The 31-year-old died from complications of a hemorrhagic stroke that she suffered a week before the birth.
Charlie Whitmer and his wife Kathryn, from Chicago, we're ecstatic to welcome triplets to the world but their happiness was short-lived as Kathryn received heartbreaking news. Doctors discovered that the 31-year-old had a bleed in her brain. The pair had met in 2013 at a bar and eventually got married in 2016. They found out that Kathryn was pregnant the day after Christmas 2017. Kathryn's pregnancy started off fine but on Memorial Day morning 2018, at 27 weeks, 6 days pregnant, Kathryn woke up with a horrible headache. “I was in the waiting room … and someone came out and said, ‘Your wife has a big bleed in her brain,’” Charlie said, according to The Chicago Tribune. “At that time, I didn’t know anything about what a brain bleed meant. I didn’t know what a stroke was." Doctors used medication and inserted drains to manage the swelling, while the babies continued to grow.
Charlie Whitmer is a stay-at-home dad. His wife, Kathryn, died last June from complications of a hemorrhagic stroke that she suffered a week before giving birth to triplets.— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) June 12, 2019
Charlie's first Father’s Day was the day after his wife’s funeral. https://t.co/9fA68PPwzp
On June 4, 2017, the triplets were born and were taken to NICU and their mother's condition was fast deteriorating. “I was in that waiting room again and thought, what the heck is going on? My entire family is in the ICU,” he said. “All four of them could die. Then I decided, no matter what happens, if Kathryn’s alive, I can do this.” Two days after her babies were born Kathryn's headache returned. The mother needed emergency brain surgery. In a devastating turn of events, Kathryn never woke up from her surgery and never got to spend any real quality time with her babies... She never woke up again. Before Kathryn was declared brain dead, the triplets were placed into their mother’s unconscious arms across her chest. And something incredibly heartbreaking happened. Tears streamed down her face. “I can’t explain that medically,” said Dr. Kim, Kathryn’s neurologist who was also in the room and witnessed the heartbreaking moment. Although Kathryn was unconscious and “near brain death … doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel” the babies’ presence, Kim said. That moment proved to be the first and last time Kathryn could ever feel her babies.
On June 8, 2017, Charlie was informed that his wife had passed away. As heartbreaking as it was, Kathryn ended up saving six lives through organ donation after her passing, Charlie said, adding “And she got to give life to three babies.” Charlie remembers his wife fondly saying that “She wasn’t happy unless the people around her were happy.” Charlie said he's taught her to let more people in his life, especially “saying yes” to those who want to help him. Even though Kathryn did leave this world and their lives, she made a stronger and more responsible man of Charlie, who's a devoted dad. Seeing scores of people offering their support during her death, reminded Charlie the impact she had left on people. “She was investing in her friends and investing in her family. She had figured out the important things in life,” he said. “There’s still more for me to figure out.”