A newborn baby girl miraculously survived after her mother died in a tragic collision on her way to deliver her baby at a hospital in Missouri last Wednesday.
According to the Southeast Missourian, Matt Rider, 34, was driving his estranged wife, 26-year-old Sarah Iler, to give birth to their daughter when a tanker truck crashed into a Nissan SUV, which then hit the couple's red Chevrolet Blazer on Wednesday morning.
The couple's vehicle overturned and its occupants were thrown from the vehicle, killing Sarah on impact. Sarah's husband broke all of his limbs as well as a few ribs during the crash, but is recovering at a local hospital.
At Saint Francis Medical Center, doctors performed an emergency C-section on Sarah and were able to save baby Maddyson who weighed just 4 pounds, 15 ounces at birth.
"The thought never once entered my head that that baby might die," Kasandra said. "I felt my sister gave her life to save this baby. That's how God wanted it. We've been calling her our little miracle."
Maddyson was placed on a tiny ventilator immediately after birth; however, on Friday, she was taken off life support for the first time. Amazingly, the little girl opened her eyes and grabbed a nurse's finger. In an update shared on Tuesday, the family revealed that Maddyson's body is functioning normally and she is able to eat.
While thankful for their little miracle, Maddyson's family is now praying that she suffered no brain damage as a result of being deprived of oxygen while she was still being carried by her mother's lifeless body.
Sarah's sisters, Kansandra and Amanda West, and her mother, Patricia Knight, are grieving the loss of their beloved family member and are unsure of what the future holds.
"She had her whole life ahead of her," Knight told the Southeast Missourian of her daughter. "And now the baby has to grow up without her mother. ... Amanda, it's like she's lost her other half. You can't tell Amanda and Sarah apart in a lot of pictures."
"Sarah, she just touched everybody's life," she added. "She was just amazing."
A Gofundme page set up by the family to help with funeral expenses and raising baby Maddyson, reached its goal of $10,000 in just five days.
"Sarah was extremely excited to become a mother for the first time. She was a great friend, fun loving aunt, and a crazy cousin. She was the BEST sister you could ask for. She was always willing to help anyone that she could. She was always there with a shoulder to cry on and listened to everything," said the description of the departed mother.
"She was always willing to do anything crazy to make you laugh. Anyone who knows her knows she had a smile on her face. Sarah was very outspoken and stubborn. Those are the things we loved about her."
Wrote Sarah's sister: "I am saddened because my sister is gone, yet I am so excited to hold that baby. I want to thank everyone all over the world for their donations, concerns, and all the love you've shown. Words cannot describe how grateful my entire family is."