Surrey mom goes into labour hours after her toddler’s sudden death

“I was in such shock, I didn’t realize I was in labour until I got up to show the police where I found her,” she said.

  • Mar. 10, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Zipporah Rivera was born seven weeks prematurely on March 3 at Surrey Memorial Hospital

By Wendy McLellan, The Province


A Surrey family is planning a funeral for their toddler who died the same day her sister was born.

“It’s like a movie, where all these crazy things happen. This is crazy,” said Megan Carbonetto.

On March 3, Carbonetto drove her husband Angel Rivera to the SkyTrain station so he could commute to work, then headed home to the house she shares with her extended family to make coffee.

At 7 a.m., she went to wake up her two older children for school and she found 14-month-old Sarah Rivera nestled between her two sisters, seven-year-old Sian and Abigail, 5.

“I thought she was sleeping, but she just wouldn’t wake up,” said Carbonetto, 27.

Her screams brought her sister-in-law running and she performed CPR. Carbonetto called 911, but Sarah could not be revived.

Carbonetto said her toddler was healthy and she has been told Sarah died from unknown causes, a death known as SUDC — Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.

“I couldn’t stop screaming. I just thought she wasn’t waking up — I thought the paramedics would come and wake her,” she said.

“I didn’t think she had died.”

But the family’s nightmare wasn’t over.

As Carbonetto spoke with police about her child’s death, she went into early labour; she was 33 weeks pregnant.

“I was in such shock, I didn’t realize I was in labour until I got up to show the police where I found her,” she said. “My body had gone into shock.”

Carbonetto was taken to hospital by ambulance and at 9 p.m. Zipporah Rivera was born by C-section.

The baby is doing well, but will remain in the neonatal intensive care unit at Surrey Memorial Hospital for a couple of weeks until she’s strong enough to go home.

“It’s just a nightmare,” Carbonetto said. “I am so ready to wake up from this nightmare.”

Staggered by grief and worry about their newborn and the two older girls, Carbonetto and Rivera are planning a funeral for Saturday afternoon.

“I just get up in the morning and do whatever is in my control. I am planning my daughter’s funeral,” she said.

She said Sarah was a sweet toddler who was never sick.

“Everybody falls in love with this baby — she is so cute,” said an emotional Carbonetto. “She was talking and walking. This is a mother’s biggest fear.”

Megan’s brother, William Carbonetto, has set up an online fundraising campaign to help the family with funeral and counselling expenses. More than $9,700 has been donated so far.

“We’ve had such an outpouring of support from friends and family. It’s been wonderful,” said William Carbonetto, adding the family is in shock.

“You don’t even see Hollywood movie scripts written like this. I don’t know how to describe this — I have been struggling to find words all week.”


Just Posted

Sisters, sexual abuse and one Surrey family’s bond in new movie ‘Because We Are Girls’

Cloverdale’s Jeeti Pooni led effort to create the documentary, set to debut at festivals

Surrey Historical Society holds ‘memory social’ Sunday

Gathering will be a chance to offer, share stories

Drowning victim fondly remembered

Immigration consultant Jay Atienza Razon, who worked out of Newton, drowned in a kayaking accident March 29

Khan Michael Bourne, of Sechelt, shot dead in Surrey

Police say Bourne was found laying on the ground, with gunshot wounds

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP investigating after ‘sudden death’ of man found with critical injuries

Police say a man is dead after being found laying on the ground in the 13300-block of 114th Avenue

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Most Read