The Zewe Family
The story begins almost 18 years ago when mom, Kyra, went up to Adam at a Sadie Hawkins Dance in high school and asked him to dance. They started dating within a year of meeting and became high school sweethearts. They stayed together through college where Adam attended Carnegie Mellon University and Kyra attended the University of Pittsburgh. They got engaged, got married, and somehow ended up in Alabama. As Kyra put it, "We traded the Rust Belt for the Bible Belt."
When they found out they were expecting, she said they were beyond thrilled. Everything in the pregnancy went perfectly. They enjoyed every second. They picked out names, set up a nursery, had baby showers, and ate way too much Chipotle. Kyra and Adam figured there are too few good surprises in life, so they never found out the gender. They thought that either way it was going to be the best day of their lives.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. After a Friday afternoon check-up, everything appeared to be going great with the pregnancy. Kyra had an ultrasound, blood tests, non-stress test, and the list goes on. Then, the morning of Saturday, April 19, 2014 arrived. Kyra woke up when Adam arrived home from working a night shift and felt the baby kick. Then, a few hours went by and no kicks. They went to the hospital and were told that the baby had no heartbeat. Less than 18 hours after everything was deemed perfect, Jack Petro Zewe was 38 weeks stillborn. Jack was 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 20 inches long. He looked just like his dad. He had a full head of wavy strawberry blonde hair. He had ten fingers and ten toes. He appeared to be so perfect.
Kyra and Adam will never forget the too few hours they got to hold their lifeless son in their arms trying to memorize every detail about him through tears. They never got the chance to hear him cry or call out for them. They often wonder what he would look and be like today. All they have left are the nightmares of leaving the hospital with empty arms and belly, driving home with a vacant car seat, and traveling with Jack to his final resting place in their home state of Pennsylvania. “When we are home, each day and holiday begins in the cemetery to see our baby boy,” Kyra said. “At a young age, we quickly learned that life isn’t fair and each day that grieving pain still hurts.”
In September 2015, Kyra and Adam were blessed with a happy and healthy baby boy! They named him Luke Adam. Then, in February of 2018, they welcomed another baby boy named Noah Matthew. They stayed true to their tradition and didn’t find out the gender again. “We know they will never replace Jack, but they sure help our wounds and are the brightest stars in our lives,” Kyra said. “We are blessed that Jack helped send us our precious boys, and we know that they will always have their older brother as their guardian angel watching over them. It makes us sad at times that they will never get a chance to share this life as a band of brothers and best friends. We would give up everything to have all three of them running around the house and causing trouble together.”
The Zewes are honored to be the 2019 March of Dimes Ambassadors for North Alabama. Stillbirth affects about 23,600 babies each year in the United States, happening every 20 minutes, which is about 1 in 160 pregnancies. It is unfathomable to think that three times every single hour in the U.S. there are parents going through what the Zewes did. During the pregnancy, they didn't have a single signal that they would lose Jack. Losing their son was medically unexplainable. Kyra said that they felt like they tripped at the finish line, being so close to Jack's due date. “We will never know what happened to our baby boy in this life, but we have hope we will see him again one day,” Kyra said. “The March for Babies event is close to Jack's 5th birthday, and we will be walking in his memory with Luke and Noah. Please join the cause with March of Dimes to help reduce the occurrence of stillbirths and prevent other families from experiencing similar loss. We never gave up hope, and now we have been blessed with Luke and Noah. We cannot give up on this effort. Any contribution and participation can make a difference!”