Imagine being a father, holding your stillborn child while staring at your unconscious wife .. all in disbelief.
This was the reality for Brandon Isaac in May 2018. Isaac sat in a hospital room with his son, Jace Alexander, born a month early with no fetal heartbeat, and his wife Tomeka, who lay unconscious, fighting for her life and recently diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome. After forty-five hospital days and 7 surgeries, Tomeka and Brandon Isaac left the hospital together. The couple learned Tomeka’s sickness and Jace’s death could have been prevented.
HELLP Syndrome, an acronym for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet counts, is a disorder of the liver and blood. The syndrome is often associated with preeclampsia and can mimic flu-like symptoms. As the Isaac’s later found out, the syndrome can be treated with proper diagnosis and prevent sickness or death.
Sadly, scenarios involving infant or maternal deaths during delivery occur more often than anyone could ever imagine due to misdiagnosis, improper treatment and lack of acknowledgement of the concerns of a woman carrying her unborn child(ren).
There are several unfortunate realities surrounding this and other scenarios that occur daily:
The US is the only industrialized nation with rising maternal mortality rates and the increase disproportionately affects women of color.
African American mothers are dying at 3-4 times the rate of non- Hispanic whites.
Infants born to African American mothers are dying at twice the rate as infants born to non- Hispanic white mothers.
African American women have the highest allostatic load scores and are attributed to racism and sexism. High allostatic load scores are an underlying contributor to low-birthweight deliveries. Allostatic load refers to the effects of continued exposure to chronic stress on the body.
50,000 women each year experience life-threatening pregnancy-related complications, or severe maternal morbidity (SMM). African American women are twice as likely to be impacted by SMM than non-Hispanic white women.
These statistics are astounding. As more women are impacted, the support systems for these families do not always exist. From their tragedy, the Isaacs have found their testimony in Jace’s Journey, Inc; a non-profit created to honor their son, raise awareness and contribute to improving maternal and fetal healthcare disparities.
ABOUT JACE’S JOURNEY
In honor of their son, Jace’s Journey Inc. was founded in 2019 to raise awareness and contribute to improving maternal/fetal healthcare disparities through education, advocacy and community engagement. The Isaac’s have taken their experience and created Jace’s Journey to aid families in understanding their rights and needs of proper maternal and fetal care.
To learn more, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Jaces-Journey