caesarean section for the birth of daughter Eilidh and son Callum, following which Linda – who works for the NHS in Dumfries – was placed on the urgent list for a heart transplant.
Just 12 days later a donor heart was found and a transplant was carried out at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Glasgow.
Now juggling work with caring for her 16-month-old twins, she is urging others to join the NHS organ donor register.
She said: “I love being a mum and I can’t even put into words what the transplant has meant. Thanks to my donor, I’ve been able to live to see my two beautiful children grow.
“I know that for me to have been given this second chance, someone’s family had to go through something awful, so I’m extremely grateful.
“Joining the NHS Organ Donor Register could be the most life-changing thing you ever do for another person.”
Reflecting on the five weeks which changed her life, she said: “Not being able to hold my newborn twins was devastating. It was a really hard time for my husband David as he had two small babies to care for on top of the worry about me.
“Although it was tough, the outcome has been more than we could ever have hoped for. My strength gradually came back and a year later I was back at work. Looking back the whole thing was totally surreal, but a complete miracle.”
Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “Linda’s story is testament to what organ donation can do. Facing a critical diagnosis, the new mum’s life was saved by the generosity of her donor.
“Everyone has it in them to save a life, so if you support organ donation, I’d urge you to take two minutes to join today.”
For more information or to join the register, go to www.organdonationscotland.org.