They say there is nothing stronger than a mother's love. It is pure, real, and raw. It stands the test of time and stops at nothing to protect her child.
Rachel Jewell felt that long before she ever met her son. Rachel had a smooth pregnancy, up until 27 weeks when she woke up one morning very swollen. Rachel ended up at the hospital in OB triage and was diagnosed with preeclampsia.
Doctors told her she would have to stay in the hospital until she delivered, whether that meant 2 days or 10 weeks. But a few days later, Rachel's health took another turn.
"I said, 'I hate saying this, but,' I said, 'I feel like I`m dying. I`m not going to be ok. And that was like the hardest thing because I felt like I was giving up on my baby," she said.
Her husband, Justin explains what happened next. "Rachel got wheeled down to labor and delivery. And she was there, probably three to five minutes, and then ended up having a seizure. So her preeclampsia worsened. I was escorted from the room and was kind of like, 'Is my wife alive? Is my baby alive?' Just didn`t know. So for ten minutes it was hoping and praying that they were ok."
At 10:14 on April 25th 2018, Rachel gave birth to their baby boy, Fletcher via emergency c-section. He weighed in at 1 pound 14 ounces. Fletcher was taken to the NICU, Rachel to recovery as she continued to fight for her life. Rachel's kidneys and liver were shutting down. Rachel didn't get to meet Fletcher for 3 days, and Justin wanted her to be the first to hold him. "He was just so small. But right away when I started taking to him he let out a little cry, and the nurse was like, 'He knows his momma."
'Fiesty Fletcher' as he is now known by, spent 77 days in the NICU. The Jewell's say they're forever grateful for the doctors, nurses and the March of Dimes. "I think the biggest thing with the March of Dimes is they want to share the information. They want to tell people. And the way to do that is to get continued funding for the research so that we can continue looking at things such as preeclampsia where we don`t really know what the cause is," Justin said.
It's a chapter in the Jewell's story that has forever changed them, but one that will forever remind them of just how precious life is.
The Jewell's were the ambassador family for the 24th Annual Signature Chefs Auction benefiting March of Dimes.
For more information on their mission and how you can get involved, visit the March of Dimes Michigan facebook page.