The family of six was reduced to four overnight when a mother and her newborn son both ᴅ.ɪ.ᴇ.ᴅ just a few days apart.
Erik and Erin Schmidt adored their three daughters, Laura, Jill and Heidi, and when they discovered that 40-year-old Erin was expecting a baby again, they were very surprised, because they were not prepared for this at all. “We didn’t expect to get pregnant. God had a different plan for us,” Erin said, according to her husband.
Although they hadn’t planned for another baby, they were very happy about it and couldn’t wait for little James to be born. Erin complained of back ᴘᴀɪɴ throughout her pregnancy but did not attach any particular importance to it.
However, in June 2022, her ᴘᴀɪɴ worsened and the couple went to the local hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, to have her checked out. Doctors sent her to another hospital for further tests. Baby James ended up being born by ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ, and in the process it was discovered what was causing Erin’s back ᴘᴀɪɴ. She was diagnosed with ʙʀᴇᴀsᴛ ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀ, which was also in an advanced stage. The family could hardly believe it was actually happening, but Erin ᴘᴀssᴇᴅ ᴀᴡᴀʏ just three days later.
James was born in the 23rd week of pregnancy and had a serious fight for his life. The grieving family tried to hold on to the hope that the little boy could survive, but two weeks after his mother ᴅ.ɪ.ᴇ.ᴅ, he too was ʟᴏsᴛ. “He fought until he couldn’t fight anymore and we are grateful to have gotten to know him in these two short weeks. We find solace in knowing that he is resting in peace with his beautiful mother, Erin,” the family said.
The family was completely devastated by the grief, but luckily the local community supported them in everything. Erin was a teacher and loved by everyone who knew her. Erik couldn’t believe the incredible amount of support they received from friends and strangers alike. “While this won’t bring Erin or James back, I can’t put into words how much support I’ve had from my family and the community we live in,” Erik said. The grieving husband and father admitted that the first few days were excruciating, but he tried to stay strong for the sake of his daughters. “Erin would want me to do that. It’s hard… but right now my three daughters are my life,” he said.
He hopes his family’s story will encourage others to get regular checkups, but he also wants people to learn to appreciate their loved ones and not take their presence for granted. “Tell them how much you love them and don’t take a moment for granted,” he advised.
A GoFundMe page was also started to help the family, where more than 36 thousand dollars had already been collected by the middle of August. “Erin was a role model for the students she worked with at the school. Family was incredibly important to her. Whenever she was asked to do something, she was always willing to sacrifice her time,” said community member Lisa Hendrickson.
At the same time, a fundraiser was also organized in memory of Erin and James, which was also attended by many people. “A lot of people came together to show our support and love for Erint Schmidt’s family,” said one attendee.
There were also many sympathetic comments on the Internet, and many expressed their condolences. “We are praying for you, your three daughters, the family and all those who loved your wife and little son. God holds your loved ones in his arms,” said one of the comments.