Ashely LeMieux, 33, was 16 weeks along when she was rushed to the hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.
An author, her body was fighting sepsis and battling an extreme reaction to infection — caused by an undetected kidney infection that spread to her blood. And to make matters worse, the coronavirus pandemic muddied the waters further.
LeMieux shared with CafeMom how when she first discovered she was pregnant, she was overjoyed — and even more so when her sister discovered she was pregnant too. And while things were looking up, at 16 weeks, things took a turn for the worst.
On the evening of March 20, LeMieux began to experience massive body aches and she was nervous. And while she wanted to go to the ER, she was afraid of the virus. But around midnight, LeMieux had developed a fever and she was screaming in pain — so much so that she couldn’t walk.
An ambulance was soon called but due to COVID reasons, she was separated from her husband, Mike, as soon as they arrived at the ER. At first, they informed her the baby was fine — and the parents were overjoyed. But the bad news was that LeMieux had two kidney infections that were causing sepsis.
And while her doctors wanted to admit her, her husband could not come. The next morning, her condition grew worse. Throughout it all, she requested ultrasounds despite the agonizing pain her body was feeling. The doctors continued to assure her the baby was fine, it was her they were concerned about.
LeMieux continued to lose blood at an alarming amount, and when they ran a test later that night, the technician could not find a heartbeat. Her OB later informed her the baby didn’t make it. Additionally, her doctors too her it was up to her how she would deliver but it was something the could decide once her body recovered from the infection.
But the next morning, the choice was made for her. Her son, Jayce Michael LeMieux, was born at 9:40 a.m. March 27, “all alone in an observation room that only had a curtain to separate me from the rest of the patients,” she recalls. “My baby came quickly. I delivered him alone. Screaming, sobbing, begging for it to not be real. And then I waited for an OB and nurse to rush me over to labor and delivery.” Quickly after, doctors informed her that her husband could visit.
“Going through the loss of my baby boy, being alone in pain for days in the hospital, and then delivering him completely alone is something that a person never imagines going through,” she shares. “I felt like the virus took away my humanity, and it became more important than a human’s need to be supported, held, and helped through traumatic moments in their lives.”
The mother has since shared her story on social media so other women can be inspired to do “the hard things that they’ve been called to do.
“The virus showed me my strength. It uncovered my power,” she says. “It put me in a position to rely solely on myself and my higher power to make it through the impossible. It made me dig deeper than I ever had before, and realize just how strong I am.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.