Kelly Barnes (courtesy: Schrauben Lehman Funeral Home, October 6, 2009)
Updated: Tuesday, 06 Oct 2009, 4:52 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 06 Oct 2009, 4:36 PM EDT
PORTLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - Kelly Barnes' family should be celebrating the birth of her
third child. Instead, they're mourning the Portland mom's sudden
Barnes, 34, died one week after giving birth to a baby boy she named Vincent. Her husband, Greg, found her body in the living room of their Ionia County home Saturday morning.
Kelly Barnes died of natural causes, Portland Police Chief Bob
Bauer said. In a phone conversation Tuesday morning, Greg Barnes
told 24 Hour News 8 health officials told him his wife died of a
Barnes said his wife had been complaining of a bad headache on Thursday and even went to the emergency room at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.
Staff at Sparrow told her the headache was likely the result of hormones, dehydration or the spinal block she had during childbirth and they gave her medication, Greg Barnes said.
Although he said his wife had a history of headaches, this one
seemed different and particularly painful, migrating from one part
of her head to another.
Stroke-related deaths after childbirth are "very, very rare," said Dr. Stephen Cohle, the Kent County Medical Examiner.
"I don't know if this could have been prevented," he said when asked of Kelly Barnes' visit to Sparrow. "Hindsight is always 20/20.
"I don't know if there's anything (Sparrow staff) observed that would make you say 'why didn't they hospitalize her?' There's always a question of what should or could have been done. Had they admitted her, she still might have died."
While it's possible a postnatal stroke could be the result of a
pre-existing condition, it would appear to be connected to the
pregnancy, Cohle said.
Greg Barnes said he does not believe his wife had been diagnosed with preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy and could contribute to a stroke. But Kelly Barnes' pregnancy was considered high-risk because she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, her husband said.
The baby, Vincent, had water on his lungs at birth and spent time in the Intensive Care Unit. He was moved to the regular floor, but had to return to ICU after he stopped breathing briefly.
Doctors want Vincent to go "a few days" without any breathing
problems before going home, said Greg Barnes, adding that Vincent's
homecoming could happen as soon as Friday.
Kelly Barnes was "overwhelmed with joy" when she became pregnant with Vincent, her husband said.
Kelly, whom Greg Barnes described as "unique and colorful" and "loved by everyone," had really wanted another baby.
"I wasn't so sure," said her husband, adding that it took him a little while to get used to the idea.
But Greg Barnes said Kelly was so excited, she didn't even mind having to sell her beloved yellow convertible Volkswagen, which didn't have enough seat belts for three children.
Kelly owned a business which she ran out of her home: A hair
studio called Salon Jabez. Greg Barnes is employed by the Portland
Department of Public Works.
The Barnes have two other children, 11-year-old Rikki, a girl, and 10-year-old Dominic, a boy.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Rikki, Dominic, and Vincent Barnes Education Fund. Funeral home Schrauben-Lehman, 210 East Bridge in Portland, is taking the donations for now and a bank fund will be set up eventually.