MENOMONIE, WI (WEAU/CNN) - A Wisconsin woman was commemorating the anniversary of her child's death when she was unexpectedly rushed to the hospital. And what happened next was a surprise she didn't see coming.
"This is Zentavia Jean Marie,” new mother Aleece Giest said looking at photos of her late child. Aug. 4 is a date Aleece Giest will never forget. “This one is still at the hospital. This is day one with her,” Giest said.
It is the date her first daughter came into her life, but not for very long. “She passed away on Jan. 3, and these are New Year's, so right before. She was just a happy little girl,” she said.
Her death so soon after celebrating New Year’s was one nobody expected. "We had her in the emergency room that night and she had an ear infection. And we went home thinking everything would be fine, and she just didn't wake up the next day,” Giest said.
Now each year family and friends gather to commemorate her short life. "I remember the first time she laughed. She was taking a bath and it was just out of nowhere," she said.
But this Aug. 4 on what would have been Zen's golden birthday, Giest was experiencing physical pain along with the emotional. "I didn't realize it at first actually, but the pain was familiar to me," she said.
What happened next changed the meaning of Aug. 4 forever. Around 5 p.m. Giest arrived at Mayo Clinic Health System in Menomonie.
After a lot of back and forth to find out just what was wrong, one hour and 45 minutes later, Aleece held in her arms a 6 pound 7 ounce miracle who arrived just 15 minutes before her sister's memorial.
"For Mira to come that day, on her, own, I don't have words,” the new mother said. Mira's birth was a surprise to both mom and dad, Cassidy Rector.
"My parents said they could never have enough grandbabies,” Rector said. Who, despite the whirlwind birth, acted as many dads do. "I was freaking out. I don't know what to do, what can I do? The only thing I knew what to do is I just grabbed Aleece's hand,” Rector said.
The family quickly moved from a memorial in the park, to a celebration in the delivery room. "A little bit of happiness for the sadness," Giest said.
Now Aug. 4 will be remembered by Giest as a day of grief, a day of joy, but most of all a day of love for both of her girls. "It's just amazing that she has a sister to share that celebration with,” Giest said.
Giest named her baby Mira, which she says is short for miracle. She said she never realized she was pregnant because Mira was just so calm she never felt any movements.
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