Oklahoma City Mission Family Honors the Memory of Emilly and Connor

April 2, 2013
John, Rachel & Deanna Woods, the OKC Mission Family.

John, Rachel & Deanna Woods, the OKC Mission Family.

Deana Woods lost her daughter, Emilly, and her grandson, Connor, to preeclampsia.  Emilly had only recently finished college and had moved in with her boyfriend to save money and live closer to work.  After living together for just a few months, Emilly discovered she was pregnant.  Emilly and her boyfriend, Zach were a bit overwhelmed by this news, but Deana found it such a blessing and soon everyone was looking forward to a new baby.

At the beginning of the 8th month of Emilly’s pregnancy, she began to feel a little more tired.  She also started to experience swelling.   Deana recalls how they joked about a photo Emilly sent her through her phone.  It was Emilly’s ankles with the text, “Look how big they are.”  Deana suggested she just take it easy, put her feet up and watch her salt intake.  About a week later, Emilly had a headache for a couple of days, but she rested and it went away.  Everything just seemed like normal pregnancy discomforts.

Emilly followed up at her next scheduled doctor’s appointment and all looked well.  There was no indication that there was anything to be concerned with.  Emilly spent the next few days like so many expectant mothers in their third trimester.  She put the baby’s room together, she talked with her sister and mother and was excited about scheduled showers for her and baby Connor.

It was a Tuesday when Emilly called Deana to tell her she was experiencing some pain.  Deana told her to call her doctor to see what she thought.  After waiting on hold for her doctor, Emilly hung up and called her mother back, the pain was getting worse.  Deana feared it was early labor and tried to work through breathing with Emilly on the phone while she waited for her boyfriend to come home and take her to the hospital.  Deana told her everything was going to be fine… people have babies every day.

By the time Deana had reached the hospital, things had gone from bad to worse.  Emilly was in a great deal of pain and nurses were having trouble getting an IV in.  Then came the first horrific news.  A doctor took Zach and Deana into the hallway and told them that Emilly had lost Connor, that he had passed away.

Emilly’s blood pressure refused to come down, so doctors rushed her into surgery to deliver Connor.  Deana remembers the moment clearly…”I remember seeing Emilly laying there, just like it was yesterday looking at me right in the eyes and looking directly at her sister and saying, ‘I love you, sister!’”  It’s a moment Deana will always hold special.

After delivery, Deana and Zach were able to see baby Connor.  He was a perfect little boy, gone too soon.

Doctors then came to tell the family that they needed to transfer Emilly to another hospital.  They were specifically concerned about her kidneys.  They followed the ambulance, lights and sirens blazing.  Upon arrival at the new hospital, doctors assessed Emilly and told the family she was, indeed, a very sick young woman.  The family waited and hoped for improvement, but that never came.  Instead, doctors explained to them what preeclampsia was and informed Deana that her daughter was probably not going to survive.  Emilly later passed away due to preeclampsia.  Deana had lost both her daughter and her grandson.  In her words, “to say life would never be the same is an understatement.”

Deana has been mobilized by this tragedy and seeks now to help make sure other families do not meet with the same heartache that hers has felt.  You can meet Deana’s family as well as Zach at the Oklahoma City Promise Walk on May 11th.  Register now at www.promisewalk.org/oklahomacity.


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