FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - An outpouring of support is growing for aFergus Falls man who is enduring unimaginable tragedy, after becoming afather and widower in the same day.
Trent Pederson, 31, and his wife Tami, 29, were expecting their firstchild in August. The couple had been married for two years, but alwaysdreamed of becoming parents.
"I knew she'd be a good mom because how organized she was.
It's hard to put into words how good she was," said Pederson.
His wife had the baby boy's nursery ready, with clothing folded, rows ofdiapers, the baby's name on the wall and a baby book already filled in.
Pederson says the day before Father's Day, Tami yelled for him in thenight. He jumped out of bed to find her on the bathroom floor clutchinga bottle of Tylenol.
"I asked her what is wrong," said Pederson, and said she replied: "I don't know."
Those were last words. Tami stopped breathing in his arms.
The ambulance took her to Lake Region Hospital in Fergus Falls, andthen airlifted her to Sanford Hospital in Fargo. Life and death collidedwhen doctors gave Pederson the devastating news. Tami had suffered arare massive brain aneurism and was brain dead. A medical team rushed tosave their baby by emergency c-section.
"She was such a caretaker and even in her last hour she was lookingout for Jace, we don't know how he made it out," said Jamie Bertram,Tami's older sister. "She was protecting him."
Jace Jo Pederson was born June 16, 2012, weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces,7 and ¾ inches long, but doctors knew his mother's ordeal already puthis life at risk, causing brain damage. They performed CPR for nineminutes to get his heart to beat properly. A medical team transportedhim to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis to monitor swelling on hisbrain.
"It's just something you don't plan for. It'd be like everybodyshutting off the lights in this hospital and then you try and find yourway out. I haven't found any light yet, that's for sure," said Pederson.
The community of Fergus Falls has come together to stand behindPederson as he tries to care for Jace and deal with immeasurable grief.
This weekend, friends and family held "Race for Jace" and set upseveral funds for Jace's medical bills. He will likely require care formany years as doctors learn the extent of his brain damage.
Pederson also travels to Children's Hospital from Fergus Falls as oftenas he can to see Jace, while trying to keep his job at a cable company.
He says Jace will be hospitalized in the NICU for several moreseveral weeks when he is stable enough to undergo surgery for a shunt.He is also on a feeding tube until he begins to accept bottle feeding.Bertram and other family members vow to be at Jace's side.
Bertram says doctors still don't know what caused her sister'saneurysm. She says after her death, she looked through her sister'sphone and found Tami was searching the internet for causes of "badheadaches during pregnancy", even though she told no one she had aheadache that day, not even her husband.
"But, he will always know who is Mama is," said Bertram. "He's got her cheeks, her chin and her nose."
Pederson picked up Jace's tiny finger, noticing his son has his mom's same "wrinkly hands".
"I still got a little piece of Tami," he said. He also made sure Jace now also shares his mother's middle name, of "Jo."
You can help the Pederson and his son by donating to the Jace Pederson Donation Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank.
The First National Bank of Herman in Herman, MN and the Gate CityBank in Fergus Falls, MN are also accepting donations written to the"Jace Pederson Fund."
A benefit breakfast and silent auction for Jace will be held Sunday,August 12th, from 9am-1pm in Herman at the Herman Fairgrounds in Tami'shometown.
You may remember a similar tragedy back in 2008, when Minnesotanative Matt Logelin lost his wife Liz in the hospital the day aftertheir daughter Maddy was born.
Logelinstarted a popular blogabout his journey. It evolved into "The Liz Logelin Foundation" which today helps widows and widowers with young families.