DES MOINES, Iowa-- Nicole Guenther was always smiling.
Her family expected plenty of smiles at her baby shower this weekend. But instead of celebrating a new addition to the family, they are preparing to say good-bye to the 28-year-old.
The mother of three was eight months pregnant when she collapsed at home on February 12th. Guenther went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the hospital. Doctors brought her back to life long enough so she could give birth to her son, Jayse.
“I still feel like I'm going to wake up from this nightmare, but as the days pass, it sinks in a little bit more,” said fiance Randy McNear.
After spending a week on life support, her family made the difficult decision to remove the ventilator. Doctors say she could live for a few days or another week.
“She just made sure her baby got to the hospital. She was an absolute wonderful mom,” said older brother, Mark Davis.
Today, friends and strangers stopped by the Main Gate for a fundraiser. The event raised money Guenther and her children, including baby Jayse. The infant suffered brain damage and is eating through a feeding tube.
Her family was overwhelmed by the support.
“It's hard, but she would want this. She would want everyone here celebrating her. I know she's still with us right now, in a sense, but we have to start preparing,” said sister Carissa Thompson.
Nothing will prepare them for the heartache of explaining to an 11-year-old and two-and-a-half year old twins what happened to their vibrant, loving mother.
“They want to know where she is and when she'll be home,” said McNear.
In addition to today's fundraiser, her family set up the GoFundMe account, Nicole's Funeral Fund, to cover her funeral expenses. Donations made to another account, the McNear-Guenther Family Fund at Bankers Trust, will benefit Jayse and his older brothers.