Family has unique understanding of pain of family fighting to take pregnant woman off life support

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 10:28 AM

ARLINGTON -- Elliott and Lavonne Gilbert have been keeping a very close eye on Marlise Munoz’ story out of Fort Worth.

Munoz, 33, is currently on life support and 21 weeks pregnant at JPS Hospital. We first told you about her and her family in December.

“We could see our daughter's eyes in her eyes, and we haven’t slept a good night since,” Elliott said.

The Gilberts share a similar pain to the Machado and Munoz families, because they, too, have dealt with family tragedy. It's been a year-and-a-half since their daughter ShaChela Womack died in a car accident. She was nine months pregnant at the time with baby Ashlynne.

Womack’s son was driving when their vehicle rolled over on Belt Line Road near Eagle Ford Drive in far southwest Dallas in August of 2012. Baby Ashlynne survived only eight days in the ICU.

“It's a struggle... A painful struggle,” Elliott said.

The family said the baby had gone without oxygen for roughly one hour and 40 minutes and declared “oxygen starved.”

The Gilberts would love to meet the Munoz and Machado families and let them know they are not alone.

“And we just want them to know that we love them, they are in our prayers, and we wish the best for that family,” Elliott said.

They say the first thing they would do is give the families a big hug if they had the opportunity. And for grandparents who lost a child and grandchild, they would only hope the family would favor life over losing two loved ones.

But understand fully it is not their decision to make and say ”all we can do is pray.”

“I don’t care if they're five days old, five minutes old, or 35 years old, it still hurts to lose a child,” Lavonne Gilbert said.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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