Pregnant preschool teacher dies, but unborn baby survives

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Pregnant Preschool Teacher Dies, But Unborn Baby Survives

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Katrena Akel was 35 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to a Florida hospital last week by her husband, Jameel Akel.

"She was complaining about her heart pounding ... and shortness of breath,” Jameel said.

Doctors decided to do an emergency cesarean section and delivered baby Mya a month early.

Katrena didn’t make it.

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“I feel like her heart, as weak as it was, stayed alive to make sure the baby was born healthy,” Jameel said.

Katrena worked at the Goddard School in Julington Creek, where she touched a lot of lives and left a lasting memory.

“That was her passion. She loved kids,” Jameel said.

The Akels made major life changes in order to have a family. They sold their home years ago and moved in with Jameel’s family so they could afford in-vitro fertilization.

That baby, a boy, is now 6 years old.

"He's still asking me when mommy is coming home and I had to explain [that] mommy is home, but in heaven,” Jameel said.

Jameel says Katrena worked while he focused on getting a degree.

“There’s just no income right now,” Jameel said.

The community, family and friends have stepped up and raised almost $50,000 through a GoFundMe campaign.

Jameel says in the days following her death, they saw a bunch of beautiful rainbows and believe that’s her sign from heaven telling them they’ll be OK.

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