39-year-old Edgar Patton and his wife Jasmine Patton had struggled many years with infertility and tried many solutions including multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization, or IVF before she got pregnant.
Jasmine Patton, a nurse, was a bit apprehensive about giving birth because she was aware of the high maternal mortality rates in the United States that disproportionately impact Black women.
Edgar Patton told GMA, “She was worried about being a good mom and she was worried about giving birth. She would watch TikTok videos of some woman having complications, and she was worried about having those complications [herself].”
“She would begin to cry because she was worried about something happening,” he added.
Aside from her initial fears, Jasmine Patton experienced an unpleasant pregnancy that included severe morning sickness throughout her first two trimesters, as well as symptoms such as shortness of breath and exhaustion throughout her pregnancy.
Edgar Patton recalled that her health went “slowly downhill” as her due date approached. “She was more tired than what she normally was. She got to a point where she couldn’t eat. All she did was sleep, and it got to a point where she couldn’t go to work.”
The 34-year-old expectant mother, who saw her doctor once a week, did, however, bring up her problems and was given the assurance that they were normal for pregnancy.
Edgar Patton got a call on September 28 while he was at work, telling him his wife had been transported to the hospital in an ambulance. Shortly after he arrived at the hospital, their daughter Emery was delivered via emergency cesarean, with his wife under anesthesia. “Once she came out, her condition was not good,” he stated. “And just slowly, by the hour, [she] just got worse.”
Jasmine Patton died two days after giving birth to their child. According to her death certificate, the cause of death was liver failure caused by acute fatty liver of pregnancy. Edgar Patton said that even the physicians were astonished by the post-mortem because there were no pre-existing issues.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, acute fatty liver of pregnancy, or AFLP, is a “rare but serious” pregnancy condition in which an excessive amount of fat builds in the liver or liver cells. Their research indicates that the exact cause of the potentially fatal illness is yet unknown. The Hospital said it usually appears late in pregnancy, around the end of the third trimester, and has a better prognosis with early diagnosis and treatment.
Edgar Patton said that his late wife did exhibit AFLP symptoms, which can range from headaches and pain to nausea and vomiting. Therefore he encouraged other pregnant women, “You know your body better than anybody.”
“If you feel something is not right, regardless of what they tell you is normal or is common, if you feel it’s not right, it’s always OK to get a second opinion. That’s the biggest thing.”
With the support of his parents and Jasmine Patton’s mother, the bereaved husband revealed that he intends to preserve his wife’s memory by teaching Emery everything he knows about her.
“I want her to know everything about her mom — who she was, her personality, her love, most definitely, how much she wanted to have a baby and how excited she was when we finally did get pregnant,” he said. “I just want her to know her mom really loved her and she was ready to be a mom…. She was scared but she was ready.”
He believes that by sharing his wife’s story, other expectant moms will be inspired to listen to their bodies and seek medical counsel from a variety of sources.