Earlier this month, tragedy struck a Maine woman and her family. While driving herself to the hospital in preparation to give birth to her third child, Desiree Strout, only 28 years old, lost control of her car when she hit a patch of ice. The car skidded off the road, rolled and hit a snow bank, ending up on its side on a frozen pond.
The Skowhegan Fire Department responded to the accident, where “the decision was made to pull Desiree to the side of the pond where rescue personnel could give Desiree medical attention as she had stopped breathing,” said David Bucknam, Chief of the Skowhegan Police Department.
Tragically, at 9 months pregnant, Desiree did not survive the accident.
Her husband, Harry Weeks, who was in the car with her, was hospitalized with serious injuries.
And the tiny miracle to come out of this tragedy? The little boy Desiree was pregnant with was delivered via C-section and is alive. Sadly, he is in critical condition and it is not known what his chances of survival are. He has been named Gage Weeks.
Desiree’s cousin, Travis Weston, spoke with PEOPLE magazine. Noting that husband Harry was very excited to add the third child to their ranks, Weston said, “Desiree was the love of his life and this has crushed him. They were very loud and energetic. It was constant bickering, but always with a smile on their face.”
Travis Weston also praised Desiree as a mom. “One of the things I found most compelling about her was that she didn’t just love her kids, she respected them. She let them be their own people and that’s rare to find these days.”
There are lessons to be learned about this sad incident. For one, neither Desiree nor Harry were wearing their seat belts. The child in the car, their 8-years-old daughter, was the only one buckled in. She survived and was discharged from the hospital, but not without first getting to touch and hold her new little brother’s hand.
Travis Weston has started a GoFundMe page to help Harry and the children with their medical expenses.