For a long time, Sonya Harlow dreamed of giving birth to a baby girl and imagined watching her grow alongside the rest of her children and stepchildren. But Sonya could only spend a short period of time with her baby girl as she passed away unexpectedly just 11 days after giving birth.
During 39-year-old Sonya’s pregnancy, she experienced complications and also had high blood pressure, because of which she had to discontinue going to work. While the admissions director in the healthcare industry stayed at home during her pregnancy, her husband, Spencer worked to support the family. And he could see just how much his wife of 8 years was looking forward to having a daughter of her own.
“She had all boys before this and she prayed for a girl. We named our daughter Eliyanah and she is God’s answer to our prayers. Eliyanah means ‘God has answered,'” Spencer told The Bluebonnet News.
Baby Eliyanah joined the brood which included children that Sonya and Spencer had from their previous relationships. The mother was ecstatic to have finally given birth to a daughter and things seemed to be going fine until one night when Spencer woke up to find his wife in distress.
It was around 2 am, 11 days after the baby’s birth, when Spencer started hearing Sonya making noises while their newborn was lying on her chest. The husband instantly knew that something was wrong.
“I rolled over and could see she was dying,” Spencer said. “We did CPR on her until the paramedics arrived, but she had flatlined by then. It was too late.”
The mother of 10 passed away on November 16, 2020, leaving her husband and 10 children heartbroken over the loss.
“Sonya was such a good mother and wife. She was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. She was so vibrant and full of life. She was loving, kind and caring,” Spencer said about his wife.
The husband, a disabled veteran who served in the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, believes that his wife had a postpartum-related medical emergency but was waiting for an autopsy to confirm the cause of her sudden death.
Sonya loved all her children the same and “didn’t consider any of them stepchildren… They were her kids and she loved them with all she had,” said a GoFundMe page set up for the family. Her 10 children, Antonio Macias, Johnathan Sims, Aaron Harlow, William Sims, Austin Harlow, Jasper Sims, Elizabeth Harlow, Alaina Harlow, Spencer Harlow, III and Eliyanah Grace Harlow are now left without their mother while Spencer lost his beloved wife, according to the obituary for Sonya on Pace-Stancil Funeral Home & Cemetery.
With the wife and mother’s unexpected death, the family could use any financial help they can get, and donors were able to raise $41,765 for the family so far through the GoFundMe page.
“Since this was so unexpected, there’s no life insurance or money set aside,” read the fundraising page. “Any money raised will be used towards funeral expenses/headstone. And if there’s anything left over It will be used to care for her children.”