To hear little Bonnie Ellen Hunt’s father Jon tell the story, the list of obstacles that got in the way of his newborn daughter’s arrival reads like the script of a Hallmark movie drama.
It began with a surprise pregnancy after a tubal ligation, a near fatal car crash that he barely survived, a pregnancy that suddenly went high risk and nearly resulted in his wife bleeding to death during delivery, postpartum surgeries on his little girl and then the discovery that Bonnie had cystic fibrosis.
Still, he said that when he looks at his beautiful baby girl, he sees a little fighter as she approaches her first birthday on April 26.
Jon and Lili Hunt were married in August 2009, and after long labors and C-sections on each of their four children, a physician told Lili that he strongly recommended against another pregnancy because he didn’t think her body could handle it.
In May 2018, Lili underwent a tubal ligation and believed their family was complete and all was well.
Or so she thought.
In December of that year, Jon was returning home from work at Kenworth Truck in Chillicothe when he was involved in a crash, getting hit head-on by another driver who fell asleep at the wheel.
While he recuperated from his injuries through the end of January 2019, he said Lili complained of feeling ill.
“She said she just didn’t feel right,” Jon said. “And I told her that if I didn’t know any better, I’d think she was pregnant – I mean, we’ve had four kids and I know how she acted when she was pregnant.”
When he returned to work, Lili made an appointment with her doctor and phoned her husband with the news: she was pregnant again!
He said Lili was 20 weeks along with what appeared to be a concern-free and problem-free pregnancy, until February 2019 when doctors diagnosed her with placenta accreta, a serious and sometimes fatal condition where the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall.
During a normal delivery, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall after childbirth, but with placenta accreta, part or all of the placenta remains attached and can cause severe blood loss after the birth of the child.
In Lili’s case, he said the condition was so severe that the placenta grew through the uterus and actually attached itself to her bladder. By April she was admitted to Miami Valley Hospital as she grew closer to her expected delivery date.
“I thought the doctors were being overly dramatic,” she admitted. “They told me with an accreta, I shouldn’t be carrying more than 10 pounds, and here I had been carrying 50 pound bags of feed up to the barn to feed my hogs and goats at the time.”
Surviving a near fatal automobile crash and holding Lili’s hand through an unexpected pregnancy with complications was nothing compared to what Jon faced on April 26, 2019.
He said when he arrived at the hospital it was “organized chaos.”
“I was talking to her on the way, parked the car and rode the elevator up to the nurses station and there was no one there,” he said, “because all of the nurses and doctors were at her room. It looked like an accident scene, the floor was covered in blood.”
Lili recalled being rushed into surgery and the attending physician telling her she may not survive due to extensive blood loss.
“He told me ‘I may not be able to save you, you’ve lost a lot of blood,’” she said. “He read me my rights and asked me if I understood what he was saying, and told me plainly ‘you may die.’”
A woman of faith, she acknowledged to the doctor that she understood what he was saying, and then did the only thing she knew to do — pray.
After delivering a healthy baby girl, doctors feared for Lili’s life because she had lost so much blood, but to their amazement, she said that as soon as the baby they named Bonnie was born, the hemorrhaging suddenly stopped.
During her three-day recovery, doctors told her something wasn’t right with their newborn daughter and that Bonnie was being taken to nearby Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery on her stomach.
“When I met with the surgeon, he looked at me and bluntly said ‘there is a possibility that your daughter may not make it,’” Lili said. “She’s just 3 days old and weighs only 3 pounds.”
Following another surgery, Lili was told that their newborn daughter had another battle to face after being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
“I felt like they were handing me a death sentence,” she said. “The doctors were telling me that Bonnie had an expiration date and wouldn’t be like the ‘normal’ children, and at that moment I was looking at this little newborn that was so full of life.”
Bonnie will celebrate her first birthday Sunday, April 26, and Lili feels that “a higher power” had a hand in helping to overcome every obstacle that was thrown at both her and her husband, and then at Bonnie.
“She wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place since I had my tubes tied,” Lili said. “I almost bled to death the day she was born, and she made it through two surgeries and 77 days in the hospital away from me, she survived the Dayton tornadoes and right now is surviving the pandemic, and at the same time fighting CF. That little girl is just defying the odds, and there’s a reason that she’s here.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.