Every night Jay Snyder holds his babies close, or gazes at them with a new parent’s awe over a first smile or sound, all he can think of is how much Reverie and Jackson would have melted their mother’s heart.
The beautiful twins, who tragically lost their mother just hours after she gave birth to them at NYU Langone Medical Center, turned 3 months old Saturday.
Unaware of what is missing in their little lives, Snyder and a rotating army of family and friends are doing their best to fill in for what Michal Friedman dreamed of most — being a mom.
“As much love as the kids are getting from everybody, it doesn’t compare to what Michal held in her heart for our children,” said a grieving Snyder, sitting in the modest two-bedroom apartment the couple had just moved to in Inwood.
“The joy of watching the kids grow is underscored by the sorrow and injustice of Michal missing out on it all. She would have adored them.”
For Snyder, 41, the past three months have been a painful and unforeseen journey. Instead of sharing the joys of new parenting with his wife, he has had to deal with the shock of her death after an uneventful pregnancy, arranging for child care to get back to work and learning to become a single dad of twins all at once.
Last week, the medical examiner confirmed what Snyder witnessed before his terrified eyes in the ICU — that his wife bled to death — hemorrhaging after a Caesarean section on Nov. 25. In replaying the events of that fateful day, he now wants to know more — specifically what went wrong in the hour or so after the 5 p.m. delivery went well and he was told to go to the nursery and wait while Friedman was taken to the recovery room.
He has hired a medical malpractice lawyer who is now reviewing her hospital records and the care she received before she died at 9:33 p.m.
“Michal’s death was so unexpected, the odds of dying so remote, we need to know if anything could have been handled better,” said Snyder, an actor. “Not only to help make sense of what seems incomprehensible, but to hopefully spare other mothers the same fate.”
NYU Langone officials declined comment on Friedman’s care or the potential lawsuit, citing confidentiality.
Friedman, 44, had tried unsuccessfully for seven years to conceive. When the singer-songwriter finally became pregnant with twins, she was elated.
Given her age, fertility treatments and pregnancy-related high blood pressure, she was cared for by NYU’s Maternal Fetal Care Center as a “high risk” patient. But it was a smooth and happy nine months until the final hours of her life.
As Snyder goes about his days alone, he said he is crushed by Friedman’s absence.
“Putting the kids to bed, seeing them so content and peaceful always brings Michal to mind,” he said. “I imagine us holding each other and looking at these two beautiful miracles. I try to imagine how she would have looked holding them, the happiness she would have exuded in those moments. Her being denied that joy is what enrages me most.”
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