ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH, La. — In January, WWL-TV brought you the story of an expectant mother from Reserve who was hit by fireworks at a New Year's Eve family gathering.
She promised to let us know when her baby arrived. But when the phone call came, it was not the good news we had hoped to hear.
When we last talked to Beth Stroud, she was recovering in the University Medical Center Burn Unit after a New Year's Eve fireworks accident. One had misfired. She pushed her little girl out of the way and was hit. Her main concern at the time was the her unborn baby boy, Zaiden Blackwell, who had been three months from his due date.
"I was like, 'Jesus, please don't tell me anything's wrong with the baby because I already had a miscarriage last year, so this would have been tragic," Stroud said from her hospital bed on Jan. 2.
Everything went well in surgery and Stroud healed of all her burns, but today her heart is broken.
On Saturday, she buried her baby boy Zaiden. He was only 4-days-old.
"It's just a pain that will never go away. I got an empty space in me that, you know..." Stroud said with a sigh.
She has not gotten the results back from the autopsy, but Stroud said Zaiden was born two weeks early. She said she thinks he didn't seem to breathe right or eat enough. She was given medical reassurance that he was OK. And then on his third night around 3:00 a.m., she called the paramedics.
"He started screaming and crying really, really bad, turning purple in the face. He just kept screaming, kept screaming. His hands and his feet was really, really cold the whole time he was born," recalls Stroud.
Again, his vitals checked out. Then on his fourth day, tragedy.
"I noticed he wasn't moving. I touched his hand. He didn't grab my hand. I said, 'No, no, no, no, no, something's not right,'" Stroud said.
She did CPR, and so did Urgent Care staff for three hours. She said she was told he had vomit in his lungs.
"It's alright to cry," said Zariah Blackwell, 5, Stroud's daughter.
Stroud said she knows she has to be strong for Zariah.
"I love him all day. I miss him, like really bad," Blackwell said about her late baby brother.
In his memory there are special cards, shirts and pillows, but none as special as the words from his big sister.
"Where is brother?" asks Stroud.
"In Heaven," answers Blackwell.
"And where?" Stroud continues.
"In our hearts," Blackwell adds.
And they say he will be there forever.
WWL-TV will bring you more on this story when the autopsy results come in from the St. John Parish Coroner.