Finding out that you are pregnant is an exciting time.
- Will it be a boy or a girl?
- Who will they look like?
- What will they grow up to become?
These are just some of the questions we have when thinking about the precious baby growing inside us. We do everything in our power to have the best possible pregnancy so we can have a happy and healthy baby.
Pregnancy dreams turn into pregnancy nightmares for some women. For me, my first pregnancy ended at twenty-four weeks when my son had to be delivered to save both of our lives. I had developed a pregnancy related disorder known as preeclampsia.
After facing multiple complications in my own pregnancy, I awoke on a Saturday morning to find my face so swollen I could barely open my eyes. After getting to my local hospital for evaluation, I was quickly transported to the University Of Iowa Hospital because my condition and stage of pregnancy was not something that the local hospital was equipped to handle.
Instead of being on bed rest for several weeks like my midwife and the doctors had hoped, I delivered a little one-pound three-ounce baby boy that same day. When I woke up that morning, I had no idea the roller coaster ride my life would be taking.
I am so grateful for all the doctors and nurses at the University of Iowa hospital that took care of me and for my local midwife and doctor for having the insight to transfer me. For some women, they are not transported to a better equipped facility on time, if at all, and they, their baby or even both of them do not survive.
This is what happened to one Quad City native, Shelly Bridgwater (Warner). She no longer lived in the area and during her first pregnancy developed classical symptoms of preeclampsia. for some reason, her obstetrician did not get her the care she needed in time. Her condition took a turn for the worse and she developed HELLP syndrome.
Even after delivering her baby girl, her body continued to shut down. She was eventually transported to the University Of Iowa Hospital to receive proper care but it was too late. Just one short week after she delivered her precious daughter, she lost her own life. The damage that was caused by this horrific disorder had ravaged her body to the point of no return.
I never knew Shelly, but I have had the pleasure of getting to know her parents, sister, daughter, aunts, uncles, cousins, and some of her friends. I feel like I know her better after reading a book written by her best friend Bree Housley called “We Hope You Like This Song.” Bree shares details about their young life together growing up in a small town. Anyone that is from this Quad Cities area or ever had a best friend they could always count on can relate to this author and her amazing story.
After Shelly’s death, her parents John and Brenda Warner made it their mission to help raise awareness about preeclampsia. They didn’t want any other parents to lose their daughter the way that they had. John and Brenda have been very involved in the Preeclampsia Foundation and even started a local chapter to raise awareness in this area. They gathered their family, friends, and other survivors to start an annual walk that is held every year on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend.
John and Brenda’s hard work and dedication in raising awareness and money for preeclampsia research did not go unnoticed. Through the University of Iowa hospital and clinics, a new foundation has been started in Shelly’s name; the Shelly Bridgewater Dreams Foundation (SBDF).
Plans were underway to reveal the SBDF on March 1 at the Women’s Health and Lifestyles Fair. On February 16, we were all hit in the gut with the tragic news that John (Shelly’s father) had suddenly passed away. It didn’t seem possible! What were we going to do? How were we going to do this without him?
The thought of not moving forward with the unveiling of the Shelly Bridgewater Dreams Foundation didn’t seem like an option. John would have wanted us to keep moving forward. So to honor John and all of his hard work and dedication, we are gong ahead with all the plans set in place, taking off with what he had started, and making his dreams become a reality.
As planned, the Shelly Bridgewater Dreams Foundation was launched to the public and the response so far has been great.
We want to honor Shelly and John by making this foundation better and stronger than anyone could have ever imagined. Just as John wanted, there be a Dreams Walk awareness night at the Modern Woodman Ballpark on May 1 and the first annual Dreams walk will take place on May 10. Stick around after the walk for the silent auction, carnival games, bounce house and a little food.
Will you join us as we celebrate the lives of these two amazing people and kick-off the first of many exciting events?