Wilson, Cindy

Cindy Wilson was a 37-year-old technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force when she gave birth to her first child in February 2007 at Langley Air Force Base. Military doctors handling Wilson’s delivery decided to perform a cesarean section, and in the process, severed a uterine artery that caused massive internal bleeding. To make matters worse, two surgical sponges were left inside Wilson’s body. Although the baby lived, the mother died 12 hours after giving birth.Her baby daughter survived, but Cindy died a few hours after her birth.

This quilt block was created by Anne Ramsey.

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Waldorpt, Cindy

Cindy Waldorpt, 18, died on April 6, 2010 of a systemic infection after giving birth in March.

This quilt block was created by Michelle Connor.

Wiren, Caroline

On May 16, 2007, Caroline Wiren died at the age of 34 in Tampa, Florida, shortly after the birth of her first baby at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. Her healthy son, Clay, weighed 9 pounds 3 ounces at birth.

She was the head coach of the University of South Florida dance team and wife of Tampa Bay Storm linebacker Nyle Wiren. She also coached the Storm Cheerleaders for two years. Before making the move to Florida, she attended the University of Mississippi.

Caroline Wiren’s labor was induced at 41 weeks of pregnancy. Her mother, a retired teacher, was with her at the time of birth. According to her, Caroline Wiren was conscious after the birth, but it was immediately clear that something was wrong. She went into surgery and then to an intensive care unit, where she died the next morning.

This quilt block was created by Jennifer Selvig.


Doctors say death of complications after childbirth is extremely rare.
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Why She Died a Puzzle

Zalewski, Becky

Becky Zalewski died at the age of 38, died on February 2, 2007 in Staten Island, New York. Her obituary notice stated that she died as a result of a stroke just after giving birth.  Her baby, a newborn son, Jack Beckett, survives.

Becky Zalewski was a much beloved Legal Aid lawyer. She is survived by her husband, Mark Rutkowsky, a lawyer in private practice. Busloads of attorneys who work in the Manhattan criminal courts attended her funeral service in Staten Island.

This quilt block was created by Anne Risgin.

Wilburn, Angela

Angela Wilburn became the first member of her family to graduate from high school. She was 28 years old and pregnant with her 8th and 9th babies at the time. Her nine children were born in eleven years. At more than 41 weeks gestation, her labor was induced with pitocin and artificial rupture of membranes.

With her doula at her side, she labored easily with light contractions for about two hours and dilated quickly in about half an hour. Her son Rodney was soon born, weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces. Before her second son was born, his amniotic sac broke, prolapsing his umbilical cord. The doctor called for a cesarean, and seven minutes later, Randle was born, weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces. Angela, however, bled profusely from the surgery, and a hysterectomy was performed to try to save her life. She refused a blood transfusion (she is a Jehovah’s Witness), and she died. Her estranged husband is in prison.

Angela’s doula reported that Angela had expressed a fear of death during her pregnancy. Angela died August 10, 2005, at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Angela’s grandparents are raising eight of her nine children.

This quilt block was created by Ina May Gaskin.