New mum's family dies in car crash on the way to see her in hospital
She was wondering where her fiance and mother were, when her stepdad finally got the courage to tell her what happened...
US mum Crystal Matrau-Belt gave birth to her son Jeremiah James Matrau-Skokan, last Saturday (12 December) at the Bronson Medical Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
According to ABC News reports, Crystal's fiancé Emil Skokan III, and her mother, Peggy Nichols, were driving to the hospital to see her, when Skokan lost control of the car.
Sadly, both Skokan and Nicols were killed in the crash.
Matrau-Belt to ABC News that she had called her fiancé before she was going in for an emergency C-section and told him that he was going to be a dad soon.
She said that Skokan had asked her if she needed anything, said he would be at the hospital soon, and told her that he loved her.
This was the last time she ever spoke to him.
"Family already knew"
Matrau-Belt wanted to wait for her fiancé to get to hospital for the birth of their child, but her extended family were there to help.
Reports say that her family had already known about the car crash, but chose not to tell her at the time. The sad news was broken a few hours after Matrau-Belt delivered her son.
"To lose my fiancé and my mom … and welcoming my son in my life, it's hard to balance that all," she told ABC News.
Matrau-Belt named her son Jeremiah, a name she and Skakon had agreed on just before her delivery. The new mum says she already sees a lot of her fiance's personality in her baby already.
"The looks he gives if something is annoying him, he gives this wrinkled up nose look" Matrau-Belt said . "They have the same kind of expressions. When I look at him I see a lot of Emile in him."
She told ABC News: "Don’t take life for granted. You’ve got to cherish every moment. You don’t know when things are going to happen, especially if you’re on the way to the birth of your child and grandchild. You’ve got to be able to slow down and look at every part of life and cherish it."
This heartbreaking incident reminds parents-to-be about the absolute importance of staying as calm as possible when on the way to hospital to deliver, as well as how to deliver bad news to a new mum or patient.
Read on for some tips on the next page
Getting to hospital
- Dads-to-be — don't speed on the way to hospital. If you are very anxious about the impending birth of your child and think you won't be in control behind the wheel, have a "backup driver" lined up to take you to hospital instead.
- If your "backup driver" can't make it, then call an ambulance to take your partner to the hospital instead.
- Don't wait until the last moment to get to hospital. Monitor the time between your partner's contractions and get here there before contractions become intense.
- Obey road rules while driving as you normally would.
- When you first find out you are expecting a baby, try to choose a hospital that is close to your home for the the birth. At least you won't have to travel a long way to get to hospital, this way.
Delivering bad news to a new mum or patient
- Give the recipient of the news time to prepare themselves.
- Be clear in your message. "The temptation to soften the blow by using jargon is surprisingly powerful but extremely detrimental. At best, it delays the patient’s understanding of the truth; at worst, it promotes their denial of it," says Dr Alex Lickerman.
- Never destroy hope: Even in the worst situations, there is always hope so highlight this to the person you are delivering the news to.
- Keep a watchful eye: new mums may be susceptible to postnatal depression (PND) and this may be aggravated in the face of bad news. So watch out for signs of PND and provide the appropriate support if needed.
Our hearts are breaking for Crystal Matrau-Belt, but we hope she takes courage and draws hope from her precious baby boy. Do share your thoughts on this story in a comment below.