Newborn brings hope after Pittsburgh mom dies during childbirth
April Martinez spent the last nine months meticulously planning for the arrival of her first child, a baby boy named Luca.
“She had allergies and she wouldn’t take any allergy medicine,” said her mother, Elaine Sheatz of Cranberry. “She just wanted him to be perfect.”
Despite her attention to detail, nothing could have prepared her family for the tragedy that occurred Sunday during Luca’s birth when Martinez, 35, died of amniotic fluid embolism. Her mother said doctors told her it’s a rare condition where amniotic fluid enters the mother’s bloodstream, causing complications.
Sheatz said doctors at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital spent hours trying to save her daughter, the human resources manager for tool-and-die company JV Manufacturing in Harrison.
“I just had so much faith that everything was going to be just fine,” Sheatz said. “It’s just rocked my world.”
Sheatz said it’s hard to know what led to the complications, but she said her daughter did have a benign tumor removed from her uterus. She said scar tissue from that surgery could have contributed to the complications.
Miraculously, Luca arrived completely healthy via an emergency Cesarean section, giving everyone hope.
“I’m just so thankful that she’s going to live on through my grandson,” Sheatz said. “I can’t get enough of looking to his sweet little face, and there are her lips and there’s her nose.”
Martinez’s parents and husband, Orlando, have received an outpouring of support on a GoFundMe page set up by high school friend and classmate Corey Peterson. As of Thursday morning, the campaign had raised more than $30,000, with more than 560 people contributing in just the past days.
“It’s really remarkable,” Peterson said. “It’s just a testament to the human spirit. There are good people.”
The money will help cover Martinez’s funeral costs and helps support the family as they navigate the difficult months ahead.
Lifelong friend Alisha Strittmatter said Martinez was a worrier and had researched everything she could about pregnancy and having a baby so she was as prepared as she could be.
“I know 100% she would have given her full heart,” Strittmatter said. “She would have given 120% into being a mom.”
Strittmatter said Martinez was the best friend anyone could have and was always there for her friends and family.
“She was just a beautiful person inside and out,” she said.
Friends and family said Martinez loved her job.
Melissa Vecchi had worked closely with Martinez over the past few months because she was tapped to fill in for her while she was on maternity leave.
Vecchi said the loss of Martinez has been felt throughout the close-knit company.
“She was loved by all,” Vecchi said. “(She) always had a smile on her face.”
The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at McEntire-Weaver Funeral Home Inc., 504 E. Penn Ave. in Knox. A celebration of life will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday in the funeral home.
Sheatz said she helped Orlando Martinez bring baby Luca home on Tuesday and get settled into the nursery her daughter had perfectly prepared for him at their their Mount Washington home.
Although Martinez never got to meet Luca, she’s still very much present in their lives.
“I feel like she’s right here on my shoulder and she’s seeing him anyway,” Sheatz said.