JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WJXT/CNN) - Matthew Accurso knew something was special about his wife Lauren from the moment he met her.
The two began as friends and they had a love for God and each other that blossomed over time, from high school to college and beyond.
“I said, ‘I love you,’ and it was silent and I was like, ‘Aww, man. I just put my heart out there she is going to break it,’” Accurso recalled. “Then she said, ‘I love you too.’”
They got married in 2004.
The family grew fast with three beautiful girls.
Life changed this year when Lauren was giving birth to their fourth child, Matthew Jr.
She had an amniotic fluid embolism - a rare medical condition.
The fluid surrounding the unborn child and possibly debris got into her blood and caused cardiac arrest. It happens during only 1 in 40,000 births.
“I started praying,” Accurso said. “I knew there was nothing more that we could do. I just started praying.”
Lauren passed away. She never even got the chance to hold her son.
Just 21 days later, Matthew Jr. passed away, too. He died from a lack of oxygen during birth.
Accurso has decided his family’s tragedy is a teaching moment for others. He created a nonprofit that he and his daughters can share as they rebuild with the love of Lauren and Matthew Jr. in their hearts.
“One of the things I am so passionate about now is I want to raise awareness for this. And even if there is anything, even if it decreases the risk by one percent, figuring out how to help women to understand this,” Accurso explained.