This was a tragic loss for us. We want nothing more than to help Sommer make an impact and for other families to have a happier ending.
Erika and Kris Young had surprisingly little trouble getting pregnant. Given their age and risk of birth complications, they conducted blood work and screening, and soon were thrilled to know they’d have a little girl who could grow to be strong, smart, and fierce.
But as time went on, the due date came and passed with no signs of labor. At this point, an induction was scheduled to help the baby along. On August 24, they went to the hospital for a stress test to make sure the baby was okay and to wait for a room to deliver. Baby’s heart rate, movement, ultrasound, and mom all checked out fine.
The next day was time to deliver. It only took one pill to induce Erika into labor. With the contractions, though, came pain. Labor progressed unusually fast for a first-time mom. Erika was struggling, but the reality and excitement of the moment was incredible—they were going to have a baby.
Then, things changed. In the final moments of labor, the tracing report showed a sudden, large decline in the baby’s heartbeat, and as Erika pushed her into the world, the delivery room became frantic with doctors from the NICU.
Sommer Vivienne Young was born on Thursday, August 25, 2022. She weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces. It was immediately clear that something was wrong: she was pale gray and limp. Kris remembered the distinct “thud” of the baby landing on Erika’s chest. He says, “I had just a moment to look at her and to look Erika in the eyes before she was whisked away into the small baby bed monitoring station in the delivery room.”
A dozen or more medical personnel flooded into the room. Kris looked down at his wife, who with tears in her eyes said, “I hope our baby is OK, Kris, I hope she’s OK.” “That sound reel replays in my head often,” he says.
Sommer wasn’t well. Her heart rate slowed and her situation worsened. Sommer Vivienne Young was alive for an hour and fifty minutes. She never opened her eyes or was able to take a breath on her own.
“We brought Sommer back to our delivery room, where we held and cuddled her for a few hours,” Kris says. “I tried my best to hold her, appreciate her, love her, and soak in those moments.”
Sommer would’ve celebrated her first birthday August 25. Erika and Kris Young connected with March of Dimes to express the importance of research so no other family experiences what they did.
“We wanted to have a legacy for Sommer,” Erika says. While Sommer won’t get a chance to live out the aspirations her parents had for her life, you can help her make an impact on families everywhere. Your donation to March of Dimes lets us continue fighting for the health of all moms and babies through our research, education, and advocacy.
You can also support, like the Youngs have, the March of Dimes Innovation Fund, which is investing in healthcare companies focused on solving maternal and infant health challenges.
The hospital and doctors who reviewed Sommer’s case are still uncertain whether a possible lack of oxygen may have started in the second stage of labor or if a sudden, catastrophic, unexplainable event occurred as Erika pushed her out.
“This is part of why we’re so committed to the March of Dimes Innovation Fund,” Erika said. “We want to bring more and better technologies to pregnancy and delivery for doctors to have more information and so that other families don't have to live without answers when things go awry.”