Sara Sewald and her boyfriend, Dustin Sisneros, were counting down the days until they welcomed their twins. “My sister couldn’t wait to become a mom,” Justin Spellman told TODAY Parents. “I have four kids, and she’d call me constantly with questions about newborns. She wanted to be overly-prepared.”
But Sewald will never try her brother’s burping hacks or his sleeping tricks. Shortly, after giving birth to two healthy babies via C-section on May 29, the 26-year-old went into surgery for bleeding — and never woke up.
Now, Sisneros is left to raise son, Ryan, and daughter, Charlotte, without Sewald by his side.
“Their relationship was so good, it was almost sickening,” Spellman told TODAY Parents. The Colorado Springs-based couple were the perfect pair. According to Spellman, the only matter they disagreed on was what to name their little girl. Sewald, a car fanatic, wanted to call her Chevelle or “Chevy” for short — so they compromised with Charlotte.
While grieving the loss of Sewald — his love of more than three years — Sisneros is relishing in fatherhood. “Dustin is feeling so many things at once,” Spellman told TODAY Parents. “Whenever he talks about Sara, he breaks down crying. But if you ask him about Ryan and Charlotte, his eyes light up. He is living for them.” (Friends have set up at GoFundMe to help Sisneros with expenses.)
The family will make certain Ryan and Charlotte know all about their mom through stories and pictures. Both twins have been taking turns snuggling with a T-shirt that bears Sara's scent. They also have a wardrobe that reflects their mother’s sense of humor. “Sara bought ‘I was planned, my twin wasn’t ‘onesies,” Spellman told TODAY Parents. “She thought they were hilarious."
Though Sewald and Sisneros were initially nervous when they discovered they were having multiples, their anxiety quickly turned to joy. “Sara was scared at first, like, ‘How are we going to manage with two newborns!?’ Spellman recalled. “But a week later, she was beyond excited. Sara loved feeling the babies kick. They felt like the luckiest people in the world.”
Sewald's family isn't sure what caused her death and they are searching for answers. In most developed nations, the number of maternal deaths is on the decline. The United States, however, has seen numbers more than double since 1987, and now has one of the highest rates of maternal deaths in the developed world, according to the World Health Organization.
Spellman can't get over how much Charlotte looks exactly like Sewald did when she was born. "When Dustin looks at Charlotte, he sees Sara," Spellman said. The family has also found comfort in a photo of Sewald meeting Charlotte and Ryan before she passed away.
“We are so glad she had that moment with her babies," Spellman told TODAY Parents. "All my sister ever wanted was to be a mom."