Crystal Matrau-Belt 24, reportedly knew something was wrong just before she went into surgery to give birth to her son, Jeremiah, via cesarean section. Her fiance, 34-year-old Emil Skokan III, was supposed to be on his way to the hospital, but he wasn’t picking up his phone.
Though Matrau-Belt was able to safely deliver Jeremiah on Dec. 12 at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, despite the high blood pressure which had forced her to undergo the c-section at 39 weeks, her fiance and mother, Peggy Nichols, didn’t show up to the hospital.
"I asked my stepdad, 'Do you know where Emil is?'" Matrau-Belt told the Kalamazoo Gazette. "My dad said, 'Honey, that's what we need to talk to you about.' I just all of a sudden had a sinking feeling something was wrong. I just didn't know that it was my fiance and my mom.”
Skokan was driving Nichols to the hospital when he lost control of the vehicle and hit a tree, killing them both. Authorities said that speed was a significant factor in the accident.
"They were trying to get here," Matrau-Belt said.
"They didn't know what was going on, and a lot of medical stuff was happening," Matrau-Belt added. "Their main focus was being able to be here because I didn't want them to miss anything. They just wanted to be there for me."
"Losing two of the most important people in my life at the same time as bringing a child into the world, it's like happy and the most heartbreaking thing," Matrau-Belt added. "I waited so long to be able to have a child, and to have a child but then have two things ripped out of my life, it's just really hard to deal with and even process.”
Matrau-Belt said her son already reminds her of Skokan in his mannerisms, and she thinks he’ll have his father’s dirty blond curls.
"I go to pick him up and I see Emil in him," Matrau-Belt said. "It's hard, but just to know that I have a piece of Emil, that helps a little bit.”
Prior to Jeremiah’s birth, Matrau-Belt had struggled with infertility and miscarriages.
"I want to celebrate him being born, but losing my fiance who I loved so much, and my mom at the same time, it's a really big struggle to try to balance all of that,” she said.
"I go from grief for one person and I'm crying hysterically and just upset, and then I'm OK, and then it flips to the other person and then it's back and forth because both of them were so important in my life," she added. "To lose them both at a time like this, it's really hard.”
Though Matrau-Belt and her son were discharged on Dec. 15, Skokan’s funeral will be held the following day. Nichols’ funeral will be held on Dec. 18.
"Things like this just don't happen," Matrau-Belt said. "The last thing I got from Emil was 'I love you babe and I'll be up there soon.' I loved my mom and I loved Emil with all my heart. Once I leave here I don't really know what to do with myself, my whole life, you know?”
Matrau-Belt’s friend, Brittany Long, has started a crowd funding page on GoFundMe to help the new mother with her expenses. A total of $1,770 had been raised as of Dec. 15.