A newlywed mother died from a brain aneurysm just an hour after giving birth to twins.
Amanda Sawyer, 37, and firefighter Nick Reeder welcomed twin girls Kelce and Kaia on April 9 in Fresno, California, five months after their wedding in November.
The joyous moment quickly turned into a nightmare when Amanda began to feel ill minutes after giving birth.
Her condition rapidly deteriorated and within an hour she died from what doctors later learned was a ruptured brain aneurysm.
Nick is now mourning the loss of his ‘rock’ while adjusting to his new life as a single father to the newborn twins and the couple’s other three children.
Amanda Sawyer, 37, died from a ruptured brain aneurysm shortly after giving birth to twins in Fresno, California on April 9. She was the proud mother of five children
Amanda’s husband Nick Reeder is adjusting to life as a single father to twins Kelce and Kaia and the couple’s other children Caleb, 11, Anistyn, six, and Layla, three
Nick and Amanda were thrilled to learn that they would be welcoming not one but two new additions to their family during an ultrasound appointment last year.
The newlyweds, who had been together for four years, were already parents to three children, two from a previous relationship, Caleb, 11, and Anistyn, six, and one that they had together, daughter Layla, three.
Throughout the healthy pregnancy, Amanda developed a bond with the unborn twins.
‘She knew their personalities and their names,’ Nick, a fire captain, told the Sacremento Bee. ‘Now that I’ve met them, she was spot on.’
The babies were scheduled to be delivered by cesarean section earlier this month at Clovis Community Medical Center.
After a smooth delivery the new mom was bonding with the newborns when she began to feel ill and suddenly passed out.
The doctors did everything they could but were unable to save Amanda’s life.
It was later revealed that she had suffered from a brain aneurysm, which occurs when a a blood vessel in the brain weakens and swells.
Amanda’s aneurysm had ruptured during childbirth, causing bleeding that led to a stroke.
The US has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world with five to 12 percent of deaths caused by ruptured aneurysms, according to the American Journal of Obstetric Gynecology.
Only 20 percent of aneurysms can be detected with scans, and pregnancy has been found to increase the risk of rupture.
The couple met four years ago and got married in November, just months after learning they were expecting twin girls
Amanda and Nick are pictured with daughters Anistyn and Layla at the fire station in Fresno where Nick is a captain
Now the family is adjusting to life without the devoted mother.
‘I can get through it. I can do it. I’m a fireman. I fix things. That’s what I do. So I’m going to be able to make this happen. I’m going to make this work, but it’s not going to be by myself,’ Nick told ABC 7.
Since her death, the community has rallied around Nick and his family, raising more than $38,000 through a Go Fund Me page and pla
nning meals for them through the month of May.
‘What should have been a beautiful moment in Nick and Amanda’s life turned bittersweet in a matter of moments,’ said Katherine Justice-Straps, who set up the Go Fund Me page.
Nick is sharing his story in an effort to raise awareness for maternal mortality.
‘This could happen to anybody,’ he said.
Why the US has such a high rate of mortality during childbirth
The US has the highest rates of maternal mortality in the developed world despite spending $50 billion on childbirth annually, more than any other country in the world.
In 2015, 25 mothers per 100,000 live births died from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth.
By comparison, in that same year the United Kingdom recorded nine deaths per 100,000 births and Canada recorded fewer than seven.
A November study by the University of Michigan revealed that the majority of the deaths are caused by pre-existing conditions such as obesity and drug addiction.
Below are some of the other factors commonly cited:
- Midwives are present at just eight percent of births in the US, compared to nearly 100 percent of those in Canada and the UK
- There is no national board to reviews maternal deaths and suggest guidelines based on those findings – everything is done as a local or state level
- Only 60 percent of maternal deaths in the US are autopsied compared with 85 percent in the UK