Young mother grieves loss while celebrating new life

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A young mother celebrated a special Mother's Day on Sunday, with her three children and a newborn. Just one thing was missing: her husband, the father of her kids. Tyler Fracassa died in a one car accident last year. He was a popular server at Michael Smiths and Extra Virgin downtown. But his passion was his family and the couples dream of living a simple life in rural Missouri. Those dreams were all coming true when tragedy intervened.

Rachel Fracassa is getting used to her new life as a single mom of three kids and a 10 day old baby. It wasn't the life she envisioned, but it's her new reality since she lost the love of her life eight months ago. Rachel and Tyler had been inseparable since they were 12 years old. At 16, Rachel got pregnant with Gweynneth, now 10 years old. So Rachel and Tyler got married.

"He wanted to be there, that's what he wanted," Rachel said.

Then came Eliot, now seven years old. Tyler and Rachel wanted to live simply, and he built a home on a farmstead in Urich, MO. That was finished just in time for their third child, born almost two years ago. The couple had been planning a home birth, but they didn't make it home. Tyler helped Rachel give birth to little Arlo inside the family minivan.

"He jumped out of the car, opened the van door and caught a baby," Rachel said, "I was in shock, he was laughing, thought it was hilarious, and I was like 'that did not just happen!' It was an adventure."

On Tyler's birthday, September last year, he was making the hour long drive home from work when he fell asleep at the wheel. His wrecked vehicle was discovered just six miles from the family's home.

"Telling the kids was the worst," Rachel said, "and the whole time I kept telling myself it will get better, this is the worst it's ever going to be."

The day after the funeral, she found out she was pregnant. The news was bittersweet.

"It gave me something to look forward to instead of just my life torn apart," she said, "it gave me something in the future to look towards, so I feel like it was a gift."

Last Saturday, that gift came into the world, and just like his brother, Jonas Tyler was in a hurry. Rachel had time to crawl in the bathtub, and gave birth with her midwife guiding her via cell phone.

"And 30 minutes later we had a baby," she said laughing, "it went really quickly."

But there was a problem, the baby wasn't crying at first. The midwife was worried she would have to call an ambulance, until she remembered the Facetime video chat on the cell phone.

"Even though he wasn't crying she could tell from the video that he was getting color and he was okay, he was breathing," she said.

Rachel says it's been a rush of emotion, one life ending, another beginning. But she has no regrets, and says her husband left her with so much to be happy about.

"I don't have (Tyler) to share it with and that's sad but I also feel really lucky that I have him," she said cradling her new baby.

Rachel says being a single mom is tough but she is grateful she's had so much support from family and friends and the community.

To learn more about a fund that has been set up to help the Fracassa family, click here.

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