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Rachelle and Kieran Jaymeson’s Story
A little more than a year ago, Rachelle Jaymeson was anticipating the birth of her first
child with excitement mingled with a bit of trepidation. She was in her mid-thirties and had
been married to her husband E. J. for 10 years before becoming pregnant. Initially, Rachelle
says she “was a nervous wreck.” During the first three months of pregnancy, she had the kind of
anxiety that many people experience when they realize their life is going to significantly change.
“I had so many doubts about myself and, for so many years E.J. and I had so much freedom that
I wasn’t sure if I was completely ready to give that up.”
However, once the reality of the pregnancy became clear, Rachelle began to eagerly
anticipate motherhood. “Everything just kicked into gear and it was just smooth sailing. The
more (the baby) grew, the more I just loved being pregnant.” She described this period as one of
the most exciting times in their life. Rachelle began reading “all the books” on childrearing and
prepared for what she dreamed life was going to be like with the new baby. As the full term of
her pregnancy approached, Rachelle describes an overall sense of wellbeing. “I just felt like I
could do anything; it was such a comfortable pregnancy. I thought, I’m perfectly healthy, I have
no problems, everything’s just going to be a piece of cake.”
February 12, 2009 began as another typically good day. Rachelle’s employer had told
her she wouldn’t need her until later in the afternoon, so she took the family dog out for a walk
and spent the morning relaxing. But as the day progressed, Rachelle describes a sudden pain
that began at the back of her neck and sent shooting pains up into her head. She said the
sensation was indescribable; excruciatingly painful and something she had never felt before. At
the same time, she began to experience shortness of breath and felt nauseous. “I just thought it
would go away.” She actually drove to work in Malibu but the symptoms worsened. On her way
there, she had to stop multiple times because of the nausea. Rachelle called the doctor’s office
and was advised by the nurse to try drinking some liquids and putting her feet up. She drove
herself back home, felt as though she was in grave danger and called her husband.
E. J. came home and drove Rachelle to the hospital. The shortness of breath was more
severe and her vision was blurred. She was overcome with fear and anxiety. While waiting to
see a doctor, Rachelle began to have increasing difficulty breathing. There was not an
Emergency Room doctor available, so Rachelle was sent to Labor and Delivery, although she
insisted that she was not in labor. “I could barely breathe and my vision was going.”
This was the beginning of an ordeal that forever changed their lives and the life of their
as yet to be born baby. While still waiting to see a doctor, Rachelle was admitted to a room and
put on oxygen. A monitor was hooked up to her lower abdomen and it became evident that the
baby was also under duress. Rachelle was still short of breath but felt comforted knowing that
she was being taken care of. Her OB/GYN arrived at the hospital and informed the couple that
he would perform an emergency C-section and everything would be alright. Rachelle asked the
doctor if E.J. would have time to drive home for a quick shower and a change of clothes before
the operation. The doctor thought it would be fine because they would be running a series of
tests on Rachelle before the operation got underway. A few minutes later the nurse told
Rachelle “If I were you, I wouldn’t let my husband go home.” But at this point, Rachelle felt sure
that that she was in good hands and everything would be fine, so E.J. went home and Rachelle
recalls that she began to go “in and out of sleep.”
Although no one had diagnosed it yet, Rachelle had peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare
disorder that weakens the heart of a pregnant woman. “At some point, I remember being told
they were going to put me on a gurney for a body scan.” She recalls being wheeled to another
room where she was placed on a platform. The last thing she remembers is sitting up and
shouting, “I can’t breathe.” The room went black.
E.J. Jaymeson returned to the hospital and found that his wife was not in her room. “I
asked the nurse where Rachelle was and she said, ‘You can’t see her. They’re trying to
resuscitate her.’” The baby had also died during the birth – he had been clinically dead for 13
minutes – but they had been able to resuscitate him and were waiting for a helicopter to take
him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UCLA. It was doubtful that he’d survive the helicopter
ride across town. E.J. named the baby Kieran, which he and Rachelle had picked out together.
A few minutes later, doctors were able to resuscitate Rachelle as well, although she wasn’t
expected to make it through the night. E.J. had the grim choice of accompanying his baby to
UCLA or staying with his wife. When the helicopter arrived, he followed Kieran up to the roof,
said “goodbye” and then went back into the hospital to remain with Rachelle.
Her heart stopped again and again they were able to resuscitate her. Rachelle was then
transported to UCLA the next day. Once at UCLA, Rachelle’s heart stopped for a third time. E.J.
describes the scene as terrifying. “They just kept going and going with the CPR. Finally someone
said, ‘I think we got a heartbeat.’” Rachelle remembers gaining consciousness with the sound of
her mother’s voice. E.J. whispered in her ear that he had named their baby Kieran.
Kieran and Rachelle survived and their stories are nothing short of miraculous. Rachelle
made the kind of recovery that has amazed the hospital staff that cared for her as well as the
friends and family that witnessed her ordeal. Kieran was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and
remains at risk for cerebral visual impairment. He began receiving Early Intervention Services
from TLC in May of 2009 and his growth and development have greatly exceeded expectations.
The TLC staff visits him at home and provides Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Vision
and Child Development services along with ongoing support to the family.
Rachelle sums up the last year: “I look at everything we’ve been through – God pulled
off a miracle for us, he really did. I’m so grateful for all the help (Kieran’s) been given and all of
the services he’s got and all the support that TLC has given me. I just love to see his progress –
it’s so rewarding. When I look back on a year ago, I’m really grateful that we got through it. I just
try to take one day at a time and see things in a positive light. When I put my energy into dealing
with all of Kieran’s issues I realize he’s not perfect but he’s mine and I’ll just do whatever I can to
make his life better. If I did not have (TLC) to help me and show me the right way to do things
for him to help him, I don’t think he would have excelled as much as he has. And I just see all his
progress and he’s more independent and happy. "
To know Kieran is to love him. He loves to play “Peek-a-Boo” and his favorite song is “Twinkle,
Twinkle, Little Star.” He charms visitors with his beautiful smile, and laughs and coos when
Mom and Dad are in the room.
TLC is honored to be able to help Kieran and his family as well as providing
comprehensive services to the many families that we are currently serving.