Desiree Strout was on her way to the hospital on Monday to be medically induced for labor when she lost control of her vehicle while driving on an icy Maine road. What happened next is both heartbreaking and hopeful.
The 27-year-old mother of two from Canaan, Maine, was nine months pregnant with her third child when her SUV hit a snowbank at the edge of the road and rolled over, landing on a frozen pond. Although Strout died in the ambulance on the way to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan, doctors were able to deliver her unborn son at the hospital via C-section.
“It was not speed,” police chief David Bucknam told the Morning Sentinel about the accident. “She just hit the black ice and lost control.”
Strout’s 29-year-old husband, Harry Weeks, was a passenger in the car at the time of the accident. Police later confirmed that Weeks suffered a punctured lung and laceration to his liver. He is currently in recovery Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
The mother-to-be is survived by two other children: an 8-year-old and 2-year-old. Her eldest daughter was also in the car when the incident took place. However, it is unclear if she was injured.
The unborn child—named Gage Weeks by the family—was in critical condition earlier this week at Redington-Fairview, but was later transferred to the Bangor hospital where his father is.
Pamela Clark, who works with Strout's husband, said Weeks' parents—whom she met with later that evening— informed her that the baby had survived the accident and emergency surgery but was still in critical condition.
“They did take [dad Harry] up to see his baby," she added. "The baby was on a respirator. They didn’t know if it was deprived of oxygen when the accident happened.”
Tricia Denham, director of communications and marketing at Eastern Maine Medical Center, where the baby remains, had this to say about Monday’s crash: “The family of Desiree Strout requests respectful privacy so that they may focus on supporting one another through this incredibly difficult time.” Denham said in an email to the Morning Sentinel, “No additional statements, interviews or information will be released to the media at this time.”
In a statement on the family's GoFundMe page—intended to pay for Desiree's funeral, medical expenses and to create a trust fund for the children—Strout's cousin writes, “Our family is nothing if not strong and united. When something happens to one of us, it happens to us all.”
Chelsey Anderson, a close friend of Strout's who feels the same, said the couple shared a beautiful life, full of love, and always cherished each other’s company.
She continued, “Desiree was an amazing person. A beautiful soul, always with a bright smile and a big heart."
Image via Jessica Michael Photography