Mother grieves loss of baby, raises awareness of preeclampsia

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- It was supposed to be Victoria Denney's first Mother's Day.

"This is not what I had in mind. I pictured a day filled with a sweet card from my husband, maybe some flowers, but most certainly a baby in my arms," Victoria wrote in her blog.

But her baby, Josh, was not in her arms. In February, 29 weeks into pregnancy, Victoria developed high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It was preeclampsia, a dangerous condition for mother and baby. The amniotic fluuid level was dropping, so Josh had to be delivered more than two months early.

"The doctors just kept telling us how strong he was," Victoria said.

But 36 hours after birth, a nurse told Victoria that Josh was having a hard time. Nothing could prepare Victoria and husband for what they saw when they entered the neonatal intensive care unit.

"They were doing CPR and told us they had been doing CPR over 30 minutes and he wasn't responding...so they handed me my tiny, perfect little boy," Victoria says tearfully.

Victoria thinks of all the hopes and dreams that are gone. The pain of losing her child endures.

"Every time we go out somewhere and see a little curly-haired boy because Josh had curly hair," she says.

Most babies born to moms with preeclampsia survive. But the Preeclampsia Foundation says 10,000 babies' deaths in the U.S. each year result from the condition.

"I don't want it to happen to anybody else," says Victoria.

So she and her family will be in the Promise Walk on Saturday in Blue Springs. The walk raises money for research to find the cause or causes and better treatments.

"I need to do this for Josh," Victoria says.

She's doing it for her child who lived just 36 hours and will always live in her heart.

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